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13 Dog Breeds with Big Paws You’ll Love

In the world of canines, the size of a dog’s paws can be a telltale sign of its breed’s history, purpose, and unique characteristics. Large paws, in particular, are a fascinating feature, often indicating a breed’s strength, stamina, and adaptability to challenging environments. 

From the gentle giants that roam our homes with grace to the diligent workers of the animal kingdom, dogs with big paws capture our imagination and hearts. This article will introduce dog lovers to 13 remarkable dog breeds known for their impressively large paws. 

Each breed, from giant dog breeds like the Great Dane to the hardworking Alaskan Malamute, carries a legacy of power, loyalty, and resilience. 

13 Dog Breeds with Big Paws

1. Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard, a gentle giant of the canine world, is renowned for its impressively large paws, a feature that complements its formidable size and benevolent nature. Originating from the Swiss Alps, where these big dogs were bred for rescue missions in harsh snowy terrains, their big paws play a critical role in their historical legacy. 

saint bernard most aggressive dog breeds
saint bernard

These large, powerful paws are perfectly adapted to navigate through deep snow, acting almost like natural snowshoes that distribute their weight evenly and prevent them from sinking. The design of their paws, coupled with their keen sense of direction and resilience, made them invaluable companions to monks and travelers navigating treacherous mountain passes. 

tracker-dog-saint-bernard dog breeds with big paws

Beyond their utilitarian purpose, Saint Bernard’s paws symbolize the breed’s strength and gentle support, embodying their role as guardians and gentle companions. Their large paws are not just physical traits but are emblematic of the breed’s capacity for rescue, warmth, and unwavering friendship.

2. Great Dane

The Great Dane, often called the “Apollo of Dogs,” stands out for its towering height and remarkably large paws. These paws are a foundation of strength that supports their elegant, muscular frame, enabling these large dogs to move with a surprising grace that belies their size. 


The size of their paws reflects their genetic heritage, designed to provide balance and stability to one of the tallest dog breeds in the world. Great Danes were historically bred for hunting and guarding, tasks that required a powerful physique complemented by the broad, sturdy base their paws provided.

Great Dane
Great Dane

Today, while they may no longer fulfill their ancestors’ roles, their large paws remind us of their impressive lineage. These gentle giants use their big paws to nudge for attention gently, embodying a perfect blend of might and gentleness. Their paws, much like their presence, are impossible to ignore, symbolizing the breed’s majestic nature and heartwarming loyalty.

3. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a breed with a heartwarming disposition and notably large paws, a hallmark of their aquatic adeptness. Originating from the Canadian island of Newfoundland, fishermen historically used these giant dogs, and their paws are a testament to their heritage. 

Newfoundland expensive dog breeds

These large, webbed paws are engineered by nature to make them excellent swimmers capable of performing heroic water rescues. The design of their paws allows for better propulsion in water, acting like natural paddles that enable the Newfoundland to navigate through water with ease and agility. Combined with their muscular build and dense, water-resistant coat, this feature makes them unparalleled in water rescue operations. 


Beyond their practical abilities, the Newfoundland’s big paws contribute to their gentle, steady gait on land, reflecting the breed’s calm and sturdy nature. 

4. Bernese Mountain Dog

With its striking tri-colored coat, the Bernese Mountain Dog not only captivates with its beauty but also impresses with its substantial, big paws. Originating in the Swiss Alps, these dogs were bred for hard work, including pulling carts and herding livestock. 

Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog

Their large paws are a physical adaptation to their homeland’s rugged, mountainous terrain, providing the stability and grip needed to navigate steep inclines and snowy paths. The size and strength of their paws speak to their heritage as versatile farm dogs equipped to handle various tasks in challenging environments. 

Bernese Mountain Dog puppies
Bernese Mountain Dog puppies

Despite their working background, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their gentle, affectionate nature. Their big paws, often used to gently paw for attention or affection, symbolize both their historical utility and their role as loving companions. 

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5. Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound, a breed steeped in history and legend, stands as one of the tallest dog breeds in the world, a trait underscored by their impressively large paws. These majestic animals, once used by the ancient Celts for hunting wolves and guarding homesteads, possess paws that testify to their noble and formidable lineage. 

Irish Wolfhound white dog
Irish Wolfhound

The size of their paws is not merely a function of their height but also a reflection of their need for speed and endurance, enabling them to cover vast distances easily. Their large, well-padded paws absorb the impact of their movements, protecting joints and bones as they gallop across diverse terrains. 


6. Leonberger

The Leonberger, a majestic breed that exudes strength and elegance, is instantly recognizable by its large, webbed paws, which perfectly complement its impressive stature and luxurious mane. Originating in the 19th century in Germany, this breed was designed to resemble the lion in the town crest of Leonberg, and its big paws contribute significantly to this noble appearance. 

Leonberger dog
Leonberger dog

These paws serve a practical purpose beyond their aesthetic appeal; they are essential for the breed’s historical role as a multi-purpose farm dog, capable of performing water rescues, pulling carts, and herding livestock. The webbing between their toes makes the Leonberger an adept swimmer, while the size of their paws provides stability and traction in both water and on land, especially in snowy conditions. Despite their formidable size, Leonbergers are known for their gentle touch and friendly disposition. 

7. Mastiff

The Mastiff, one of the most ancient and formidable dog breeds, is renowned for its sheer size and strength, traits that are supported by its massive paws. These paws are not just large; they are powerful foundations that bear the weight of this muscular giant, enabling it to move with a surprising combination of power and grace. 

english mastiff
english mastiff

Originating from a lineage that dates back to ancient civilizations, Mastiffs were bred for roles that required immense strength and intimidation, such as guarding estates and protecting livestock. The size of their paws directly reflects these historical duties, providing the stability and force needed to perform tasks that demand both physical prowess and endurance. 

8. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute, a breed synonymous with strength and endurance, possesses notably large paws, a defining trait that underscores its historical significance and adaptability to harsh environments. Originating from the Arctic regions, where they were bred by the Mahlemut Inuit tribe for sledding and hunting, their large paws are perfectly adapted to the snow and ice, acting like natural snowshoes. 

Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamute

This adaptation allows them to distribute their weight more effectively, preventing them from sinking into the snow while pulling heavy loads over vast distances. The thickness and shape of their paws provide excellent insulation against cold temperatures, while the tough pads offer protection from icy terrain. 

Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamute

9. Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is a majestic guardian of the Himalayas, distinguished by its formidable presence and large, powerful paws. These paws are a testament to the breed’s historical role as protectors of nomadic herders’ camps and monasteries in the harsh, mountainous regions of Tibet. 

tibetan mastiff golden brown dog

Adapted to the rugged terrain and extreme weather conditions of the Himalayas, their large paws provide the stability and traction needed by dogs of a large size to navigate rocky paths and snow-covered landscapes.


The size of their paws and thick, dense fur offer insulation against cold temperatures, making them well-suited for their environment. Tibetan Mastiffs are known for their independence, strength, and loyalty, qualities that are physically grounded in their impressive paws. 

10. Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees, a breed that epitomizes the noble guardian of the mountains, is distinguished by its large, bear-like paws. These paws are not just a defining physical trait but are crucial to the breed’s historical role as a protector of flocks in the harsh Pyrenees mountains. 

Great Pyrenees white
Great Pyrenees

Adapted for stability and traction in snowy conditions, their big paws act like natural snowshoes, distributing their weight evenly to prevent sinking and allowing them to move gracefully over deep snow. The size of their paws also provides a solid foundation for their large, muscular frame, enabling them to patrol vast territories with ease. Despite their formidable size, they are known for their calm and patient demeanor, which has made them beloved guardians and companions. 

Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog
Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog

11. Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog, with its distinctive shaggy coat and playful demeanor, also boasts notably large paws that complement its robust and cuddly appearance. These paws are not just an adorable feature; they are essential to the breed’s herding legacy. 

old english sheepdog
old english sheepdog

Historically bred for driving cattle and sheep, their large paws provided the stability and agility needed to maneuver through rough, uneven terrains and to keep up with their flock. The size of their paws also contributes to their distinctive bear-like gait, adding to their charm and presence. 

white old english sheepdog
white old english sheepdog

Despite their working background, Old English Sheepdogs are known for their gentle, friendly nature, often using their big paws to solicit attention and engage in playful interactions with their human families. 

12. Akita 

The Akita, a breed revered for its dignity and courage, is characterized by its large, webbed paws that signify its adaptability and strength. Originating from the rugged landscapes of northern Japan, these dogs were bred for hunting large game, such as bears, and their big paws played a crucial role in this task.

Akita Inu big fluffy dog breeds
Akita Inu

The size and structure of their paws provide excellent traction in snow, allowing the Akita to perform efficiently in harsh conditions. These paws are not just functional; they reflect the breed’s robust nature, supporting their muscular build and contributing to their balanced and powerful movement. 

13.  Bloodhound

The Bloodhound, renowned for its unparalleled tracking abilities, is distinguished by its large, powerful paws, which are instrumental in its role as a scent tracker. These paws are built for endurance, enabling the Bloodhound to traverse vast distances over varied terrains in pursuit of a scent trail. 


The size of their paws and their unique structure provide the stability and stamina required for long-duration tracking tasks. Bloodhounds were historically used for hunting and law enforcement, and their big paws have been essential in supporting their relentless pursuit and investigative work. The breed’s paws are equipped with thick pads acting as shock absorbers, protecting their joints during tireless explorations.


Whilst these are perhaps the best known dog breeds with large paws, other breeds can also have quite large paws including the labrador retriever, basset hound, golden retrievers, german shepherds, English mastiffs, the Portuguese water dog, doberman pinscher, Anatolian shepherd, neapolitan mastiff and even the shih tzu.

Big Pawed Dogs in Conclusions

In exploring the remarkable world of these big dog breeds with big paws, we uncover a tapestry of stories that speak to the diversity, adaptability, and heart of these giant breeds. From the snow-laden paths traversed by Saint Bernards to the rugged terrains guarded by the Tibetan Mastiff, each of these large breeds brings its own unique legacy and set of skills, underscored by their impressive paws. 

These large paws are not merely physical traits (they don’t tend to be small dogs); they symbolize the breeds’ historical purposes, from guardianship and rescue to companionship and work. Beyond their functional roles, the gentle giants like the Great Dane and the affectionate protectors like the Akita show us that a big paw size can also mean big hearts. 

If you’re looking to bring one of these large dog breeds into your home, check out the American Kennel Club guide to finding a reputable breeder.

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