10 Biggest Dog Breeds in the World

Mastiffs, Saint Bernards and Great Pyrenees lead the way as the biggest dog breeds in the world. Check out the full list here.

Biggest Dog Breeds in the World
Our list of the 10 biggest dog breeds in the world appears below. Photo: PixelwunderByRebecca

While there’s a lot to love about all dog breeds, for some people it’s all about the big dogs.

And many people want to know: Which ones are the biggest dog breeds in the world?

Sure, you may have heard of popular big dog breeds like the Great Dane or the Bernese Mountain Dog, but some of the lesser-known breeds are giving these gentle giants a run for their money in the size department.

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If you’re looking to adopt a big dog, then check out the following 10 biggest dog breeds in the world — which I’ve ranked by height.

10 Biggest Dog Breeds in the World

Biggest Dog Breeds in the World: Irish Wolfhound
Surprise! Irish Wolfhounds top this list of the biggest dog breeds in the world (as ranked by height). Photo: lutz-p0

1. Irish Wolfhound

  • Height: 30–35 inches
  • Weight: 105–120 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 6–10 years

The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, this is a Greyhound-like breed — muscular and strong, yet elegantly built. Irish Wolfhounds combine their power and swiftness with keen eyesight.

The breed’s origins are surrounded in mystery, but Irish Wolfhounds have been mentioned as far back as the year 391, when the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius Symmachus mentioned them in a letter to his brother, Flavianus, saying, “All Rome viewed them in wonder.”

Irish Wolfhounds are gentle, courageous and mild-mannered — and, provided you have room on the couch, they make great family pets.

Biggest Dog Breeds in the World: Great Dane
Great Danes are #2 on our list of the biggest dog breeds in the world. Photo: Csanad Kiss

2. Great Dane

  • Height: 28–32 inches
  • Weight: 110–175 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 8–10 years

It’s no surprise that the Great Dane makes this list!

Guinness World Records officially recorded a Great Dane named Zeus as the record holder for tallest dog ever — Zeus stood at a whopping 44 inches tall!

Great Danes were originally bred in Germany for the purpose of hunting large wild boar.

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These tall dogs tend toward friendliness, affability and patience, and they make wonderful family pets for those who are prepared to meet the needs of such a large-breed dog. To take just one example, the record-holding Zeus ate more than 2 pounds of dog food every day.

Like many larger breeds, Great Danes have a shorter lifespan than some of their counterparts. Zeus died at only 5 years old, which was a few years below the average of 8–10 years for Great Danes.

Biggest Dog Breeds in the World: Scottish Deerhound
Scottish Deerhounds are #3 on our list of the biggest dog breeds in the world because of their height. Photo: adamnsinger

3. Scottish Deerhound

  • Height: 28–32 inches
  • Weight: 75–110 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 8–11 years

Scottish Deerhounds are gentle, polite dogs who make excellent family pets.

As with the Irish Wolfhound, this breed’s origins stretch very far back. Both of these breeds may even be related, although some people claim Scottish Deerhounds were once the hounds of the mighty Picts.

Scottish chieftains often had several of these great hounds on hand to aid in hunting massive red deer.

“At all times great value has been set on the Deerhound,” according to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America, which adds: “Records of the Middle Ages allude repeatedly to the delightful attributes of this charming hound.”

Biggest Dog Breeds in the World: Mastiff
Mastiffs are truly massive dogs — they can weigh 230 pounds or more. Photo: byrdyak

4. Old English Mastiff

  • Height: 27–30 inches
  • Weight: 120–230 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 6–10 years

Known either as the Old English Mastiff or simply the Mastiff, this massive dog can trace its origins back to Asia.

It was the British who took the most care to see the line stay pure, and it is to them we owe the Mastiff of today. These dogs were used to guard castles and estates and made excellent protectors.

Mastiffs of today are gentle and amiable yet formidable when their people or property are threatened. Mastiffs are extremely loyal and dedicated to their families and are happiest when surrounded by those they love.

The American Kennel Club calls the Mastiff “a massive, heavy-boned dog” that “can outweigh many a full-grown man.”

Biggest Dog Breeds in the World: Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees made the top 5 in our list of the biggest dog breeds in the world. Photo: wablair

5. Great Pyrenees

  • Height: 25–32 inches
  • Weight: 85–100 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

These beautiful dogs are named for the mountains in which they were bred to protect flocks. In the United States they are known as Great Pyrenees, but in Europe they are called Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.

The Great Pyrenees Club of America estimates these dogs first appeared around 3000 B.C.

The Great Pyrenees is highly intelligent and deeply protective of their family (remember, they were bred to protect their flocks). Although generally calm dogs relative to their size, they may become agitated in a chaotic environment or if they are not exercised well enough.

biggest dog breeds in the world
Leonbergers originally were a cross between Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands. Photo: sesheta

6. Leonberger

  • Height: 25.5–31.5 inches
  • Weight: 90–170 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 8–9 years

Leonbergers were bred in the 19th century as companion animals and are a cross between Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands.

The dogs were highly sought out by European royalty but were also greatly effective as working dogs on farms.

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Because Leonbergers were bred to be companions, they are generally calm, friendly and loving. These big dogs enjoy spending lots of time with their families.

The Neopolitan Mastiff was said to have been bred centuries ago by Alexander the Great. Photo: Stanimir Stoev

7. Neapolitan Mastiff

  • Height: 24–31 inches
  • Weight: 110–150 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 8–10 years

The distinctive Neapolitan Mastiffs are from Italy and were first bred by the Roman Army as dogs of war. Later, they were used as guard dogs.

According to the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club, the forefathers of these dogs were bred by historical figures such as Alexander the Great (“instrumental in creating the modern Neapolitan Mastiff”) and can trace their roots as far back as 3000 B.C.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are generally calm but take their duties as protectors and guards seriously. They tend to be reserved with strangers and will live their best lives if they are properly socialized from a young age.

biggest dog breeds in the world
Saint Bernards made the top 10 on this list. Photo: csr_ch

8. Saint Bernard

  • Height: 26–30 inches
  • Weight: 120–180 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 8–10 years

These familiar dogs were originally bred in Switzerland and are thought to have come into existence around 1660.

Details of their early years are sketchy, but Saint Bernards are known to have accompanied monks on patrol around the mountains. They worked in teams when engaging in patrols and lifesaving maneuvers. If someone was found buried under the snow, one dog would begin digging the person out while the other would run to get help.

Saint Bernards are famously patient and are often referred to as “nanny dogs” (although dogs and children should never be left unsupervised together). They are intelligent, calm and friendly.

The Black Russian Terrier was created in the 1930s from more than a dozen breeds. By: Kristine Lacoste/Petful
Black Russian Terriers were created by the Russian military. Photo: Kristine Lacoste/Petful

9. Black Russian Terrier

  • Height: 26–30 inches
  • Weight: 80–130 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

In the 1930s, the Russian military began working to breed a dog who could be used as a security dogs. The Black Russian Terrier was created from a combination of 17 different breeds, including Newfoundlands, Rottweilers and Giant Schnauzers.

In 1956, the Black Russian Terrier was released to private breeders and first appeared in America in the 1980s.

Giants among terriers, this breed is strong, courageous and intelligent. Black Russian Terriers bond strongly with their families and make excellent protectors. However, like other “guard” breeds, they tend toward being reserved with strangers.

By: Eric Isselee
The Kuvasz just made our list of the biggest dog breeds in the world — coming in at #10. Photo: Eric Isselee

10. Kuvasz

  • Height: 26–30 inches
  • Weight: 70–115 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

The Kuvasz is another ancient breed. According to the Kuvasz Club of America, the Kuvasz is first mentioned in Mesepotamian civilization.

Later, in what is now Hungary, the breed took on its current appearance and guarded both livestock and property.

Kuvaszok (the plural form of the breed name) are loyal to their families but are often reserved with strangers. They can be strong-willed and independent, so they require a firm hand and plenty of training and socialization from a young age.

Honorable Mentions

These dogs were just edged out in the height department but are big enough to warrant an honorable mention:

  • The Anatolian Shepherd reaches an average of 27–29 inches tall and weighs 80–150 pounds.
  • The popular Newfoundland reaches 26–28 inches and weighs 100–150 pounds.
  • Tibetan Mastiffs are 24–30 inches tall and weigh about 70–150 pounds.
  • The beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog is 23–27.5 inches tall and 70–115 pounds.
  • The Italian-bred Cane Corso notches in at 23.5–27.5 inches tall and weighs 88–110 pounds.
  • France’s Dogue de Bordeaux, or French Mastiff, tops 23–27 inches and can weigh 100 pounds or more.

Final Thoughts on the Biggest Dog Breeds in the World

If you’re looking to add a giant breed to your household, you can’t go wrong with any one of the above breeds.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, do some research on your chosen breed. Knowing a breed’s history and makeup makes for a much better pet parent because it allows you to find the breed that best suits your life.

As always, training and socialization make a world of difference when it comes to any breed. With the giants, this is even more important. However, with the right families, these dogs prove that giant breeds have hearts as big as their bodies.

References


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