A Great Dane kissing a French Bulldog puppy

A Great Dane kissing a French Bulldog puppy (Photo by Eric Isselee on Shutterstock)

When it comes to choosing a dog breed, many people are drawn to gentle giants. These large breeds not only possess an impressive stature but also have a reputation for being incredibly gentle and loving. From their calm and patient nature to their protective instincts, gentle giant dog breeds make wonderful companions for both families and individuals. StudyFinds has compiled a list of some of the best gentle giant dog breeds. Whether you’re looking for a loyal family pet or a gentle giant to cuddle with, these breeds are sure to steal your heart.

Needless to say, the pros to adopting a dog are endless, as is their love. Some of the biggest love bugs of the canine world are the “gentle giants” that may seem intimidating but have the biggest hearts. Thanks to the recommendations of eight pet experts, StudyFinds brings you the top seven best gentle giant dog breeds that are most recommended! Don’t agree with our list? No worries. We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

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The List: Best Gentle Giant Dog Breeds, According to Experts

1. Great Dane

black labrador retriever in close up photography
Great Dane (Photo by Keenan Barber on Unsplash)

The first dog on our list is the German Mastiff, better known as the Great Dane. This breed is very well known for its “overwhelming size,” according to iHeartDogs, and most definitely falls under the umbrella of gentle giant. Great Danes can grow to be over 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 200 pounds.

Despite their enormous size, Great Danes are also known for their friendly and gentle nature, making them great family pets. The Spruce Pets also describe them as big “goofballs” due to their large-limbed nature. Their size can be intimidating initially, but their gentleness quickly wins over even the most cautious individuals. Whether it’s snuggling on the couch or playing in the backyard, Great Danes are always eager to spend quality time with their loved ones.

PetMojo goes on to state that Great Danes are actually rather “sensitive” by nature. This sensitivity makes them highly attuned to their owner’s emotions and enables them to form strong bonds with their human companions. The deep connection they form with their owners allows them to provide emotional support and comfort when needed. Overall, the sensitivity of Great Danes is a defining characteristic that enhances their ability to be loving and devoted companions.

2. Bernese Mountain Dog

black, brown and white long coated dog
Bernese Mountain Dog (Photo by Alexandra Lau on Unsplash)

Second on the list is the ever-lovable Bernese Mountain Dog. Originating from Switzerland, these dogs can weigh upwards of 120 pounds, states iHeartDogs. However, they are far from being brutes — these big furballs are as gentle as they come and make great family pets.

Bernese Mountain dogs are the perfect choice for those who live in cooler climates as they thrive in cold weather, according to Southern Living.These dogs have a thick double coat that provides insulation and protection from the cold. However, Bernese Mountain dogs are highly adaptable and can easily adjust to different weather conditions, making them a versatile breed for various climates.

Bernese Mountain dogs can also make for great therapy dogs, says Vetstreet. These canines, that can weigh up to 120 pounds, do need constant exercise, as they are a working breed. They excel in activities such as cart-pulling and herding, making them a perfect fit for families with an active lifestyle.

3. Newfoundland

A Newfoundland swimming
A Newfoundland swimming (Photo by rzoze19 on Shutterstock)

Third on the list is not a bear — it’s just a Newfoundland! Weighing up to 150 pounds, the Newfoundland is a large and powerful breed of dog, notes HowStuffWorks. Originating from Newfoundland, Canada, these gentle giants were originally bred for water rescue and have a natural instinct for swimming.

Despite their massive stature, Newfoundlands are “social, gentle animals” who make wonderful family companions, says iHeartDogs. They are known for being patient and kind, especially with children. Their calm and affectionate nature makes them great therapy dogs, providing comfort and companionship to those in need.

Vetstreet states that Newfoundlads are often happiest when “snuggling on the couch” with loved ones. This breed thrives on companionship and enjoys being part of the family. Whether it’s curling up next to their owners or leaning against them, Newfoundlands are known for their love of close contact and will happily spend hours snuggling.

4. Saint Bernard

brown and white short coated dog lying on green grass during daytime
Saint Bernard (Photo by Vlad Rudkov on Unsplash)

The next pup to take up residence on the gentle giant list is the Saint Bernard. Described as big dogs with even “bigger hearts,” says The Spruce Pets, Saint Bernards make great therapy dogs and are even more useful on search and rescue missions. Saint Bernards truly embody the qualities of a reliable and compassionate companion, making them a valuable asset in various life-saving situations.

The Saint Bernard is probably best known for being three things: calm, patient, and gentle (Vetstreet). And if socialized and trained early on, they make a loving and loyal addition to the family. On top of that, due to their size, they aren’t the most active of dogs and usually require only a few walks per day.

Mom.com says Saint Bernards are loyal and people-pleasers. And like some of the other breeds on this list, they thrive in a cool climate due to their thick fur. So, whether it’s pulling a sled or providing comfort and love, Saint Bernards are truly a breed that is always ready to please their owners.

5. Leonberger

black and white short coated dog on snow covered ground during daytime
Leonberger (Photo by Reba Spike on Unsplash)

Fifth on the list goes to the massive Leonberger, a working dog with a gentle disposition. The Spruce Pets notes these pups bond closely with their owners. They also seem very insightful when it comes to dealing with human emotions, making them great therapy dogs!

The Leonberger actually originated in Germany in the 1800s, states Mom.com. They were originally bred to pull carts, herd livestock, and water rescue. Despite their large size and strength, Leonbergers actually make fine family pets due to their disposition.

However, early socialization and training for this breed is an absolute must. Although they have a kind temperament, Leonbergers enjoy digging, chewing, sloppy eating, and drinking, according to Vetstreet. Therefore, it is crucial to establish boundaries and teach them appropriate behavior from a young age. Without proper training, their natural tendencies can become destructive and difficult to manage. Additionally, regular exercise and mental stimulation are essential to keep Leonbergers physically and mentally healthy.

6. Bullmastiff

brown short coated medium sized dog sitting on brown wooden floor
Bullmastiff (Photo by andrzj brown on Unsplash)

The Bullmastiff is the next gentle giant up on the list. Originating in England, Bullmastiffs were originally bred to guard big estates and catch intruders, notes Money. This makes them, by nature, weary of strangers but kind and loving towards their families. These protective instincts make them a loyal addition to any home.

Early training, though, is crucial to making your Bullmastiff less weary of new friends. The breed was originally crossbred between the mastiff and bulldog, says The Spruce Pets, making it a powerful breed that can be channeled into a confident and well-behaved companion through consistent training and positive reinforcement.

Don’t let their size or history fool you. Bullmastiffs are “relatively lazy dogs,” states iHeartDogs. While Bullmastiffs may appear formidable due to their size and powerful build, they are surprisingly low-energy dogs. Their calm and laid-back nature makes them well-suited for apartment living, as they do not require extensive exercise or outdoor space.

7. Irish Wolfhound

a dog sitting on the ground
Irish Wolfhound (Photo by Natalia Gusakova on Unsplash)

Last, but certainly not least is the Irish Wolfhound. Easily the tallest of all dog breeds, it’s also one of the sweetest, writes HowStuffWorks. The breed can weigh anywhere from 150 to 180 pounds, and yes, half of that is just legs. Irish Wolfhounds have a gentle and friendly nature, making them excellent family pets. Despite their imposing size, they are known for their affectionate and patient temperament.

They can swiftly hunt down large animals even with how large they are, reports Money. This breed’s agility and speed make it an excellent choice for hunting purposes. With their long legs and muscular build, Irish Wolfhounds can cover vast distances in a short amount of time. Their keen sense of sight and exceptional tracking skills further contribute to their ability to pursue and capture large prey with ease. However, their commitment to finishing the job might make recall difficult, so an off-leash Wolfhound should always be on top of its recall training.

Despite the Irish Wolfhounds hunting tendencies, Vetstreet notes Irish Wolfhounds get along with everyone, including other dogs. Their calm and friendly nature makes them excellent family pets, and are often known to be very patient and tolerant with small children. In addition to their gentle demeanor, they are very loyal and protective, making them great companions and watchdogs. Despite their large size, they are surprisingly gentle and rarely show any aggression towards other dogs or strangers.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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  1. Daly says:

    The Great Pyrenees should be on this list as well.

    1. El says:

      Absolutely Daly!

    2. JT503 says:

      Absolutely YES regarding Great Pyrenees

  2. El says:

    What about Great Pyrenees? They’re incredible Gentle Giants!

  3. PJ London says:

    I get really weary of editors and proof-readers who cannot or will not do the job they are hired to perform.
    I am wary of those fools who, being employed to check text and prose for errors, do not know the difference between weary and wary.

  4. Leslie Barton says:

    What about the English Mastiff?? These gentle giants are just big lap dogs! EM’s get left off so many lists, why?