Akhila likes to write about the special characteristics and traits of various dog breeds.
The Biggest Dog Breeds
In this article, we are looking at a few of the largest dog breeds. These imposing breeds of dogs can be highly intimidating to some; however, they tend to be sweet and gentle creatures so long as you give them plenty of love, attention, and care. Bigger really is better when it comes to the incomparable companionship and devotion these dogs show towards their owners.
The following breeds are ranked based on their mass by looking at the maximum weight they can get to under normal circumstances.
Biggest Breeds of Dogs
- St. Bernard
- English Mastiff
- Great Dane
- Tibetan Mastiff
- Irish Wolfhound
- Anatolian Shepard
- French Mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux)
1. St. Bernard
St. Bernards are dear to most of us because it is the breed of Beethoven, the titular dog in the 1992 family comedy film loved by many. These dogs are the most massive on our list because their weight can range from 64 to 120 kilograms. In fact, a St. Bernard named Benedictine still holds the world record for being the heaviest dog ever at 357 lbs.
St. Bernards are mild-mannered, and children can hang around them without the risk of getting mauled. They have a keen sense of impending danger, be it a natural disaster or otherwise, so they make great rescue dogs. They mostly rely on their impeccable sense of smell. The key with this breed of dog is to start training them at a young age.
A St. Bernard can grow from 70–90 centimeters tall. They come in either a smooth or rough white coating with streaks of brown, red, mahogany or black.
With a life expectancy of 8–10 years, these dogs are prone to bloat, leading to other related health risks such as a twisted stomach, heart problems, and wobbler syndrome. Be sure only to feed them small portions two to three times a day.
2. English Mastiff
This breed of dog can weigh up to 110 kilograms and grow up to 90 centimeters. Known for being square-headed, they also come in interesting colors of golden and light brown, apricot, tiger, brindle, or silver.
English Mastiffs are natural guard dogs. As such, they are observed to be very territorial. They are not fans of barking as they have a calm demeanor, but they will spring into action to defend their family and area. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship with an English mastiff.
Having a lifespan of 10–12 years, these dogs are prone to bloat leading to other related health risks. Regulate their meals into frequent small portions.
3. Great Dane
Great Danes are not only heavy but are also a very tall breed of dog. Perhaps the most popular Great Dane familiar to us all is Scooby-Doo. Though he may be animated, he perfectly depicts what this breed of dogs is all about: gigantic, powerful, rectangular-headed, deep-set eyes, friendly, gentle, and charming.
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Currently, the world records for the world’s tallest living dog and the world’s tallest dog ever are both held by a Great Dane. Giant George, as he is called, weighs 250lbs and is 3 feet 7 inches tall from paw to shoulder. He reportedly consumes 110lbs of food every month.
In general, female Great Danes weigh from 45–59 kilograms and are within 76–86 centimeters tall while the male ones weigh 54–91 kilograms and are within 71–81 centimeters tall. Great Danes are very social and love to be around people. They are especially tolerant of children. This is one of the large dog breeds that doesn't shed much. Just like labradoodle puppies and other crossbreed dogs, Great Danes are hypoallergenic.
The average lifespan of this breed is under ten years. Watch out for bloating, heart disease, and mast cell tumors and your Great Dane can live 12–13 years long.
4. Tibetan Mastiff
This intelligent but fierce, fearless, and strong-willed breed originated from Asia. They may be tenacious and provocative but only do so to protect their families and show their loyalty to their masters. It is advisable to have healthy and commanding communication with these dogs. A good watchdog that barks outside the house, Tibetan Mastiffs are calm indoors.
Ranging from an enormous weight of up to 82 kilograms, this breed can grow as tall as 72 centimeters. Tibetan Mastiffs are also known to be natural pack leaders and they are defensive of their flock, and their courage extends to battling fearful preys such as wolves and leopards.
With a long life expectancy of more than 15 years, this breed is prone to thyroid problems, ear infections, and a genetic condition called Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy (CIDN) which is known to be fatal.
One of the most adaptable, companionable, and loyal breeds of big dogs is the Leonberger. Their breed name, coined from a city in Germany, suits them for having the fur, stance, and composure similar to a lion.
Another trait this breed is known for is having an extraordinary level of intelligence and patience. Instead of being aggressive toward children, it is known to simply walk away. Female Leonbergers can weigh between 45–61 kilograms while males can weigh between 54–77 kilograms. They can grow as tall as 80 centimeters.
Skeletal and bone diseases are common to this breed. Otherwise, they can be expected to live up to 8–9 years.
Mild-mannered and slow pacers, these dogs seem lazy but are just too gentle and sweet, and they rarely even bark.
Female Newfoundlands range from 45–55 kilograms while their males weigh between 60–70 kilograms. Their height varies from 55–68 centimeters. These dogs prefer to be idle at home, so it is ideal to bring them out for daily walks. Just remember to let them follow you or walk beside you and not ahead of you to imprint human leadership.
Newfoundlands are prone to heart diseases that are hereditary, so make sure that they do not get fat. They are also prone to SAS or sub-aortic stenosis. Otherwise, their lifespan can extend from 9–15 years.
7. Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest breed of dogs. They can reach up to 7 feet tall when standing on their legs. They can reach up to 90 centimeters from paw to shoulder and weigh up to 69 kilograms.
Some Irish Wolfhounds are reported to be the size of a small pony. Taking care of one is like babysitting. Despite their colossal size, they are slow to mature in both body and mind. As these dogs are huge, so is their demand for food.
This breed is prone to cardiomyopathy and bone cancer, and they have a relatively short life expectancy of 6–8 years.
8. Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolian Shepherds originated in Anatolia or Asia Minor but eventually reached America for further breeding. They can weigh up to 68 kilograms and grow to a maximum of 76 centimeters in height. They are mainly stationed to protect livestock due to their strong senses of sight and hearing.
These dogs have an interesting gait, especially with their tails. The way they carry their tails high or low is an obvious indication of whether they are alert or relaxed, respectively. Attacking an enemy is always the last resort of these herding dogs. If a warning bark does not rattle the enemy, a second, deeper bark is expected. If the danger continues, an attack understandably follows.
Though expected to live to up to 12–15 years, potential risks in this breed involve hypothyroidism. They are also sensitive to anesthesia. Vaccinations against Parvovirus may also be needed for young Anatolian Shepherds because their immune system is relatively slow to develop.
9. Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff)
French Mastiffs have been around for a very long time, having the reputation as one of the oldest French breeds of dogs. In some areas, these dogs are called Bordeaux Bulldogs because of their facial similarities with the mentioned breed. French Mastiffs can weigh up to 65.2 kilograms and grow as tall as 69 centimeters in height.
This breed is not exactly friendly to strangers, being confrontational most of the time, but their loyalty to their master and family is strong. This trait makes the breed a highly bankable guard dog. No inexperienced or first-time dog owners should consider having this breed as their first, as it takes some skill to raise it properly.
They are observed to commonly suffer from epilepsy and heart problems but can reach up to 10–12 years in a healthy condition.
Historically, Bullmastiffs (along with Molosser dogs) were trained and developed as gamekeepers to guard estates. This breed can weigh up to 59 kilograms. Females of this breed can grow from 61–66 centimeters tall while male Bullmastiffs can grow from 64–71 centimeters tall.
It takes a firm master to control a Bullmastiff effectively. They can be particular to the tone and timbre of the voice, so an assertive resonance might be required. One of the most alert guard dogs, Bullmastiffs do not necessarily attack immediately but may just pin and trap an intruder or enemy down. It is very important that at a young age, Bullmastiffs are trained to socialize with strangers and other dogs.
Prone to cancer and different types of tumors, a Bullmastiff is expected to live under ten years.
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© 2014 Akhila Rakash
PAUL in ZAMBIA on June 01, 2020:
Sydney Griego on September 01, 2018:
A Caucasian Shepard is the largest dog. They can stand when on their hind legs at 6 feet takl
robin on November 29, 2016:
We have a newfoundland and are totally in love with the breed. I've enjoyed getting to meet most of these large breeds and find them magnificient!
momqueen on January 15, 2016:
How could you possibly forget Great Pyrenees? This is a wonderful breed (that from a golden retriever owner for 30 years), very loving, silly and majestic. Very much like a newfoundland. As a matter of fact, a newffie is a cross between, a pyrenees and a mastiff.
Akhila Rakash (author) on October 23, 2014:
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed reading ^_^
Sharon Berry from Michigan on September 27, 2014:
I love reading about all of these large, lovable animals.