If you’ve ever walked a dog and something caught their eye, you learn really quickly how strong they can be. In fact, there are numerous viral videos of dogs walking their humans — or rather, pulling them along for the chase — to attest to this.
However, while all dogs have some form of strength, some just blow others out of the water. Those are the ones we recognize as being some of the strongest dog breeds in the canine world. You might even think they’re secretly lifting weights while you’re sleeping.
Most of the strongest dog breeds are also working dogs, which means they need a lot of strength to carry out tasks such as pulling sleds, herding, and protecting livestock.
Strongest Dog Breeds
There were so many strong dog breeds to choose from, but these are our top 16. Which one do you think is the strongest dog breed?
Can we say intimidating? There’s a reason you often find the Doberman Pinscher alongside a police officer or a soldier. In fact, during World War II, the Doberman Pinscher was the Marine’s official dog simply for its strength and athleticism. They’re super fast… so don’t try to outrun one; you won’t win.
Step outside of the workforce, and Doberman Pinschers are amazing family pets. They love their people and tend to bond very closely with them. They’re also sensitive dogs, and harsh training or reprimanding can quite literally hurt their feelings. Trust me, you can see it in their eyes.
However, as powerful as it is, the Doberman Pinscher also has an elegance about it.
One look at this beast, and you know you’re in for a wild ride if you don’t train them properly. Mastiffs are some of the oldest dogs on the planet, with a history that dates back to 55 BC, and one of the strongest. They often served as war dogs, though today, they’re much more at home on your lap — yep, you read that right. These giant beasts want to cuddle.
Bred specifically to be a guard dog, the Mastiff has found its home as a police or search and rescue dog these days. They are powerful and intended for protection (they will keep your kiddos safe, too), though they are utmost softies at home.
You can find several Mastiff dog breeds from the Tibetan to English Mastiff varieties, all with impressive strength of their own.
3. German Shepherds
The German Shepherd is probably what comes to mind when you think of a strong dog, simply for its ability to track down and take down people who think it’s a good idea to run from law enforcement. They also do well as drug-sniffing and guard dogs. In short, German Shepherds can handle pretty much anything you throw their way.
German Shepherds are hailed for their beauty and grace, along with their astonishing strength. They are active pups though, and need exercise, so a sedentary lifestyle is not for this popular purebred dog breed.
Originally bred in Germany, these powerful dogs are actually part of the American Kennel Club herding group, and that’s what they used to do — and still can, if you train them properly. They are very intelligent and loyal dog who is easily trained and more than happy to scare off intruders.
There are also several other types of shepherd dog breeds to explore.
Rottweilers are some of the most misunderstood dogs out there and are often considered dangerous. But that doesn’t mean you want to be staring down its massive teeth. Yes, it’s intimidating, but it’s also a very sensitive breed that loves its owner. If you’re looking for a Velcro dog, here you are!
The history of the Rottweiler dog dates back to ancient times — the Roman Empire. These strong dogs actually started out guarding livestock, if you can believe it. Today, they’re more inclined to be used for police work and as military dogs and can scare off intruders, but more often than that, they’re simply pets.
Because they’re super strong, you will want to train the Rottweiler as early on as possible, or you might just be the next viral video showcasing the strongest dogs.
5. Siberian Huskies
Imagine how strong you have to be to pull humans, more than one sometimes, on a sled. Siberian Huskies do it like it’s their job… probably, well, because it is.
The Siberian Husky is a descendant of the Chukchi dog, which was bred to pull people in sometimes dismal conditions. That meant doing a lot of work on little food. While today, people make sure to feed theirs well, they still have the same powerful work ethic, speed, and endurance.
The Siberian Husky has a very warm undercoat that keeps it well insulated against harsh weather, where they thrive. But be warned, if you own a Siberian Husky, that coat will blow out, and you will be forever sweeping up the hair. This gorgeous pup is just one of several types of Huskies that need a lot of exercise to expel its energy.
6. Great Danes
Great Danes are actually one of my favorite of the strongest dog breeds on this list. I’ve always wanted one and have yet to own one, but only because I love so hard and their short lifespans deter me. They are massive, but man, do they make great family pets.
Great Danes are gentle giants to the core. They love children and will gladly lounge across your couch — seriously, get a chair because you’re not squeezing in there — instead of romping around.
They’re also crazy and goofy and all-around great pups to own. You do need to train them early on though, because at a maximum weight of 175 pounds, you’ll need them to walk well on a leash.
The history of the breed is that it was bred specifically to hunt larger animals like bears, deer, and wild boars, though today, it’s almost unheard of. Instead, they’re choosing to love on you.
Like the Great Dane, Newfoundland doesn’t need a ton of exercise despite its massive size. Daily walks are a good way to exhaust them, and then they’ll spend the rest of the day lounging.
The Newfoundland is an exceptionally great pet that loves to dote on children and protect them. They demand affection — which is hard not to give them, just look at those floofy faces and soulful eyes!
8. Saint Bernards
If you’ve ever watched the movie “Beethoven,” chances are you’ve entertained the idea of adopting a Saint Bernard. I know I did. The Saint Bernard is another large breed on this list and is an exceptional worker, having been bred specifically for tracking down lost people in the Swiss Alps. Trudging through the deep snow and rough terrain meant it had to be strong.
The Saint Bernard is one of the older dogs on this list, with a lineage that dates back 1,000 years, at least. Its keen sense of smell means it’s always alert.
If you’re looking for a family companion, Saint Bernard will be one of the best you have, but be prepared to clean up a lot of fur, and, oh my goodness … the drool! But, in return, you’ll get a cuddly, affectionate dog that looks at you like you’re its whole world. It gets along with other animals just fine.
9. Kangal Dogs
There are two things you should know about the Kangal. One, it’s a crazy strong dog and has a powerful bite, in fact, the strongest bite force of any dog out there. Second, it has an incredibly high pain tolerance, which makes it one of the best dogs to protect your land and/or livestock.
This pup was originally bred in Turkey, where it serves as a guardian against predators. However, like most of the pups on this list, when it’s home, inside with its people, the Kangal is one of the most devoted dogs you’ll have. It just needs training and proper socialization — these are two key elements of its upbringing you should not avoid.
Kangals are very protective of and gentle with children, so if you’ve entertained the thought of adopting one in a house full of kiddos, you absolutely can; just teach them to be respectful of the dog because it is big and has incredible strength.
10. Alaskan Malamutes
Strength is the name of the game with Alaskan Malamutes. They’re often compared to the Siberian Husky, though the Alaskan Malamute is a bit stronger. These pups sometimes pull sleds but were more geared toward hunting in the Arctic Circle, and that means seals and polar bears, among others.
The Alaskan Malamute is a powerful breed geared for colder weather because, like its cousin, it has a thick undercoat prepared to safeguard it against the snow. However, it can live anywhere.
In terms of personality, the Alaskan Malamute can be very stubborn and very mischievous, and that combination can be challenging for inexperienced pet owners.
If you’ve never had a dog before, it would be very ambitious to start with this breed. But, in the end, it would be worth it because they are extremely loyal, incredibly loving, and sweet companion dogs.
11. Irish Wolfhounds
One look at the Irish Wolfhound, and you’d think it was meant to be the best guarder out there … you’d be wrong. Yes, they are massive — one of the biggest dogs — and yes, they are very strong. However, they’re entirely too sweet to be anything but a loving companion these days, though they were once excellent at guarding in Ireland.
In spite of its size, the Irish Wolfhound can be astonishingly fast, and it is very graceful. However, they choose to be lounge dogs that just hang with their families.
The Irish Wolfhound is a breed of dog that does amazing when adopted as family pets. It has a lot of patience, so it thrives in homes with small children. One thing I will say is that these pups do need consistent training from a young age, and it may be rough going in the beginning but hold out faith. These powerful dogs will come around.
12. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is another strong dog breed on this list that dates back to Roman times. It’s a massive breed, weighing over 100 pounds, which means it can pack a wallop if it jumps on or pulls you.
One look at the Cane Corso, and you’ll immediately see why people say it’s imposing. It has a large head and a muscular build. It tends to be a dominant and courageous breed, which means it needs a strong handler, someone who can assert themselves as the alpha.
But once a warrior dog, the Cane Corso today is a fierce protector of its family members and loyal to the core. You might think that its size would deter it from being active, but it absolutely excels at scent work, tracking, and agility. The Cane Corso bite force is also one of the strongest in the world, as one look at its jaws can tell you.
Who doesn’t love the dopey grin and prominent underbite that the Bulldog is commonly known for? These adorable pups are stocky and, therefore strong. There are 15 different types of Bulldogs, including the English Bulldog and the American Bully dog breed, but for this purpose, the English Bulldog is the one we mean, not the American Bulldog.
The Bulldog has a shorter stature with a stock body, and that body? It’s muscular. If you have ever seen one of these dogs ride a skateboard, you’ll see their strength on display.
At home, Bulldogs are a loving, docile creature, but one that loves to keep you amused. The English Bulldog is notorious for its antics and for being an absolute doll with children whom it gravitates towards.
14. American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier gets a bad rap for being dangerous, probably because they are intimidating, and many people use them for the entirely wrong purpose. I personally love the breed. My sister owns one, and it’s one of the best dogs I know. There are several types of Pitbulls to explore.
These dogs are strong, and make no bones about it. They know how to use their strength too, just ask anyone who has been on the receiving end of one on a leash when it spots prey.
That said, this is one of the most loyal and loving dogs you can have. Training is a must, for sure, as is socialization if you plan on having it in a home with other dogs. I would caution against owning Pit Bulls with cats and other animals, but if you bring pit bulls in as a puppy, it learns to live with them.
15. Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is one of the hardest-working dogs you’ll find on this list. They excel at herding and belong to the AKC in the herding group. They’re also crazy strong and have found themselves doing police work, sniffing out bombs and drugs.
The Belgian Malinois is a very active breed, as well, and needs a lot of exercise. It is not a pup for apartment dwellers or really in a city environment. You should have space and a nice backyard to exercise these powerful pups.
This dog, sometimes referred to as a Belgian Shepherd, is also a very loyal pup who, when it is completely worn out, will gladly spend time with its people, though be warned. If you want a super cuddly pup, this likely isn’t it, and it does better in a home with older children.
16. Dogo Argentino
The Dogo Argentino is a unique breed often revered for its color, a solid white, with sometimes black markings near the eye. As its name indicates, the breed hails from Argentina, where it is commonly used to hunt wild boar and the like, and was once used as fighting dogs.
One word to describe the Dogo Argentino: stubborn. You’ll need a lot of patience because of this trait and because of its protective nature. If they’re trained and socialized early, they do very well. training and socialization is key
The Dogo Argentino is a very energetic pup and needs someone to work out its energy with either multiple walks, playing sessions in the backyard, or a trip to the dog park. They do well in families, though, as they are both playful and friendly.
What Are the Largest and Strongest Guard Dog Breeds?
The largest and strongest dog breed on this list is likely the Mastiff. Its huge size makes it a deterrent alone, but it has a ton of muscle and a very imposing build to store it.
Which Dog Breed Has the Strongest Bite Force?
All dogs have the potential to bite, but some could actually just shatter bones if they did it hard enough. The strongest bite force in the world belongs to the Turkish Kangal, with a force of 743 PSI. In other words … ouch.
Which Dog Breed Is Ideal for Hunting, Tracking, and Protection?
The Cane Corso is your likely bet for this, though today it’s rare to see the breed hunt. In the past, this large dog was certainly put to work as big game hunters.
The world’s strongest dog breeds are also known as some of the most intimidating in that you take one look and know it’s not a pup you want to mess with. However, they are also absolutely loveys to their people.
Don’t let their size or strength put you off. If you fall in love with one of these breeds and have the lifestyle to support it, invest in some good training from day one, and you’ll end up with one of the best dogs you’ve ever had — guaranteed!
Interested in exploring other breeds? Check out the Irish Water Spaniel to start!