Big dog breeds that make loveable pets

These big dog breeds will suit larger homes and even bigger gardens.

big dog breeds: great dane
(Image credit: Getty)

Looking to welcome a four-legged friend into your home? Big dog breeds are as loveable as they come. 

Of course, getting a dog of any breed is a huge decision, but it becomes an even larger one (literally!) with bigger breeds. Remember—they require more food, exercise and space than small and medium dogs.

That being said, big dog breeds will reward your extra care and attention with a super-sized amount of affection. 

Scroll on to see which breed would be best suited to your lifestyle, home and family… 

Dalmatian

Dalmatian

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  • Life expectancy: 10-13 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day 
  • Coat length: Short 

Best known for their starring role in a certain Disney film, Dalmatians are so much more than their dotty exterior. They need plenty of exercise, but will reward you with buckets of love and loyalty. 

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

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  • Life expectancy: 9-13 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day 
  • Coat length: Medium

Often used as working dogs for police and security services, German Shepherds are really easy to train. They’re highly intelligent dogs, and need lots of exercise to keep them entertained. 

Great Dane

great dane

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  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day 
  • Coat length: Short 

Gentle giants, Great Danes are really playful despite their huge size. They make good family pets, but of course need plenty of space and a big garden. 

Greyhound

Greyhound

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  • Life expectancy: 10-14 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day 
  • Coat length: Short 

One of the speediest breeds, greyhounds are impressive runners, so need a secure garden to keep them safe. They’re loving pets, but need to be socialised with smaller pets at a young age to counteract their chase instinct. 

Rottweiler

Rottweiler

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  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day 
  • Coat length: Short 

Rottweilers are large, powerful dogs—training is crucial when welcoming one into your home. They’re naturally very protective pets. 

Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle

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  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day 
  • Coat length: Medium

Playful dogs, poodles require daily grooming to keep their fluffy coats in tip-top condition. The Kennel Club has named them as one of the best breeds for families. 

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

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  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day 
  • Coat length: Long 

Often referred to as the ‘Dulux dog’, these shaggy pooches love being around people. They’re best suited to active homes with plenty of playtime. 

Mastiff

Mastiff

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  • Life expectancy: 6-12 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day 
  • Coat length: Short 

Originally bred as guard and rescue dogs, Mastiffs are strong, clever pooches. They have been identified by The Kennel Club as having health conditions, so do your research and find a reputable breeder before taking one home. 

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

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  • Life expectancy: 6-10 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least two hours per day 
  • Coat length: Medium 

The tallest of all dog breeds, these willowy dogs are calm, quiet and kind-natured. They get on well with all members of the family. 

Newfoundland 

Newfoundland

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  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day 
  • Coat length: Medium 

If you don’t mind a dog that drools, a Newfoundland might just be the pet for you. Their soft coats need plenty of grooming to keep them tangle-free. 

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard

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  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day 
  • Coat length: Short 

Patient and gentle, Saint Bernards are good with children, despite their huge size. As they’re so strong, they need careful training as pups. 

Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

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  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day 
  • Coat length: Medium

Originally from England’s north Yorkshire region, Airedale Terriers are intelligent, confident dogs with a cheeky streak. 

Afgan Hound

Afgan Hound

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  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day 
  • Coat length: Long

Glamorous dogs, Afgan Hounds need plenty of grooming and walkies to keep them at their best. They can get along well with children, but need to be socialized from a young age. 

Boxer

Boxer

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  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Another slobbery breed, Boxers are recommended by The Kennel Club as making friendly, patient family pets. They don’t wear out easily though, and will need lots of exercise to keep them entertained.

Shar Pei

shar pei

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  • Life expectancy: 9-11 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Shar Peis are strong-willed (and sometimes stubborn) dogs, which makes them better suited to experienced owners. They love to protect their family and their home. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

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  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Short 

An impressive name for an impressive dog, these powerful pooches are loving and loyal. They can be wary around strangers, but show their softer side when you get to know them. 

Saluki 

Saluki

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Easy to spot thanks to their fluffy ears, Salukis are elegant dogs with a gentle nature. They require a substantial amount of walks to keep them happy. 

Weimaraner

weimeraner

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  • Life expectancy: 11-14 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Striking to look at, Weimaraners are best suited to busy households and big gardens. They can be a little stubborn, so do well with experienced owners. 

Bloodhound

Bloodhound

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  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years 
  • How much exercise do they need? At least 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Tracking dogs by nature, bloodhounds love to follow a scent. Long walks are a must to keep them happy, but they love cosy time with the family too. 

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. 


She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!


Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress. 


The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.