Cane Corso
Cane Corso by AlejandroBriz (CC BY-SA)

The Largest Dogs in the World

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Newfoundland
Newfoundland by Hartmann Linge (CC BY-SA)

Colossal Canines

We like big mutts and we cannot lie. Owning a big dog means there is more to love … but it also means making sure there’s enough space, as well as spending more on food and possibly even more on training. Not to mention, most purebred dogs of large stature can cost a pretty penny. The range can be anywhere in the thousands and up. These are the most gigantic pups recognized by the American Kennel Club. Even if one can’t realistically be yours, you can still enjoy checking out these big boys.  


Related: Otterhounds, Pulis, and Other Dog Breeds You've Never Heard Of


Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Anatolian Shepherd Dog by Zeynel Cebeci (CC BY-SA)

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Topping out at around 150 pounds, the Anatolian is not a dog for an apartment, that’s for sure. For that matter, the breed isn’t the choice for a busy household with strangers coming in and out either. This handsome pup is a quintessential guard dog, with bloodlines dating back 6,000 years, making them one of the oldest doggy descendants. Anatolians are known for being very independent and protective of their families, and are not fond of both animals and humans they don’t know.


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Bernese Mountain Dog
Wikimedia Commons

Bernese Mountain Dog

These mammoth pups are as lovable as they are large. Males are meant to weigh up to 115 pounds and females up to 95. That of course, doesn’t account for the bulky coat that makes them look even more humongous. Bernese were bred to help on the farms of Switzerland, but they are one of the few working breeds that are also fantastic as a family pet. They adore children, and are typically friendly with every human and animal alike. 


Related: The Most Family-Friendly Dogs to Bring Home to the Kids

Bullmastiff
Wikimedia Commons

Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff is a stately and imposing fellow, weighing in at around 130 pounds. As the name implies, the breed is a cross between bulldogs and mastiffs, though they are more mastiff-like in personality. If they look intimidating, it’s because they are supposed to: The breed dates back to 19th century England, where they were used to guard against poachers stealing game. They have kept their protective nature years later. 


Tibetan Mastiff
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Tibetan Mastiff

With their huge mane, these giants look almost like a lion — and are basically as tough as one. Weighing up to 150 pounds for a male, the Tibetan Mastiff loves its family but is territorial against intruders on its turf. Used for centuries as guard dogs in the Himalayas, it is believed all other types of mastiffs sprang from this original, and now very rare, breed.


Related: 13 Free Perks of Owning a Dog


Dogue de Bordeaux
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Dogue de Bordeaux

As the name implies, these expressive-faced big boys originated centuries ago in what is now France. The history of this breed, whose weight starts at 110 pounds, is fascinating. They date back to Julius Caesar's times and were believed to battle with other dogs in the gladiator arena. Today, the “Dogue” is best known for being featured in the 1989 movie "Turner &  Hooch." 



Black and white Great Dane staring at camera
Earl-Wilkerson/istockphoto

Great Dane

It wouldn’t be a giant dog list without one. Great Danes weigh on average between 140 and 175 pounds and can be about 32 inches high, making them taller than most people when they stand on their hind legs. Despite their substantial size, these dogs are usually friendly and easygoing, though they have historically been used for protection. Going far back in history, the breed was developed by Germans to be used as a boar hound.


Related: The Most Popular Dog Breeds in America


Great Pyrenees
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Great Pyrenees

They look like enormous white clouds of fluff. But underneath that thickly coated exterior is a powerful working breed. These pups typically weigh well over 100 pounds, and are intense guard dogs that are devoted to their families. This breed harks way back. The remains of the Pyrenees have been found in fossil deposits from the Bronze Age, and it is thought they are originally from Siberia. Other fun facts: In the 1700s, they were a popular dog of the French court. 


Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound by Canarian (CC BY-SA)

Irish Wolfhound

These stately canines are simply immense. They average 3 feet high and can reach up to 180 pounds. This breed dates back as far as the year 391. They were written about by a Roman consul who received a gift of seven of the dogs that “all Rome viewed with wonder.” Fast forward to 15th century Ireland, and the dogs were used to hunt wolves as game, hence the name. Despite their intimidating size, Irish wolfhounds are rather calm and gentle. 


Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

This big breed looks somewhat similar to Bernese Mountain Dogs, to which they are closely related. They can weigh around 140 pounds and stand over 2 feet high. Swissies, as they are called, descend from war dogs brought to the Alps by Julius Caesar's army. The breed also historically had been used to haul loads of meat and dairy products to mountain markets in fitted dog carts.


Related: 
The Most Popular Dog Breeds in Every State

St. Bernard
St. Bernard by Cassie J (CC BY)

St. Bernard

Perhaps one of the best-known giant breeds, these genial pups have a history as “nanny” dogs who watch over children. They may be enormous with weights averaging around 180, but as born rescuers, they are happy to help. Back in the year 1050, a monk named Bernard of Menthon established a hospice to help pilgrims crossing to Rome along a dangerous, snowy pass in the Alps, which was eventually called St. Bernard Pass. Over several centuries, the hospice monks bred large and hearty dogs to help locate and rescue travelers buried in snow.  


Leonberger
Leonberger by Томасина (CC BY-SA)

Leonberger

Their thick, plush double coat gives the Leonberger an elegant yet cuddly look. They can reach an average weight of 170 and like a few other big breeds, are born for cart pulling. They are working dogs that in the 19th century were often found in the courts of royals such as Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II. It is said that the founder of the breed wanted a dog that resembled the lion on the crest for the town of Leonberg, hence their fabulous mane.


Newfoundland
Newfoundland by Hartmann Linge (CC BY-SA)

Newfoundland

These teddy bears of a dog really do seem bear size as they generally weigh between 130 and 150 pounds. They are another breed that has historically been a nanny dog, making them wonderfully patient and gentle with children. They have partially webbed feet that also make them fantastic swimmers. Much as St. Bernards are known for their snow rescues, Newfies are known for water rescues, which date back to when they were used for this purpose by Canadian fishermen hundreds of years ago.


Scottish Deerhound
Scottish Deerhound by Andrea Arden (CC BY)

Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is a descendent of greyhounds, and is one of the tallest dog breeds there is. They can reach around 32 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh around 110 on average. As their name implies, the breed was once used to stalk and hunt big wild red deer in Scotland. Their personality matches their appearance: dignified and polite.


Neapolitan Mastiff
Neapolitan Mastiff by Tim Dawson (CC BY-SA)

Neapolitan Mastiff

That face … and that body. This pup is a giant mass of muscle and wrinkled skin, which suits them well for their original purpose as, you guessed it, an intimidating guard dog likely to scare the bejeezus out of an intruder. Weighing somewhere around 150, the breed possibly dates back as far as 700 B.C. judging by artifacts found that depict similar-looking dogs. While they are clearly not for the average dog owner, they are considered to be affectionate with their family, just look out for the slobber.


Related: The Most Expensive Pets Money Can Buy

Cane Corso
Cane Corso by AlejandroBriz (CC BY-SA)

Cane Corso

As another rather intimidating fellow, this breed’s bulky size (around 28 inches high at the shoulder and well over 100 pounds) historically helped make it perfect as a watchdog. In fact, its name roughly translates in Latin to “bodyguard dog,” which completely makes sense.The breed also was popular in the Italian countryside where it earned its keep with boar hunting and guarding hen houses and livestock. Canes are relatives of mastiffs, all of which date back to Roman times. 

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