Dog lovers are used to seeing a wide variety of dogs that differ in personality, physical attributes, and temperament. We appreciate the unique differences between these dog breeds and learn more about them and what they can do as time goes by.
These dog breeds exist in different shapes and sizes. Some of the largest dog breeds have an ancient pedigree and have been bred for several purposes over the centuries; some include guard dogs, protection dogs, and herding dogs. These dog breeds have become lovable household pets in modern times.
Large dog breeds are often perceived to be intimidating and for a good reason. They are big dogs that require more space, exercise, and maintenance.
Training them can be overwhelming even for the experienced handler. But their large size makes them the perfect cuddle buddy and wonderful companions for the home.
We will be looking at some of the largest dog breeds in the world and their origins in this article.
Table of Contents
- 1. Saint Bernard
- 2. Leonberger
- 3. Neopolitan Mastiff
- 4. English Mastiff
- 5. Scottish Deerhounds
- 6. Dogue de Bordeaux
- 7. Irish Wolfhound
- 8. Caucasian Shepherd
- 9. Great Dane
- 10. Newfoundland
1. Saint Bernard
Although thought to be named for its angelic temperament, the Saint Benard was bred by a Swiss Monastery. They are large dogs ranging between 28-30 inches and thus perfect for protecting sacred land. They also make fantastic search and rescue dogs, especially in the Swiss Alps where people can get missing during accidents and snowstorms; their kind face and soft eyes were a welcome sight to lost travelers. Saint Bernards are still used in search and rescue operations all over the world today. However, they also make incredible family companions thanks to their loving and docile temperament.
The Leonberger is a cross between a Saint Bernard, a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, and a Newfoundland. The Leonberger is a big, fluffy dog that generally stands around 30 inches. This dog breed is big, intelligent and strong, and is most commonly used for herding and tracking. They are best suitable for veteran dog owners with knowledge of training as without proper discipline, the Leonberger can become destructive. When they are well trained and socialized, they make an excellent family dog. They are, however, sensitive and not suitable for being around young children.
3. Neopolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a smart and quiet giant dog breed initially bred for guarding homes in Southern Italy. They have an odd appearance with heavy, loose skin designed to protect them in case of an attack. These big lapdogs are typically around 31 inches tall at the shoulder and thrive off human contact, so they are best suited to family life. The Neopolitan Mastiff is known for being fearless and protective of home and family, making it an ideal guard dog. However, the dog is not an ideal warning system as mastiffs tend to be quiet and have a habit of sneaking up on intruders rather than barking to warn them off. You’ll have to be able to handle a lot of drool, though, as their huge, droopy jowls mean that they are prone to slobbering.
4. English Mastiff
The English Mastiff is a giant dog breed that stands between 27-35 inches tall and weighs around 200-230 pounds, making it one of the biggest dog breeds in the world. The English Mastiff is known throughout history for its terrifying beginnings, and this breed is descended from ancient war dogs. Now it warms sofas around the world and makes a loving family member. When they’re not snuggled up with their favorite humans, this giant dog breed is also used for security, police, and military work thanks to their high intelligence
5. Scottish Deerhounds
As the name implies, the Scottish Deerhound originates from Scotland and was once used for hunting red deer. They are larger and weigh more than greyhounds but possess a lean body meant for speed. Deerhounds can be as tall as 32 inches and weigh about 110 pounds. Although they are not used as hunting dogs anymore, the breed is used in lure coursing competitions by enthusiasts.
6. Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux is also known as Bordeaux mastiff, French mastiff, and Bordeaux Dog. But this breed, by any other name, remains a massive dog breed. Although other breeds, like the poodle, French bulldog, Great Pyrenees, and Basset hound, may be more famous breeds of French origin, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of France’s most ancient dog breeds.
The Dogue de Bordeaux stands around 23-27 inches tall and weighs between 125-150 pounds. Although it is pretty average compared to other mastiff breeds, it does have one thing that makes it unique: the Dogue de Bordeaux is reported to have the largest head of any canine in relation to body size.
Unlike the Neapolitan mastiff, the Bordeaux Dog has been used for more than simply protection, although that was also part of its job description. These dogs also were used for everything from pulling carts to watching over sheep. It has historically been a working dog and a jack of all trades as far as dogs are concerned. The breed is active and energetic when outside, but once inside, it is calm.
7. Irish Wolfhound
The Irish wolfhound, like the Scottish deerhound, was bred to be a courser and was initially used to chase down wolves. This dog breed was bred from war hounds into a dog used for hunting and guarding. The Irish wolfhound is an ancient dog breed and may have been brought to Ireland as far back as 7000 B.C. Although they were mainly used for hunting in the past, Irish wolfhounds are fairly quiet, reserved, intelligent, and easygoing.
The Irish wolfhound is the tallest of all dogs, even more than the Great Dane. According to breed standards, the minimum height of an Irish wolfhound should be 32 inches for males and 30 inches for females. Males sometimes stand as tall as 34-35 inches and weigh from140 pounds and above.
And though the English mastiff is as tall as a miniature horse, the Irish wolfhound is equal to a donkey.
8. Caucasian Shepherd
The Caucasian Shepherd is a large dog breed that originates from Eastern Europe and was used for protecting and herding livestock. This big dog breed can stand at over 30 inches at the shoulder, and its large size meant that it was great at protecting flocks and herds against predators in the Caucasus mountain region. The Caucasian shepherd is suited to experienced dog owners due to their stubborn nature. They can also be quite territorial of their home and dislike other dogs or strangers near their property. However, with proper training and socialization, the Caucasian Shepherd can make a kind and friendly family dog.
9. Great Dane
The Great Dane is one of the most popular dog breeds, at least in terms of height. The Great Dane originates from Germany, and its German name Deutsche Dogge means German mastiff. It is a crossbreed between English mastiff and Irish wolfhounds before settling in Germany.
Great Danes are not the heaviest dogs, reaching around 100-120 pounds, but they are among the tallest. On average, a Great Dane stands around 28-30 inches tall, but often they can be taller. The world record holder for the tallest dog was a Great Dane named Zeus, who stood at an astonishing 44 inches tall. However, Great Danes trade longevity for their size and live only to be between 6-8 years old. Zeus died of old age at just five years old.
The Newfoundland is a working dog from Newfoundland, Canada. Unlike many larger breeds, this dog breed wasn’t bred to be a guard dog. Instead, its purpose was originally to help fishermen. These giant dogs can haul nets and lines from boats, pull carts, and, most importantly, fetch anything that falls overboard, including people. The Newfoundland is an exceptional water dog and strong swimmer, and there have been many people who have been rescued at sea by these gentle giants.
Newfoundland dogs typically stand between 27-30 inches tall and weigh as much as 150 pounds. They look even bigger due to their thick double coat, which keeps them warm even in icy water.