As dog lovers, we’re accustomed to seeing a wide variety of dog breeds. Our appreciation for the difference in these breeds – whether in personality, temperament or physical attributes – can grow as we learn more about the amazing capabilities of man’s best friend.
Dog breeds come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the biggest dog breeds have ancient lineage and have been utilized for a variety of purposes over centuries, including as protection dogs, guard dogs and herding dogs. In modern times, many of them now reside as lovable family pets. Irrespective of their use, there is something truly majestic about these incredible dogs.
Of course, taking care of a bigger dog isn’t without its added complications. Aside from their sheer size requiring sufficient living space (i.e. don’t keep a St. Bernard in a studio apartment), they often require greater levels of exercise, and food/veterinary costs can also increase with a dog’s size. However, as with owning any pet, acting as a responsible dog owner and training your dog can mitigate any potential issues.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the world’s biggest dog breeds and their origins.
Height: 25-27 inches
Weight: 80-100 lbs
Native to Hungary, the Komondor is recognizable by its unmistakable, mop-like appearance. A herding breed, Koms are bold and confident – they are as good at protecting as they are at herding.
Height: 25-27.5 inches (male); 23.5-26 inches (female)
Weight: 100-110 lbs (male); 90-100 lbs (female)
With a large head and muscular structure, the Cane Corso has an intimidating demeanor. Their lineage can be traced back to the Romans.
Height: 24-26.5 inches (male); 24-25.5 inches (female)
Weight: 88-100 lbs (male); 88-95 lbs (female)
This pack-hunting dog specializes in hunting big-game. This large breed was finally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2020.
Height: 30-32 inches (male); 28+ inches (female)
Weight: 85-110 lbs (male); 75-95 lbs (female)
As the name suggests, the Scottish Deerhound was bred to stalk giant wild red deer in the Highlands. Their coat can take many colors, although the dark blue-gray is most common.
Black Russian Terrier
Height: 27-30 inches (male); 26-29 inches (female)
Weight: 80-130 lbs
A guard dog with a distinctive, coarse coat, the imposing Black Russian Terrier is used as a protection dog in one of the world’s harshest climates.
Height: 27-32 inches (male); 25-29 inches (female)
Weight: 100+ lbs (male); 85+ lbs (female)
The Great Pyrenees is a strong mountain dog, exhibiting a calm temperament and majestic appearance. Their size belies the speed of this breed – they can move quickly to deter threats.
Height: 26 inches (male); 24 inches (female)
Weight: 90-150 lbs (male); 70-120 lbs (female)
Noble, regal and the guardians of the Himalayas, the exact origins of the Tibetan Mastiff are unknown. Despite their notable size, they can make devoted family pets.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Height: 25-27.5 inches (male); 23-26 inches (female)
Weight: 80-115 lbs (male); 70-95 lbs (female)
The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in Switzerland and is one of the four varieties of Swiss mountain dogs. Beautiful and affectionate, Berns are usually well-natured.
Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog
Height: 27-29 inches (male); 22.5-28 inches (female)
Weight: 100-130 lbs
Extremely protective, this stubborn breed has protected livestock in its native Romania for centuries.
Dogue de Bordeaux
Height: 23-27 inches (male); 23-26 inches (female)
Weight: 110+ lbs (male); 100+ lbs (female)
With their fawn-colored coat, furrowed brow and Bulldog-like jaw, this French breed is utilized primarily as a protection dog. If properly trained, they can be sweet, sensitive and affectionate.
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Height: 27.5-29.5 inches
Weight: 90-150 lbs
Despite its immense size, the Broholmer is loving and good-natured. Originally from Denmark, the breed almost became extinct in the 1970s, but a group of enthusiasts successfully revived it.
Height: 26-28 inches (male); 24-26 inches (female)
Weight: 100-130 lbs (male); 70-100 lbs (female)
The Akita has special significance in Japan, where the breed originated in the 17th century. Loyal companions, they require socialization as puppies with other dogs and people.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Height: 23-30 inches
Weight: 100-170 lbs
This big breed has been used as a protection dog for centuries, guarding livestock, humans and properties. The Caucasian is bold and not lacking in confidence.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Height: 25.5-28.5 inches (male); 23.5-27 inches (female)
Weight: 115-140 lbs (male); 85-110 lbs (female)
Recognized by the AKC in 1995, the Swissie is an incredibly strong yet agile breed. Their dense coat with black, red and white colorings covering their large frame is instantly recognizable.
Height: 25-27 inches (male); 24-26 inches (female)
Weight: 110-130 lbs (male); 100-120 lbs (female)
The Bullmastiff was used by English gamekeepers to stop poachers in the 1800s. Despite not being as large as its cousin, the Mastiff, its muscular frame acts as an effective deterrent.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Height: 29 inches (male); 27 inches (female)
Weight: 110-150 lbs (male); 80-120 lbs (female)
This large, rugged breed is very protective and territorial. Also known as Kangal, they can weigh as much as 150 pounds.
Height: 28.5-31.5 inches (male); 25.5-29.5 inches (female)
Weight: 110-170 lbs (male); 90-140 lbs (female)
At its tallest, a Leonberger is just over 31 inches. They were originally bred as companions for German aristocrats, but in modern times, they are used as working dogs on farms and pastures.
Height: 21.5-23.5 inches
Weight: 100-200 lbs
Initially used as a fighting dog in Japan, Tosas are now used as watchdogs. They are revered in their homeland and are the biggest of the Japanese dog breeds.
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Height: 32+ inches (male); 30 inches (female)
Weight: 120+ lbs (male); 105+ lbs (female)
The tallest of all AKC breeds, Irish Wolfhounds are actually docile and patient creatures. Despite originally being used to hunt wolves, they are now more likely to be found as companion dogs.
Height: 30-31 inches (male); 25-30 inches (female)
Weight: 120-240 lbs
An ancient breed from the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain, this breed protected livestock from a variety of threats. Nowadays, its predominant use is as a loving family pet.
Height: 28 inches (male); 26 inches (female)
Weight: 130-150 lbs (male); 100-120 lbs (female)
With unparalleled swimming ability, Newfies have rescued many individuals from the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The Newfoundland breed is renowned for its sweet temperament.
Height: 28-30 inches (male); 26-28 inches (female)
Weight: 140-180 lbs (male); 120-140 lbs (female)
One of the world’s most beloved breeds, Saint Bernards are playful and friendly. The breed was historically used to rescue stranded travelers within the Alps.
Height: 30-32 inches (male); 28-30 inches (female)
Weight: 140-175 lbs (male); 110-140 lbs (female)
Tall, lean and imposing, the Great Dane is patient and can be sweet with children. Despite this, the breed can be intimidating and protective. Great Danes are actually German in origin – not Danish.
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Height: 28-35 inches
Weight: 140-200 lbs
With its enormous size and stature, the Spanish Mastiff is used for guarding, defense and protecting livestock. These self-confident dogs have a low-pitched, deep bark.
Height: 26-31 inches (male); 24-29 inches (female)
Weight: 150 lbs (male); 110 lbs (female)
This large breed dates back to the days of Ancient Rome. Its huge head and powerful frame was used to ward off intruders. The Mastino is loyal to its loved ones but suspicious of strangers.
Height: 24-27 inches (male); 22-25 inches (female)
Weight: 150-200 lbs
The Boerboel is a fearless mastiff who gained notorieity in South Africa for protecting rural homes from a range of dangerous predators. These big dogs are watchful, patient and powerful.
Height: 30-33 inches (male); 30-31 inches (female)
Weight: 155-200 lbs (male); 130-155 lbs (female)
Also known as the Indian Mastiff, this large dog originated in the Indian subcontinent. Although sometimes illegally used a fighting dog in parts of India and Pakistan (and even other countries like the UK), the Bully Kutta is primarily used for hunting and guarding.
Height: 30+ inches (male); 27.5+ inches (female)
Weight: 160-230 lbs (male); 120-170 lbs (female)
Standing at 30 inches and weighing as much as many grown men, the Mastiff has an intimidating, overwhelming presence. Brave, strong and loyal, these dogs require careful training – but thrive as gentle companions.
Historically, several of these large dogs were used for working purposes. As we have seen, many have made a successful transition to household pets, acting as lovable, huggable companions for families around the world.