Dogs are among the best animals that a person could choose to own. They can hunt, guard your house, provide services (such as seeing-eye dogs), or simply just keep you company when you are lonely. All a dog needs is food, water, and love – for that, they will be loyal to you forever! You may want to choose a breed based around your current living situation. For someone living in a small apartment, a Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, or Chihuahua may be your best bet. They are small, won’t take up a lot of space, and need less food. These low-impact breeds are ideal for tight quarters.
However, if you live in a spacious residence, with a big yard outside, you may wish to choose a larger breed. These bigger dogs might eat more food, drink more water, and require more space – but they will love you that much more for it!
If you are considering adopting or purchasing a large dog – for the purposes of this article, we will define large as a full size of 60 pounds or more – you need to take into consideration a few things. First, make sure that the breed is one that you find beautiful and interesting. Next, you must take the temperament of the dog into consideration. Finally, you should consider any problems (health or otherwise) that may arise in owning such a dog. Lucky for you, we’ve done the work for twenty popular breeds already! Read on to learn more about the Top Twenty Large Sized Dog Breeds.
The Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, is characterized by its thick, white, weather-resistant double-coat, fluffy mane, and feathered pantaloon-like legs. This breed has been known for millennia. In fact, the Roman author Varro first wrote about a similar type of dog in 37 B.C.! This breed has been written about many more times over centuries of agricultural treatises and other such documents. The original purpose of the Great Pyrenees was to guard flocks of sheep. This breeding comes through in its temperament – they will often try to “herd” children, though they are certainly gentle giants. They are also confident, affectionate, attentive, fearless, and highly loyal.
To get the most out of a Great Pyrenees, you must be very patient. They are slow learners, and often stubborn (though rarely aggressive). In addition, their nocturnal tendencies can lead them to bark at night if they are not trained out of this behavior. They are also somewhat-high-maintenance dogs, requiring biweekly brushing, frequent nail trimming, and diligent teeth and ear cleaning. Aside from these minor inconveniences in owning this type of dog, a determined owner will find one of the most loyal pets (or workers) that they will ever have. Plus, they’re great with kids, making them a fantastic family dog.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are pretty easy to pick out from other dogs. They have a characteristic black, white and tan pattern to their coloring, as well as their formidable size and bushy tails. This breed has long hair, and is also highly muscular. This popular breed was first used as an all-purpose farm dog. Originating in Germany, this breed would help farmers to guard their property, as well as drive their cattle out to pasture. However, the breed was not officially established until the early 1900s, when fanciers and breeders decided what the standard features of the breed would be. Plus, it was not until 1937 that they were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known to be docile, friendly, and good-natured. They do have a lot of energy, which leads to a fondness of hiking. In addition, they are very patient dogs that don’t mind kids climbing on them. This breed also can be very protective, meaning that they make great guardians.
It is important to consider a few problems if you want to own a dog of this breed. They must be brushed weekly, and must have their ears cleaned frequently to avoid affection. Plus, they must get regular exercise or they may bark and harass their owners. Unfortunately, these dogs suffer from myriad health problems. They are much more likely to get cancer than other dogs, as well as suffer from musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Thus, if you are considering one of these dogs be prepared to foot a potentially large vet bill to keep your companion healthy.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is an awesome dog for a family, a couple, or just a single person. They are loyal and calm, leading them to be great with kids. Plus, this breed isn’t particularly hard to train. Overall, these dogs are a solid choice if you are considering a large dog
Great Danes are some of the tallest dogs in the world. In fact, the current world record holder for the tallest dog is a Great Dane named Zeus. He unfortunately died in 2014, but before his death he was 44 inches tall (from paw to shoulder). This breed comes in several different colors, but will always be a tall, elegant, shorthaired breed with strong muscles and good agility. Dogs resembling Great Danes have been seen in Greek frescoes that date back thousands of years. Some artwork in Tiryns (a pre-Bronze Age archaeological site) could have been created as early as the 14th-century BC.
These dogs were traditionally used for hunting. They were originally trained to be “catch dogs”, which means that their job was to hold their prey down (after the other dogs had captured it) until the hunter could kill it. However, this usage of Great Danes became obsolete after the invention of firearms. Great Danes are often known as gentle giants, having a markedly-affectionate demeanor and a high desire for attention. They are almost never aggressive and do not have an exceedingly high prey drive. Great Danes display a mellow disposition towards other dogs, pets, and humans. Plus, with the proper training they will be great around kids.
The large size of this dog leaves them with a higher likelihood of developing joint and bone problems, particularly when they are extremely active. Therefore, a Great Dane puppy’s activity must be somewhat-controlled in order to minimize the risk of such issues. In addition, their slow metabolism can lead to bloat. They also have a much higher likelihood than other breeds to develop heart problems and spinal problems. Despite the health issues that Great Danes face, they truly are remarkable dogs. Even though they are quite large, they are incredibly gentle and will be loyal and affectionate to the right owner. If you are considering a Great Dane, make sure that you have the space – they are huge.
This breed is characterized by the ridge of hair that runs along its back. This is formed by two whorls of fur that run the opposite direction than the rest of the fur. Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be light tan to dark tan in color, with either dark eyes and a black nose or amber eyes and a brown nose. This type of dog has a long, complex history. The roots of the Ridgeback can be traced to the hunting dogs employed by the Khoikhoi people of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa. This was the first breed that had the characteristic ridge, and it was first written about in the 17th century. These dogs were eventually interbred with the animals of European colonists, creating a new type of dog known as the Boerhund.
However, the breed really got its start when Charles Helm brought two rough-coated, grey-black dogs with him to Hope Fountain (near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe). Big-game hunter Cornelis van Rooyen decided that he wished to breed his own dogs with Helm’s in order to incorporate their genetic predisposition towards guarding behavior. The initial result was a grey, rough-coat dog. As time went on, the coats gradually became redder. They also began to become ideal for hunting conditions, with 4-6 Ridgebacks able to hold back several lions. They could also kill baboons without the help of a human hunter.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was approved by the South African Kennel Union as a standard breed in 1927. They were first brought to the United States back in 1950, and were approved as a hound-group breed by the American Kennel Club in 1955. This breed is loyal and intelligent, with an iron will and a strong desire to please their owner. However, they are tough to train, requiring consistent positive reinforcement to learn lessons. They are also aloof to strangers, tending to ignore anyone that they do not know.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is often affected by hip dysplasia and dermoid sinus, at a much higher rate than other breeds of dogs. They can also suffer from degenerative myelopathy, hypothyroidism, and bloat – three very dangerous conditions. Overall, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a good choice for someone who is an experienced dog owner, and can handle training a stubborn dog. If you keep them healthy, and continuously reinforce desired behavior, you will end up with a fiercely loyal companion that will be with you to the end!
German Shepherds are commonly tan and black or red and black. They have black masks and body markings that can resemble anything from a saddle to a blanket. Other varieties of German Shepherds include pure-black, pure-white, sable, liver, and blue – though liver, blue, and pure-white are considered to be serious faults for any show dog. This breed got its start in 1899, when Max von Stephanitz purchased a show dog named Hektor Linksrhein. He chose this dog for its intelligence, loyalty, and beauty, wishing to start an entire line. After being bred with many other dogs and across about three generations, the modern German Shepherd came into being.
These dogs are, first and foremost, highly intelligent. This makes them suitable as guard dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, service animals, police/military dogs, and even actors! They are often quite self-assured, have a strong willingness to learn, and are eager to have their own purpose in life. They are also quite obedient and protective of their owners. On the other hand, a German Shepherd that has not been socialized properly may become overly-protective of anything they consider theirs – whether that may be their family or their turf. They are not generally inclined to make friends with strangers, and can be aggressive if not trained correctly.
These dogs also suffer from health issues, mostly attributable to inbreeding early in the breed’s creation. Hip/elbow dysplasia, arthritis, degenerative myelopathy, Von Willebrand disease (a bleeding disorder), exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and a variety of musculoskeletal disorders are quite common in German Shepherds. Special care must be taken to keep this breed as healthy as possible. If you want to own a German Shepherd, be ready to take significant time to train the dog, and be sure to keep them healthy. You will be rewarded with one of the smartest, most loyal dogs you can find in the world. Their popularity is thus no coincidence – they are the 2nd-most-registered dog in America!
The Newfoundland dog has webbed feet, a water-resistant coat, and can come in several colors, including black, brown, grey, and white-and-black. They have long hair, essential to keeping them warm in chilly waters. This dog is built for swimming: large bones give it mass, large muscles give it power, and a huge lung capacity helps them traverse large distances in the water. Newfoundlands originated in the early 17th-century, as colonization began in Newfoundland itself. Over time, the breed began to gradually become more distinct. In the 1880s, visitors from Europe to Newfoundland described two main breeds – one was large, heavy, and had a long coat. This is the breed we can most closely link to modern-day Newfoundlands.
These dogs were originally used to pull in fishing nets. However, one popular dog was Napoleon the Wonder Dog. He worked in a circus from 1862 to 1868, performing a variety of tricks that impressed spectators all across Europe. It is likely due to this famous performing dog that Newfoundlands grew in popularity. However, they nearly went extinct during the World Wars due to wartime breeding restrictions. Thankfully, they have steadily increased in number since the 1950s.
Newfoundlands are usually calm, docile, loyal, and strong. They are also great with kids, though their large size can pose an accidental hazard if they lean on or knock down small children. If they are trained to be careful, this shouldn’t ever happen. In fact, the dog Nana from Peter Pan is a Newfoundland! This breed is also generally good with other dogs and species. This breed is prone to a few health problems common to large breeds. These problems include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cystinuria (forms stones in bladder), and subvalvular aortic stenosis (can cause sudden death similar to a heart attack). Despite these problems, the dogs will often live for ten years or longer, with some living up to fifteen years old.
Newfoundlands are a fantastic choice if you can handle their large size. They also love to play in the water and the mud, so you need to be sure you’re ready to deal with a giant, soaking wet dog in the summer. Luckily, they are pretty easy to train and can be excellent companions and family dogs.
This variety of Schnauzer displays the characteristic beard and eyebrows, and often will have cropped ears and a docked tail. They come in solid black, or a salt-and-pepper pattern that appears gray from a distance. They also have a dense, wiry, weather-resistant coat, hearkening to the early days of the breed as working dogs. The first examples of Giant Schnauzers date to 17th-Century Bavaria, where they were bred for their rough-coat. Their coat helped them to withstand harsh winters and bites from vermin, which was essential in their original work as multipurpose farm dogs.
By the 20th-century, Giant Schnauzers could be found in watchdog roles for factories, butcheries, and stockyards. Only a short time later, they became known outside of Bavaria due to their military positions in the World Wars. The first Giant Schnauzers came to America in the 1930s, but did not become popular until the 1960s. This breed is known as a quiet breed. They are very intelligent, easily trained, deeply loyal, and good with children. However, they can become bored quite easily. This, coupled with their energetic disposition can lead to unwanted destructive behavior. Without proper training, they are also suspicious in new situations and very territorial – possibly even leading to aggression.
Giant Schnauzers must be groomed regularly, as their beards can collect drool and food particles. The coat should also be clipped every month or so. It is worth noting that shampoo allergies are somewhat common in this type of dog. They are also prone to dysplasia, eye problems, skin diseases, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and seizure disorders. With proper training, your Giant Schnauzer could be a great family dog, show dog, or even a working dog on a farm. This breed needs special training to get over their inherent territorial behavior, however they are easy to train so this should not pose a problem. Overall, they are a great choice if you have the space!
The Bullmastiff breed is characterized by their solid, stocky build and short muzzle. They can come in a variety of colors, including fawn, red, or brindle. Each of these colors has a large subset of varieties that are accepted by the American Kennel Club as official bullmastiff coloration. This breed originated as a guard dog, first being used in mid-19th-century Britain as a deterrent against poachers. Their size, strength, and speed allowed them to track and detain trespassers on their estate. This original purpose led to them being known as the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog. These dogs were later used to guard diamond mines in South Africa.
Bullmastiffs are sensitive, loyal, and obedient. They are one of the more difficult dogs to train, requiring a high degree of socialization to overcome their inherent independence. They must also be trained in a way different from other dogs – Bullmastiffs do not like repeating actions, which is the core aspect of most canine training programs. These dogs are somewhat inclined toward hip/elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, retinal atrophy, bloat, and cancer. In addition, they may display certain cosmetic defects such as long hair or a liver color. Overall, if you have the patience and determination to train a Bullmastiff properly, this breed will reward you with undying loyalty and fierce protection of your home.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can be distinguished from similar retriever breeds by their wavy coat and amber eyes. They can come in several shades of brown, sedge, and deadgrass. Plus, they can have white (as long as it is limited to the breast, belly, toes, or feet). In addition, they have webbed feet to help them swim. This breed can be traced back to two puppies that were rescued from a sinking ship in 1807. George Law, the nephew of a shipowner named Hugh Thompson, ended up purchasing these dogs from the sinking ship’s captain after they made it back to shore. As the pups grew older, they successfully helped to retrieve ducks for hunters. These dogs were eventually bred, creating the modern-day Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
These dogs are always happy, and show marked intelligence, good sense, and affection. They can be quite vocal, and sometimes will “smile” – a showing of the teeth that communicates either joy or submissiveness. In addition, they can be assertive, willful, and outgoing. On the other hand, these dogs are sometimes reserved with strangers – a cementation of their loyalty for their own family. With proper socialization, this effect can be minimized. They are also stubborn and difficult to train, requiring daily sessions to maintain their previous knowledge and training.
These dogs are disposed to hip dysplasia, eye problems, and alopecia. However, with proper care the chances of developing some of these issues can be minimized. If you want a challenging dog, yet a friendly and playful companion, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the way to go.
Old English Sheepdog
This breed is highly-recognizable due to its characteristic long, shaggy coat that covers their face and eyes. Their ears lie flat, and their tails are occasionally docked (though many countries have outlawed docking for cosmetic reasons). They come in many shades of grey, grizzle, black, blue, and merle with their topcoat nearly always being white. Old English Sheepdogs find their lineage in the pastoral dogs of England. However, the earliest known depiction of such a dog is in a 1771 Gainsborough painting. The first time that the modern version of the dog was displayed was during an 1873 dog show in Birmingham, England. Though their roots were in herding animals (esp. sheep), they found prominence as show dogs after this first public appearance.
This breed is known for their very docile temperament, and are almost never nervous or aggressive. They can also be quite lazy. They are great with kids, but will sometimes try to herd them by gently bumping them around. Overall, the breed is intelligent, social, adaptable, and affectionate. These dogs have had various health problems recorded over the years, though the data doesn’t suggest any particular predisposition towards certain diseases or disorders. The main health concerns associated with Old English Sheepdogs include heatstroke (due to their full coats) and cancer. Regardless of where you live, as long as you have the space and determination an Old English Sheepdog could be an invaluable companion. They are wonderful with children, other pets, and other people, giving them a spot on the list of the top twenty large dog breeds.
Leonbergers are a large, muscular breed that has a charismatic and striking presence. This is a dimorphic breed, meaning that the sex of the dog will largely determine certain physical characteristics. They are characterized by their water-resistant coats that come in a variety of colors (including lion-yellow, red, red-brown, and sand). They can also have a small patch of white on their toes or chest. The earliest possible mention of the Leonberger is in records from 1585, and in 1601 some documents state that similar dogs were used to deter livestock theft. However, the breed was not established until Heinrich Essig named and registered the breed in the 1830s.
Originally, Leonbergers were kept as farm dogs – especially for watch and draft work. In the early 1900s, the Canadian government imported some of these dogs to be used as water rescue dogs. They continue in similar roles in modern times. With proper training, Leonbergers are great family dogs. They are self-assured, insensitive, submissive, friendly, well-composed, and self-disciplined. These traits, combined with training and socialization, will result in a canine that will do well in any situation (even those that could be stressful to the average dog).
Leonbergers are not very inclined to many diseases, as they have been bred to specific standards that minimize the risks of developing musculoskeletal disorders. However, some diseases can still develop – including heart problems, neurological problems, thyroid disorders, and other conditions. If you decide to bring a Leonberger into your home, you will be making a good choice. As long as you take some time out every day to train them, they will display a positive demeanor and will interact well with kids and other animals.
Afghan Hounds are among the most distinguishable dogs in the world. They display a long, fine, silky coat, and have a tail with a ring curl at the end. These dogs display a variety of coat colors, but may not have white markings. Some also have facial hair that resembles a Fu Manchu moustache. This breed’s history is not entirely clear. Though it has roots in ancient canines from the Afghanistan region, the earliest examples of the breed were brought to Great Britain in the 1920s, after being given as gifts from King Amanullah. From the beginning, these dogs have been show dogs. However, it is likely that the long-haired Afghan Hound was used for hunting in the mountains far before dog shows were even invented.
These dogs can be aloof, but will be clownish during play. They have an extremely high prey drive – which is great for lure coursing events, or even for hunting, but not good if you own small animals. However, they make good therapy and companion animals. The Afghan Hound is an intelligent and obedient breed, and has some of the most ancient genetics out of any other breed found today. However, they are quite prone to allergies, cancer, and hip dysplasia – so special care should be taken to provide your dog with the right nutrients to keep it healthy. Overall, these dogs can make a great companion for a single adult, a couple, or a family with older kids. You should not have any small animals if you elect to bring home an Afghan Hound, due to their prey instincts.
English Mastiffs are enormous, with massive heads, short coats, and black masks. They come in a variety of colors, but are generally fawn or apricot colors (or a black brindle with the aforementioned colors as a base). They truly are huge – the world-record for the weight of a dog was a 343-pound English Mastiff from England. This breed has a history that potentially stretches back as far as the 6th-century BC, as similar dogs are depicted in reliefs found in Assyria. However, the most solid link that the modern English Mastiff has with the past is due to the inevitable interbreeding of English and Roman dogs during the Roman conquest of Britain.
Over the years, English Mastiffs have served a variety of roles including war dogs, hunting dogs, and guard dogs. In modern times, they are generally kept as companions, but also can be found on the silver screen in several films. This breed has a docile, yielding nature that leads them to be great with children. They are also courageous fighters, and will fight to the death for their owners. They are good-natured and easy to train as well.
English Mastiffs can suffer from hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. In addition, their large size and energy means that they are not easily kept in a smaller space (such as an apartment). They need to be walked daily, and they will consume a lot of food due to their giant size. If you can deal with a huge dog, you will find an excellent pet in an English Mastiff. They will be loyal, and gentle. They are also good with kids and other animals due to their docility.
This famous breed is characterized by their strength, with a dark black coat and clearly defined tan markings. They are a balanced, enduring, breed with a trotting gait. Their jaws are strong (though they rarely use them on humans) as well as the rest of their bodies. Rottweilers originated back in the 1st-century AD, as Roman legions used Drover dogs to keep their herds of cattle near them. They needed to keep the cattle alive in order to keep their armies fed. As they travelled around the Alps and Southern Germany, a town was eventually established called Rottweil. This gave the dogs their namesake, and the breed hasn’t changed much since the Roman times.
These dogs can be guard dogs, police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and guide dogs, as well as performing other services. They are good-natured, generally placid, devoted, obedient, and eager dogs. They are also confident and courageous, leading them to perform the aforementioned jobs as well as possible. Due to their considerable strength, a Rottweiler must be trained well and thoroughly to mitigate any risk to children or other animals. They can also be aggressive toward strangers (likely due to their watchdog and territorial instincts).
This breed is relatively healthy, and does not have a significant prominence of diseases or disorders. However, the risk of hip dysplasia is notable. They may also contract osteosarcoma (a bone disease) and are more susceptible than other breeds to parvovirus. These dogs can also become easily obese if they are overfed or under-exercised. All in all, Rottweilers are a great dog breed (despite the fearmongering surrounding them). They will provide their owners with loyalty and companionship for a long time, and will be great family dogs as long as they are trained properly.
American Staffordshire Terrier
This dog comes in on the smaller side for a large breed. It has a short coat, and comes in many colors. However, all-white, mostly-white, black and tan, and liver colored dogs are not encouraged by the American Kennel Club. These dogs are also very strong, agile, and graceful, with a stocky build and defined muscles. The breed originated in the 19th-century, near Birmingham, England. Despite the name being American Staffordshire, they were not brought to America until 1850, and weren’t bread in Staffordshire until the later 1800s. They originally were bred for hunting.
These dogs are friendly and motivated, but rather aloof to strangers (preferring to retain their loyalty to their own family). They must be carefully-trained, as they are very strong and could accidentally (or intentionally, if not well-socialized) hurt someone. It is important to note that this breed may be banned in your locale, due to the misinformation regarding the Bull and Terrier family of dogs. Though several incidents involving pit bulls and similar breeds have been reported, these dogs are not aggressive unless they are made to be.
These dogs are generally healthy, but are susceptible to allergies, urinary tract infections, and autoimmune diseases. In addition, they can easily contract elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, thyroid dysfunction, and the neurological disorder cerebellar ataxia. If you want to add an American Staffordshire Terrier to your family, you must be sure that they are legal in your area beforehand. You should keep in mind that they can be somewhat tough to train due to their stubbornness. However, remember that they are incredibly friendly despite the widespread misinformation regarding this breed.
This giant breed of dog is characterized by their huge size and characteristic color patterns. They can be red and white, or mahogany and white. Black shading is also found on the face and the ears. This breed generally displays dark brown eyes, but occasionally has blue eyes with tight lids. The earliest known written records of the breed are from monks at the hospice of the Great St. Bernard Pass. These records date from 1707. In addition, paintings and drawings of this type of dog exist from even earlier times. The breed was originally used for rescue missions, finding those trapped by avalanches. An interesting fact is that the monks would never actually train the dogs to search for victims. Instead, they would watch the older dogs and learn by example.
Saint Bernards are calm, patient, and sweet dogs. They are loyal and affectionate, and will be very friendly with proper socialization. Due to their large size, training and socialization should start in puppyhood – a wild adult would be nearly impossible to control for even a strong human. These dogs are particularly susceptible to dysplasia and bone cancer, among eye disorders, heart diseases, eczema, and epilepsy. Overall, if you have the space for a huge dog, a Saint Bernard is a great choice. They are so mild and easily-trained and have a naturally calm disposition, meaning that they make top-tier family dogs.
Bloodhounds have a characteristically-large skeletal structure, with a typical coat composed only of fur. They are black, liver, tan, and red, with black coloring on their faces and backs. They also have a keen sense of smell, making up for the floppy ears that obstruct their ear canals. The Bloodhound has a long and storied history, and was originally bred for hunting animals. However, they have also been used since the Middle Ages to track down people, with notable mentions in various medieval writings. Today, the dogs are still used by police and law enforcement to track escapees, missing persons, and lost pets and children.
The breed itself is gentle, even-tempered, and affectionate. They make great family pets, though they should be supervised around small children. However, they can be quite difficult to train due to their strong tracking instinct – especially when you are trying to teach one to walk on a leash. Bloodhounds are particularly prone to gastrointestinal ailments, such as bloat. They also can get eye, skin, and ear infections quickly. Their thick coats also can cause them to suffer from heatstroke. It is important to properly care for your Bloodhound to prevent such problems. These dogs make good family dogs if you have the propensity and willingness to break them of their strong tracking instinct. They are also great for hunting, and many other applications in other fields.
This Italian breed is distinguished by its athletic, muscled appearance and its huge head. They come in two basic colors: black and fawn. Brindling is also common on this type of dog. The Cane Corso traditionally have docked ears and tails, but due to the growing illegality of this practice they are often found uncropped. This breed finds its origin in ancient Roman war dogs. As time went on, they were used as bodyguards, catch dogs, guard dogs, drovers, and farm dogs. They actually almost went extinct due to the changing nature of Italian farming. They were luckily revived during the late 1970s.
Cane Corsos are not recommended for new dog owners. Without experience, strong leadership, and consistent training, it is not likely that your Cane Corso will listen very well at all. Socialization should be begun at a young age, as this will prevent any aggression due to their protective nature. This breed has not been revived for long enough to gather any substantial data on potential health defects. Overall, these beautiful dogs can be a great choice if you are an experienced canine owner. They will be loyal, affectionate, and protective – and great family dogs due to their relative indifference to children.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large breed that is similar in appearance to the Siberian Husky. They have a double coat to ensure that they are well-protected from the elements, and it is generally grey and white, sable and white, black and white, seal and white, red and white, or solid white. Plus, they have a lot of trademark face markings and other features that identify them as part of the breed. These dogs were likely bred by the Inupiaq native people in Alaska’s Norton Sound region. As such, the dog is considered a basal breed, predating breeds from the 19th-Century. Not too much is known about the specific history of this breed, but we do know that they were used as sled dogs and to haul heavy freight.
Alaskan Malamutes are resourceful, independent, and highly-intelligent. They are also quite amicable to people. However, they have a high prey drive that can lead them to chase other animals, or even small children. Thus, they need to be well-trained and socialized to ensure that these types of behaviors do not present themselves in your Malamute. There is not a lot of data regarding health issues that plague the Malamute, as only a single 2004 survey was conducted with a sample size of only 14 dogs. This is far too few dogs to draw any meaningful conclusions about the overall health of the breed. However, it is worth noting that musculoskeletal problems and hereditary cataracts are the most-commonly reported issues with this breed.
These dogs love people, and will make a great family dog. Though their amicability precedes their ability to perform guard duties, if you do not live in an area where it is necessary to have an animal for protection you need not worry. This dog is also fairly nimble, meaning that it can live in tight conditions as long as exercise needs are met.