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20 Biggest Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Dogster Team

Tibetan Mastiff.

20 Biggest Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

There are nearly 400 different breeds of dog recognized globally, with the American Kennel Club recognizing 190 distinct breeds. Considering hybrids and crossbreeds, there are many more. And, while a lot of owners and potential owners prefer toy and smaller dogs, some love the big breeds.

Big breeds include tall dogs, those that are long, and those that weigh the most. And below, we have listed 20 of the biggest dog breeds to help you find the ideal breed, or just to satisfy your curiosity.

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What Qualifies as a Big Dog Breed?

Big is a fairly subjective word. It can be taken to mean the tallest when on all four paws, the tallest when standing on rear legs and stretching upwards, or the heaviest. And, depending on which definition you’re considering, different dog breeds meet those requirements. In the list below, we list 20 giant breeds that are either tall, like the Great Dane, or very heavy, like the Mastiff breeds.

The 20 Largest Dog Breeds

1. Great Dane

blue great dane running in the field
Image Credit: Katho Menden, Shutterstock
  • Height: 35 Inches
  • Weight: 150 Pounds
  • Origin: Germany

The Great Dane is a giant dog breed, standing 35 inches tall. While it isn’t the heaviest breed, it still tips the scales at 150 pounds, so owners will certainly know about it if the Great Dane wants to be a lap dog. Despite its mammoth size, the breed is known for being affectionate and loving and is often described as being a gentle giant. It is especially gentle and calm around small children and smaller animals. But that doesn’t alter the fact that this dog will take up a lot of room in your home, as well as your heart.


2. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard dog across pine trees during daytime
Image Credit: Alexandra Lau, Unsplash
  • Height: 33 Inches
  • Weight: 160 Pounds
  • Origin: Switzerland

The Saint Bernard isn’t as tall as the Great Dane, standing a couple of inches shorter. But it does tend to weigh a little more. There are short-haired and long-haired Saint Bernards, and the fact that this breed was originally raised to rescue lost travelers from snowy mountains should tell you everything you need to know about its temperament, as well as its preference for cold weather. Owners need to be prepared for heavy grooming if they have a long-haired Saint Bernard, and a lot of drool regardless of coat length.


3. Boerboel

boerboel
Image Credit: Dora-Zett, Shutterstock
  • Height: 32 Inches
  • Weight: 180 Pounds
  • Origin: South Africa

The Boerboel is a docile breed that looks similar to Mastiff breeds. It was bred to protect livestock and family, in South Africa, though, so while it can appear quiet and peaceful, owners need to be prepared for a dog that can be territorial and may show signs of aggression. Early socialization and ongoing training are essential if you intend to take a Boerboel into your home. And even if your Boerboel is loving and calm, expect a lot of chewing, pulling, and heavy play sessions.


4. Tosa Inu

Tosa Inu
Image Credit: acceptphoto, Shutterstock
  • Height: 32 Inches
  • Weight: 180 Pounds
  • Origin: Japan

The Japanese Fighting Dog is a big dog with a big history. The Tosa Inu was bred to fight and is a strong, imposing looking dog that won’t back down from confrontation. However, as is true of most fighting breeds, it tends to be gentle and very loving with its family. Breeders wanted dogs that were ferocious in the ring but this couldn’t carry over to the handlers. The Tosa Inu is banned in some countries, so check local laws if you are considering getting one.


5. Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound
Image Credit: Brian Jones, Unsplash
  • Height: 32 Inches
  • Weight: 130 Pounds
  • Origin: Ireland

The Irish Wolfhound was originally bred as a war dog but then found its calling as a sighthound. And, while its long legs and doleful walk might make it look slow, the Wolfhound is very athletic and will give chase to most things that move. It is a gentle dog, though, that does especially well when brought up around children and other animals. It can get along with cats if given a proper, gradual introduction.


6. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees
Image Credit: Mike Turner, Unsplash
  • Height: 32 Inches
  • Weight: 110 Pounds
  • Origin: France/Spain

The Great Pyrenees is another breed, like the Saint Bernard, that was brought up to work in the mountains. And, also like the Bernard, it prefers a cold climate to a hot one. It is a gentle and considered breed that is good with children and other animals, so it will fit well into most families. However, it does have a reputation for being on the stubborn side, so despite being intelligent, it can be a challenge to train, especially for first-time owners.


7. Leonberger

Leonberger
Image Credit: Reba Spike, Unsplash
  • Height: 31 Inches
  • Weight: 150 Pounds
  • Origin: Germany

The Leonberger has a lion-like appearance with long hair and a beautiful face. Their long coats do require a lot of care and attention, but the Leon is known for being good with children, people, and other animals. Be prepared to provide a lot of daily exercise and offer regular grooming if you intend to get one of these rarer dogs.


8. Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound
Image Credit: Kim Christensen, Shutterstock
  • Height: 31 Inches
  • Weight: 100 Pounds
  • Origin: Scotland

Scottish Deerhounds are tall dogs that look somewhat similar to Irish Deerhounds with a scruffy coat. They are also very affectionate dogs and their calm, quiet demeanor makes them suitable for families as well as single households. Their patience also stretches to training, which means this breed makes a decent choice for first-time owners that want a large dog. You will need to help take care of that coat, though, so expect some regular grooming as part of your life with the Deerhound.


9. Mastiff

english mastiff dog portrait isolated outdoor in the green field
Image Credit: Monica Arauz, Shutterstock
  • Height: 30 Inches
  • Weight: 200 Pounds
  • Origin: England

The Mastiff is one of if not the heaviest dog breeds in the world. This ancient breed was raised as a guard dog, and while Mastiffs are loving and loyal with family, they can be formidable if they sense a threat. They lollop when walking but despite the slow pace, Mastiffs need plenty of exercise. This is especially important with this type of breed because their size means they are prone to putting on excess weight, which can lead to serious health concerns and illnesses.


10. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff lying on the grass
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock
  • Height: 30 Inches
  • Weight: 180 Pounds
  • Origin: Italy

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a Mastiff breed which means it shares a lot of similarities and traits. Except, where the Mastiff is brown, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a dark gray. It is a low-maintenance dog, although it does require regular exercise, and it makes a great companion dog for families, showing its loving side and loyalty to its owners.


11. Newfoundland

Newfoundland
Image Credit: Andy Lyell, Unsplash
  • Height: 30 Inches
  • Weight: 140 Pounds
  • Origin: Canada

Newfoundlands look like giant stuffed bears and they have the temperament to match. They are affectionate and very loving with their owners. They’re good with children and can be quite protective of them. They are sociable dogs that will typically get along well with strangers as well as family, but they do need a lot of grooming and they do require plenty of time and attention.


12. Akita

Akita
Image Credit: Jae Lee, Unsplash
  • Height: 30 Inches
  • Weight: 100 Pounds
  • Origin: Japan

The Akita is a Japanese breed that is very stocky and muscular. It has pointed ears that look more like cat ears than dog ears. Originally bred to hunt large game, the Akita is courageous. It can also be aloof and even a little wary of strangers. The dog’s family gets to enjoy the loving, loyal, and even slightly silly side of the breed. The breed prefers cold weather thanks to the thick double coat that protects against the elements.


13. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd
Image Credit: CharlitoCZ,Shutterstock
  • Height: 29 Inches
  • Weight: 130 Pounds
  • Origin: Turkey

The Anatolian Shepherd is a working dog from Turkey. They can grow to be very large indeed and their thick, light-colored coat means that they can blend in with the animals they protect. The Anatolian is known for being a capable guard dog that is able to fight off other dogs and wild animals if they threaten the dog’s flock. Training and socialization are important with this breed.


14. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock
  • Height: 29 Inches
  • Weight: 125 Pounds
  • Origin: Tibet

The Tibetan Mastiff is another Mastiff breed, but this one hails from Tibet. It is a very large breed and is known to be independent and somewhat stubborn, which means early training will prove vital to turn it into a manageable companion dog. The thick double coat does take some care and this Mastiff prefers cold temperatures to hotter ones.


15. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog
Image Credit: othmarsigrist, Pixabay
  • Height: 28 Inches
  • Weight: 110 Pounds
  • Origin: Switzerland

The Bernese Mountain Dog is another that is more comfortable in cold climates thanks to its thick coat. The breed is known for being friendly, loyal, and sociable. It gets along with children as well as adults and can usually integrate well into a home with other pets. You will need to provide regular exercise but it doesn’t need to be excessively challenging exercise.


16. Cane Corso

Cane Corso
Image Credit: Sophie Hollies, Unsplash
  • Height: 28 Inches
  • Weight: 110 Pounds
  • Origin: Italy

The Cane Corso is an aggressive-looking dog that has a businesslike attitude. Although confident, it will be wary around strangers, and owners must socialize this breed as early as possible to prevent any potential aggression from emerging. The dog is big and strong, and it has a powerful, square head, with a slick-looking coat. The Cane Corso might be illegal in your country, however, so check local laws before buying or adopting.


17. Doberman

black and tan female doberman pinscher dog standing on the bench
Image Credit: Michsa, Shutterstock
  • Height: 28 Inches
  • Weight: 90 Pounds
  • Origin: Germany

Bred by a German tax collector in the 19th Century, The Doberman was raised to exhibit the perfect guarding traits. It was widely used during World War II by armed forces and has been used in a variety of service roles ever since. Today’s Doberman is friendlier and it has a sweet and loving side that comes out with family. It can also be quite playful and a bit silly, although this tends to diminish as the dog ages.


18. Bullmastiff

bullmastiff dog standing in an open field
Image Credit: Michael J Magee, Shutterstock
  • Height: 27 Inches
  • Weight:140 Pounds
  • Origin: England

The Bullmastiff was bred to protect gamekeepers and their animals, and it has a typical guard dog temperament. It is alert and will spot potential threats, but is loving and loyal with its owners. Start socializing a Bullmastiff as soon as possible to ensure it is good with strangers and doesn’t view everything new as a potential threat.


19. Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux dog posing Outdoors
Image Credit: VeraReva, Shutterstock
  • Height: 27 Inches
  • Weight: 130 Pounds
  • Origin: France

The Dogue de Bordeaux, or French Mastiff, is a big, muscular dog. It is a loving and affectionate family dog but is also prone to stubbornness and can be difficult to keep under control at times. You will need to be patient when it comes to training, but your efforts will be rewarded.


20. Bloodhound

Close-up portrait of a brown bloodhound on a sunny day
Image Credit: Glikiri, Shutterstock
  • Height: 27 Inches
  • Weight: 100 Pounds
  • Origin: France

The Bloodhound has an unmistakable appearance. As well as having long ears that droop down to the ground. The breed also has sorrowful eyes and walks with its head low to the ground. The Bloodhound is known for having the best sense of smell in the canine world and is often used as a scenting or search and rescue dog because of this trait. While the breed can seem lazy, when it is on a trail, it is relentless in its pursuit.

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Conclusion

Above are some of the biggest dog breeds in the world, and there is a wide variety of different dog types and characters. Dogs of this size, no matter their temperament, will become a big part of your life. They will take up a lot of space, and those that need regular grooming or a lot of exercise will also take up a lot of your time. But some of these breeds make the sweetest family pets and others are fiercely loyal to their owners.


Featured Image Credit: Sergey Lavrentev / Shutterstock.

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