Do you know the largest dog breeds in the world? DailyPets.net will introduce you to the world’s top 10 largest dog breeds in this article, from powerful mountain-climbing dogs to brave warriors protecting their families.
However, some breeds can become dangerous if not properly trained and nurtured. Let’s explore these giant dogs to appreciate the diversity and uniqueness in the world of dogs.
Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff)
The French Mastiff, also known as the Dogue de Bordeaux, originates in France. It was on the brink of extinction in the early 20th century due to excessive hunting but has been successfully revived through efforts by the government and breed enthusiasts.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is relatively expensive and one of the most expensive dog breeds. For example, a French Mastiff has been sold for as much as $5,000 in the United States.
The French Mastiff has an impressive appearance:
- It has a short and robust body.
- Its height is 23-30 inches (58-75 cm).
- It weighs between 120-145 pounds (54-65 kg).
- The head of the French Mastiff is exceptionally large, broad, heavy, and adorned with characteristic wrinkles.
The top-ranked males have heads measuring approximately 68-75 cm in circumference with short and powerful jaws. Notably, their noses, lips, and eye rims are black or red, distinctly different from the surrounding fur. The nose is turned up, and the nostrils are wide, while the muzzle should make up at least one-third of the head’s volume. The upper lips are thick and hang over the lower jaw.
The French Mastiff has soft neck skin with prominent wrinkles, hanging and slightly pointed ears, straight front legs, large bones, a gradually tapering tail that should not be too long, and hind legs. Their coat is short and soft, ranging from fawn to mahogany, with black or red masks. White patches are only permitted on the chest or paws.
The lifespan of the French Mastiff is approximately 10-12 years, and they often have snoring and drooling issues. They are difficult to breed and give birth to very few puppies, sometimes requiring a cesarean section. Due to their large heads, puppies of this breed may have difficulty during birth. Mother dogs have large chests, so when they nurse, they often lie on their bellies and can accidentally smother their puppies. Mother dogs can be aggressive when nursing.
The French Mastiff sheds moderately, has a gentle and calm temperament, and is highly loyal, patient, and affectionate with their owners. They are courageous and ready to confront strangers, making them one of the best guard dog breeds. However, they can be very aggressive towards other breeds and often exhibit competition among males of the same breed.
French Mastiffs are very gentle with children and family members despite their intimidating appearance. They can live in an apartment if allowed to play indoors comfortably but enjoy outdoor play and require exercise and activity.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog (Kangal)
The Kangal, known as the Anatolian Shepherd Dog or Karabash in Turkish (meaning “blackhead”), is an ancient livestock guardian dog breed originally from Turkey. It was considered a national treasure in Turkey and used to protect livestock in the Sivas region, its homeland. Despite its Middle Eastern origins, Kangals were introduced to the United States in the 1980s and quickly became a beloved breed worldwide.
The Kangal is a large, robust breed with a sturdy frame.
- Males stand between 30-32 inches (77-86 cm) tall and weigh 110-145 pounds (50-66 kg).
- Females stand between 28-30 inches (72-77 cm) tall and weigh 90-120 pounds (41-54 kg).
Their size and strong physique protect livestock against predators like wolves, bears, and other wild dogs. The Kangal’s body structure has some notable features, including a longer body length compared to its height and front legs that are half the height of the dog.
Kangals are highly effective livestock and family guardians. They are:
- Able to assess situations.
- Possess a strong protective instinct.
However, they are often not friendly towards strangers but are very affectionate and friendly with their family, especially children. When properly trained, they are not aggressive or shy and are sensitive, quick to alert to danger, and ready to attack if necessary.
With their independent nature and massive physique, Kangals are not suitable for inexperienced or frail owners to control. They are a very reliable guard dog breed with a high protection capability, but they require careful training and management to ensure the safety of everyone, including other animals.
Black Russian Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier is a medium-sized working dog breed from Russia during the Soviet era. They are strong, healthy dogs with a good nervous system. This breed was recognized in May 1984 and was bred to guard homes.
Black Russian Terriers are larger than other medium-sized terrier breeds. Males stand from 64 to 74 cm, while females stand from 64 to 72 cm, with a difference of approximately 3 cm. Males weigh 36 to 65 kg, which is larger and more robust than females. Their body is well-proportioned and rectangular when lying down.
- Their front legs are straight and strong.
- Shoulders are wide, solid, and developed with a broad, deep bone structure.
- Their four legs are covered in coarse, 2 to 4-inch (5-10 cm) long hair with wide paws, thick flesh pads, and large, black nails.
- They have a straight, strong back and four straight legs.
These rare Black Russian Terriers are:
- Strong and healthy.
- Have a good nervous system.
- Large and robust.
- Have a square head, well-built, with a wide and long skull.
- Beards add to the squareness of their muzzle.
- Their faces are slightly angular but not overly pronounced.
- They have a wide, deep black nose, thick black lips, and a wide, strong jaw.
- Thick, fleshy lips are essential.
- Two jaws have tight, scissor-like teeth.
- They have medium-sized, well-separated black eyes with almond-shaped eyelids.
- Eye rims are black and almond-shaped.
- Their triangular-shaped ears are carried forward and pendulous; erect ears are not accepted.
- Ear length should be close to the outer corner of the eye and sit relatively high.
- Their necks should be thick, firm, and strong.
Black Russian Terriers have a balanced, robust, and powerful appearance, walking lightly on their feet. Their tails are docked and held high. Their black double coat is waterproof. Any white or brown patches are not accepted. The presence of individuals with gray hair is expected. The coat can be dense or slightly sparse, with the texture depending on the level of thickness.
However, they require meticulous care. They need proper nutrition and a suitable activity level during their growth period. The Black Russian Terrier is easy to train, friendly, and enjoys living in large houses. They are excellent swimmers and protectors of homes. Despite their intimidating appearance, they are usually gentle and only become aggressive when provoked. They are affectionate with their owners and can get along well with other pets in the family, including adult dogs. They are lovable and easy to care for.
The Newfoundland dog is a breed that originates from the Canadian region in the Northern Hemisphere and is used as a rescue dog. Besides the name Newfoundland, this breed is also known as New-fun-land. These dogs are a product of breeding between native water dogs and giant mountain dogs, known for their gentle and polite nature. This breed is loved by many families with children, similar to the Saint Bernard breed, earning them the nickname “Saint Bernard of the water” due to their love for playing in the water.
Newfoundland dogs were introduced to Newfoundland by various European countries, including Spain and Portugal, in the early 16th century. These dogs came in two sizes, with the smaller size becoming the ancestor of the Labrador Retriever, while the larger Greater St. John dog evolved into today’s Newfoundland breed. Later, imported American breeds were found to share the same blood group as Newfoundland dogs.
Newfoundlands are one of the largest dog breeds and were initially used as water rescue dogs in the North Atlantic. Their double-layered coat is suitable and adaptable to the harsh conditions of the Northern Hemisphere, although their fur requires careful grooming.
They are large, healthy dogs with thick coats:
- Males weigh 69 to 74 cm and weigh 56 to 68 kg.
- Females weigh from 63 to 69 cm and weigh 45 to 54 kg.
They have strong, well-defined muscles and are known for their endurance. Their thick fur makes them appear larger than their actual size. They come in various colors, including brown, black, yellow, black and white, and gray. They often have white patches on their chest, paws, and tails. With their double-layered coat, this breed is well-suited to regions with cold climates in the Northern Hemisphere.
However, they require careful grooming. They need proper nutrition and a suitable activity level during their developmental stages. Newfoundland dogs are easy to train, friendly, and enjoy living in large houses. They excel at swimming and guarding homes. Despite their appearance, they are usually gentle and only become aggressive when provoked. They are affectionate with their owners and can get along well with other pets in the family, including adult dogs. They are lovable and easy to care for.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a breed of mastiff dog bred and trained by Tibetan people to protect livestock and the lives of indigenous people in the Himalayan region from wild animals such as wolves, tigers, and bears, as well as to guard monasteries in Tibet. They are known for their loyalty, stubbornness, and devotion to a single owner.
Tibetan Mastiffs are often referred to as the “Lords of the Plateau” and are described as larger than wolves, stronger than leopards, and faster than deer. Tibetan Mastiffs are believed to be the ancestors of some mastiff breeds today. Tibetan Mastiffs are quite large:
- Males are at least 70 cm tall and weigh around 64-90 kg.
- Their fur consists of two layers: a soft, long outer coat and a wool-like inner coat, which helps them adapt to harsh weather conditions.
- The fur around their neck resembles a lion’s mane.
- The colors of Tibetan Mastiffs can be black, black-brown, black-gold, gray, or gold.
- Their tails are always curled high over their backs, with a flat head and a balanced, imposing posture.
Tibetan Mastiffs are fiercely loyal and devoted, particularly to a single owner. They also mature very slowly, with females not starting their reproductive cycles until 3-4 years of age and males not reaching sexual maturity until 3-5 years, with the ability to mate.
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered one of the most intelligent mastiff breeds today and is believed to have the oldest ancestral genes among all the breeds in the world. This breed has been in existence for approximately 5,000 years and was once thought to be extinct by modern zoologists. Tibetan Mastiffs were domesticated long ago by indigenous people and gained fame in the 15th century when two Italian explorers accidentally discovered them in the Jhangihe village in Tibet. These explorers often brought Tibetan Mastiffs back to their countries as precious gifts for royalty. In 1820, King George IV of England was gifted one, King William IV was given a pair, and Queen Victoria received one in 1840. Tibetan Mastiffs are known as reserved and quiet dogs but extremely brave and formidable. They are unique in their loyalty to their owner and will not accept anyone else as their master. Tibetan Mastiffs are also popular among wealthy individuals in China.
The Leonberger breed is known for its giant size and is believed to have originated in Leonberg in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. According to legend, they resemble lions and were used to impersonate lions in town parades. Leonbergers fall under the working dog group and participate in dog shows like Crufts but do not participate in the World Dog Show. They can have various coat colors, including lion yellow, red, red-brown, and fawn combinations. Their nose, paw pads, and lips are usually black. The temperament of the Leonberger breed is their most important characteristic; they are family dogs, confident, not sensitive to noise, obedient to family members, friendly with children, and calm around strangers. They also have a very high level of discrimination among other dog breeds and tend to obey discipline readily when required to protect the family or property. With their strong, loyal, intelligent, and cheerful disposition, Leonbergers satisfy their owners.
Leonbergers are giant dogs with origins in Germany and are referred to as the “German lion dog” due to their large, sturdy, and powerful build. They thrive in mountainous regions and are considered one of the healthiest dog breeds in Germany. Leonbergers are the result of crossbreeding between Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and Great Pyrenees by breeder Heinrich Essing in the 18th century, with the goal of creating a dog breed that resembled lions. Leonbergers became a symbol of European aristocracy and were raised by many royal figures, including Emperor Napoleon II of France, Empress Elizabeth of Austria, and King Umberto of Italy. This breed has a courageous, friendly, affectionate, intelligent, and loyal temperament. With an average weight ranging from 130 to 175 pounds, Leonbergers are considered one of the largest dog breeds in the world.
In the late 17th century, the Great Dane breed became popular in Germany for guarding and protecting homes. In the late 18th century, it was crossbred with various other breeds to achieve its enormous size today. The exact origins of this breed are uncertain, but it is believed to date back 5,000 to 7,000 years. However, the precise ancestry remains a mystery. In the 19th century, the Great Dane was bred from the Danish Mastiff by Germans. There are also rumors that the English Mastiff and Greyhound breeds are related to the ancestors of the Great Dane.
The Great Dane is a popular giant dog breed with origins in Germany, often referred to as the “German Mastiff” due to its immense size. A Great Dane named Zeus holds a Guinness World Record for being 44 inches tall. Great Danes are known for being gentle and suitable for indoor living, making them a favored choice for many families. Historically, the Great Dane is believed to be a descendant of an ancient Greek Molosser dog, brought to Germany from Roman times and bred with local dogs to create this breed. While not necessarily overweight, their weight corresponds to their height and bone structure. Great Danes are known for their tall, robust, and muscular bodies. Their bodies are well-proportioned, with a head that is often smaller in comparison to their overall size.
Giant Alaskan Malamute
The Giant Alaskan Malamute is an extremely large dog breed, often referred to as a “giant” among other dog breeds. On average, they can reach heights of up to 80 cm and weigh over 50 kg. However, healthy individuals’ maximum height can reach 1 meter and weigh up to 80 kg. Giant Alaskan Malamutes have broad chests and large, muscular limbs, which make them capable of moving in harsh weather conditions like snowfall. However, the size of Alaskan Malamute dogs may vary due to different breeding conditions in various geographical areas. Giant Alaskan Malamutes bred in polar regions such as Europe and the United States may develop much taller, while those in tropical regions tend to be much smaller. Additionally, the fur of Alaskan Malamute dogs in tropical areas may not be as fluffy as those bred in polar regions.
The Giant Alaskan Malamute is a unique subset of the Alaskan Malamute breed, often referred to as “Mally.” Mally dogs are believed to have originated from ancient Siberian Huskies brought to Alaska by Russian settlers and were crossed with Eskimo dogs in the region. Later, when Alaska became part of the United States, Mally was recognized as an American breed. In Alaska, Mally dogs were typically used for sled pulling, and they are known for their calm, intelligent, gentle, and particularly friendly nature towards other animals, often coexisting peacefully with cats. Although Mally dogs resemble Huskies, they can still be distinguished by their larger size, more “majestic” appearance, and less mischievous behavior compared to Huskies. Mally dogs are classified into small, medium, and large lines, with some individuals being exceptionally large.
St. Bernard is a giant dog breed, formally known as the Saint Bernard, and it originated in the Western Alps region near the intersection of Italy, Switzerland, and France. The breed is a result of crossbreeding between Swiss native dogs and mastiff-type dogs brought by the Romans during the early 2nd century. Initially, St. Bernards were bred for rescue work, especially in high mountain and snowy terrain. They are famous for their image as giant rescue dogs carrying casks of strong liquor around their necks to revive and warm up stranded individuals in cold, snowy mountain areas covered with avalanches.
The Saint Bernard breed originated between Italy and Switzerland about 1,000 years ago in the Alpine mountain region. It is believed to have resulted from breeding local Swiss dogs with Tibetan Mastiffs, Great Danes, and Pyrenean Mountain Dogs. These dogs were initially used for military purposes, tracking lost or injured individuals and guarding military installations. When these dogs became a part of the hospice (a type of monastery) at the Great St. Bernard Pass, they earned their name. They were used for rescue work, hauling goods, protecting stockpiles, herding sheep, and other duties. They are known for their incredible ability to locate lost individuals buried in snow using their acute sense of smell and barking. St. Bernards are still primarily used for rescue in high-altitude, snowy, and cold regions. They are also employed as watchdogs and companions by monks at various monasteries.
Saint Bernards have intelligent, brave, friendly, and sociable temperaments. They are particularly fond of children; many American families keep them as pets for playtime with their kids. This breed resembles the Newfoundland breed, as both are among the largest giant dog breeds globally, with an average weight ranging from 130 to 175 pounds.
The English Mastiff, also known simply as the Mastiff, is one of the most famous giant dog breeds and is considered the ancestor of many other large dog breeds worldwide. In English, there are several breeds that use the term Mastiff combined with their national origin, but when referring to the Mastiff, it specifically means the English Mastiff from England. There are various theories about the Mastiff’s ancestry, with the most common one being the Molosser dog breed theory. The Molosser was a large, now-extinct breed that originated in the Middle East and Tibet. When Marco Polo visited Tibet, he described a large dog similar to a donkey, with a roaring lion-like bark. It is highly likely that this Molosser breed became extinct and was the ancestor of both the English Mastiff and the Tibetan Mastiff.
Molosser dogs were brought into Europe from Roman times and used in dog fights, gladiator battles, or even fighting against lions, tigers, and bears. Unlike the Great Dane, which is heavy due to its height and bone structure, the English Mastiff is heavy due to its size, bulk, and well-developed muscles. They are large, with a loose face, but also intelligent and agile. In the United States and England, English Mastiffs are often used by police and military forces. English Mastiffs and German Shepherds are considered the most talented dog breeds preferred by police and military forces. With an average weight ranging from 140 to 250 pounds, English Mastiffs are considered the largest of all giant dog breeds.
I hope that the information provided by DailyPets.net about these giant dog breeds around the world, especially for dog enthusiasts, is helpful to the community.