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Giant Breed Dogs are often referred to as “Gentle Giants”.  While there is a growing trend and preference for smaller dogs thousands of giant breeds are part of households and and the guardians of homes and properties.  Below are just 3 we chose to highlight today, the 3 tallest and heaviest dogs found around the globe.

1.  Mastiffs

Tips for Adopting a Great DaneAdopting A Mastiff

Massive, Muscular and Majestic best describe this giant breed.

Mastiff; Neopolitan Mastiff;  Tibetan Mastiff; Bullmastiff.  Study each of these breeds before committing years of ownership as these breeds are not recommended for first time dog owners or anyone not willing to gently command these Gentle Giants.

Mastiffs are among some of the oldest breeds known to humans. They were among the first canines to accompany humans on their migrations across the globe. Mastiffs have been used as guard dogs, war dogs, and fighting dogs throughout the ages. Today, many of them reside in our homes as beloved members of our families, but they still take their jobs as family protectors seriously.

Owning a mastiff is a responsibility as large as the dogs themselves. Find out if the Bullmastiff, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, or Tibetan Mastiff is right for you and your family.

These dogs actually originated in Britain during the time the Romans invaded the island. Later they came to America on Mayflower and got well established in England, America, and Canada. Browse our Breeds A-Z and discover these imposing, guardians of the hearth and home. “Don’t Mess With a Mastiff”!

Personal Traits of the Mastiff

The lifespan of Mastiff is generally 8 to 10 years. Grooming is easy as these dogs have short coats. It is more than enough to weekly brush them and comb their little fur with a towel.

They are well-known droolers (saliva falls from their mouth) and tend to snore very loudly. They have a moderate tendency to bark but make sure that you expose them to a lot of crowds during their childhood (puppyhood).

A fully-grown male Mastiff can weigh up to 200 pounds and grow up to 30 inches [at the shoulder].

Females tend to be slightly smaller, with amazing judgment for danger and protectiveness with a more feminine stature of just 26 inches in and weighing in at around 150 pounds.

For more information click:  adopting a Mastiff

Feeding $$$: The mastiffs consume a lot of food, puppies consume more food that grown-up adults.

Research shows that mastiffs weighing 200 pounds need to consume an average of 3,700 calories daily.

Feeding Instructions:  Depending on the level of activity and metabolism rate, some Mastiffs require even more consumption of calories daily. They require being fed two meals per day as they are prone to bloating. Make protein and fat the main ingredients. Choose named fat sources like chicken fat, and fish oil. These will help the older mastiffs to feel and act young.  Avoid allergens like corn, wheat, beef, chicken and artificial flavors and sweeteners.

Mastiffs are good with other dogs, and even cats if introduced early, properly and with caution until solid friendships between them are evident.  Always err on the cautious side when introducing your Mastiff to other pets and friends visiting.

Mastiff care is expensive: Caring for dogs of large breeds are expensive. Owing to the large amount of food they consume and also taking them for regular checkups, vets, toys, vaccinations, the financial responsibility is huge.

Mastiff can function fine in smaller environments, but not cages.  As long as the mastiff can play and walk in the yard you can adopt a mastiff. Keep the yard fenced. Also it will be important that you always are the “Alpha”/leader between the two of you and that they will defer and respect all your commands, given in gentle tonality, but with absolute expectation. Establish your leadership role by instilling simple commands like sit, walk, come, and more.

Mastiffs are the largest of all dog breeds.  While this gentle giant exudes a strong pillar presence they are lovable, affectionate, calm and a good companion for the older children. Not recommended if you have toddlers or small children.

Please visit our 3 Mastiff Rescue Organizations that have several of these breeds up for adoption.

2.  Leonberger

  • Males: 120–170 lb  average 140–150 lb
  • Females: 100–135 lb: average 115 lb

First and foremost a family dog, the Leonberger’s temperament is known for its most distinguishing characteristics. Well socialized and trained, the Leonberger is self-assured, insensitive to noise, submissive to family members, friendly toward children, well composed with passersby, and self-disciplined when obliging its family or property with protection. Robust, loyal, intelligent, playful, and kindly, they can be taken anywhere without difficulty and adjust easily to a variety of circumstances, including the introduction of other dogs.

Proper control and early socialization and training are essential with this giant, but gentle, breed.

Did You Know?  The Leonberger  became popular with several European royal households, including Napoleon II, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the Prince of Wales, Otto Von Bismark, the Emperor Napoleon III and even Umberto I of Italy.

Traditionally, Leonbergers were kept as farm dogs and were much praised for their abilities in watch, guarding flocks and draft work. They were frequently seen pulling carts around the villages of Bavaria, Germany, where they originate from and surrounding districts. Around the beginning of the 20th century, Leonbergers were imported by the government of Canada for use as water rescue/dogs. The breed continues in that role today and are still used at the Italian School of Canine Lifeguard and continue to successfully guard their master’s flocks.   

Pop Culture:

Three Leonberger dogs (2 females/1 male) played the main character ‘Buck’ in The Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon (1997), a Canadian rendition of Jak London’s The Call of the Wild which stars Rutger Hauer as John Thornton and is narrated by Richard Dreyfuss. In “The Equalizer,” Robert McCall (played by Denzel Washington) visits his former CIA co-workers at their large Virginia home which has two Leonbergers.

The breed has been featured on stamps from many countries.

For more information on this amazing, rare breed, check out our 3 Leonberger Rescue Groups on our “Breeds A-Z” on our website and app:

3. Great Danes                                                      


There are several additional names given to this majestic, appealing and popular, known for their great dispositions & personalities breed we call the Great Dane.  These dogs are incredibly loyal, playful, patient, and friendly and adapt to small spaces more easily than their smaller counterparts.

Personal Traits of Great Dane

The height of this dog breed normally ranges from 30 to 33 inches (at the shoulder) for the boys and 29 to 30 for the females. All of the larger breed dogs are known for their short lifespan which for the Great Dane is only 7 to 10 years.

They are typically couch potatoes which means they do not need a lot of space and actually do well in apartment/condo living. They do not do well left alone for hours at a time, needing a family and people.

You can find Great Dane in colors like the Fawn, Harlequin, Mantle, Brindle, Merle, White, Black, and Blue.

Tips for adopting a great Dane

Nutrition is very important for the Great Dane. Though Great Dane loves to have a huge amount of food but remember not to overfeed this breed. If they grow really fast then they are at the risk of Wobbler syndrome (a disease of the cervical spine that results in neurological pain.)

A lot of expenditure: From vet treatments to the high volume of food, the toys it needs to play, everything requires a lot of money. Therefore, it’s better to think twice before committing to owning this great giant breed.

Grooming requirements are simple:  brushing twice a week and a once a month bath is all they require, unless they’ve been out playing in the mud.

Despite their sweet and loyal nature, the sight of this breed is enough to freak out intruders. A Great Dane is also an alert guardian and has no fear of stepping up to protect it’s family.

Interested in Rescuing/Adopting a Great Dane?  SaveARescue represents 89 Great Dane Rescues nationwide, and throughout Canada.  Let us help you.  Be sure to browse Great Danes ready for a new forever home on our website and/or app to find your perfect match.