Top 10 Largest Dog Breeds
Celebrities may prefer a tiny little Chihuahua, but the majority of avid dog lovers prefer to have a large dog. In fact, many would say that the bigger the dog, the better. When you think about big dog, a Great Dane is probably the first that come to mind. Great Danes are considered to be the tallest of all dogs and English Mastiffs are considered to be the heaviest. However, does that mean that they are two of the largest dog breeds on Earth?
A quick Google search would yield all types of possible results. You can find numerous lists of the largest dog breeds, with many lists repeating a number of the same dogs. However, there are some breeds that you will believe should be included that are not anywhere on the lists. The reason for this is primarily that the lists are created based on standards set forth by the AKC, American Kennel Club. The AKC, unfortunately, does not recognize every single dog breed that is out there, so there are a few large dog breeds that are not on these lists.
This list below is not created based on the AKC standards. Instead, this list of the largest dog breeds takes into account every dog breed known to humankind. Most of the listed breeds average more than 175 pounds and are the heaviest, tallest and strongest breeds in the world.
#1 Spanish Mastiff
Mastiffs are considered to be flock guardians, and the Spanish Mastiff is the largest of these. Male Spanish Mastiffs are known to generally stand about 33 inches tall when measured to the shoulder and weigh in at about 200 pounds, although they can always be taller and weigh more. The Spanish Mastiff is a great livestock guard and has no fear of battling bears or wolves without thinking twice about it.
When not cut off from socialization and has been properly trained, a Spanish Mastiff makes a great addition to the family, as they are very calm. However, these dogs are protective and are known to show aggression when needed, such as when the dog feels as though its owner is being threatened. Because of the way the dog walks, the Spanish Mastiff appears to be extremely lazy. However, if it needs to defend, it will charge into action quickly.
#2 Great Dane
The Great Dane is considered the tallest dog standing at about 34 inches on all fours, but when they stand on their hind legs, they are nearly seven feet tall. It is typically uncommon for any dog to be taller than the Great Dane. The world’s tallest dog, which is a Great Dane, is about 43 inches tall, measured at its shoulders. While they may be the tallest dogs, Great Danes are not generally very stocky, even though they can weigh 200 pounds. Great Danes are well suited for war and protecting against larger animals, as they are known to be very powerful.
While they are huge, Great Danes can be extremely gentle, are perfect companions and do not have a strong prey drive. They get along well with other animals and people. Great Danes are friendly, but are extremely protective when they need to be.
#3 Pyrenean Mastiff
Tall and strong, the Pyrenean Mastiff usually weights around 220 pounds or more and stands about 32 inches tall. Originating in Spain in the Pyrenean Mountain region, the Pyrenean Mastiff is not known to be compelled to go after prey, but have been known to demonstrate herding behavior under certain circumstances. The dogs can be somewhat lazy and tame, but when they need to get up and going, they are ready to charge. As a flock guardian, the Pyrenean Mastiffs were the only form of protection the flock has against bears and wolves in the mountains. The flock’s safety was guaranteed due to the dog’s size and overall protective nature. Although they were encouraged to show aggression towards potential predators and unfamiliar individuals, the Pyrenean Mastiff is typically a very composed and loving dog that rarely ever barks. True aggression is generally only exhibited when the dog has been provided with no other option.
#4 St. Bernard
Commonly referred to as Saint Dogs, the St. Bernard breed is one that you likely quickly recognize. These dogs have not been bred guard, hunt or fight. Instead, they were bred used to flock animals and rescue people in the Italian as well as the Swiss Alps. The breed’s name comes from a waystation of a traveler in the Alps, which was founded by Bernard of Montjoux, an 11th century Monk, who later became Saint Bernard.
Saint Bernards are very loving and caring dogs that generally weight nearly 200 pounds and tower about 31 inches, but some are larger. In fact, records show that the largest St. Bernard weighs over 300 pounds. The originals of the breed didn’t feature the long, soft coats that the breed has today. This coat didn’t develop on the dogs until the 19th century when avalanches decimated the population of St. Bernards. In order to regain its strength in numbers, St. Bernards were crossed with Newfoundland. However, the long hair would freeze in the ice and snow causing many of them to lose their jobs. Because of the calm and pleasant personality, St. Bernards are often flock guardians and a great addition to a family, even with children.
#5 Japanese Mastiff
Also referred to as the Japanese Mastiff, the Tosa Inu is known as a Sumo wrestler as far as the dog world goes. Also known as the “Tosa Touken,” which can be translated to “Tosa fighting dog,” the most prized of these dogs often receive the “Yokozuna” title, which is the same title that the best Sumo wrestlers receive.
Most males weigh close to 200 pounds and stands just four inches shy of three feet. However, it’s not unusual to see a Tosa Inu that is taller and heavier, towering near three feet tall and weighing 220 pounds. These dogs are generally bred for fighting, or were in ancient times, they are pretty aggressive, especially when confronted with other animals. Though, with the right training and adequate socialization, these dogs can make excellent companions.
#6 Korean Mastiff
Looking at these dogs, you wouldn’t be able to guess they had eyes under all that skin. The Korean Mastiff, or Mee Kyun Dosa, looks like a crossbreed of a Sharpei and a Neapolitan Mastiff. The Mee Kyun Soda generally weights close to 180 pounds and stands approximately 30 inches tall. With these measurements, the Korean Mastiff is just a tad larger than the English Mastiff, but just short of being the size of a Tosa Inu.
The Mee Kyun Dosa was developed in Korea when crossed with the Doque de Bordeaux and Tosa Inu and is rarely seen outside of this area. Some reports say that the Korean Mastiff may have been crossed with Neapolitan Mastiffs and Bloodhounds. Although they have a history of fighting, the Korean Mastiff is known to be super gentle and loving in addition to being a bit sluggish, which is probably because of all those wrinkles and wrinkles of skin! They most definitely are not graceful and walk around similar to that of a bear. Even though they were bred to guard – and sometimes fight – these dogs are ideal companions with their shiny and smooth coats that are most often chocolate, mahogany and red.
#7 English Mastiff
Most that are familiar with dogs know that these are some of the largest dogs, and the Guinness Book of World Records lists an Old English Mastiff as the heaviest dog ever. Despite this and the fact that most English Mastiffs grow to be much larger than the average breed size, these dogs are typically 30 inches tall and 180 pounds. So, many English Mastiffs are larger and would actually be listed higher, but when looking at average sizes, they fit in right here.
#8 Tibetan Mastiff
Looking like a lion, the Tibetan Mastiff generally has an attitude to go along with their fearsome appearance. Although it has the name, this breed is not a Mastiff. In fact, the Mandarin Chinese name for this particular dog breed is known as Zang’Ao, which means “Tibetan Mastiff,” or “Tibetan big ferocious dog.” The reputation of this dog suits the name well since they are known to be fierce and extremely protective.
There are two types of this breed: Do-kyhi (meaning “door guard” and was used as a home or flock guardian in ancient times) and Tsang-khyi (meaning “dog from Tsang” and was used as a guard for the temple(s) years ago. As a general rule, male Tsang-kyhi’s are larger towering about 30 inches and weighing about 180 pounds. However, it isn’t at all uncommon to find this breed of dogs much larger with the largest weighing over 280 pounds.
This breed is known to be among the most expensive in the world. Back in 2011, an 11-month-old red Tibetan Mastiff, who towered at an amazing 26 inches and weighed approximately 190 pounds – and he wasn’t even full-grown! – was purchased by a Chinese man for $1.5 million. The dog’s name was Hong Dong, aka “Big Splash,” and before he was named the most expensive dog, another Tibetan Mastiff held that title after being sold in 2009 for more than $600,000. The owners didn’t stop spending money on these prized canines after purchase, as they are supposedly fed a special diet that is comprised of abalone, chicken, beef and sea cucumber.
#9 Giant Alaskan Malamute
Towering at an amazing 35 inches and weighing close to 200 pounds, the Giant Alaskan Malamute is a descendant of a specific type of Malamute: M’loot. As a general rule, the M’loot dogs are larger than other types that descend from the same breed: Hinman-Irwin and Kotzebue. Most of the dog registries do not recognize this breed as separate from Alaskan Malamute. However, many avid dog lovers do, which is why it makes this list. These dogs are wolf-like in appearance, fluffy and giant.
#10 Central Asian Ovcharka
Also known as a shepherd dog and Aziat, the Central Asian Ovcharka originated from Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and surrounding vicinities). The breed is called CAO for short and was used as a flock guardian throughout Central Asia. Although it is originated in Asia, it is a very popular breed in Russia, where it is known as “wolf crusher” or “wolfhound.”
Males are generally 32 inches tall or larger and weigh approximately 175 pounds although most believe that these dogs should be larger than average boasting extreme strength and power. Often still used a home and flock guardians, CAOs are also often used for fighting and hunting. CAOs have dog-fighting ancestry, so they can be aggressive; however, most of these dogs are very loving and are considered a member of the family. Prior to being registered, in many areas, Central Asian Shepherds are required to pass an “original purpose” test. Dogs that are excessively aggressive would fail.
Here’s A few More Noteworthy Largest Dog Breeds
Also known as the South African Mastiff, the Boerboel breed was bred for guarding flocks and homes in South Africa. These dogs were chosen for this task as they are fierce and strong, which was needed to keep South African predators, such as lions and hyenas, away from the farm. These dogs may be ferocious and brawny, but they are confident, calm and loyal. They are territorial but not overly so. Aside from their temperament, their size had a lot to do with it – weighing about 175 pounds and towering 27 inches when measured at the shoulder.
However, this particular breed has been banned from ownership in Denmark due to its fighting reputation. The territorial nature, confidence and inclination to defend until death are what make the South African Mastiff the perfect dog for pit fighting. When the breed has not been properly socialized and trained, the Boerboel can turn extremely aggressive toward not just animals but people as well.
Although it doesn’t look nearly as close to a lion as the Tibetan Mastiff, the Leonberger has become accustomed to the name of “Gentle Lion.” Originating from Germany, these dogs generally weigh about 170 pounds and are about 30 inches tall. They are large, but incredibly sweet. The breed was developed in the 19th century in Germany in Leonberg (which is exactly where the name of the breed came from) using a male St. Bernard and a female Newfoundland. Years later, a Great Pyrenees was thrown in the mix to create a “gentle lion” that boasts all the great traits of its ancestor dog breeds.
Because they play well with children as well as other animals, Leonbergers are excellent family dogs with their generally calm nature. Although these dogs were first used as status symbols, owners of this breed quickly realized the potential for this dog as a guardian of homes and flocks as well as draft work. Leonbergers are frequently used in water rescues and search and rescue missions, just like Newfoundlands and St. Bernards.
Because these dogs are so popular, it’s hard to believe they almost became extinct. Following WWII, there were 8 of these amazing creatures left, but they were carefully bred to bring this breed back to life.
Also referred to as the Italian Mastiff, the Neapolitan Mastiff stands about 30 inches tall, on average, at withers, and weighs around 165 pounds. 31 inches is typically the limit for breed standards, although they aren’t generally penalized if they are taller so long as proper proportions of the body and massiveness are accurately maintained.
While they are large and somewhat commanding, these dogs are typically very gentle and protective when it comes to their family and strangers. Because of this, the Neapolitan Mastiff should be socialized at a early age so as to avoid them causing chaos.
Similarities in this List
Did you notice how the majority of the dog breeds listed were Mastiff-types? Derived from an ancient dog breed known as Molossus, Mastiff-types are often called molosser. The dog was associated with the Molossian tribe, who made Greece their home. It has been believed for some time that this breed of dog had a short and wide muzzle and was mainly used as a hunting and fighting dog.
However, others say that this breed was a lightweight dog, similar to today’s Greyhounds and that the Mastiff-type dogs came from Alaunt, a different ancient dog, which is believed to have looked similar to that of a Caucasian Ovcharka. The Alaunt is believed to be a descendent of the Sarmatian Mastiff, a dog in close relation to the Caucasian Ovcharka.
Regardless of what the truth is, at some point in time, years ago, there was a large dog with a ton of muscle that is the ancestor to today’s Mastiff-type breeds.
But, wait…what about…?
A number of popular dog breeds of large size were left off this list, which may upset some of you, but this list couldn’t feature all large dog breeds. However, as a general rule, the dogs listed on this list are amongst the largest, on average, with some popular large breeds not meeting these heights and weights. The list was made based on weight and then height. Here are more breeds that are tall and brawny, and this list probably features some of your favorites and ones that you are more familiar with:
- The Caucasian Ovcharka is generally about 28 inches tall and weighs about 155 pounds.
- The Irish Wolfhound towers at 35 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.
- The Landseer Newfoundland towers at 32 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds.
- The Anatolian Shepherd is about 30 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.
- The Broholmer is about 30 inches tall and weighs around 150 pounds
- The Newfoundland is around 29 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds.
- The Moscow Watchdog is about 27 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.
- The Kangal Dog towers at 32 inches and weighs 145 pounds.
- The Dogue de Bordeaux towers at 30 inches tall and weighs approximately 145 pounds.
- The Black Russian Terrier is about 29 inches tall and weighs around 145 pounds.
- The Canis Panther is about 30 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds.
- The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is around 29 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds.
- The Rafeiro do Alentejo is about 28 inches tall and weighs approximately 135 pounds.
- The Bullmastiff is around 27 inches tall and weighs around 135 pounds.
- The Akbash Dog towers at 32 inches tall and weighs approximately 130 pounds.
- The Komondor is about 28 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.
- The Rottweiler is about 27 inches tall and weighs around 130 pounds.
- The Perro de Presa Canario is about 25 inches tall and 130 pounds.
- The Bulgarian Sheepdog towers at 30 inches and weighs about 125 pounds.
- The American Akita is about 28 inches tall and weighs approximately 120 pounds.
- The Great Pyrenees is about 28 inches tall and weighs around 120 pounds.