Big dog breeds you can find in Nigeria

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | July 8th, 2019

Nigerians tend to talk about big sized breed of dogs more than they talk about medium or small breeds of dogs. There is a higher possibility of making people scared when you possess big dogs than when your dog is small. This makes Nigerians prefer bigger dogs as security dogs than smaller ones. The problem is that most people do not know about dog breeds and their various characters. They mostly think that the size of dogs determine their level of aggression or ability to secure an environment.

Caucasian Mountain dog

This is the most common large dog breed that is found in Nigeria mostly used as security dogs for many households. These dogs can weigh as much as 60kg or more and can be high from the ground. They can be very aggressive depending on their training, and massive in looks. Their fur can make them look like lions. They are mostly kept in cages in the day and released at night to guard the house or compound.

St. Bernard dog

This breed is another massive breed owned by very elites in Nigeria. Many of these guys have special like for this breed. They weigh as much as Caucasians but with some drooping eye and jaw. They have close resemblance to mastiffs but with colored hairy coat. They are mostly friendly and very good with kids.

Neapolitan Mastiff

This breed has this attraction to elite Nigerians who use them for security mostly. They have a mass of folded skin at the jaw area of their head making them look very ugly or dangerous. This is a landmark feature which determines how pure the blood line is. They are mostly short haired with grey or ash in color. They tend to possess some muscularly built body and barks scarcely mostly when they meet strangers.

Cane Corso

This mastiff looking dog is another breed gaining serious recognition to the extent that owners of this breed are forming an association on facebook and offline. They mostly have their ears cropped to point upwards instead of the natural drooping ears. For esthetic reasons I guess. They weigh as much as 50kg and can be very muscular. Some owners tend to enhance their muscles with supplements to make them even more muscular.

Alaska Malamute

This wolf-like breed is kind of rare in Nigeria but still available to some very travelled elites. They can be so big and weigh as much as 70kg. They tend not to bark but only howl just like wolfs. I have not met an aggressive Alaska Malamute. Most of the ones I encountered are very friendly and love their independence. They don’t play much.


This is another very popular dog found in Nigeria. Unfortunately the breed has been bastardized and their genes highly diluted that you find it very hard to get a full breed. This dog is considered very aggressive by nature. I will say that aggression when it has to do with Rottweilers is a matter of training. They are mostly used as guard dogs to secure properties. Many families avoid the breed because they are believed to be aggressive even to kids. Most expatriates I have met keep this dog as pets indoors despite the fear people have over this breed.

Great Dane

This breed is a giant breed of dog owned by a few. This tall dog can weigh as much as 60-80kg if not more. They have this mastiff looks but with longer snout and short hair coat that is mostly blue, black or tan. Depending on the way they are kept and fed, they can be muscular and tall. The ones I have encountered are mostly gentle with almost zero aggression and very friendly to humans.

Bull Mastiff

This breed is as popular as Rottweilers to an extent in Nigeria. Like Rottweilers their genes are also messed up that you can hardly find a pure bloodline. They are mostly used as security or guard dogs. They can be as aggressive as Rottweilers with a characteristic black colored muzzle. They are mostly tan colored with the black muzzle but also come in black or brindle color.

English Mastiff

This breed is very rare but relatively more popular than Great Dane. Used as guard dogs just like the Bull mastiff. There is always this confusion where people describe their Bull mastiff as English Mastiff when they are not.

German shepherd dog

This is a medium sized dog that is widely used as guard dogs all over the country if not all over the world. Most Nigerians can say that they have heard the name of this dog in one occasion or another. The Nigerian police use this breed a lot for law enforcement duties. They are considered to be more intelligent than most dog breeds available in Nigeria hence the preference for security and sniffing purposes.


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    Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

    Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about which he personally built from scratch.

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