Big White Dogs Serve People in Many Ways

Several big white dogs serve as working dogs. These breeds help people in a multitude of ways, including herding and searching. Many have long histories as working dogs dating back centuries, and some are rare outside their native countries.

Great Pyrenees
One of the most well-know big white dogs is the Great Pyrenees. Its thick, elegant coat is usually solid white; however, there may be patches of tan, gray or yellow on some dogs. This breed originated in central Asia or Siberia and traveled into Europe where it lived in the mountainous regions of the continent. The breed was and still is used for guarding flocks. Nobility also cherished it.

These faithful and majestic-looking big white dogs range in height from 25 to 32 inches tall (63 to 81 cm) and weigh 85 to 100 pounds (38 to 45 kg), although some dogs can weigh more. They generally live about 10 years.

This big, white, muscular dog breed is known for its dense, corded coat. Komondors have been Hungarian work dogs for nearly 1,000 years, where they were used for guarding vast herds of sheep and cattle, oftentimes without supervision by people. Therefore, these dogs are independent, intelligent and courageous.

The Komondor stands 25.5 to 29.5 inches (65 to 75 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs 80 to 125 pounds (36 to 57 kg). Its white, corded coat requires a great deal of care. The Komondor generally lives 10 to 12 years.


The Kuvasz is another big white dog that has served and still serves as a working breed. Although it originated in Tibet, it is considered a Hungarian dog breed where it was used for guarding sheep and cattle. This well-muscled yet agile dog stands 26 to 30 inches (66 to 76 cm) tall and weighs 70 to 115 pounds (32 to 52 kg). Its medium-length, double coat can be straight or wavy; it is most often white but also can be ivory-colored.

Royalty owned the breed in the 15th century. It also served as flock guardians, especially after that period of time. These dogs are considered intelligent, loyal and fearless and generally live 10 to 12 years. They contributed to the lineage of the Great Pyrenees, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog and the Maremma SheepDog.

Maremma Sheepdog
An Italian dog breed, this large white dog was and still is a guardian of flocks and property. It originated in the Maremma region of Italy. One of the dog’s characteristics is its head, which resembles a polar bear. It stands 23.5 to 28.5 inches (60 to 73 cm) tall and weighs 66 to 100 pounds (30 to 45 kg). The solid white, dense coat is long and straight.

This breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and is rare outside of its native Italy. The Maremma Sheepdog usually lives 11 to 13 years.

akbashAnother big white dog not recognized by the AKC, the Akbash hails from western Turkey. It is a breed of strength and history, used as a flock guard dog for nearly 3,000 years. The breed’s name comes from a Turkish word meaning “white head”.

These dogs stand 28 to 32 inches tall (71 to 81 cm) and weigh 90 to 130 pounds (41 to 59 kg). Their long, white, weather-resistant coat is coarse and rarely mats. These dogs are known for their keen sense of hearing and great strength. They are also known for their courage, often risking their lives to protect their charges.

This massive breed is generally healthy and usually lives 10 to 11 years.

Although not really a large dog breed, the Samoyed is famed for its elegant white coat, its work ethic, and its sweet expression, which resembles a smile.

Samoyeds stand 19 to 23.5 inches (48 to 60 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh 35 to 65 pounds (16 to 30 kg). This Siberian working breed was developed for herding reindeer, hunting, hauling, and guarding. Also called the “Sammy”, the Samoyed possesses a heavy, weather-resistant coat that needs to be brushed regularly. It usually lives 12 to 15 years.

Other large dog breeds that can have white coats include the German Shepherd, the Standard Poodle, and the Puli. However, the coats on these dogs are not always white.

This large dog also hails from Hungary and possesses a corded coat. Like its Komondor cousin, this is a working dog of ancient times, used for herding flocks. Its coat colors include white, gray and black.

The compact, square Puli stands 16 to 17 inches (40 to 43 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs an average of 30 pounds (14 kg). This breed can live 12 years or more.

Standard Poodle
This tall, elegant breed comes in a variety of coat colors, one of which is white. It stands 15 inches (38 cm) or more at the shoulder and usually weighs 45 to 70 pounds (20 to 32 kg).

Its coat, which can be any solid color, including white, is usually curly or corded. Extensive grooming is necessary, especially if the dog is to be in the show ring. Poodles are considered a long-lived breed, and the Standard can live 12 to 15 years or more.

The breed has been known throughout Europe for at least 400 years; many countries stake claim to the development of the Poodle, including France and Germany. It was used as a hunting dog, mostly as a retriever, but today the Poodle is primary a pet and show dog.

German Shepherd Dogs

german shepherdAlthough white shepherds are not shown in the ACK ring, many people own or breed white German Shepherds. This large breed stands 22 to 26 inches tall (55 to 65 cm) and weighs 77 to 85 pounds (35 to 40 kg). Noted for their strength, courage, and keen sense of smell, these dogs excel at police work as well as search and rescue.
Although many large dog breeds have white coats, some are not always white, such as the Puli, Standard Poodle and German Shepherd. The big, white dogs that possess a naturally white coat include several herding dog breeds. Their size helped them accomplish their job as a protector of flocks, property and people, and their dense, white coats kept them warm in winter’s weather.As the name implies, this breed originated in Germany. German Shepherds can live to 13 years of age. The most common coat color is black and tan with some white.

Big white dog breeds such as the AKC-recognized Great Pyrenees and the Kuvasz, and the rare Maremma Sheep Dog and Akbash neither of which are not recognized by the AKC, continue their working heritage in their native countries.

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