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You’ve probably never paid close enough attention to a dog’s tail to know if it wags more to the right or to the left, but it could be a good indicator of that dog’s state of mind. If it’s your dog, chances are it wags to the right when you’re around. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing say that dogs wag their tails more frequently to the right when they like you.

According to the Daily Mail, the researchers watched dogs meeting a stranger over the course of three days, and noticed that as the dogs got to know the person they started wagging their tails more frequently to the right and less to the left. They analyzed a total of 21,000 dogs in the study and measured their wagging with a 3D motion tracking system. Seems like overkill, but whatever.

Lead researcher Yong Q. Zhang says that right-sided wagging is linked to the left side of the brain where positive emotions are processed. So the bottom line is that if a dog is wagging its tail to the right, that dog is feeling happy or comfortable. And that’s what you want…especially if it’s a big dog.

Most Popular Large Dog Breeds

Adding a dog to a home can be a major decision. Among other things, aspiring owners have to consider what size breed they have space for; how much time they can devote to their new addition; and more particular concerns like exercise needs, shedding, health issues, and climate. It’s certainly not a decision to be taken lightly—and yet, many people do. Approximately 3.3 million dogs end up in shelters each year, according to data from the ASPCA. Of those dogs, it’s estimated that only 620,000 are strays that are returned to their owners, meaning that many of these pups are abandoned after their owners find they can’t care for them properly.

Stacker is here to help hopeful dog owners with their important pre-pup research. Using data from the American Kennel Club dog profiles, we’ve compiled a list of the 30 most popular large dog breeds.

To be considered for this list, each dog’s max height must be at least 25 inches, and its max weight must be at least 70 pounds. The dogs are ranked by their 2019 AKC popularity rank, which was released in 2020. While this is in no way the authoritative source for picking a new canine companion, it’s intended to be a resource to help guide that search.

From American favorites like collies and Chesapeake Bay retrievers to foreign breeds gaining in popularity like borzois and Akitas, there’s sure to be a breed that catches your eye and pulls at your heartstrings.

  • #20. German wirehaired pointer

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    – Height of dog: 24-26 inches (male), minimum 22 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 50-70 pounds
    – 2019 popularity rank: #63 (of 193)
    – Temperament: affectionate, eager, enthusiastic
    – Life expectancy: 14-16 years

    Plenty of outdoor space is a requirement for German wirehaired pointers, who are active and high energy. Bred to be a hunting dog, these athletic and intelligent pups crave human connections and need consistent attention in order to remain on their best behavior.

  • #19. Bullmastiff

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    – Height of dog: 25-27 inches (male), 24-26 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 110-130 pounds (male), 100-120 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #52 (of 193)
    – Temperament: affectionate, loyal, brave
    – Life expectancy: 7-9 years

    “The gamekeeper’s night dog,” bullmastiffs were bred to hunt down poachers in 19th-century England. A guard dog by nature, the breed requires training, socialization, and positive reinforcement to ensure they can thrive in the family unit.

  • #18. Bloodhound

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    – Height of dog: 25-27 inches (male), 23-25 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 90-110 pounds (male), 80-100 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #51 (of 193)
    – Temperament: friendly, independent, inquisitive
    – Life expectancy: 10-12 years

    Nicknamed “sleuth hounds,” bloodhounds are unmatched when it comes to following a scent—even modern technology has yet to develop a device that is as accurate as this pooch. Bloodhounds are inquisitive, intelligent pack animals who crave the companionship of other dogs and people. They are also good with kids and easygoing.

  • #17. St. Bernard

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    – Height of dog: 28-30 inches (males), 26-28 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 140-180 pounds (male), 120-140 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #48 (of 193)
    – Temperament: playful, charming, inquisitive
    – Life expectancy: 8-10 years

    In 1050 a monk named Bernard established a hospice high in the Swiss mountains to aid pilgrims who were making the journey to Rome. Over the years, the monks developed a strong, powerful breed of dog, later dubbed Saint Bernards, who could locate and help luckless travelers who were stranded or injured while trying to cross the pass. Intelligent, playful, and friendly, the breed remains a favorite with dog lovers worldwide.

  • #16. Akita

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    – Height of dog: 26-28 inches (male), 24-26 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 100-130 pounds (male), 70-100 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #47 (of 193)
    – Temperament: courageous, dignified, profoundly loyal
    – Life expectancy: 10-13 years

    Akitas have long occupied a special place in Japanese culture, where they’re venerated as family protectors and symbols of good health, happiness, and long life. But it’s Helen Keller who’s credited as being the first person to bring one to the United States after receiving it as a gift upon a trip to Japan. The breed is wary of strangers and other dogs but is playful, silly, and fiercely loyal when it comes to their family.

  • #15. Chesapeake Bay retriever

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    – Height of dog: 23-26 inches (male), 21-24 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #46 (of 193)
    – Temperament: affectionate, bright, sensitive
    – Life expectancy: 10-13 years

    An American original, Chesapeake Bay retrievers are hunting dogs. Athletic and protective, they need plenty of regular exercise and socialization lest they become grumpy and ill-mannered. The dogs also make excellent therapy dogs and have been employed by the police force as bomb sniffers and search-and-rescue dogs.

  • #14. Rhodesian ridgeback

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    – Height of dog: 25-27 inches (male), 24-26 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 85 pounds (male), 70 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #42 (of 193)
    – Temperament: affectionate, dignified, even-tempered
    – Life expectancy: 10 years

    Unique to Southern Africa, Rhodesian ridgebacks were originally bred to track and bay lions. Today, these faithful friends would rather run around and play with their families. What remains the same, however, is their domineering and strong-willed nature, so these dogs need to undergo obedience training from puppyhood.

  • #13. Belgian Malinois

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    – Height of dog: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 60-80 pounds (male), 40-60 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #41 (of 193)
    – Temperament: confident, smart, hardworking
    – Life expectancy: 14-16 years

    First brought to America in 1911, Belgian Malinois’ popularity really took off in the 1960s. A working dog, these pups require constant activity and plenty of human companionship to satisfy their people-oriented nature.

  • #12. Newfoundland

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    – Height of dog: 28 inches (male), 26 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 130-150 pounds (male), 100-120 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #40 (of 193)
    – Temperament: sweet, patient, devoted
    – Life expectancy: 9-10 years

    Often called a “nanny dog,” Newfoundlands are very good with children. Hallmarks of the breed include their sweet nature, an affinity for affection, and gentle yet protective temperaments. It doesn’t hurt that these giants also look like plush toys.

  • #11. Weimaraner

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    – Height of dog: 25-27 inches (male), 23-25 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 70-90 pounds (male), 55-75 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #39 (of 193)
    – Temperament: friendly, fearless, obedient
    – Life expectancy: 10-13 years

    A German pooch, Weimaraners were bred to be big-game hunters. While they aren’t used for hunting in the same way these days, they’re still active and athletic with a can-do attitude. Weimaraners love kids and long to be a bona fide family member—lots of attention will go a long way in warding off bad behavior.

  • #10. Collie

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    – Height of dog: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 60-75 pounds (male), 50-65 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #38 (of 193)
    – Temperament: devoted, graceful, proud
    – Life expectancy: 12-14 years

    One of the most easily recognizable dog breeds, collies have dominated pop culture for decades in stories like “Lassie” and “Sunnybank Collies.” Famously fond of children, these dogs are athletic, smart, and fond of human companionship.

  • #9. Mastiff

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    – Height of dog: 30 inches and up (male), 27.5 inches and up (female)
    – Weight of dog: 160-230 pounds (male), 120-170 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #32 (of 193)
    – Temperament: courageous, dignified, good-natured
    – Life expectancy: 6-10 years

    Belonging to one of the oldest canine clans in the world, mastiffs have been around for centuries. The giant breed is patient, loveable, and loyal, but, as with all dogs of this size, adopting one is not a commitment to be taken lightly.

  • #8. Cane corso

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    – Height of dog: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23.5-26 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: Proportionate to height
    – 2019 popularity rank: #30 (of 193)
    – Temperament: affectionate, intelligent, majestic
    – Life expectancy: 9-12 years

    Cane corsos (which translates from Latin to “bodyguard dog”) date back to ancient Roman times, where they acted as guard dogs and working animals. Dominant and protective, these pooches are all muscle and can look particularly intimidating. However, with the right training, plenty of exercise, and a healthy dose of love, they can be loyal and attentive to their families.

  • #7. Bernese Mountain dog

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    – Height of dog: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 80-115 pounds (male), 70-95 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #23 (of 193)
    – Temperament: good-natured, calm, strong
    – Life expectancy: 7-10 years

    Built for a life of hard work, Bernese Mountain dogs are sweet, lovable, and playful. They love being outdoors and are not at all suited for city or apartment life. Once they develop a connection with their owners, it’s often a connection for life, as they are unendingly loyal.

  • #6. Doberman pinscher

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    – Height of dog: 26-28 inches (male), 24-26 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 75-100 pounds (male), 60-90 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #19 (of 193)
    – Temperament: loyal, fearless, alert
    – Life expectancy: 10-12 years

    In Germany during the 19th century, a tax collector named Louis Dobermann sought to breed an intimidating protector that could accompany him on his rounds and dispel any hostility. The result was the Doberman pinscher, a striking work dog and one of America’s most popular breeds. Today, these pups still act as guard dogs and develop strong connections with their family members.

  • #5. Great Dane

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    – Height of dog: 30-32 inches (male), 28-30 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 140-175 pounds (male), 110-140 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #17 (of 193)
    – Temperament: friendly, patient, dependable
    – Life expectancy: 7-10 years

    The “Apollo of Dogs,” Great Danes literally tower over most other dogs and, when they stand on their hind legs, over most people as well. But don’t let their formidable appearance scare you off; Great Danes are sweet and lovable, gentle with kids, and eager to please their owners.

  • #4. Boxer

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    – Height of dog: 23-25 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 65-80 pounds (male), females are about 15 pounds less than male
    – 2019 popularity rank: #14 (of 193)
    – Temperament: bright, fun-loving, active
    – Life expectancy: 10-12 years

    Boxers have the whole package: They’re loyal, intelligent, protective, affectionate, patient, athletic, and great with children. The breed is high energy and thrives when they have lots of space to run and play, as well as plenty of interaction with other dogs and people outside the family.

  • #3. German shorthaired pointer

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    – Height of dog: 23-25 inches (male), 21-23 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 55-70 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #9 (of 193)
    – Temperament: friendly, smart, willing to please
    – Life expectancy: 10-12 years

    Bred as a hunting dog, pointers have the speed and agility to make them great running companions. These powerful and graceful dogs need plenty of room to burn off their energy, but after their daily exercise, they can be calm indoor companions, ready to relax right alongside their owners.

  • #2. Rottweiler

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    – Height of dog: 24-27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 95-135 pounds (male), 80-100 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #8 (of 193)
    – Temperament: loyal, loving, confident guardian
    – Life expectancy: 9-10 years

    It is essential that Rottweiler owners train their dogs correctly from puppyhood in order to ensure that the pups don’t become overly aggressive and hostile. When trained well, the dogs are calm and confident, good with children, playful, and ready to plop down in a lap at any given moment regardless of their size.

  • #1. German shepherd

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    – Height of dog: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
    – Weight of dog: 65-90 pounds (male), 50-70 pounds (female)
    – 2019 popularity rank: #2 (of 193)
    – Temperament: confident, courageous, smart
    – Life expectancy: 7-10 years

    Although they suffered from an anti-German sentiment after World War II, German shepherds have regained their place as one of the most popular breeds in America. The preferred dog breed for police and military units, these pups are confident, loyal, courageous, and smart.