What Weight Is Considered a Big Dog? Explained

When it comes to our furry friends, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. From the petite Chihuahua to the majestic Great Dane, the diversity in dog breeds is truly remarkable. One common question that often arises among dog enthusiasts and prospective pet owners is, “What weight is considered a big dog?” 

In this article, we’ll explore the factors that determine a dog’s size, delve into various breed categories, and provide insights into what weight is generally considered as that of a big dog.

Understanding Dog Sizes

Dog sizes can be broadly categorized into several groups: small, medium, large, and giant. These size categories are usually determined by a combination of a dog’s weight, height, and build. However, since weight is a relatively straightforward metric, it’s often used as a primary indicator to classify dogs.

Small Dogs

Small dogs typically weigh between 2 to 22 pounds (0.9 to 10 kg) and stand about 6 to 16 inches (15 to 41 cm) tall at the shoulder. Breeds like the Chihuahua, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire Terrier fall into this category. These dogs are well-suited for apartment living and can thrive in smaller spaces.

Medium Dogs

Medium-sized dogs generally weigh between 23 to 55 pounds (10 to 25 kg) and have a shoulder height of about 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm). Breeds like the Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, and Border Collie are considered medium-sized. They strike a balance between the compactness of small dogs and the robustness of larger breeds.

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Large Dogs

Large dogs have a weight range of 56 to 100 pounds (25 to 45 kg) and stand around 22 to 27 inches (56 to 69 cm) tall at the shoulder. Breeds like the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and German Shepherd belong to this category. They often require more space and exercise due to their energetic nature.

Giant Dogs

Giant dogs are the largest among canine companions, weighing over 100 pounds (45 kg) and standing at least 28 inches (71 cm) tall at the shoulder. Breeds like the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, and Irish Wolfhound fall into this impressive group. Despite their size, many giant dogs are known for their gentle and friendly disposition.

Factors Affecting Dog Size

Genetics play a significant role in determining a dog’s size. Each breed has a specific genetic blueprint that influences its potential size range. Breeders carefully select dogs for mating to preserve or enhance certain traits, including size. However, it’s important to note that even within a single litter, there can be variations in size due to genetic diversity.

Nutrition also plays a pivotal role in a dog’s growth and size. Puppies need a balanced diet to develop properly, and providing them with appropriate nutrition during their growth stages can contribute to reaching their full potential size. Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to growth abnormalities.

Health and well-being are also crucial factors. Illnesses or medical conditions during a dog’s developmental stages can impact their growth. Ensuring regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent growth-related issues.

What Weight Is Considered a Big Dog?

The concept of what constitutes a “big dog” can vary depending on individual perceptions and cultural differences. However, in general, a dog weighing 70 pounds (31.75 kg) or more is often considered a big dog. This weight range includes many large and giant breeds.

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For instance, the majestic Great Dane, known for its towering stature, can weigh between 140 to 175 pounds (63.5 to 79.4 kg) or more, easily falling into the big dog category. Similarly, the powerful Saint Bernard, with its impressive coat and gentle nature, can weigh between 140 to 180 pounds (63.5 to 81.6 kg) or more.

It’s important to remember that weight alone might not fully capture a dog’s size, as height and build also play a significant role. A dog might have a robust build and shorter height, making it appear more compact even if it falls within the weight range of a big dog.


In the world of dogs, size is as diverse as the breeds themselves. From the tiny Chihuahua to the towering Great Dane, each dog brings its own unique qualities and characteristics. While weight is a key factor in determining the size category a dog belongs to, it’s essential to consider other factors like genetics, nutrition, and overall health. 

When pondering the question, “What weight is considered a big dog?” a general guideline of 70 pounds or more can provide a starting point. However, the true essence of a big dog goes beyond numbers—it’s about the enormous love, loyalty, and companionship they offer to those fortunate enough to share their lives with them.