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There’s just something about snuggling up to a furry gentle giant, so in today’s blog post, we’ll talk about the calmest large dog breeds.
They are patient, gentle, not easily excitable or aggressive unless provoked and do well around kids.
Their sweet temperament also makes them great candidates for therapy dogs and service dogs.
However, while the dog breeds we mention in this blog post have a natural tendency to be much calmer and more easy going than others, you’ll still have to put in a little work to keep them calm and relaxed in your home!
Big Calm Dog Breeds Still Need Exercise
That includes regular exercise because it provides an outlet for their physical and mental energy.
Because here’s the thing – regardless of how much energy a dog naturally has, pent up energy is always going to result in frustrating problem behaviors.
For example, excessive barking as well as inappropriate chewing and digging.
So the best way to keep your large dog calm and relaxed at home is by providing daily walks.
On that note, all large pups who make an appearance in this blog post were originally bred to perform specific tasks such as sheep herding, hunting game, pulling carts or saving people.
To this day, they all do best when they have a job. And no, that does not mean you have to take them boar hunting or commit to Schutzhund training.
The easiest way of providing both a physical and mental workout is by taking them for daily backpack walks!
That’s easy enough to do and can be a great conversation sparker as people inquire what the backpack’s for.
Aim for two 45 minute walks and adjust as necessary. Some pups will do fine with 30 minute walks while others will be better off with 1 to 1.5 hour walks.
There’s a variety of dog backpacks in multiple price ranges you can choose from, and the ones we like best for calm big dog breeds are the following:
In-between walks, you can keep your giant pup busy with interactive toys like filled Kongs and treat-dispensing dog food puzzles.
Don’t Forget To Socialize & Train Your Gentle Giants
It’s just as important to socialize and train your large pups as it is to give them regular breed-specific exercise.
So if you’re raising a large dog breed puppy, make sure to properly socialize them to the world around them.
That’s important to turn them into confident adult pups who aren’t easily startled by strange sounds and sights.
You’ll also have to teach them polite leash manners and commands like sit, down, and come.
Additionally, you’ll want to include a solid “off” command. It’s different from “down” and particularly useful to keep your giant pup from counter surfing.
That’s a common bad habit in large dogs as they can naturally reach kitchen counters and tables that smaller dogs can’t.
An easy tool to help you with this is a hands-free dog leash that you wear at home. One end connects to a belt you wear around your waist, and the other end clips to your dog’s collar (or harness).
As its name suggests, you can use your body to direct your dog rather than a leash that you hold in your hands.
That way, you can easily correct your pup when they’re trying to help themselves to whatever peaks their curiosity on the kitchen counter or dining room table.
You can also look into taking your giant puppy to puppy kindergarten as well as to basic obedience classes. Both are great settings to get your pup used to being around other dogs without acting up.
Now without further ado, let’s explore a variety of large yet gentle dog breeds!
13 of the Calmest Large Dog Breeds
In no particular order here’s our list of 13 large dog breeds that are calm:
1. Irish Wolfhound
We’re starting our list of calmest large dog breeds with the tallest of all dogs, the Irish Wolfhound. They measure up to 35” and weigh up to 180 lbs.
As their name suggests, they hail from Ireland where they were originally bred as big game hunters specializing in wolves.
Although that may conjure up a fierce image in your imagination, Irish Wolfhounds are actually mellow dogs who are great with kids and their families in general.
Irish Wolfhounds do fine with a moderate amount of daily exercise, followed by lounging about.
To keep your pup and their joints comfy, make sure to invest in an extra large orthopedic dog bed.
Since Irish Wolfhounds have a somewhat rugged looking double coat, you’ll have to make some time for a few weekly brushing sessions.
But unlike other dogs with double coats, they don’t blow them out which results in less loose dog hair!
2. Scottish Deerhound
Next on our list is the Scottish Deerhound, a relative of the Irish Wolfhound with very similar looks, coat care needs and a sweet disposition!
Originally bred for hunting giant red deer in Scotland, the Scottish Deerhound measures up to 32” and weighs up to 110 lbs.
This giant pup needs a bit more daily exercise than the Irish Wolfhound, but appreciates a soft dog bed or couch for cuddles post-exercise just as much!
3. Saint Bernard
Next on our list is the Saint Bernard who originated in the Swiss Alps where they would rescue lost and injured travelers.
They have moderate daily exercise needs, measure up to 30”, weigh up to 180 lbs and come in two different coats: short and long!
But regardless of their coat length, they’re heavy shedders who blow their coat twice per year.
Saint Bernards truly are gentle giants as they are patient and great with kids.
4. Bernese Mountain Dog
Next up is the Bernese Mountain Dog. One of our favorites!
Just like Saint Bernards, they hail from Switzerland where they were bred as herding and carting dogs for dairy farmers.
Keeping that in mind, they need a decent amount of daily exercise.
Berners measure up to 27.5”, weigh up to 115 lbs and blow their double coat twice per year.
They make great family dogs who are gentle with children.
5. Great Dane
Fifth on our list are Great Danes, originally from Germany (nope, not from Denmark!) where they were used to hunt wild boar alongside their aristocratic owners.
Thanks to their courageous nature, they were also used to protect their homes and masters, and still make loyal family members who protect their human loved ones.
While the Great Dane is an impressive looking dog measuring up to 32” at the shoulder and weighing up to 175 lbs along with a deep bark, this dog has a gentle disposition who does fine with moderate daily exercise.
Danes have a short coat and don’t shed much, so there’s not a lot of grooming involved with this breed.
Next up on our list is the giant Leonberger aka Leo who measures up to 31.5” and weighs up to 170 lbs.
This breed was originally bred in Germany as a companion dog for aristocracy throughout Europe, but was later also used as cart pulling working dogs on farms.
Given their companionship background, Leos make wonderful family dogs who are gentle with kids. Despite their strength, these pups are OK with moderate daily exercise.
Like many other large dog breeds on this list, Leonbergers are heavy shedders with a double coat that blows twice per year.
Seventh on our list is the heaviest of all dog breeds – the Mastiff. They measure up to 30” and can weigh up to an impressive 230 lbs!
Mastiffs originated in Great Britain from where they were exported to Italy during the Roman invasion. Commonly used as war dogs, they also excelled at hunting wild boar and deer.
This gentle giant is sweet natured, great with kids and requires moderate daily exercise.
Mastiffs have a short single layer coat that’s easy to maintain.
Eighth on our list are Greyhounds. They measure up to 30” and weigh up to 70 lbs.
They’re one of the oldest dog breeds with origins in ancient Egypt where they were bred as fast desert hunting dogs.
Despite their ability to get up to great speeds, Greyhounds are fine with moderate daily exercise but need to be able to spread their legs in a secure area.
They’re sweet natured and do great with kids, but they have a strong prey drive which means they’re not the best dog for homes with smaller pets like cats and ferrets.
Greyhounds have a short, single layer coat that’s easy to maintain!
9. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Next on our list is the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
Just like the Saint Bernard and the Bernese Mountain Dog, this breed is from Switzerland where it was used to herd as well as pull heavy carts filled with produce and meat.
The GSMD measures up to 28.5”, weighs up to 140 lbs and has a short but double coat that blows twice per year.
This gentle giant is also great with kids and people but doesn’t necessarily get along with other pets.
Tenth on our list is the Newfoundland aka Newfie.
This massive breed measures up to 28” and weighs up to 150 lbs.
They’re a Canadian working dog that has its origins in Newfoundland where they were primarily used for rescuing people from drowning and to help Canadian fishermen pull heavy carts filled with fish.
Thanks to their sweet nature and calm demeanor, they’re also known as “nanny dogs” with moderate daily exercise requirements.
The Newfoundland has a heavy double coat that blows twice per year, so be prepared for heavy shedding!
11. Great Pyrenees
Eleventh on our list is the Great Pyrenees who has its origins in the French Pyrenees, the natural mountain border between France and Spain.
Great Pyrenees were originally bred as courageous livestock guardians and used as military working dogs in both World Wars.
They have moderate daily exercise needs, measure up to 26”, can weigh around 100 lbs and are also lovingly dubbed “Pyrs”.
These gentle giants do great with kids and love their families but are wary of strangers.
On that note, Pyrs naturally bark a lot so that’s something to take into consideration if you’re thinking of bringing one home with you.
They also have double coats that blow out twice a year so be prepared for lots of loose doggie hair.
12. Bergamasco Sheepdog
Next on our list is the Bergamesco Sheepdog that hails from the Italian Alps where they were used to herd sheep.
They measure up to 23” and weigh up to 84 lbs.
Their matted looking felt coats served double duty to protect them against the cold of the Alps and against the sharp teeth and claws of predators such as wolves.
The main benefits of the matted look today are that the Bergamascos have natural protection against insects, don’t shed and also don’t need any brushing!
The only time the coat requires maintenance is when the Bergamascos are about to turn 12 months old. Until then, they have a soft puppy coat that slowly turns coarser.
That’s when the owner has to rip it into mats!
Bergamascos are patient and good with kids and make great family dogs with only moderate daily exercise needs.
13. Old English Sheepdog
Last but not least on our list of calmest large dog breeds is the Old English Sheepdog who originated in England.
The name is somewhat misleading as the Sheepdog was primarily used as a drover for cattle and not for sheep!
They measure up to 22”, weigh up to 100 lbs and have a shaggy looking double coat that – unlike the Bergamasco’s coat – requires a lot of regular grooming.
Similar to the Great Pyrenees, the Old English Sheepdog likes to bark so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about bringing one home with you.
These pups are happy go lucky dogs who do great with kids and love their families, but they require a decent amount of daily exercise.
So there you have it!
Large dog breeds that are calm and affectionate can make wonderful companion dogs and family members.
Even if they weren’t originally bred as protection dogs, their sheer size instills respect and contributes to keeping their family safe.
The one downside of all of these majestic, calm large dog breeds is their short life expectancy compared to medium and small size dogs.
So that’s something to keep in mind if you’re dabbling with the idea of bringing one home with you – having to say goodbye to a beloved dog is always hard, but it’s even more heartbreaking after just a few short years together.
All large dog breeds mentioned in this blog post are also prone to bloating.
That’s a potentially deadly condition where the stomach flips on itself and cuts off the oxygen and blood supply to vital organs.
Many are also affected by hip dysplasia which most big dog breeds are genetically predisposed to.
That’s why it’s important to purchase pure-bred puppies from responsible dog breeders only, as these breeders commit to genetic screening and only breed the healthiest dogs.
Do you share your home with a calm large dog breed?
Let us know in the comment section below!
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Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.