With the vast range of dog sizes between breeds, it's impressive that some pups are even the same species as others! Today, we're focusing on the big boys (and girls) – we're lining up our favorite giant dog breeds, but which will be the top dog?
There is a crazy amount of variation when it comes to dog sizes.
One of the smallest dogs ever was a tiny Yorkshire Terrier at 4 ounces, and the Guinness World Record holder for the heaviest dog is over 300 pounds – that's a lot of dog!
Despite the sheer size of some of the heaviest dog breeds, many owners look for a giant breed to adopt as they're genuinely gentle giants.
These big dog breeds are some of the sweetest, well-adjusted canine companions and family dogs, as their love for children knows no bounds.
Read below to find out more about the heaviest dog breeds and plenty of hefty pups that are a pleasure to own.
Which Dog Breed is the Heaviest?
The tallest dog breed hands down is the Great Dane, with one enormous Dane, Giant George, measuring 7 foot 3.
The tallest dog doesn't necessarily make the heaviest dog. In fact, the heaviest dogs tend to be a little shorter and very stockily built.
While Great Danes are unquestionably the tallest dog breed, they tend to be slim.
The ultimate holder of the heaviest dog record is Zorba, an English Mastiff weighing 343 pounds.
Hopefully, he was well trained, because we're not sure how anyone could handle an unruly beast of that size!
The 9 Heaviest Dog Breeds
While an English Mastiff holds the title among the heaviest dog breeds, plenty of others give them a run for their money. Here's the lowdown on the best largest dog breeds to own.
#1: English Mastiff
The English Mastiff has a fascinating past – we originally bred these dogs for blood sports to bait bears, lions, and other dangerous beasts.
This breeding explains why they're courageous and fearless when the need arises, but for the most part, the English Mastiff is an incredibly mellow pup who is very easygoing.
These loyal dogs are quite protective of their masters; the Mastiff loves to be a part of a big family with some children for them to mind.
Average Height: 30 inches
Average Weight: 250 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Elbow and hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and eye conditions
#2: Great Dane
Though this tall dog is not the heaviest on the list, it’s still one of the overall largest dog breeds around, weighing over 100 lbs.
The Great Dane is the ultimate gentle giant that's calm, affectionate, and great with children.
These dogs are generally easy to train and require quite a bit of exercise to keep their energy at bay.
Great Danes don't like to be left alone, so they're best suited for owners who are retired or home often.
Average Height: 30+ inches; the record holder was 109 inches
Average Weight: 100 - 120 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Cardiomyopathy, joint and bone issues, and thyroid issues
#3: Neapolitan Mastiff
This dog breed originated in Southern Italy as an alert and resourceful guard dog. Neapolitan Mastiff pups will protect your home and family with fearlessness, which also means they need ample training and socialization from an early age to keep their wariness of strangers at bay.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is intelligent and incredibly sweet to their owner and family.
Average Height: 26 - 31 inches
Average Weight: 110 - 155 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, demodicosis, cardiomyopathy, and cherry eye
#4: Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound is tough as nails, initially bred for the intimidating role of chasing down wolves.
The history of these hunting and guarding dogs is ancient: there is evidence that the Irish Wolfhound existed in Ireland around 7000 BC!
Today's Irish Wolfhound is an intelligent, easygoing, and relatively quiet pet for most owners.
Though it was a Great Dane who set the world record for the largest individual dog, the Irish Wolfhound breed holds the tallest breed title on average.
Average Height: 31 inches
Average Weight: 89 - 150 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, osteosarcoma, cardiomyopathy, progressive retinal atrophy, and thyroid issues
#5: Saint Bernard
These tiny-barrel-toting pups became famous as a snow rescue dog among the Swiss Alps and Northern Italy.
While most Saint Bernards no longer go on avalanche rescue missions, they love – more than possibly any other pup on this list – to care for small children and other pets.
The Saint Bernard dog loves to go on long walks but isn't incredibly energetic – they'll cuddle up on the couch with you as much as they can.
Average Height: 25 - 30 inches
Average Weight: 140 - 180 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, bone cancer, eye problems, and immune-related conditions
#6: Scottish Deerhound
Like the Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound is another ancient hunting dog, used to run down red deer.
They have a long, relatively slim body that resembles a greyhound, though much larger – and boy, are they ever fast!
These pups are friendly with others, docile, and have a very dignified demeanor.
Average Height: 32 inches
Average Weight: 110 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Cardiomyopathy, gastric torsion, hypothyroidism, neck pain, and osteosarcoma
#7: Cane Corso
This hunting dog makes an excellent guardian with its very protective tendencies. The Cane Corso is confident yet has a quiet, calm, and reserved demeanor – they meet any challenge with ease.
This dog needs ample training to ensure it doesn't use its confidence to become too defiant and independent.
Average Height: 25 - 28 inches
Average Weight: 90 - 110 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Idiopathic epilepsy, hip dysplasia, Demodex mange, and eyelid issues
#8: Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux, or French Mastiff, is a wrinkly, sweet-tempered pup and one of the most ancient French breeds.
The Dogue breed has the largest head in proportion to its body size.
These dogs are prone to high energy bursts when they exercise outside and should get two walks each day.
After their exercise, they're more than happy spending the rest of the afternoon on the couch.
Average Height: 123 - 127 inches
Average Weight: 125 - 150 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Cancers including lymphoma, Dilated cardiomyopathy, bloat, hip dysplasia, and aortic stenosis
This massive dog of Canadian origins is hardworking and incredibly devoted to its family.
Unlike others on this list, it's not a guard dog - it's a fisherdog! We bred the Newfoundland dog to help fishers by hauling nets and lines from boats and pulling carts.
Unsurprisingly, these pups love the water and are excellent swimmers, so they'll do well in homes close to a water's edge.
They're trainable and charming to both their families and strangers.
Average Height: 27 - 30 inches
Average Weight: 150 lbs
Potential Health Issues: Gastric torsion, aortic stenosis, cystinuria, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy
The Pros and Cons of a Large Dog Breed
These large dog breeds make some of the best pets for dog owners, but there are some potential issues to keep in mind when you’re considering adopting a big pup.
- Space. It's essential to have ample living space that can accommodate a large dog comfortably – a large, fenced-in yard is the best-case scenario for a big dog to run out its extra energy.
- Activity. Speaking of extra energy, you'll need to take a big dog out for exercise more often – at least two walks each day is recommended, and some off-leash time for them to run as they please.
- Exercising. It's essential to train all dogs, but even more so to prepare a large dog well, as their size means they can overpower their owners quickly.
- Maintenance. A large dog's food costs can be as huge as they are – it can cost $235 per year to feed a large breed, while a small breed costs only $55 annually.
If you think you're ready to meet these requirements head-on, we think you'll be thrilled to adopt a gentle giant of your own!