The bigger, the better? When it comes to dogs, maybe! But when it comes to people’s love of big dogs, it’s not just about size. Ask anyone who’s given their heart to a gentle giant — whether it’s a dog owner or a pet care professional — and they’ll be the first to tell you: Massive dogs have so much to offer overall. In addition to their large presence, the biggest dogs are often the sweetest, bred for even-keeled temperaments and have larger-than-life doggie IQs. (That’s why they’re a big favorite of dog walkers and sitters alike.)
Curious about the biggest dogs in the world? Check out the top 10 biggest dogs, along with info about each.
1. Great Dane
Solemn-faced and stoic, Great Danes are known for patience and dependability, as well as astounding size. A friendly breed, many of the biggest dogs in the world have been Great Danes.
The Tallest Dog Ever, according to Guinness World Records, was Zeus, a Great Dane from Michigan, who measured 7′ 4′ when standing and died in 2014. Before him was Giant George, a blue Great Dane from Arizona, who measured 7′ 3″ and died in 2013.
2. Irish Wolfhound
Consistently the tallest of all dog breeds, Irish Wolfhounds are formidable in history as well as stature. Ancient relics point to their role as war dogs, fighting alongside Celtic warriors. Julius Caesar even referenced them, according to Dogster magazine. Today, this impressive breed is known for its mellow nature, galloping gait and keen vision.
3. English Mastiff
They may not be the tallest, but these huge canines are some of the biggest dogs ever known. Gentle and sweet, the black-masked canines are known for their huge heads and large bodies. Historically speaking, according to the American Kennel Club, Mastiffs were matched up against bulls, gladiators, lions, tigers and bears (oh my!).
4. Saint Bernard
Despite the iconic rendition of these huge Alpine rescue dogs and their ever-present neck casks of brandy, Saint Bernards, bred for centuries to rescue wayward travelers, are not bars on four legs. They didn’t actually carry those brandy barrels around, but this fictionalized “tall tale” can be traced back to the works of a British painter in the 1820s, as Mental Floss details. What they do bring with them at all times is massive girth, a superior sense of smell and vast strength.
5. Cane Corso
Also known as Italian mastiffs, these hunting guard dogs are calm, quiet and big. An intelligent, athletic breed, Cane Corsos can hit 27.5 inches at shoulder height and weigh in at around 120 pounds.
6. Bernese Mountain Dog
This large Swiss mountain farm dog breed is even-keeled, strong and good natured. A slow-maturing breed, Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t reach full size until they’re 3 years old and are typically longer than they are tall, often reaching 110 pounds at full maturity.
7. Black Russian Terrier
High energy and smart, these powerfully large dogs will protect people they love with everything they have. Large-boned and muscled, Black Russian Terriers are courageous and reliable. Males often reach 150 pounds, and females reach 130 pounds.
8. Scottish Deerhound
Known for their intelligence and ability to gallop at a fast clip, this breed was once linked to Scotland’s nobility. Bred to hunt red deer, Scottish Deerhounds are gentle, friendly and loving. They are formidable in size but not quite as tall as their Irish cousins.
Exquisitely patient and calm natured, Newfoundlands have thick, heavy coats, in keeping with the northern climes of their origin. They are gentle giants of tremendous strength, used often for water rescue due to their muscular strength, water-resistant fur, webbed feet and excellent swimming ability.
10. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs
Nicknamed “Swissys,” these faithful, family-friendly dogs are large yet agile and possess immense physical strength and power. Thought to have descended from local Swiss dogs mated to Mastiffs, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs can top 150 pounds and also have larger-than-life litters of up to 18 puppies.