There’s nothing better than cuddling on the couch with a big dog! Though their sheer size can be intimidating, most large dog breeds are very calm, good-tempered, and loving, which makes them great family pets. Many of these large dog breeds were initially used for work and protection and need good training and socialization to help them harness those natural instincts. Before adding a large dog to your family, consider some factors, such as regular vet checkups for breed-specific issues, extra slobber, a bigger dog food budget, and a shorter lifespan. Let’s take a look and learn a little bit more about some of the biggest dog species in the world.
Did you know the tallest dog ever was a Great Dane named Zeus, who stood 44 inches tall? Great Danes were bred initially by mixing an English Mastiff and an Irish Wolfhound, creating the tallest dogs in the world. The average Great Dane stands around 28-30 inches tall, but often they can be taller. These pups were bred by German nobles who trained them to hunt large game-like boars and protect their estates. Their coat comes in various colors, but the most recognizable is the black-and-white harlequin pattern. These gentle giants are known for their friendly, playful nature and make friends easily with other animals, adults, and children alike.
The English Mastiff holds the record for the heaviest dog breed in the world, usually weighing in at around 250 pounds. The heaviest English Mastiff ever recorded was named Aicama Zorba, who weighed 343 pounds! These pups hold the title of largest dog size and have a distinct appearance with a recognizable black face and a fawn, apricot, or brindle-striped coat. The English Mastiff is an ancient dog breed bred initially in medieval England as hunters, guardians, and war dogs. They have since become wonderful family dogs with mellow, even-tempered personalities. When they aren’t snuggled on a couch, they are sometimes used for military, police, and security purposes.
Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux, otherwise known as the Bordeaux Mastiff, French mastiff, and Bordeauxdog, is France’s most ancient dog breed. These pups spent their time hunting large game on French estates in the 12th century, cattle driving, and even fearsome war dogs. The Dogue de Bordeaux stands between 23-27 inches tall and weighs between 125-150 pounds. They are also known to have the most prominent head of any dog in relation to body size. This breed is loyal and loving to their family with kind eyes and a wrinkled appearance. However, before considering a Dogue de Bordeaux, keep in mind that their excessive skin folds may cause dermatitis. They also require some extra training to tame their stubborn nature.
The Saint Bernard is one of the most well-loved large dog breeds, with its charming, playful personality and soft eyes. A Swiss monastery bred these pups to seek out, and rescue lost travelers in the Swiss Alps. Their large size made them perfect for the job - usually between 25-30 inches tall and weighing anywhere from 140 to 180 pounds. Today, Saint Bernard’s are mostly family dogs and are especially well-known to be great with children, sometimes referred to as a “nanny dog.” However, if you like to keep a tidy home, these dogs may not be the best choice for you and your family. Their shaggy coat makes them prone to shedding, and they also have excessive drooling.
The Irish Wolfhound was indeed bred to chase down wolves and is another ancient breed dating as far back as 7000 B.C. in Ireland. Their primary use was hunting, but today, they are fairly quiet, mellow dogs with an intelligent, laid-back personality. These pups are one of the tallest dog breeds globally, with most being 34-35 inches tall and weighing upwards of 140 pounds. They have a rough, hard coat coming in various colors like white, gray, brindle, red, black, and fawn. The Irish Wolfhound is incredibly patient with children and makes excellent family dogs; just be sure to give them plenty of daily exercises.
Aptly named, the Newfoundland is a working dog from Newfoundland bred for helping fishermen haul nets and lines from boats, pull carts, and fetch things overboard, even people. They are excellent water dogs and talented swimmers, credited with many sea rescues. They even have webbed feet to help them swim! Newfoundland dogs stand between 27-30 inches tall and weigh as much as 150 pounds. They look even more significant due to their thick, shaggy fur, which keeps them warm in the icy waters. These gentle giants are compassionate and loving, making them one of the most popular large dog breeds for families.
Large dog breeds are exceptionally loving and gentle, even with children, small animals, and kittens. They may be the largest dogs in the world but they consider themselves cuddly lap dogs - not even knowing how big they are. There is so much more to love and so much more to care for - including shaggy fur, wrinkled folds, drooling, and lots of energy. When considering a large dog breed, consider these factors and make sure it is the best choice for you and your family.