Biggest Dog Breeds in the World
If you live in a place with plenty of room to roam, want a dog for security or just want a gentle, furry giant to call your own, these large dog breeds can make for loving, protective family members.
But take note — most bigger breeds come from ancient lines of working or herding dogs. While they may no longer be used in that capacity, those traits are still an inherent part of their personalities. Therefore, larger dogs often need more training, room and companionship than their smaller counterparts.
Tibetan Mastiffs may look like lions, but they are as gentle as can be when it comes to their beloved humans. The dogs were bred to protect Himalayan villagers and their flocks from all types of invaders.
Today, the breed is still a powerful watchdog and protector but is equally content to lounge around its home with loved ones. A medium-energy dog, the Tibetan still needs an adequate amount of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy, healthy and engaged.
A note of caution: The breed is notoriously hard to train and can be quite stubborn — a professional trainer is something you'll want to invest in from the get-go!
Tibetan Mastiff Overview
Temperament: Independent, Reserved, Intelligent
Height: 26-28 inches (male), 24-26 inches (female)
Weight: 90-150 pounds (male), 70-120 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
* Breed information was sourced from theAmerican Kennel Club.
Tibetan Mastiff in Action
Newfies were bred as working dogs for Canadian fishermen and can top 28-inches tall and reach 150 pounds. They are sweet, family-friendly pups that can be great protectors if there's a situation that calls for it. They also excel as therapy dogs, as they are the perfect bedside height and can hold the weight of a person who needs to use them for support.
The Newfie is not an energetic dog but is one of the world’s great water dogs — with webbed feet that makes for natural swimmers. Newfies drool plenty; if a breeder tells you otherwise, be cautious.
Temperament: Sweet, Patient, Devoted
Height: 28 inches (average male), 26 inches (average female)
Weight: 130-150 pounds (male), 100-120 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 9-10 years
The Cane Corso has an ancient Roman lineage, literally translating to “dog protector,” and was bred to hunt wild boar. This breed is a fierce protector and makes a great family watchdog, but it needs early socialization with people and other animals as it is naturally wary of both.
Athletic and agile, the Corso is intelligent, loving and extremely loyal to their chosen people, but also has an independent nature and can run roughshod around any owner without the proper training.
Cane Corso Overview
Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Majestic
Height: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23.5-26 inches (female)
Weight: 90-110 pounds
Life expectancy: 9-12 years
There's not a more affable large dog breed than the Irish Wolfhound. The dog was bred as a sighthound — a dog that hunted its prey by sight and speed rather than scent and endurance. This immense, muscular dog can stand nearly 3-feet tall and weigh 150 pounds.
Wolfies may look tough but are generally too laid back to be fierce guard dogs, yet their appearance alone is enough to deter most intruders. The Irish Wolfhound is a loving member of any family, but because of their size, supervision around small family members is key.
Irish Wolfhound Overview
Temperament: Courageous, Dignified, Calm
Height: 32-35 inches minimum (male), 30 inches minimum (female)
Weight: 120-150 pounds (male), 100-125 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 6-8 years
Irish Wolfhound in Action
Of the large dogs on our list, the Saint Bernard is likely the most well known. Nearly everyone has seen images of the breed patrolling the Alps wearing a cask of brandy around its neck in search of distressed travelers. While that's largely a myth, Saints are said to have rescued people from avalanches and may even be able to sense them before they happen.
As a family pet, this powerful dog is gentle, patient, eager to please and loves children. (Hello, Beethoven!) However, as with any other large breed, socialization and training are essential from an early age. Saint Bernards are not low-maintenance dogs, as they tend to drool and shed a lot.
Saint Bernard Overview
Temperament: Playful, Charming, Inquisitive
Height: 28-30 inches (males), 26-28 inches (female)
Weight: 140-180 pounds (male), 120-140 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 8-10 years
The imposing English Mastiff stands up to 30-inches tall and — at well over 200 pounds — outweighs most adults. One of the most ancient breeds, the mastiff was once feared in battle, but its reputation for being a warrior has since changed.
This gentle giant has a loving nature and is naturally protective of its chosen humans — acting as a silent guardian that's more likely to hold an intruder at bay than attack outright. This massive, muscular breed makes a wonderful pet, but, as with any large breed dog, must be properly trained and supervised around small children.
English Mastiff Overview
Temperament: Courageous, Dignified, Good-Natured
Height: 27 inches and up (males and females)
Weight: 160-230 pounds (male), 120-170 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 6-10 years
English Mastiff in Action
Great Danes originated in Germany as boar hunters and estate guardians. They tower over most dogs on our list (when on their hind legs, they are taller than most people.) They are graceful canines with a slow, deliberate gait that attracts attention wherever they go.
But don't let their laidback charm fool you — they are alert, protective guardians of family and home. With those they love, they are friendly, happy dogs that enjoy playtime with children, but they need supervision to avoid accidentally hurt little ones when throwing their weight around.
Great Dane Overview
Temperament: Friendly, Patient, Dependable
Height: 30-32 inches (male), 28-30 inches (female)
Weight: 140-175 pounds (male), 110-140 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 7-10 years
The Neapolitan Mastiff, or "Mastino," has its origins in southern Italy and is a working dog, bred to guard families and property. The Neapolitan has a massive head and overall fearsome appearance (a deterrent for any would-be intruder). But they make friendly, calm, devoted pets that love to spend time at home under the watchful eye of family.
The Neapolitan may not mix well with dogs that are dominant but can enjoy playtime with other canines if trained to socialize from a young age.
Neapolitan Mastiff Overview
Temperament: Loyal, Dignified, Watchful
Height: 26-31 inches (male), 24-29 inches (female)
Weight: 150+ pounds (male), 110 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 7-9 years
Neapolitan Mastiff in Action
Dogue de Bordeaux
The French-born Dogue is also in the mastiff family, albeit a little smaller in size. It stands up to 27-inches tall, weighs 140 pounds and has the same facial characteristics as most mastiffs, including a massive head and wrinkled face. The breed is the "clown" of larger dogs in that its personality is incredibly expressive and ranges from stubborn to outgoing to downright comical.
This dog can be a loving and devoted family member, but due to its obstinate, strong nature, it may not be the best breed for first-time dog owners. It should be noted that the Dogue is a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed and needs to be kept in cool temperatures to avoid overheating.
Dogue de Bordeaux Overview
Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Courageous
Height: 23-27 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)
Weight: 110-140 pounds (male), 90 pounds and up (female)
Life expectancy: 5-8 years
Dogue de Bordeaux in Action
The Great Pyrenees is a "mountain" of a dog that has Bronze Age roots as both a sheepherder and royal guard dog in France and Spain. Today, the breed is equally watchful and devoted to its chosen family. The Pyrenees is calm, well-mannered and wonderful with children but will spring into action to protect its family and territory at a moment's notice.
Because the Pyrenees was bred to spend lonely hours guarding sheep, it can be willfully independent, hard to train and quite vocal — with a strong instinct to bark in the face of perceived danger.
Great Pyrenees Overview
Temperament: Smart, Patient, Calm
Height: 27-32 inches (male), 25-29 inches (female)
Weight: 100-plus pounds and up (male), 85 pounds and up (female)
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in Switzerland where it worked farms as cart puller and cattle herder. The breed has retained those skills throughout the centuries as it still aces herding and carting competitions today.
This immense breed makes a friendly, family dog that is highly trainable. However, it needs plenty of supervision and room to run, as it is also high energy. With adequate socialization, Bernese Mountain Dogs can be affable, loyal companions and family members.
Bernese Mountain Dog Overview
Temperament: Good-Natured, Calm, Strong
Height: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)
Weight: 80-115 pounds (male), 70-95 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 7-10 years
Bernese Mountain Dog in Action
The Scottish Deerhound is from the same family as the Greyhound and can stand up to 32 inches and weigh as much as 110 pounds. This “Royal Dog of Scotland” was bred to stalk giant red deer by “coursing," or using extreme speed to bear down on them.
This deerhound is otherwise gentle, friendly, playful and always eager to give chase — exercise and plenty of space are necessary for this reason. Providing plenty of attention to your deerhound is also essential; if they become bored, they can be destructive. They are otherwise a welcome member in any family and are gentle and loyal to a fault.
Scottish Deerhound Overview
Temperament: Gentle, Dignified, Polite
Height: 30-32 inches (male), 28 inches and up (female)
Weight: 85-110 pounds (male), 75-95 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 8-11 years
Scottish Deerhound in Action
This "mop dog" has worked in Hungary as a watchful guard of livestock for hundreds of years. Its heavy, corded hair gives off the appearance of just another member of the flock — that is until a predator gets too close. The breed is loving and gentle, but if you're interested in owning one, you must do your homework.
Socializing and training are essential, and a Komondor needs to know that the running and screaming of small children does not necessarily mean danger. The breed generally accepts strangers with an introduction but will remain otherwise protective and sometimes be aggressive toward dogs they don't know.
Temperament: Loyal, Dignified, Brave
Height: 27.5 inches and up (male), 25.5 inches and up (female)
Weight: 100 pounds and up (male), 80 pounds and up (female)
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
The Leonberger is a German giant. The breed spent its early days in the imperial households of France, Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy before taking on tasks that included farm work and pulling ammunition carts for the military in World War I.
Today, this good-natured dog is a loving companion for the whole family. Don't let this graceful, serene pup fool you, however — the Leonberger is an intelligent watchdog and can identify potential dangers quickly and easily. The Leon doesn’t like to spend too much time alone either, as it would rather be in the company of people, enjoying playtime and about an hour of exercise daily.
Temperament: Friendly, Gentle, Playful
Height: 28-31.5 inches (male), 25.5-29.5 inches (female)
Weight: 110-170 pounds (male), 90-140 pounds (female)
Life expectancy: 6-8 years