Dog running in snow

LARGE DOG BREEDS - THE WORLD'S 10 LARGEST DOGS

02/06/14

Big dogs can be loveable, gentle and friendly, slobbery, and a lot of fun. While these lovable large dog breeds are great companions, they also require a lot of space, a lot of food, and of course, a lot of love!

Here are the top 10 largest dog breeds:

1. Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog, but not the heaviest. When full grown, a male Irish Wolfhound stands a minimum of 81 cm tall and weighs in at 55 kg. The more petite females of the breed are a minimum of 76 cm and 47 kg.

2. Mastiff This big, heavy breed can look intimidating to many, but they’re gentle giants with a sweet temper. Males stand a minimum of 76 cm and can weigh upwards of 110 kg, while a female’s height and weight can reach 69 cm and 91 kg respectively.  Also known as an English Mastiff, the breed originated as a Roman war dog.  

3. Scottish Deerhounds are long and lean and love to run. Friendly and athletic, these dogs are of fun and eager to chase and play with other dogs. They are a minimum of 71 cm at the shoulder, and weigh at least 34 kg.  Originating in Scotland in the middle ages, the Deerhound is a sighthound once bred to hunt deer.

4. Great Danes are great family pets, as long as you watch out for their wagging tail. Dogs resembling this breed have been seen in Egyptian monuments dating back to 3000 BC.  Originating in Germany, they can weigh up to 59 kg and stand 86 cm high (the world record for tallest Great Dane is 112 cm).

5. Neapolitan Mastiff is a loyal companion to their home and family. A quiet and intelligent large dog breed, these dogs often require proper socialization to accept strangers as they have a history of being used as guard dogs. The Neopolitan Mastiff stands a minimum of 61 cm fully grown and weighs 50 kg.

6. Saint Bernards, bred to rescue stranded Alpine travelers, are perfectly suited to Canada's climate and cold winters. They’re friendly, gentle, and highly social, and are believed to be descendants of molosser type dogs brought into the Swiss Alps by the ancient Romans.  St. Bernards stand about 65 cm and weigh upwards of 59 kg.

7. Black Russian Terriers are every bit as imposing as they look. Fiercely protective and highly social, they make great family dogs, but they are a lot of work. They require a lot of exercise, but are easy to train. Males stand at least 68 cm tall and weigh 50 kg.

Black Russian terriers have some health concerns, including urinary tract stones, hip and elbow dysplasia, and eye conditions. For a large breed, they're reasonably healthy.

8. Leonberger is an interesting breed. If that face looks familiar, it should. As the story goes, Leonbergers were bred during the Victorian era by mating a Newfoundland with a Saint Bernard. Later, the breed was further refined with Pyrenean Mountain Dog and more influence from Saint Bernard. He's a wonderfully social dog who needs a lot of training. Without proper training or constant supervision, this charmer can be very destructive. He's very active, playful, and easily bored; a recipe for disaster if he's home alone. He stands at least 71 cm and weighs 54 kg.

Leonbergers live a tragically short life. On average, they'll die by the age of 8. They also suffer from a number of health conditions, including hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans and panosteitis. Eye disease is common among the breed, and they are also prone to cancer, neurological disease, addison’s disease, hypothyroidism and gastric torsion.

9. Newfoundlands are kind and intelligent dogs with a docile nature. Canadian born and bred, Newfoundlands love water, the outdoors, and have coats thick enough to protect them from the worst weather Canada can throw at them. They’re great family dogs with all the gentle patience and gentleness you'd want in a pet for your kids. Males average 71 cm in height and can weigh 68 kg or more.

10. Great Pyrenees is a glorious, giant white furball originally bred in the Pyrenees mountains to guard sheep and livestock. Their lush coat is designed to resist the elements, including a long, flat, thick outer coat and a dense, woolly undercoat. These dogs average about 76 cm tall and 54 kg.

Large dog breeds can be prone to health issues, too. If you're considering one of these adorable gigantic pups, seek a reputable breeder or shelter who will produce genetic testing results and family history, and be aware that even dogs with a healthy blood line can be vulnerable to common ailments.  Consider pet insurance to keep you and your pet happy and healthy.