16 Contenders for the World’s Biggest Dog Breed

These dogs are large and in charge, but they also make wonderful, loyal pets.

Updated March 26, 2023

World's Largest Dog Breeds


While various dog breeds have been proclaimed the world's biggest at one time or another, nobody really knows which one takes the top spot. However, several breeds of dogs are widely recognized as some of the largest canines of all. Their big bodies come with equally big personalities, and these dogs make great pets if you have the space.

1. Great Dane


Great Danes are a perfect example of a large breed in terms of both height and weight. These dogs typically have very gentle dispositions, despite their massive size.

  • Height: Up to 3 feet tall at the shoulder!
  • Weight: Up to 200 pounds!
  • Special Care Requirements: Great Danes can be very destructive, so it's important to provide them with lots of exercise and attention. Great Danes also need regular grooming, which includes bathing and brushing their coat.
Quick Tip

These dogs are not suited for apartment living, although some people manage by taking their dog out for long walks or rides in the car at least once or twice a day.

2. Saint Bernard


Saint Bernards weigh as much as Great Danes, but they are not quite as tall. This breed is known for its lovable, gentle nature and extraordinary sense of smell.

  • Height: 23 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 160 to 200 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Saint Bernards are large dogs with a disproportionately small short snout. Because of this, they can have breathing problems and can develop a collapsed trachea at an early age.
Quick Tip

Saint Bernards are known for the massive amounts of slobber they can generate. Some owners tie a bandana around their neck to help control their saliva.

3. Mastiff


The Mastiff is a large and powerful dog breed. The word "mastiff" is derived from the Latin word mas, which means "large." Originally bred for guarding, hunting, and baiting, they are now primarily pets and guard dogs. Mastiffs are generally calm, sweet-tempered dogs, but they are protective of their families and homes.

  • Height: Approximately 30 in.
  • Weight: 150 to 200 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Mastiffs are affectionate with family members, but may be aggressive toward strangers. They need early socialization to avoid issues.
Need to Know

Mastiffs grow until they reach 2 years of age, so careful puppy selection is important for owners committed to the breed for the long-term.

4. Bull Mastiff


Bull Mastiffs are not quite as large as Mastiffs. They are also quite gentle by nature, yet they can be very protective of their human families and frequently serve as guard dogs.

  • Height: 27 in.
  • Weight: Roughly 130 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Bullmastiffs need a lot of grooming to keep their coats clean and mat-free. They shed heavily twice a year, but they need brushing every day during those times.
Quick Tip

The Bullmastiff should be fed a high-quality diet to help minimize the risk of hip and joint problems.

5. Irish Wolfhound


Irish Wolfhounds are sight hounds who are taller than they heavy, and they love to chase just about everything that catches their eye. They can make great family pets, but make sure they have plenty of room to run.

  • Height: 34 in.
  • Weight: Roughly 150 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: This breed's ears tend to get dirty quickly due to their long hair, so regular cleaning is required.
Quick Tip

Irish Wolfhounds are prone to hip dysplasia and bloat, which is a condition where the stomach twists and causes medical complications.

6. Bernese Mountain Dog


Bernese Mountain Dogs often appear even larger than they really are because they have a thick, double coat of hair. Despite their size, they have calm, gentle personalities, and make great family pets.

  • Height: Up to 27 in.
  • Weight: Up to 110 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: They shed heavily twice a year - once in spring and again in fall - so brush them more frequently during these times if you want to avoid hair ending up all over your home.
Need to Know

This breed does well in cool climates, but does not do well in hot weather.

7. Great Pyrenees


Great Pyrenees are among the tallest of all canines, but they don't typically weigh as much as some of the other large breeds. These powerful and gentle sheep dogs often look much heavier than they really are thanks to their fluffy double coats.

  • Height: 32 in.
  • Weight: Approximately 100 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: This breed needs serious grooming that includes frequent brushing, especially during spring and summer, when shedding is heaviest.
Need to Know

The Great Pyrenees is an old breed that dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name comes from the mountain range in southern France, where the dogs were bred to protect livestock against wolves and other predators.

8. Newfoundland Dog


Newfoundlands - or newfies for short - are good-natured canines that are quite strong, love swimming, and need their thick coats brushed regularly.

  • Height: 28 in.
  • Weight: Approximately 150 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Newfoundlands need at least an hour of walking, running, or playing outside per day to maintain their health and happiness. If you don't have time to provide this much exercise, consider another breed.
Need to Know

The Newfoundland dog has several special health concerns, including hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, and gastric torsion. They are also prone to cancerous tumors, especially mast cell cancer.

9. Rottweiler


Rottweilers are beefy canines that have an undeserved reputation for being overly aggressive. Due to their height and weight, Rottweilers can certainly appear menacing. That's one of the reasons they are popular choices for police dogs. However, they are actually loving and highly intelligent dogs who make loyal pets.

  • Height: Approximately 27 in.
  • Weight: Up to 130 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Rottweilers are prone to skin allergies, so it's important to monitor your dog's skin and coat for any signs of illness or infection regularly.
Need to Know

Rottweilers are generally healthy dogs. However, they can be susceptible to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy, so it's important to buy from a reputable breeder who tests their breeding stock for these conditions.

10 Leonberger


The Leonberger is a large dog who has a gentle, loyal temperament. They are very intelligent, making them easy to train. They will do well with an active family and are good with children who are old enough to be gentle with them.

  • Height: 30 in.
  • Weight: Up to 170 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Brush your leo's coat until it shines like satin after each bath to remove loose hairs from your pet's coat before they become embedded in their skin, causing irritation or infection.
Fast Fact

Leonbergers are said to be a mix between the Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, and Great Pyrenees dogs.

11. Cane Corso


The Cane Corso is a large dog with an impressive appearance. Their main characteristics are their size, strength, loyalty and devotion to their owners. The Cane Corso used to serve as a hunter and guardian of property, but they're now mostly pets. This is not a breed that needs constant training or exercise, as they are naturally inclined to do these things themselves.

Height: 28 in.

Weight: 110 lbs.

Special Care Requirements: This breed needs socialization so that they do not become aggressive towards other animals or people when they reach adulthood.

Quick Tip

Cane Corsos are very intelligent and learn quickly, but can be stubborn if they don't want to do something or if the training becomes too repetitive or boring for them, so make sure to use positive training methods.

12. Dogue de Bordeaux


The Dogue de Bordeaux, also known as the French Mastiff, is a big and powerful dog breed with a large frame. They are very calm and affectionate animals who love their owners. Dogues de Bordeaux are very protective of their home and family, making them excellent guard dogs.

Height: 28 in.

Weight: 120 lbs.

Special Care Requirements: Dogue de Bordeaux drool so much, you'll need a bucket on hand at all times to deal with it. Their facial folds can collect saliva, so be sure to wipe these down regularly.

Need to Know

Like most guardian breeds, they require early obedience training and consistent handling from an early age so that they don't develop guarding or territorial instincts toward humans or other animals in their households.

13. Anatolian Shepherd


An Anatolian Shepherd is a large, powerful breed that is often used as guard dogs. It is also known as the Karabash Dog and Kangal Dog. The breed was developed in central Turkey, specifically in the area of Anatolia. These dogs were originally bred to protect livestock from predators such as wolves and bears.

  • Height: 29 in.
  • Weight: Up to 150 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Anatolian Shepherds need intensive physical activity and daily walks in order to be happy. This breed also needs a regular schedule. Otherwise, they may become destructive or aggressive.
Need to Know

This breed is known to be territorial, so they may show aggression towards unfamiliar people or other animals who try entering their territory without permission.

14. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large, powerful working dog with a strong sense of self-preservation and an independent nature. They have been bred to work independently or in teams, so they get along well with other animals or pets in the family. They are friendly toward people they know, but strangers must be introduced cautiously and at an early age.

  • Height: 28 in.
  • Weight: 120 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is not particularly suited to apartment life and can be aggressive toward other animals. Owners must be willing to accommodate this giant breed's needs for exercise and activity.
Need to Know

This breed is prone to developing bloat due to their deep chests and narrow windpipes. Bloat can be deadly if it goes untreated, so watch for symptoms like restlessness, drooling, and difficulty breathing.

15. Akita


The Akita is a large breed of dog originating from the mountainous northern regions of Japan. The Akita has been called "Japan's beloved national dog." The most noticeable features of the Akita are its thick double coat, defined facial structure, and curled tail. They're well known for their loyalty and devotion to their owners.

  • Height: 28 in.
  • Weight: 100 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: The Akita has an independent nature, so early socialization and obedience training are necessary to ensure that the dog gets along well with other people and animals. This breed may be aggressive towards other dogs and should not be trusted around children under 5 years old.
Need to Know

This breed needs a lot of exercise, but can adapt to living in an apartment if they are given daily walks. Akita dogs need lots of attention from their owners and does not like to be left alone.

16. Scottish Deerhound


Scottish Deerhounds are gentle, sweet-tempered dogs that make great family pets if properly trained and socialized from an early age. They need lots of exercise and mental stimulation, so they're not suited for apartment life unless you're willing to take them out for long walks and daily exercise.

  • Height: 34 in.
  • Weight: 120 lbs.
  • Special Care Requirements: Scottish Deerhounds have many health problems that need to be monitored by a veterinarian on an ongoing basis. These include eye problems such as juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, cherry eye and entropion, hip dysplasia, heart disease, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, and gastric torsion.
Quick Tip

If you want an affectionate dog who will sit on your lap while you read a book or watch a movie, this breed is not for you.

So Many Large Dog Breeds


There are so many large dog breeds, it can be hard to pick your favorite. All make great pets for those who take the time to meet their special care requirements. Some are extremely tall, while others are quite heavy, but each is one of the world's biggest dogs in their own way.

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16 Contenders for the World’s Biggest Dog Breed