The World’s Largest Dog Breeds

Despite their size, these gentle giants are generally loyal, well-tempered and good-natured creatures.

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Largest dog breed - English mastiff
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English Mastiff

According to the American Kennel Club, one of the world’s largest dog breeds is the English Mastiff, also known as the Old English Mastiff. There’s a qualifier to that claim to fame, however: Mastiffs are considered the heaviest dog breed, but they’re not necessarily the tallest. They can weigh anywhere from 50 kilograms (110 pounds) to 155 kilograms (343 pounds). The height of a mastiff can range from 63 centimetres (25 inches) at the shoulder to 91 centimetres (36 inches).

In 1989, Zorba, an English Mastiff, broke records as the world’s heaviest and tallest dog, with a weight of 155 kilograms (343 pounds). Zorba measured over 2.4 metres (8 feet) from nose to tail and was said to be about the size of a small donkey. Hercules, a 128 kilogram (282 pound) English mastiff with a 97 centimetre (38 inch) neck, cinched the record in 2001 for World’s Heaviest Dog.

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World's largest dog - neapolitan mastiff
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Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs are fearless and extremely protective companions. They measure approximately 66 to 79 centimetres (26 to 31 inches) at the withers. Usually weighing about 77 kilograms (170 pounds), Neapolitan Mastiffs can also reach up to 90 kilograms (200 pounds).

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World's largest dog breed - Irish wolfhound
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Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are said to be the world’s tallest dog breed. Historically, the Irish Wolfhound’s astonishing size, speed, and intelligence made them ideal animals for hunting wolves and boars, though they are quite docile and friendly in nature. With a robust and muscular build, males can attain the stature of a small pony. The Irish Wolfhound can reach up to two metres (seven feet) tall when standing on its hind legs and weigh 40 to 70 kilograms (90 to 150 pounds).

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Largest dog breed - great dane
Photo: Eric Isselee /

Great Dane

Great Danes are considered the world’s second-tallest dog breed after Irish Wolfhounds. However, from year to year it seems the title of Tallest Dog, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is held by a Great Dane. Giant George was the Guinness Book of World Records’ Tallest Dog from 2010 to 2012. George was a 113-kilogram (250-pound) blue Great Dane from Arizona. He stood over a metre (three feet, seven inches) tall from paw to shoulder, and reportedly consumed 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of food each month. Although he passed away in 2013, he lived a life of luxury, sleeping on his own queen-sized bed inside the house.

Believe it or not, great danes are among the best apartment dogs.

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Largest dog breed - St. Bernard
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St. Bernard

Known for their bravery and aptitude in alpine rescue missions, St. Bernards weigh between 63 and 100 kilograms (140 and 220 pounds) on average, and stand anywhere from 70 to 90 centimetres (27 to 35 inches) tall. A St. Bernard named Benedictine holds the world record for the Heaviest Dog Ever. Benedictine, who displaced Zorba as the heaviest dog of all time, is said to have weighed 162 kilograms (357 pounds).

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Largest dog breed - Newfoundland dog with girl
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The Newfoundland is thought to be the strongest of any dog breed, even beating some characteristics of the Great Dane, Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound. Some Newfoundland dogs have been known to weigh over 90 kilograms (200 pounds). The largest Newfoundland on record weighed 118 kilograms (260 pounds) and measured over 1.8 metres (6 feet) from nose to tail.

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Big Leonberger dog in the German countryside
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Deriving its name from the city of Leonberg in southwest Germany, according to legend the Leonberger was bred as a “symbolic dog” that would mimic the lion in the town crest. These proud and self-disciplined animals stand 70 to 80 centimetres (28 to 31.5 inches) tall and weigh between 54 to 77 kilograms (120 to 170 pounds).

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Big Anatolian Shepherd dog with flock of sheep
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Anatolian Shepherd

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a muscular breed with a thick neck and broad head, commonly used for guarding sheep from wolves, bears, jackals and even cheetahs. It stands 75 to 90 centimetres (29 to 36 inches) and weighs between 41 and 68 kilograms (90 and 150 pounds).

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French mastiff sleeping in bed
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French Mastiff

The French Mastiff (also known as the Dogue de Bordeaux) is said to have the largest head in the canine world in proportion to the rest of the body. The average Dogue de Bordeaux measures 58 to 76 centimetres (23 to 30 inches), and weighs 54 to 66 kilograms (120 to 145 pounds).

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Great dane dog jumping on woman
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Caring For the World’s Largest Dog Breeds

It’s important that big dogs get outdoors as much as possible—at least two long walks a day—as their energy requirement is 25 per cent higher than that of small indoor dogs. All that spent energy will require a hefty amount of food to keep your hungry companion fit and healthy, but it is recommended you give your large dog three smaller meals, rather than one large one. This will prevent overeating, as bloat is the number two killer of large dogs after cancer.

Also, know that large dogs are prone to bone and joint problems, and diseases like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and obesity. So before making any final decisions, ensure you will be able to properly care for your new furry friend.

Now that you know the world’s largest dog breeds, check out the most popular dog breeds in Canada.

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