Have you ever been captivated by the sight of a dog with an impressively large head? You’re not alone – I always find them amazing to look at! There’s something intriguing about these gentle giants and their distinctive appearance.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of dog breeds with big heads, exploring their unique characteristics, history, and temperament. We’ll also discuss dogs with unusual head-to-body ratios and the cephalic index’s impact on canine intelligence.

So, let’s embark on this fascinating journey and discover the majestic world of dog breeds with big heads!

Key Takeaways

  • Explore 12 of the biggest dog breeds, from Mastiffs to American Bulldogs!
  • Learn about their unique features and how they can make great family pets with proper care and training.
  • Discover additional challenges for dogs with unusual head-to-body ratios, as well as how the cephalic index affects canine intelligence.

12 Dog Breeds with Big Heads

A picture of a dog breed with a large head.

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and some of the largest dog breeds are known for their strikingly large heads. In this section, we’ll explore 12 such breeds, some of which are among the biggest dog breeds.

These gentle giants are not just eye-catching, but they also possess unique qualities that make them excellent guard dogs and loving companions.

1. Mastiffs

Tibetan Mastiff

Mastiffs are an impressive group of large, loyal, and protective dogs with big heads. These giant dogs include English, Neapolitan, and Tibetan Mastiffs, each with their own distinctive appearance and history. They have a huge head and an equally large body, full of muscle!

Mastiffs, in general, are considered one of the largest and most powerful dog breeds, with their massive heads being their most prominent feature.

The English Mastiff, for instance, is a majestic breed standing about 30 inches tall and weighing up to 180 pounds. This breed’s history dates back to ancient times when they were used in blood sports and gladiator fights. Nowadays, they serve as:

  • Therapy dogs
  • Search and rescue dogs
  • Weight pulling dogs
  • Tracking dogs

They also make excellent family dog companions for the right owners.

Neapolitan Mastiffs, on the other hand, are known for their giant size, loose wrinkles, and protective nature. They also have a massive head! A Neapolitan Mastiff might not be suitable for families with small children and they need lots of stimulation to prevent them from making a mess of your home!

The Tibetan Mastiff, with its thick mane of fur and strong-willed personality, is a devoted and protective companion as long as they’re not left alone for too long.

2. Rottweilers


Rottweilers are:

  • Muscular, powerful dogs with a massive head that commands attention
  • Known for their loyalty, intelligence, and fearlessness
  • One of the largest and most respected dog breeds
  • Incredibly loving and gentle when they are around their family
  • Possess a strong guarding instinct, which is why they are often used as guard dogs

Early socialization and training are crucial for Rottweilers, as they need proper guidance to become well-behaved family members. If left to their own devices, these large dogs can cause significant damage to your home, especially if they engage in destructive behaviors like chewing or digging.

With proper care and training, however, Rottweilers can be loyal and affectionate companions, always ready to protect their loved ones.

3. Newfoundlands


Newfoundlands are large, gentle dogs with big heads and a sweet, affectionate demeanor. Despite their massive size, they are known for their kind and gentle nature, which has earned them the nickname “gentle giant”.

I have fond memories of grooming a Newfoundland when I was learning to groom dogs at college. These giant dogs are so friendly and fun to be around! Not to mention this huge dog gives wonderful cuddles with their fluffy large bodies and fluffy coats.

These dogs were initially bred to help Canadian fishermen with their work, such as pulling fishing nets out of icy water and performing heroic water rescues.

This powerful dog breed has a double coat, which makes them excellent swimmers and well-suited for harsh weather conditions. Newfoundlands are wonderful family dogs, and their gentle temperament makes them ideal companions for children. With proper care and training, these dogs can be a loving and protective addition to any family.

4. Saint Bernards

Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is a friendly, gentle giant with a large head that is hard to miss. They were originally bred for search and rescue missions in the Swiss Alps, helping lost travelers find their way back to safety. They are often used as therapy dogs, providing comfort and support to those in need.

Standing tall and proud, these giant dogs can weigh up to 180 pounds, making them one of the largest dog breeds. Their size doesn’t hinder their affectionate and loving temperament. The characteristics of a Saint Bernard include:

  • Thick, double coat that keeps them warm in harsh weather conditions
  • Majestic appearance
  • Loyal and loving nature
  • Readiness to protect and comfort their loved ones

With proper care and training, Saint Bernards can be a loyal and loving addition to your home. They make excellent family dogs due to their kind and gentle nature.

5. American Bulldogs

American Bulldog 

Weighing around 120 pounds and standing 28 inches tall, American Bulldogs have a muscular body and longer legs compared to their English Bulldog cousins. Their temperament is generally quite social and confident, making them great companions for families and individuals alike.

American Bulldogs are:

  • Large, athletic dogs with square heads and a strong presence
  • Known for their social and confident nature, making them excellent companions and protectors
  • Descendants of the Old English Bulldog, bred to be working dogs and guard dogs
  • With proper care and training, they can be loyal and affectionate family members.

With early socialization and training, these dogs can be well-behaved members of your household/

6. Bull Terriers

An adorable Bull Terrier, one of the dog breeds with big heads, posing for the camera.

Bull Terriers are a unique breed known for their:

  • Playful and loyal temperament
  • Distinctive egg-shaped head
  • Strong, muscular bodies
  • Devotion to their families
  • Protective nature
  • Powerful presence

Despite being smaller than some other breeds like the Boxer and Black Russian Terrier, Bull Terriers still possess a powerful presence.

Bull Terriers require early socialization and training to help them become well-rounded family pets. They’re very energetic so they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored and potentially destructive. Get ready for lots of playtime and zoomies!

With proper care and training, Bull Terriers can be loving, loyal, and fun companions for both families and individuals alike.

7. Boerboels


Boerboels are large, powerful dogs from South Africa with big heads, often used as guard dogs and companions. They are descended from an old colonial cross-breed of mastiffs and bulldogs, originally used as guard dogs on remote farms and estates, as well as for big game hunting.

Boerboels have a strong and intimidating body, but they are also gentle and great with kids who know how to interact with dogs. This breed is known for:

  • Its size and strength
  • Its territorial and protective nature
  • Being calm and confident
  • Their fondness for children

These qualities make Boerboels excellent family pets. However, they may not get along with other dogs that challenge their authority. They need experienced owners who can give them proper training and socialization.

8. Caucasian Shepherds


The Caucasian Shepherd is a muscular, protective dog with the following characteristics:

  • Originally bred for guarding livestock
  • Originating from the Caucasus Mountains of Russia and Georgia
  • Big, wedge-shaped heads
  • Strong, imposing presence
  • Oval-shaped eyes
  • Slightly tapered muzzle

These features give them a distinctive and expressive face which I find beautiful to look at.

These fiercely loyal and protective dogs are renowned for their courage and strength, making them excellent guard dogs. However, their independent nature means they require consistent training and early socialization.

9. Great Danes

Great Dane

Great Danes are:

  • Tall, gentle dogs with a huge head
  • Known for their friendly and loyal nature
  • Often referred to as the “Apollo of Dogs”
  • Believed to have originated in Germany
  • Known for their impressive stature

Despite their size, the Great Dane is an incredibly affectionate and caring breed. They really are gentle giants and can even be quite funny and playful in my experience.

Originally bred as guardians and hunters, the Great Dane has since found its place in family life, providing companionship and protection to its loved ones. The gentle temperament and love for children make the Great Dane a perfect family pet, as long as they receive proper care, training, and socialization.

10. Irish Wolfhounds

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest dog breed, with large heads and elongated snouts that give them a unique appearance. Their kind and gentle temperament makes them wonderful companions for both families and individuals.

Despite their intimidating size, these large dogs are known for their loving and affectionate nature, making them excellent pets for those who can accommodate their needs.

They definitely need plenty of space to move around and regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Their big heads and gentle hearts make them a breed worth considering for those who appreciate their unique appearance and temperament.

11. Dogue De Bordeauxs

Dogue De Bordeaux

The Dogue De Bordeaux is a powerful breed and one of my favorites! Also known as the French Mastiff, it has a large head and is renowned for being a strong guard dog. This breed’s history dates back to ancient times, and their large, expressive faces are just so striking to look at. I remember being so surprised about their massive head when I first met one in person!

These loyal, protective, and intelligent dogs are known for their devotion and vigilance, making them great companions for those seeking a guard dog.

Early training and socialization are essential for this breed, as their size and strength can make them a challenge to handle if not properly trained.

12. American Bullys

American Bully

The American Bully is a breed with the following characteristics:

  • Muscular body
  • Blocky head
  • Known for their loyalty, obedience, and affection
  • Often mistaken for American Pit Bull Terriers, but they are more muscular with larger heads than the American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Friendly and loving nature, making them excellent family pets

With proper care, training, and socialization, American Bullies can be loyal and affectionate companions. Despite their appearance, I’ve always found them to be so sweet tempered. Their blocky heads and muscular bodies give them a distinctive appearance, but it’s their kind and gentle hearts that make them truly special.

Dogs with Unusual Head-to-Body Ratios

Two dogs with unusual head-to-body ratios

In addition to the breeds with big heads we’ve discussed, there are also dogs with unusual head-to-body ratios. These dogs have a big head that is disproportionately large compared to their body size, making them stand out from the crowd. While this unique feature can make them more eye-catching, it can also present challenges to their health and well-being.

Giant dog breeds are more prone to developing diseases like osteoarthritis earlier in their lives. Giant breeds also require more resources, such as larger amounts of food and medication and enough space to live comfortably. These giant breeds often require specialized veterinary care. Usually the bigger the dog, the more resources (both financial and otherwise) they will require. So keep this in mind if you’re considering one of these beautiful breeds!

Training is also crucial for these dogs, as behaviors that might be acceptable for smaller dogs can become problematic when they reach their full size.

Nevertheless, with proper care and attention, these dogs can still make wonderful and loving companions.

Cephalic Index and Canine Intelligence

An English Mastiff, one of the brachycephalic dog breeds on the cephalic index.

The cephalic index is a measure of a dog’s head shape, which can affect its intelligence and behavior. There are three main cephalic indexes:

  1. Dolichocephalic – associated with breeds like Greyhounds and Borzois
  2. Brachycephalic – associated with breeds like the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Mastiff
  3. Mesocephalic/mesaticephalic – associated with breeds with a medium head shape

The shape of a dog’s head, as described by the cephalic index, has an impact on its working and obedience intelligence. However, it is essential to note that intelligence is not solely determined by a dog’s head shape, as factors such as breed, genetics, and environment also play a significant role in a dog’s cognitive abilities.

Regardless of their cephalic index, with proper care, training, and socialization, dogs of all shapes and sizes can become loving, intelligent, and well-behaved companions.


In this article, we’ve explored the fascinating world of dog breeds with big heads, from gentle giant breeds like Mastiffs and Newfoundlands to protective powerhouses like Rottweilers and Caucasian Shepherds. Each of these breeds has unique characteristics, history, and temperament. They can all make fantastic pets for the right owner!

No matter the size of their head or the shape of their body, all dogs, with proper care and training, can become loyal and loving pets. Our canine friends come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s their big hearts that truly make them special.

It’s all about finding the right dog for you and your lifestyle, so you can ensure your dog has their needs met, and you have the ideal breed for you.

So, whether you’re drawn to the towering presence of an Irish Wolfhound or the protective nature of a Dogue De Bordeaux, remember that it’s not just their big heads that make these breeds unique – it’s their unwavering love and devotion to their families.

Frequently Asked Questions

What breed is similar to a Presa Canario?

The Presa Canario and the Cane Corso are often mistaken for each other, as they share a similar fawn coloration and overall appearance. Both breeds are classified as large with a short coat of fur and little shedding.

The Cane Corso is an Italian breed of mastiff and is usually kept as a companion or guard dog.

What dog has the biggest head to body ratio?

The French Mastiff (also known as the Dogue de Bordeaux) has the biggest head to body ratio of any dog breed, measuring 23-30 inches and weighing 120-145 pounds.

This breed is known for its large size and muscular build, making it an ideal guard dog. It is loyal and protective of its family, and is known for its intelligence and courage. It is also known for its gentle and affectionate nature, making it a great companion for families.

What challenges do dogs with unusual head-to-body ratios face?

These dogs can face a variety of challenges, including an increased risk of developing diseases like osteoarthritis and the need for specialized veterinary care.

Are giant dog breeds more expensive to care for?

Yes, giant dog breeds are typically more expensive to care for due to their size and special needs. They require more food and medication, as well as specialized veterinary care.

However, the extra cost is often worth it for those who are passionate about these breeds. A giant dog breed can make a wonderful companion and can be a great addition to any family.

Is early training and socialization important for large dog breeds?

Early training and socialization are absolutely essential for large dog breeds, as their size can often amplify even seemingly small issues with behavior. This is why it’s important to start early and provide your pup with the necessary guidance.