Publication date February 19, 2024

Gentle Giants: Ranking the World's Biggest Dog Breeds

biggest dog breed

Ever think a dog could be your cuddle buddy and furry couch at the same time? Yep, that's life with giant dog breeds! 

We're talking biggest dog breeds over 100 pounds, packed with both impressive sizes and even bigger hearts. They might not fit in your lap (unless you're a weightlifter!), but they make up for it with loyalty, love, and maybe the occasional drool puddle (think small lake!).

Of course, these majestic creatures aren't all snuggles and sunshine. Owning a giant dog is a big decision. They need space, like, mansion-sized space, and you better be strong enough to avoid getting dragged down the street!

But if you're the right owner, the rewards are amazing. Picture epic cuddle sessions and adventures that call for hiking boots, not sandals!

So, curious about these gentle giants? Want to know:

  • Which breeds are the biggest?
  • What to remember before bringing one home?
  • How long you'll share your couch (or house)?

Stick around! This blog digs into everything about the biggest dog breeds.

1. Great Dane (Biggest dog breed in the world)

Great Dane

Great Danes hold the title of the tallest dog breed in the world. They will hog the whole sofa, but you won’t care because they are so patient, easygoing, and also don’t bark much. And as far as tall dog breeds go, they’re the high-rise of canines, particularly when they are on their hind legs. A Great Dane named Zeus was an impressive 44 inches tall at the shoulder and earned the World’s Tallest Dog title by Guinness World Record in 2012. On his hind legs, he was able to tower over 7 feet! Great Danes have big appetites and big hearts, but those big hearts are prone to heart conditions.

Great Dane Breed Overview

Height: 28 to 32 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 110 to 175 pounds

Life cycle: 7 to 10 years

2. Mastiff


What is the largest dog breed? Mastiff has earned the title. Massive and mellow with huge affection and loyalty, Mastiffs are fiercely protective of their human family and announce “intruders” with a thunderous bark. The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that Mastiffs can read human body language and expressions and can communicate with their big, soulful eyes. As they’re protective in nature, you certainly don’t want to stand between these dogs and their family, which makes this dog a breed only for those who are well-versed in dog training and can put in the extensive time needed for socialization. 

Breed Overview

Height: 27.5 to 30 inches and up, at the shoulder

Weight: 120 to 230 pounds

Life cycle: 6 to 10 years

3. St. Bernard

St. Bernard

Almost anyone can recognize a St. Bernard—one of the most loyal dog breeds in the world due to the popular folklore image of this mountain dog wearing a brandy cask around its neck to rescue stranded travelers on a snowy mountainside. But the fun fact is that St. Bernard puppies grow big swiftly. You be surprised to know that it took around 100 St. Bernard puppies to star as the canine child in Beethoven’s 2nd because the pups grew too fast for the film schedule.

Breed Overview

Height: 26 to 30 inches, at shoulder

Weight: 120 to 180 pounds

Life cycle: 8 to 10 years

4. Boerboel


Boerboel also known as the “farmer’s dog,” has roots dating back to the 1600s and is considered as one of the biggest dog breeds today. At that time, the Boerboel’s intimidating size was great for protecting farmland and family. Still, they aren’t hyper fogs running back and forth at the slightest provocation, instead, they are remarkably calm and confident.  Because the dogs of this breed are territorial and protective of their family and love to be close to their family, they even have a soft spot for children. But, they usually don’t have much patience for dogs that challenge them, so if you already have dogs then adopting a Boerboel might not be a good place. 

Breed Overview

Height: 22 to 27 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 150 to 200 pounds

Life cycle: 9 to 11 years

5. Newfoundland


Delicately dubbed “Newfie,” this breed is also known as a child’s beloved “nanny.” Underneath the voluminous hair that gives Newfoundland a leonine look is a big-boned canine that is gentle and sweet-tempered yet highly protective of its family. They’re often said to be the best babysitters as they are exceptionally patient and fond of children. And the best part? Newfoundland are top-notch swimmers so you’ll always have someone to take a dip with. 

Breed Overview

Height: 26 to 28 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 100 to 150 pounds

Life cycle: 9 to 10 years

6. Leonberger


Leoberger, massive and majestic, is bred as companions for European royalty. They received much attention purely because of their immense size, holding court alongside Napoleon III, Tsar Alexander II, and King Edward VII. But, these days, Leonberger is more likely to take a dip in the lake than hold court. Their waterproof coat and quickness make them skillful swimmers, but what you also need to know is that this luxurious coat needs daily brushing, and their nails need clipping every other week. 

Breed Overview

Height: 25.5 to 31.5 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 90 to 170 pounds

Life cycle:  7 years

7. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd

If this breed has a LinkedIn profile, the skills would state “highly observant livestock protector,” “attentive family protector,” and “watchful family pet bodyguard.” Maybe even a cat. Anatolian Shepherd is one of those dogs that get along with cats. Although they’re devoted, patient, and calm, it can be dominating and demeaning, so it’s best to start training early. 

Breed Overview

Height: 27 to 29 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 80 to 150 pounds

Life cycle: 11 to 13 years

8. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

You might see the striking resemblance to the St. Bernard and Rotweiller, component breeds of the “Swissie.” The alert, faithful, and vigilant Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a real sweetie. A time ago, these mountain dog breeds used to pull carts of meat and dairy to the market. But today, they are more likely to use their well-built body for pulling kids on carts or sleds through the snow. 

Breed Overview

Height: 23.7 to 28.5 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 85 to 140 pounds

Life  cycle: 8 to 11 years

9. Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound simply would be a strong contender if the biggest dog breed had an award for the fastest-growing puppy. The leggy breed’s growth is surprising, packing on nearly a pound a day until they are around six months old. Irish Wolfhound is a muscular hound gracefully built along classic Greyhound lines, and capable of great speed at the gallop. They are characteristically patient with kids, though animals their size should be supervised around small children. Although owning an Irish Wolfhound is a unique, rewarding experience, adopting a giant galloping hound is a commitment as big as the big itself.

Breed Overview

Height: 30 to 32 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 105 to 120 pounds

Life cycle: 6 to 8 years

10. Akita


The last stop in our list of biggest dog breeds is this Japanese breed which is the symbol of health, happiness, and long life in its native country, best if you’re looking for a dog with a spiritual connection. New parents often receive a statute of an Akita, in fact, you will be surprised to know Japan admires the Akita so much that they dedicated a national monument to it. Another interesting fact about Akitas is that they like to be clean and are virtually odorless, which is great if you plan on sharing your sofa with a huge dog breed. What’s not so cool is Akita’s price tag, it’s one of the most expensive biggest dog breeds in the world today. 

Breed Overview

Height: 24 to 28 inches, at the shoulder

Weight: 70 to 130 pounds

Life cycle: 10 to 13 years

Know this Before You adopt the Biggest Dog Breed 

biggest dog breed

There are good chances that you’ve already thought about if you have enough space for a huge dog breed. But, there are some essential things you should consider before you adopt a giant dog breed. For starters, they eat a lot of food. 

A veterinarian Lyndsey Larson, VMD, ABVP, VCA Firehouse Animal Hospital in Denver, says “A dog who weighs 100 pounds eats almost five cups a day of commercial dog kibble; then add about 1/3 cup more for every 10 pounds over 100 pounds.” 

And as they are huge, they’ll also need more medicine, including flea and tick preventatives.  Aside from these two weighty factors to consider, there are also hefty price tags you’ll need to keep in mind when adopting the world’s largest dog breeds. 

What is the Biggest dog breeds puppy stage?

While smaller dogs usually reach their full growth at around 12 months, giant dog breeds take their time reaching their adult weight, reaching maturity between 18-24 months old. 

Behavior and training challenges are enhanced when you have a huge dog, so training during the impressionable puppy stage is important. Dr Larson advises, “A good rule of thumb is to get a large breed pet into a training program and support those good habits at home between 16 weeks to one year.”  

Biggest dog breed lifespan

Even though there aren’t clear reasons why most of the giant dog breeds have shorter life spans. They age more quickly than other smaller breeds, thus developing age-related diseases earlier, such as osteoarthritis, making it difficult for them to get around or climb stairs. 

“Plan ahead to help your pet, as some giant breeds require assistance with harnesses and some lifting and assistance to get around as they age or if they become injured,” Dr. Larson adds. 

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