You know that nickname for a prominent person in their field? It’s not the little dog. It’s not the medium or average dog. It’s the big dog.
The world’s largest dog breeds convey respect and admiration, even from their masters. And most of the time that makes them worth the hidden costs of owning a dog.
So, in honor of big dog lovers, we present our list of the world’s largest dog breeds. These 15 big dogs sure know how to throw their weight around.
1. Scottish deerhound
You don’t give a name like deerhound to a Chihuahua. The Scottish deerhound has long legs to thank for its placement as one of the world’s largest dog breeds. They need to be big, considering their origins in Scotland. As the name suggests, they are used as coursers in deer hunting, a job only large dog breeds could survive.
Mastiffs are divided into different varieties around the world. On the whole, they all tend to be big. Notably, there’s Italy’s Neapolitan mastiff at about 130 to 155 pounds, the French mastiff at 125 to 150 pounds, and the famous English mastiff, which holds the record for world’s heaviest dog and often get as big as 250 pounds. The record was an English mastiff named Aicama Zorba, weighing 343 pounds.
We’ll give you one guess where the Newfoundland breed comes from. Similar to hunting dogs, Newfoundlands are used to aid fisherman. They haul nets, dock boats, and even catch items that fall overboard. Naturally, the dogs are excellent swimmers, aided by a thick double coat that keeps them warm even in icy waters.
4. Cane corso
Muscular and athletic, the cane corso has an almost noble appearance, making it one of the most photogenic of the large dog breeds. Their personalities seem to encourage this reputation. They’re smart, assertive, confident, and physically capable. Add size to that, and you have a dog designed for protection.
A breed from Turkey, the Kangal is big enough to herd large livestock. Although it might not be as heavy as the other large breeds on this list, its weight enhances its agility. The Kangal can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. When this dog chases a car, it comes back with a bumper.
6. St. Bernard
Known as the iconic Alpine rescue dogs that saved travelers with jugs of alcohol around their necks, today St. Bernards are mostly family dogs. Their kind demeanor and large, fluffy coats are just as suitable for saving small children from boredom as they are saving lost hikers from hypothermia.
The Leonberger was consciously bred to be one of the world’s largest dogs. It’s a deliberate mix between St. Bernard and Newfoundland, with a dash of Great Pyrenees. The Leonberger seems to have inherited the best traits of its ancestors. It has the kind demeanor and penchant for rescue from the St. Bernard, with the talent for swimming from the Newfoundland. In short, this dog makes a great lifeguard.
8. Black Russian terrier
Terriers aren’t all known for their size, which makes the black Russian terrier somewhat of a black sheep. Although they’re known for being a bit reserved around strangers, black Russian terriers are fiercely loyal to their inner circle and make great family pets. That means they would appreciate it if you took them along on your next family vacation.
9. Great Pyrenees
The “great white” of large dog breeds, the Great Pyrenees is known for its distinct fluffy white (or sometimes gray) coat. Originally bred as all-weather guard dogs for livestock on the steep Pyrenees mountains, today’s Great Pyrenees dogs still uphold the same athleticism, balance, and coordination as their ancestors.
10. Irish wolfhound
Like the Scottish deerhound, the Irish wolfhound is another breed with an action-hero name. Again, they were bred to be coursers, specifically to chase wolves. The Irish wolfhound is statistically the world’s largest dog breed, with the highest average height of 32 to 34 inches from paw to shoulder. To put it in perspective, the Irish wolfhound is about the size of a donkey.
11. Bully kutta
The bully kutta, or Pakistani mastiff, descended from the now-extinct Alaunt breed. Obedient and trainable, bully kuttas unfortunately are popular with dog-fighting rings. Despite this regrettable mistreatment, bully kuttas are docile by nature.
Like the Great Pyrenees, the kuvasz has a thick, white coat that sometimes gets curly, giving it the appearance of a large sheep. Although not as bulky as its mountaineering cousins, kuvasz dogs are predisposed for guarding and herding livestock. This breed also is known to have a goofy sense of humor.
13. Bernese mountain dog
Recognizable by a multicolored coat, especially around the head and face, Bernese mountain dogs are one of the most amicable large dog breeds. They make great pets because of their kind, calm disposition. And they don’t hurt family photos with their distinctive look.
Along with the Kangal, the akbash is the second Turkish herding dog on our list of the world’s largest dog breeds. While the akbash is not as big as the Kangal, it’s still a capable farmhand, extremely attentive with ironclad persistence.
15. Great Dane
Despite losing to the Irish wolfhound for average height, the current world’s largest dog is actually a Great Dane. The Guinness Book of World Records crowned a 3-year-old Great Dane named Freddy as the world’s largest dog in 2016. Freddy is 7 feet 6 inches on his hind legs, making him taller than most humans. He weighs 196 pounds. Unfortunately, Great Danes also are one of the 10 dog breeds no insurance company wants to cover.