Top 10 Large Dogs In Australia
Australia is a big land; vast, full of natural beauty and endless adventure. We Australians have a great love for our big dogs, just as we love our big island. There are some fantastic large breeds out there that make great companions for the family.
They may need a lot of exercise and plenty of room to explore, but the big dog is just as popular as ever. Collies, Weimaraners and, of course, the Great Dane are all popular choices when it comes to choosing a big gentle family pet. Our houses, along with the size of our backyards may be getting smaller these days, but our desire for a giant companion animal with a great big heart certainly isn’t shrinking.
Here are the most popular large dog breeds in Australia at this time, listed from 10 to 1, along with a brief description. Is your best friend on the list?
- Bull Arab
The Bull Arab is an Australian dog breed that was originally bred to catch wild pigs at close range around 1972. This strong and agile dog was bred by Australian Mike Hodgens with a view to developing a breed of working dog that could be used in the Australian outback. This breed is a mix of English Bull Terrier, greyhound and German Shorthaired Pointer.
Bull Arabs have muscular hind quarters and feet which arched toes meaning they are very quick off the mark and can change direction easily while chasing prey. This dog is the number one pig hunting breed in Australia.
Their coat is short and harsh and this means that they don’t shed a lot of hair. Healthy Bull Arab males weigh between 32 kg and 42 kgs and females weigh between 30 kg and 40kg. Males stand between 63 cm and 69 cm and females stand between 61 cm and 66 cm.
The average lifespan of a Bull Arab is 12 to 15 years.
- Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is of Italian origin; a medium to large-sized dog with a muscular, strong and athletic appearance, the distinguished Cane Corso is an ancient dog of Roman decent. Like others of its type, the Cane Corso has a particularly short coat. They come in a variety of colours, including: black, brindle, grey and black.
The Cane Corso is a very energetic, strong and heavy-set dog, eager to please but tough to handle for an inexperienced owner. Early training is essential to maintain a firm grip on this stubborn breed and socialisation as a puppy is a must curb aggression.
The average Cano Corso is quite large, measuring between 64 and 68cm and weighing in at between 45 to 50kgs. A healthy Cane Corso will live for between 10 and 11 years of age.
The Newfoundland is a giant, very muscular, strong dog that is equipped with a heavy double coat of fur. Originally developed in Canada as a working dog and companion to fisherman, the Newfoundland is a stoic and even-tempered breed, known for its excellent swimming capabilities and brave, loyal nature.
The Newfoundland’s origins as a trusty work companion has developed some very attractive qualities in the dog. Newfoundlands have the reputation for enjoying human contact, being mindful and patient with children, and showing a great deal of loyalty towards their family. Because of their early work as a fisherman’s dog, the Newfoundland is a remarkably competent swimmer and has a solid reputation for carrying out daring rescue missions in freezing cold and wild ocean conditions.
The Newfoundland measures an impressive 69 to 74cm and generally weighs between 59 to 68kgs. Newfoundlands live to between the ages of 9 and 15 years.
- Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd (also known as the Aussie) is loveable medium-sized to large working dog with a huge amount of energy and drive.
While this dog is known as the Aussie it actually hails from the United States where it is used as a working dog. The Aussie has a coat that is straight to slightly wavy and they also have a naturally bobbed tail. They do tend to shed a fair bit so regular brushing is recommended especially when they shed heavily twice a year due to seasonal changes in the weather.
Male Aussie’s usually weigh between 23 and 29 kg and stand at about 50-58 cm tall. Females should weigh about 14 to 20 kg and stand at 45 – 53 cm tall. The average life span of the Aussie is 12 to 18 years.
This breed is ideal for an active family because they love plenty of exercise and most of all they love to work.
- Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is a large and muscular domesticated dog with a heavy fur coat and bounds of energy. The Malamute was originally put to use as a freight-carrying animal because of their endurance in cold climates. They are best known today as slay dogs, teamed up to cart people and cargo across the frozen tundra of Alaska.
The Alaskan Malamute is unique in that it is still being used today for the original purposes that surround its breeding. For this reason, the Malamute is a very independent, inquisitive and resourceful animal. Because they are bred to survive one of the most unforgivingenvironments inhabited by humans, they have a very strong hunter’s instinct and can causetrouble if let off the leash in public—known to chase smaller dogs, cars and wildlife. They are a popular breed in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. While they are independent animals, they are affectionate and gentle with their families and very loyal. Alaskan Malamutes have been employed in various working roles, including search and rescue.
Alaskan malamutes are generally sized at between 58 and 63 cm with a healthy weight ranging between 34 and 38 kgs. They will generally live to between 12 and 16 years of age.
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large breed of dog with roots in Southern Africa in the middle of the 17th century. It is known for the strip of hair growing in the opposite direction on its back, giving it the name “Ridgeback”.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are tall and muscular, with a broad, flat head and triangular ears. They have deep chests, a black or brown nose, and occasionally a black tongue. Their front legs are muscular and straight, and they have quite a long tail which tapers to a point and curves slightly. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a short, dense coat which is usually light wheaten to red in colour. It is an average shedder and its smooth, short coat is very easy to groom; the dog only needs a bath when necessary.
A healthy male Rhodesian Ridgeback stands at 64 – 69 cm tall and weighs around 39 kg. Females weigh about 32 kg and normally stand between 61 and 66 cm tall. Their lifespan is about 10 – 12 years.
The Weimaraner is a lean and athletic-looking dog that was originally bred for hunting large game such as wild boars, deer and bears. The breed was developed in the early 1800s and once the popularity of the large game hunting began to decline, it Weimaraners were instead put to work flushing out rabbits, foxes and other small game.
Because of their athletic build and energetic nature, the Weimaraner needs to be exercised often and for extensive periods. They were prized for their high level of endurance as hunting companions and in modern times require a good deal of attention from their owner to remain fit and happy.
Separation anxiety can cause a Weimaraner to get up to mischief, often resulting in damage to property or injury to the animal if it tries to escape.
Generally a Weimaraner will grow to between 64 and 69 cm and weigh in the vicinity of 32 to 36kgs. They will usually live to the age 10 to 12 years.
Dobermans generally have a square, compact build and short coat which reflects their athleticism, endurance and agility.
Although they are often portrayed as aggressive dogs due to their history as working dogs, modern Dobermans have a much more even temperament, are extremely smart, loyal and trainable. Even though they remain one of the breeds more inclined towards aggression, they are usually very sociable with humans and other dogs.
Dobermans are very energetic and need to be taken on a long walk or jog every day and the human must be the leader and should always be in front of the dog.
Healthy male Dobermans usually weigh between 34 and 45 kg and stand at an average of 68 cm tall. Females weigh between 27 and 41 kg and stand at about 64 cm tall. The average lifespan of a Doberman is 10-11 years old, but some live up to around the age of 13.
The Rottweiler (a.k.a. “Rottie”) is a loyal, courageous and smart dog breed who is known for its unwavering devotion to its owners, whom they will defend at all costs. The American Kennel Club (AKC) refers to the Rottweiler as “a calm, confident, and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.”
Rottweilers are famous for their large, muscular build, unique coat colours. Originally bred as herding dogs, today’s Rottweiler is often used as a guide dog, guard dog, police dog, and search &rescue dog.
As they are big, active dogs, the Rottweiler needs at least one walk per day. Therefore, they are suited to individuals and families who are equally as active and who have enough time to give their dog an adequate amount of exercise.
Healthy male Rottweilers weigh between 50 and 60 kg and stand at 61 – 69 cm tall. Females weigh in at about 35 – 48 kg and stand at about 56 – 63 cm tall.
The average lifespan of the Rottweiler in the USA, UK and Denmark is 8-10 years, but some have been known to live up to 16 years old.
- German Shepherd
The appearance of a German Shepherd is something of a lucky dip – its coat colour is not known until it sheds its puppy coat, but it is generally a mixture of black and gold. They’re famous for their bushy, thick tails, pointy ears and wolf-like appearance.
Healthy male German Shepherds generally weigh in at 30 – 40 kg and stand at 60 – 65 cm tall. Females are usually between 22 and 32 kg and stand at about 55 – 60 cm tall.
German Shepherds were bred for their intelligence, and are regarded as one of the smartest dog breeds. Their intelligence, obedience and trainability have led the German Shepherd to become one of the most adaptable and versatile dog breeds in the world and are often employed in military, search & rescue and police roles.
They are considered to be a very safe breed when trained well and socialised early & often, and for this reason they are a great family pet.
Their life span is usually around 9-13 years, but some have been known to reach the ripe old age of 20.
If you’re interested in looking at some other large dog breeds, visit our complete list of large dog breeds available in Australia.