The largest dog breeds are some of the most hardworking, recognizable pups on the planet, but their sheer size, weight and strength means there’s plenty to consider before you decide to welcome one into your home and heart.
For starters, you’ll need to shop big when it comes to pet supplies, from extra-large dog beds and crates to strong and durable dog toys and long lasting treats. You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of the best dog food on hand to fuel those mammoth appetites and keep your pup happy and healthy.
But that’s not the only thing you’ll want to think about. While it’s a myth that all small dog breeds are yappy and all large dog breeds are aggressive, some of the dogs on this list are not suitable for novice owners due to their fierce and dominant natures. Because of this, we’ve highlighted below which breeds require experienced and confident pet parents and consistent training and socialization.
To help you find the right breed for your home and your needs, we’ve rounded up the five largest dog breeds in the world, including several genial giants that make wonderful family pets and a couple of courageous canines that will serve as formidable protectors of you and your property.
What are the largest dog breeds in the world?
With males able to reach colossal weights of up to 230 lbs and heights of around 36 inches, the Mastiff is the largest dog in the world and not to be messed with. Docile and dignified with their family, these heavy-boned courageous canines are also fierce and formidable protectors of those they hold dear and because of their eternally loyal natures, they’re very wary around strangers. Gentle training and socialization are key for this breed so that their incredible strength does not cause harm to others.
The second largest dog breed in the world, the Boerboel hails from South Africa where it has been used to protect remote homesteads from ferocious predators, including leopards and baboons. With a broad and blocky head, powerful jaw and thick muscles, the Boerboel is dominant and confident, requiring early training and socialization plus an experienced owner to help them learn who’s boss. But this breed is also bright, eager to learn and adores their humans, so if you’re assertive enough to handle up to 220 lbs of pup, then the Boerboel could be the dog for you.
Smaller than some of the other pups on this list, the Newfoundland is still a huge hound, with males weighing up to 150 lbs and females reaching around 120 lbs. With a reputation as a patient and watchful ‘nanny dog’ for kids, Newf’s (as they’re often affectionately referred to) have the most sterling character and sweet temperament that makes them the most beautiful family companions. Utterly devoted to those they love and hugely trusting, they’re great with just about everyone, including other dogs.
4. Great Dane
With males tipping the scales at up to 175 lbs and females weighing as much as 140 lbs, the Great Dane is one majestic mutt. Reaching heights of 32 inches, this friendly, patient and dependable breed has a sweet and easy going temperament that makes them a joy to live with. They’re also highly affectionate and eager to please, but their imposing size, strength and weight means owning one is not a commitment to be entered into lightly.
5. Saint Bernard
Developed to rescue Alpine mountaineers, the wrinkled brow and short muzzle of the Saint Bernard gives them an amiable appearance that is further backed up by their playful, charming and inquisitive personality. Males can weigh up to 180 lbs and stand around 30 inches tall, while females typically reach 140 lbs and 28 inches. Wonderful with children and adults alike, the Saint Bernard is a charismatic and beloved breed that makes a fantastic family pet.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.