There are many varieties of dogs in the world. Some of them have an incredible type of coat, an extraordinary color, an amazing story of origin, or simply a unique size relative to other four-legged pets. In this article, we will get acquainted with the largest dogs in the world, as well as with the features of their maintenance at home.
Dogs with what parameters are considered large?
Unfortunately, today there is no official division of all dogs based on their size and shape. Experienced breeders conditionally divided all dogs into giant, large, medium, small and dwarf breeds. In the process of determining the size of pets, a number of parameters are taken into account: maximum growth rates, muscular development, average body weight, state of the skeletal system.
As a rule, breeds with the following external characteristics are classified as large dogs:
- growth indicators at the withers must be at least 60 centimeters;
- the weight of an adult must be at least 26 kilograms.
The list of breeds that fit these characteristics also includes representatives of giant varieties. This means growth at the withers up to 75-80 cm and a weight of more than 45 kg. Among the largest individuals, representatives of the breeds of Great Danes, Mastiffs and Wolfhounds are most often found.
The main purpose of large and large breeds of dogs is usually guarding, service or simple companion activities. There are historical and modern cases when representatives of large breeds were involved in hunting and guarding herds of cattle and small cattle.
Often these pets act as ordinary companions, nannies for children, as well as guides for blind people and the disabled.
Pros and cons
Each dog breed has its individual pros and cons, but there is a list of pros and cons that apply equally to all large dogs.
Let’s start with the positives.
- Security. A large dog is a wonderful guard not only for you, but for your entire family. With such dogs, it will be calmer to walk along the evening streets and not be afraid that you will be attacked or robbed. No one in their right mind would dare to attack a passerby with a mastiff or a wolfhound. Such dogs are most often unusually loyal and intelligent – they are remarkably able to feel aggression from strangers and passers-by.
- Pleasant character. Almost all breeds of large dogs are distinguished by a complaisant and good-natured character, which allows them to start in families with small children and other pets. Large dogs often act as pillows for babies and are ready to protect the baby’s sleep to the end, even if there is a threat to their own life.
- Health. Large and muscular dogs, as a rule, have very strong immunity, which helps them to endure many infectious and viral diseases, cold and drafts.
- Reduced activity. Individuals of large sizes rarely have an irrepressible and extremely active character, they are easier to control and lure. As a rule, these pets prefer to spend time relaxing or measured walks. A large number of muscles, heavy bones and an impressive body do not allow them to perform those fun that are common for dwarf and small breeds.
- Real dog. Many people believe that it is large breed dogs that are full-fledged representatives of canines. It is also believed that dogs of large species are more amenable to training and training.
However, there are downsides too.
- Expenses. The larger the dog, the more it requires financial and time investments. This applies to both regular spending on feed or natural food, and ordinary dog hair care. So, combing a Caucasian Shepherd Dog or a Newfoundland can take up to several hours every day.
- Great space. The size of the dog affects not only feeding and care, but also the conditions of detention. Small apartments are not suitable for large domestic dogs; in most cases, a fenced area or a plot of a private house becomes an ideal option. In the walls of small apartments, large pets feel cramped and can cause irreparable damage to your property during their entertainment.
- Short life span. According to some reports, large breeds of dogs live a little less than small and medium breeds. This is due to the massive physique, a large load on the cardiovascular system and limbs. Large dogs spend more and more time in a calm state with age, which leads to obesity and the development of other serious diseases.
- Outstanding strength. Walking large dogs can result in significant injury to their owners. These dogs are difficult to keep on a leash; when excited, they can jerk the leash so hard that they knock their owners off their feet. In order to prevent such behavior, cynologists advise from childhood to teach a pet to follow the owner everywhere on walks, and not move away for long distances.
- Prejudice. If for you a big dog is an excellent protector from criminals and ill-wishers, then for other passers-by these dogs may seem like real monsters that can cripple both them and their children. Basically, such problems begin after walking not far from playgrounds or busy places of recreation.
Remember that some of the disadvantages can be corrected with the help of proper upbringing, care and maintenance – a lot depends on the owner of the dog.
Top Giant Breeds
Unfortunately, there is currently no official list of the largest dog breeds in the world. The problem in comparing dog sizes is compounded by variations in the norm for certain breeds. Below will be presented the top 15 giant dog breeds (in descending order of height) based on opinions and polls on the Web. Keep in mind that your opinion about the largest dogs on Earth may differ from the rating below.
- English mastiff. Considered one of the oldest English species. Today it is presented in the form of the largest and most massive variety of dogs in the world. Individuals of this breed grow up to 91 cm, as for weight indicators, they can vary significantly depending on the age of the dog – from 70 to 105 kg (for males). Mastiffs differ from their counterparts in their balanced, courageous and devoted character. These dogs are considered an ideal family option, as they are patient with children, do not require special care for themselves, and also provide their family members with reliable protection from all ill-wishers.
It is on the basis of the genetic material of English mastiffs that the largest individuals of dogs that are on the planet are grown.
- Great Dane. One of the breeds, for the creation of which the genetic material of the English mastiffs and Irish greyhounds was used. These animals are distinguished by their unique growth, elongated and narrow physique, as well as incredibly long and slender limbs. So, Great Dane bitches can grow up to 85 centimeters, and males often grow up to 110 centimeters or more. If we talk about average weight indicators, then females of this breed weigh no more than 85 kg, while males can reach 100 or more kilograms. Pedigree Great Danes are capricious and very independent by nature, they do not tolerate disrespect for their person, they are suspicious of strangers, but they love children and joint pranks with them.
- St. Bernard. Another representative of giant dog breeds that came to Europe and Russia from the Italian Alps. The first St. Bernards were bred exclusively as rescuers – they helped to quickly find people who had suffered from avalanches and snow falls. A distinctive feature of these dogs is the original barrel on their collars, into which brandy was poured in a long time, designed to warm the victims. St. Bernards are incredibly good-natured, peaceful and sociable pets – this is one of the few breeds that is very difficult to anger.
- Due to their dense coat and massive build, these dogs are considered one of the largest in the world. So, males of these dogs grow up to 90 centimeters at the withers, and females usually do not exceed 80 centimeters. If we affect the weight, then most often there are individuals of this breed with a weight of more than 100 kg.
- Tibetan mastiff. To some extent, the legendary breed – considered by many to be one of the most ancient in the world. This breed got its name from the place of its origin and breeding – in Tibetan monasteries, these dogs served as watchmen and guides in dangerous mountainous terrain. Regarding the size, Tibetan mastiff males can grow up to 81 centimeters in length (females – up to 71 cm), and in weight they can gain up to 82-85 kilograms. Individuals of this breed are extremely calm, balanced and extremely clean.
These dogs are considered by many to be ideal for breeding in large families with small children – here mastiffs act as real nannies.
- Komondor or Hungarian Shepherd. Many consider this dog the most amazing breed. All because of the extraordinary (plush) coat of the Komondor – their white coat is placed in a dense layer throughout the body in the form of long and thick dreadlocks. In their homeland, Komondors were used exclusively in watchdog activities – the white color and extraordinary growth of wool allowed these pets to literally merge with the sheep herd and successfully control it.
These dogs can grow up to 80 centimeters in height and gain up to 60 kilograms in weight.
- Pyrenean mastiff. It is believed that this breed came to Europe and Russia from Spain. Initially, its individuals were used to accompany and protect herds of sheep, as well as in the protection of trade convoys. Individuals of these dogs are not only distinguished by high growth – up to 81 centimeters, but also by significant weight – up to 85 kilograms (although some males grow up to 100 kg). These dogs are now used as guards and companions for children and women, many breeders prefer to keep them in apartments – these dogs love a quiet holiday without destructive behavior.
- Caucasian Shepherd Dog. A common variety in Russia. This breed of dog is characterized by an intelligent but extremely independent character, as well as an extremely massive physique and fluffy coat. In addition to Russia, individuals of these dogs are also found in Armenia and Azerbaijan. These dogs are considered to be excellent guards, however, they require a strong-willed, strict and strong character from a person.
In terms of size, males of these pets often grow up to 81 centimeters in height, and in terms of weight they can gain up to 110 kilograms.
- Tosa Inu. Initially, individuals of this breed were bred exclusively in Japan, where they served as fighting dogs and participated in hostilities. Unfortunately, even today the standard regarding the size of these dogs is very contradictory – for example, there were individuals with a weight of 35 to 60 kg and a height of 60 to 70 cm at the withers. Over time, Tosa Inu individuals in Europe underwent significant selection changes, which led to an increase in the size of these dogs – up to 82 cm in height and up to 100 kg in weight. These pets are distinguished by a powerful physique, a reliable and devoted attitude towards the owner, as well as a wary attitude towards all strangers.
- Newfoundland. Some call these dogs “diving dogs” and “nanny dogs” because of their rich historical past. Once they were actively used in swampy areas as an assistant to fishermen and hunters. Today, these furry dogs are actively used as rescuers – their coat has a unique water-repellent structure, and special membranes are located between the fingers, which allow them to move very quickly against the current. Among the Newfoundlands there are champions in weight (the maximum mark for the current day is 120 kg), but, as a rule, these dogs do not grow above 75 cm and do not weigh more than 70 kg (males).
Despite their impressive size and great strength, these dogs are endowed with an incredibly friendly and good-natured character, and are also able to make decisions very quickly in an emergency.
- Leonberger (or “lion”). Not a particularly popular dog breed from Germany. They got their unusual name due to the eponymous name of the German city – Leonberg. These dogs are distinguished from others by rather long black hair with red tan markings. Their coat also has a unique water-repellent coating, which helps them to endure severe frosts and cold without difficulty. Males of this breed of dog grow up to 75 centimeters in height and gain up to 70 kilograms in weight. In terms of temperament, in the right hands these dogs are highly intelligent, reliable as guard dogs and extremely playful.
Despite their impressive size, Leonbergers live for a very short time – up to 7 years under the best conditions.
- Irish wolfhound. Along with the Tibetan mastiff, it is considered one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. These pets are distinguished not so much by their strong physique or large weight, but by their high growth up to 86 centimeters. Regarding weight, this breed cannot be called a record holder – on average, individuals lose 55 kg (males). The first mention of this breed is found in the records of Ancient Rome in the 4th century BC. e. These bright representatives of hunting dogs are distinguished by incredible speed, maneuverability and the ability to track prey over great distances. This breed cannot be attributed to any specific qualities of character, Irish wolfhounds are extremely individual, and in the hands of different owners they can behave in completely different ways.
- Moscow watchdog. This breed appeared only in the middle of the 20th century in Russia. To create it, the material of many Russian and European breeds was used, among which the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and St. Bernard can be distinguished. If we consider the characteristics described in the standard of this breed, then the males of this breed grow up to 78 cm in height, and in terms of weight, they can gain up to 70 kg. Regarding the character, this breed can be called extremely calm, independent and balanced.
Moscow watchdogs are considered ideal guards and watchmen who will protect the owner or the entrusted territory until the last breath.
- Neapolitan Mastiff. Another amazing breed of guard dogs, which differs from the rest in a unique folded type of skin – the body, muzzle and chest of these animals are covered with continuous folds. Thanks to this appearance, these pets look like a huge living drop. It was the representative of the Neapolitan Mastiff, nicknamed Fang, that you could notice in the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. These dogs grow up to 74 centimeters in height and up to 70 kilograms in weight. Despite their large size and appearance, these dogs are amazing good-natured people who do not like souls in all members of their family, and especially in children.
- Deerhound. A rather young, but common hunting breed in Scotland and England. Official recognition came to deerhounds only at the end of the 19th century. These pets differ from other relatives in their hardy and slender physique, as well as surprisingly developed olfactory qualities. According to the standard, Deerhound males grow up to 80 centimeters at the withers and up to 50 kilograms in weight.
By nature, these pets are very friendly, trusting and adore any manifestations of affection, which is why they should not be started as watchmen or guards.
- Kuvasz. These dogs are considered one of the most ancient service breeds in Hungary. In the Middle Ages, individuals of this breed were considered a sign of elitism – they could only be owned by people of high class, in particular, kings and those close to the royal family. These pets have a fairly high growth – up to 76 centimeters, as well as a surprisingly large weight among individuals – up to 90 kg. This type of service dog is considered one of the easiest to keep: kuvas are loyal, reliable and brave when it comes to protecting their owners.
Among the individuals of the breeds presented above, there are record holders regarding individual qualities and merits – let’s get to know them better.
- The biggest dog in the world. Among the breeders of English mastiffs, such a name as Aikama Zorbo is known – this is the largest male English mastiff in the world, which was also rightfully recognized as the largest dog in the world. This male was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records with the following parameters: height – 94 centimeters, weight – 155.6 kilograms, length (from nose to tail tip) – 251 centimeters. The male was born back in 1981, his owner was the English breeder Chris Iraklides.
Unfortunately, today the fate of this handsome man remains unknown.
- The tallest dog in the world. A prominent representative of Great Danes is a male named Zeus – a very well-known name among breeders of large breeds of dogs. This male was distinguished by a simply phenomenal growth of 112 centimeters and a weight of more than 70 kilograms. Under this height, Zeus was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s tallest dog. The owners of Zeus noted that daily their pet required at least 14 kg of fresh food for the full functioning of the body. Despite the fact that Zeus died back in 2014, he remains an extremely popular dog among all dog owners.
- The heaviest dog in the world. Among the St. Bernards, the most prominent representative is the male Benedictine, who, with an abnormal weight of 166 kg, went down in history as the heaviest dog in the world. Among the representatives of this breed there are also very long individuals that are included in the Guinness Book of Records. For example, another male named Major F. with a length of 259 centimeters from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail was recognized as the longest dog in the world.
- The most expensive dog in the world. The Tibetan Mastiff is not known for size or height, but the Tibetan Mastiff named Hong Dong is known today as the most expensive dog in the world. This story is most popular in China. Judging by the data, the coal magnate became the buyer of the specimen, who paid 1.5 million euros for it.
This was an 11-month-old male weighing 80 kg, but he had a unique color and long, silky, bright orange coat.
- The strongest dog in the world. It is not for nothing that the opinion is popular in the world that it is the Newfoundlands that are the strongest and most powerful dog breed in the world. This opinion was formed on the basis of the achievement of a female of this breed named Barbara Allens Dark Hans. With its low weight (about 45 kg) and small stature, this dog in 1979 managed to drag 2.29 tons of cargo across a concrete surface.
Subtleties of content
Any dog has its own individual needs, and therefore it is difficult to create an exact set of rules for grooming that is equally fair for each breed of dog. Below is a list of general guidelines that will be helpful when keeping most large dog breeds.
- Place. An obligatory factor in the content of a large four-legged friend is to provide a large amount of space for his games, fun and jogging. Experienced breeders advise taking large dogs only in multi-room apartments or in private houses with a large and fenced area. It will be nice if the territory is equipped with a number of special simulators for training and training.
- Hygiene. As already mentioned, the larger the dog, the more worries it delivers to its owners. To maintain a neat and healthy appearance, you should brush your teeth, wash your eyes and examine your ears at least once a week. In addition, most large dog breeds have long, coarse coats that require regular grooming. For comprehensive and professional care for the appearance of a pet, breeders advise to contact grooming salons at least once every six months.
- Walks. Regardless of breed, age and gender, any dog needs regular outdoor exercise. Some of the breeds presented above cannot be kept in a closed apartment at all – for the healthy functioning of their body, fresh air and daily adventures are vital. A stagnant and inactive lifestyle will make any dog passive and even aggressive.
- Children. Despite the fact that most large breeds of dogs are exceptionally kind, in the first months of the appearance of an adult dog in the house, carefully monitor all contacts between the pet and your children. Any pet has its own threshold of patience, after which these dogs can unwittingly inflict serious injuries on your child. The same goes for outdoor walks – these dogs should always be taken out only in a muzzle and with a leash.
So you will not only protect everyone around you from your pet, but also do not give others a reason to reproach you for walking your “giant”.
- Upbringing. Some of the dog breeds presented above have an extremely self-confident, independent and strong character that not every breeder will be able to handle. A very important point in the education of these dogs is to establish their authority as a master from the very first days of the appearance of a pet in the house. If the upbringing turns out to be ineffective, you will have an absolutely uncontrollable and capricious pet in your hands, which will sweep away everything in its path. Large dogs are very difficult to train in adulthood – the pet feels its size and strength, and therefore simply does not perceive the owner as someone who has the right to order him.
For the largest dog breeds, see the following video.