Deep-Chested vs. Barrel-Chested Dog Breeds [With Examples]

A small Boston Terrier sitting besides a massive blue Great Dane.

When you are planning to bring a new dog into your home, you have a lot to think about and consider before choosing the right breed.

If you are looking for a dog that will do a task or job, you will want to make sure it is built to handle that task.

The way a dog is shaped or what it was originally bred to do can determine how well it can perform certain duties.

Many working dogs have either a deep chest or a barrel chest. While the chest shape may not seem like a big deal, it could help you determine what each breed is built to do.

Difference Between Deep Chest and Barrel Chest in Dogs

Dogs are often bred to complete a certain task or job, and their body shape reflects the way they move and the environment in which they live.

While they may look similar, there is a difference between dogs with deep chests and dogs with barrel chests.

Dogs with deep chests have an elongated rib cage and are built for running, endurance, and speed.

Dogs with barrel chests have more rounded shoulders and appear more blocky and muscular. They are built for fighting, digging, and hunting.

Deep-Chested Dog Breeds

When you are thinking about the type of dog you want to adopt, you may not even consider the shape of the chest.

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and those with deep chests may be more adapted to certain tasks or activities or prone to certain illnesses or health problems.

While this is not a complete list of all deep-chested dog breeds, here are some examples.

Great Dane

A large merle Great Dane standing on grass.

Great Danes are large dogs that can be between 28 to 32 inches tall. They weigh between 110 to 175 pounds. They were originally bred to hunt wild boards.

They have a gentle temperament, but they are also protective of their owners and are strong and brave.

Their coat colors include black, white, brown, blue, harlequin, merle, and combinations of those colors.

Irish Setter

An Irish Setter standing in front of a lake.

Irish Setters stand between 25 and 27 inches tall and weigh between 60 and 70 pounds. They have dark-red coats with medium to long fur.

They are playful, friendly and smart. Irish Setters were originally bred to locate game birds. They have a very good sense of smell and are easy to train.

Weimaraner

A male Weimaraner standing posed outside as if at a dog show.

Weimaraners have a lean build and stand between 23 and 27 inches tall. They weigh between 55 and 90 pounds, depending on the sex.

Males are larger than females, and both have short, sleek coats.

Weimaraners were originally bred to be big-game hunters, and their lean muscles helped them move fast and take down animals as large as elk and bear.

They have a friendly and obedient temperament, but they are also fierce and brave when necessary.

Doberman Pinscher

A young Doberman Pinscher standing at attention in a field.

Doberman Pinschers have a black, blue, red, or fawn coat with rust markings and a lean build. They stand between 24 and 28’ inches high and weigh between 60 to 100 pounds.

They were originally bred to assist tax collectors and act as their protectors. Some Dobermans also work as herding dogs. They are energetic, friendly, and very protective.

Rottweiler

A young Rottweiler standing in a field on a bright, sunny day.

Rottweilers are stocky and robust with blocky heads and black and tan coats. They were bred as herding dogs for the Roman army.

They stand between 22 and 27 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 135 pounds. They are friendly, loyal, and fierce protectors. 

Irish Wolfhound

An adult Irish Wolfhound standing in a field in autumn.

Irish Wolfhounds are large dogs with shaggy coats. They stand between 30 and 32 inches tall and weigh between 105 to 120 pounds. Their coats range from light gray to brindle.

They were originally bred to hunt big game, and they were bartered in the ancient world. They are affectionate, good with children and other animals, and enjoy doing purpose-driven tasks.

Airedale Terrier

An adult Airedale Terrier standing on a lush lawn.

Airedale Terriers stand around 23 inches tall and weigh between 60 and 70 pounds. They have curly coats that are tan and brown.

They are friendly, smart, and very loyal to their owners. They were originally bred to hunt ducks and rats.

Whippet

A Whippet posed on a sidewalk as if for a show.

Affectionate, playful, and curious, Whippets are full of spunk and make great family pets. They were originally bred for racing and rabbit hunting.

Their thin, lean bodies make them extremely fast and agile. Whippets stand between 18 and 22 inches tall and weigh between 25 to 40 pounds.

German Shepherd

An adult German Shepherd Dog on a grassy trail in a woodland setting.

German Shepherds are medium-sized dogs that have long snouts and dark eyes. They stand between 22 and 26 inches high and weigh between 50 and 90 pounds.

They range from white to black and can also be bicolor. German Shepherds were originally bred to herd sheep. They are very loyal, brave, and smart.

They enjoy completing tasks and pleasing their owners.

Saluki

An adult Saluki pointing in tall green grass.

Male Salukis stand between 23 to 28 inches high and weigh between 40 and 65 pounds. Females are much smaller. They were originally bred to hunt in the deserts of Egypt.

Salukis are believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds. They have a sleek appearance with long ears and a long nose.

Their coat colors include white, red, black, brown, and various shades of these colors. They are very strong, adaptable, and friendly.

They can be stubborn while training, but they love to run and exercise and are very loyal companions.

Bluetick Coonhound

A Bluetick Coonhound standing in front of a fence.

Bluetick Coonhounds are very smart and easy to train. They stand between 21 and 27 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 80 pounds. Males are larger than females.

Bluetick Coonhounds are very sweet and affectionate. They are happy lying around and being lazy, but they work hard when on the scent.

They were originally bred as hunting dogs, which is what they are still used for today. They have short coats that come in blue ticked and blue ticked and tan.

Basenji

A red-and-white Basenji standing beside an orange Frisbee.

Basenjis stand between 16 and 17 inches high and weigh between 22 and 24 pounds. They are spunky, smart and do well with children and other dogs.

They can be black and white, black and tan, black, tan, and white, and red and white.

They were originally bred as fierce hunters and are known for their keen eyesight, sense of smell, and inability to bark normally.

Barrel-Chested Dog Breeds

Barrel-chested dogs can also be prone to certain health problems and disorders and built better for certain activities, jobs, or environments.

Here are some examples of dog breeds that are considered barrel-chested.

Bulldog

A white English Bulldog standing on a lakeside dock.

Bulldogs are short and stubby with flat muzzles. They were originally bred for the sport of bull-baiting, which was popular in England in the 13th century.

They have short hair, and their coats can be a variety of colors and patterns ranging from white to brindle. They are docile, loyal, and do not require a lot of exercises.

They are good with kids and other pets. They stand between 14 and 15 inches tall, and they weigh between 40 and 50 pounds.

Pug

A cute pug wearing a red harness standing on a log in the woods.

Pugs have a small stature but big personalities. They are muscular and mischievous. Pugs stand between 10 to 13 inches tall and weigh between 14 and 18 pounds.

Their most pronounced feature is their flattened snout that stands out against their dark eyes. Pugs have fawn or black coats.

They were originally bred to be companion pets for the emperor and were often given as gifts. They are good with kids and love to cuddle and please their owners. 

French Bulldog

A Black French Bulldog on a gray background.

French bulldogs were originally bred to be companion dogs, and they do this job well even today. They are known for their flattened snouts and large bat ears.

They have short coats that range in color from white to black, and some coats can be brindle. They stand between 11 and 13 inches tall and usually weigh under 28 pounds.

They are friendly, smart, affectionate, and great with children. 

American Staffordshire Terrier

An American Staffordshire Terrier playing in the waves at a beach.

American Staffordshire Terriers were bred to be fighting dogs. They were often made to fight each other or other animals such as bulls or even bears.

They have short, sharp ears and short coats. They can range in color from white to black and come in different patterns, including brindle.

They stand between 17 and 19 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 70 pounds. They are very affectionate and do well with children if introduced to them early in life.

Some also do well with other dogs, but they may be shy or aggressive towards other dogs as well. 

Keeshond

A Keeshond in a backyard posing as if he's in a dog show.

Keeshonds were originally bred to be guard dogs and companions. They have thick, wiry fur and a stocky build. They stand between 17 and 18 inches tall and weigh between 35 and 45 pounds.

They can be black, silver, gray, cream, and various combinations of these colors.

They are very smart, social, energetic, and affectionate and are perfect for families, especially those with children or other pets.

Mastiff

An English Mastiff with a docked tail standing on green grass.

Mastiffs are very large and muscular. They are also very friendly, affectionate, and loyal. They were originally bred to battle large animals and act as guard dogs.

They stand between 27 and 30 inches tall and can weigh between 120 and 230 pounds. Their coats can be apricot, brindle, and fawn.

Boston Terrier

A Boston Terrier standing on grass looking up at the sky.

Boston Terriers are very smart, affectionate, and friendly. They were originally bred for pit fighting and ratting. They have short snouts and pointed ears.

Their coats can be black, white, brindle, seal, and combinations of these colors. They stand between 15 and 17 inches tall and weigh between 12 and 25 pounds.

Basset Hound

A tricolor Basset Hound standing on a sidewalk.

Basset Hounds have short legs and long ears. They were originally bred to be scent dogs that could help with hunting. They are very friendly and agreeable.

They have very loud barks and love to play and socialize with people and other animals.

Their coats are usually bicolored or tricolored and can include black, brown, white, red, and tan. They can be up to 15 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 60 pounds.

Bullmastiff

A male Bullmastiff running alongside a white board fence.

Bullmastiffs are large dogs that stand between 24 and 27 inches tall. They weigh between 100 and 130 pounds. They were originally bred to help keep out poachers.

They are brave, strong, and loyal. They are protective of their families and can adjust to living with other dogs and children. 

Great Pyrenees

A Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog walking on grassy lawn.

Great Pyrenees were originally bred to be herding dogs in the Pyrenees Mountains. They have fluffy white coats that allow them to stay warm in cold weather.

They stand between 25 and 29 inches tall and weigh between 85 and 100 pounds. They are very affectionate and love to please their owners.

They do well with children but can be bossy with them due to their herding instinct. 

Saint Bernard

An adult Saint Bernard walking on green grass.

Saint Bernards were originally bred to locate and rescue travelers buried by snowdrifts and avalanches.

They are strong, muscular, and have heavy coats that come in colors of black, brown, and white.

They stand between 26 and 30 inches tall and weigh between 120 and 180 pounds. They are great with children and very affectionate, loyal, and brave.

They are also easy to train and love to please their owners.

Newfoundland

A black Newfoundland dog on a trail in the woods.

Newfoundlands are very affectionate and love spending time with their families. They get along great with children and also do well with most other animals.

They stand between 26 and 28 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 150 pounds. Newfoundlands are black, brown, gray, or black and white.

Their coats can also come in other colors that are not considered part of the breed standard. They were originally bred to rescue people from the water.