When it comes to dogs, we say the bigger the better; after all the bigger the pup the more love they can handle. Throughout history, these very good (and very big) dogs have been bred for their strength and their size, whether that was to aid them in herding, hunting, or discouraging intruders.
While it’s true that these animals can be downright intimidating because of their sizes, you might be surprised to learn that many of the biggest dogs not only have some of the best temperaments of any canines, but they also make great family pets!
Whether you’re looking into adding a new addition to your family, or you’re just interested in learning some more about some giant puppies, here are 25 of the world’s largest dog breeds that you simply have to check out.
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The Scottish Deerhound, or just Deerhound, is a tall breed of hound which was bred to hunt red deer in Scotland. Its antecedents were kept by the tribal people living in what is the modern day United Kingdom and were used in the hunting of large game such as deer and elk. Males can be over 32 inches (80 cm) tall, and weigh up to 110 pounds (50 kg), while females typically only reach 28 inches (70 cm) tall and weigh under 100 pounds (45 kg).
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Popular in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Northern Caucasian area, the Caucasian shepherds are a member of a family of strongly-boned, muscular dog breeds referred to as molossers. Measuring about 28 inches (70 cm) tall for females and 30 inches (75 cm) tall for males, these large dogs are definitely not lap dogs.
Originally bred and used as a work-dog for fishermen, Newfoundlands are huge, intelligent dogs famous for their excellent swimming abilities which make them excellent Search And Rescue (SAR) dogs. They typically have thick black, brown, or grey coats, and some Newfoundland males have been known to weigh over 200 pounds (90 kg) with the largest on record weighing 260 pounds (120 kg).
The English mastiff is one of the largest dog breeds in the world, especially in terms of body mass. The first mentions of these massive dogs date back to as early as the 6th century BCE, and during the Roman conquest of England Julius Caesar himself was reportedly impressed by the loyalty and strength of the English mastiffs. A typical male can weigh up to 250 pounds (113 kg), but the heaviest mastiff ever recorded was a jaw-dropping 343 pound (156 kg) dog called Zorba.
Sometimes referred to as ‘mop dog,’ the Komondor is a long-established dog breed that has been used to guard livestock and other property. Easily recognizable thanks to its distinctive long and corded coat, not so different from that of a mop, the Komondor is a Hungarian breed which is currently being heavily monitored by the Hungarian government in order to preserve and protect it from modification. They can grow up to 31.5 inches (80 cm) high and weigh over 130 pounds (60 kg).
Nicknamed “the Apollo of dogs,” the Great Dane is a German breed with a height that can reach 3 feet (91 cm) or more at the shoulder. In the past a number of Great Danes have held the record of the world’s tallest dog, including the current record-holder; a 44 inch (112 cm) tall Great Dane named Zeus. They are generally friendly toward other dogs, pets, and familiar humans, and although their average life span is 6 to 8 years, some Great Danes have reached 10 years or even more.
Neapolitan mastiff is another popular breed of mastiff and, although not quite as large as the English mastiff, it is still quite large with the males can weighing up to 155 pounds (60-70 kg) and females clockin g in around 130 pounds (50–60 kg). The Neapolitan mastiff is fearless and extremely protective of its home and family, while still being surprisingly intelligent and independent.
Originally developed from war hounds, Irish wolfhounds have been used for hunting and guarding since possibly even as early as 7,000 BCE. Standing at least 34 inches (86 cm) tall, they are one of the tallest of all dog breeds. Their weight, however, only averages about 120 pounds (55 kg) for males and 105 pounds (48 kg) for females. Unlike many other breeds, Irish wolfhounds have a varied range of personalities and are most often noted for their quirks and individuality.
Black Russian Terrier
A breed created in USSR during the late 1940s and the early 1950s for use as a military/working dog, the black Russian terrier is believed to be a cross of about 17 different dog breeds from across the world. Males stand 72 to 78 cm (28 – 30 inches) at the withers and weigh up to 60 kg (130 pounds), with females being slightly smaller and lighter. The black Russian terrier is a calm, confident, and self-assured dog, as well as highly intelligent and easy to train. They can live quite a bit longer than other breeds their size, often up to 14 years. However, they are known to be prone to certain hereditary diseases such as hip or elbow dysplasia.
Occasionally referred to as the Pyrenean mountain dog, great Pyrenees dogs are just as well known for their instinctive nature to protect and herd as they are for their thick, white double coats that keep them warm in the snowy mountain winters they hail from. Bred to be sheep herders, these large dogs can grow to 32 inches (81 cm) and weigh 130 pounds (59 kg).
Sometimes dubbed “gentle lions,” Leonbergers are a breed of giant dog whose name is derived from the city of Leonberg in Germany. Males average about 29.5 inches (75 cm) tall and can weigh between 140–150 pounds (64–68 kg), while females usually stand about 27.5 inches (70 cm) tall and weigh approximately 115 pounds (52 kg). The Leonberger is easily recognizable thanks to its generous, water resistant, double coat. These robust dogs are normally very loyal, intelligent, playful, and kind, which makes them ideal family pets. Unfortunately, their average life expectancy is about seven years. If you’re enjoying learning about these large dog breeds, you should see them goofing off in our 25 ridiculously oversized dogs list.
Originally bred in Tosa (former Japanese province) as a fighting dog, the Tosa Inu is a rare, robust dog breed. These dogs vary considerably in size; with the Japanese breed generally weighing between 80 and 135 pounds (36 and 61 kg), while the non-Japanese breeders have focused on dogs that weigh from 130 to 200 pounds (60 to 100 kg). The Tosa is a descendant of the native Shikoku-Inu, an indigenous medium-sized dog which was crossbred with large European dog breeds such as mastiff, St. Bernard, Great Dane.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Originally kept as a general farm dog that accompanied herders in the Bern region, Switzerland, the Bernese mountain dog is a large, heavy breed with a distinctive tri-colored coat, black with white chest and rust colored markings. The height at the withers is 25–27.5 inches (64–70 cm) and weighs up to 125 pounds (57 kg) for males, females are just slightly smaller. Although the temperament of individual dogs may vary, Berneses are generally calm, self-assured, and docile dogs, friendly to children as well as to other pets.
Bred as a guard dog, the Boerboel is a large, sturdy dog breed from South Africa. Their proportions are formidable – often measuring up to 27 inches (70 cm) tall and weighing over 220 pounds (100 kg). Boerboels are very obedient and intelligent dogs with strong territorial instincts. They are loyal, particularly great with kids, and tend to be protective of their family and territory.
Anatolian shepherd dog is a big dog breed which originated in Turkey possibly as long as 6,000 years ago. Anatolian shepherds can stand over 31 inches (80cm) tall and weigh 150 pounds (68 kg,) however, due to their thick coat, they look even larger and heavier than they actually are. The breed was developed to be independent and forceful, responsible for guarding its master’s flocks over vast areas without human assistance.
Developed in Argentina primarily for the purpose of big-game hunting, Dogo Argentino is a huge, muscular dog with a short, white coat. Males can grow up to 30 inches (76 cm) long and weigh over 120 pounds (55 kg).
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
The Greater Swiss mountain dog is another large dog breed which was developed in the Swiss Alps. This big dog is robust and heavy-boned with great physical strength but is still agile enough to perform the all-purpose farm duties it was originally used for. Among all the Swiss mountain dogs, this breed is considered the oldest and largest with males often weighing well over 150 pounds (72 kg) and reaching heights of almost 30 inches (76 cm). The Greater Swiss is a happy, intelligent and sociable dog with an enthusiastic nature and a strong affinity to people and children.
Native to western Turkey, the Akbash was bred primarily as a livestock guardian dog and a shepherd dog. This medium to large dog breed weighs anywhere between 75 to 140 pounds (34 to 64 kg) and ranges from about 27 to 34 inches (69 to 86 cm) tall. The Akbash is leaner and sometimes taller than other Turkish livestock guardian dog breeds and, when protecting their charges, they are known for their tremendous power, focus, endurance, and perseverance.
Also known as Pakistani Mastiff, the Bully Kutta is a descendant of the extinct Alaunt, an ancient dog breed that originated in present day Pakistan. The Bully Kutta is predominantly white in color. However, fawn, brindle, brown, black and various bi-colors are also common. These extra large dogs are usually about 35 inches (90 cm) tall and can weigh as much as 210 pounds (95 kg). The breed is generally docile, friendly, and very trainable.
Dogue de Bordeaux
Also referred to as Bordeaux mastiff or French mastiff, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient French dog breeds. It is a very powerful and muscular dog that has been put to work in many different capacities, from pulling carts and hauling heavy objects, to guarding flocks and property. Despite it not being as tall as some other breeds on this list, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a dense and powerful build with males weighing in well over 150 pounds (68 kg). One of the distinctive features of the breed is a wide, massive head; claimed to be the largest head in the canine world, in proportion to the rest of the body. Unfortunately, these dogs are prone to numerous diseases and their average lifespan is one of the shortest among all breeds, usually ranging around 5 to 6 years.
The Landseer is remarkably similar to Newfoundlands and some kennel clubs even consider the breed to be simply a black-and-white variant, but the international federation of kennel clubs recognizes it as a separate breed. Not surprising, its body proportions are also very similar to those of the Newfoundland, with males reaching heights of 32 inches (80 cm) and weighing in at about 180 pounds (over 80 kg). The Landseer is known for its unusually sweet disposition, gentleness, and serenity, as well as for being quicker and more responsive than regular Newfoundlands, which makes them easier to train.
Closely related to the Neapolitan mastiff, the Cane Corso is another Italian breed valued as a great hunter and guardian. It is well muscled but less bulky than most other mastiff breeds. It’s also slightly smaller than the Neapolitan mastiff, reaching a height of about 28 inches (70 cm) at the withers and weighing anywhere from 88 to 110 pounds (40 to 50 kg).
Originally bred by nomadic cultures of Tibet, China, Nepal, and Central Asia, the Tibetan mastiff is an ancient breed of a large, muscular dog with a thick, usually dark coat. Its name is misleading, however, as it’s not actually a mastiff at all and is in fact more closely related the the mountain dogs. Males can reach heights of up to 33 inches (83 cm) and weigh between 100-160 pounds (45–72 kg), and they have even been known to take down wolves and leopards that threaten their herds.
The Kuvasz is a breed of ancient Hungarian dog that was originally used for guarding livestock. It is a big dog with a dense white double coat which ranges from wavy to straight in texture. Although it may not be as robust and bulky as the Swiss mountain dogs and great Pyrenees, they’re still large and agile enough to help the shepherds protect their herds. The Kuvasz is a smart and intelligent breed and is sometimes even described as having a clown-like sense of humor.
Originally bred for mountain rescue, the Saint Bernard is a giant dog breed popular in Italian and Swiss Alps. Its proportions are enormous – the dogs can be up to 3 feet (91 cm) tall and weigh as much as 265 pounds (120 kg). The heaviest Saint Bernard ever recorded though was called Benedictine and weighed an incredible 366 pounds (166 kg). Another Saint Bernard, Barry, was famous for saving somewhere between 40 and 100 human lives in the mountains.