Big dog breeds are beloved by many. They are great protectors, energetic and fun to play with, and pretty cuddly too! Let's take a look at the 10 biggest dog breeds in the world and get to know them a little bit better.
Often called "gentle giants," Great Danes are known for being rather calm and even-tempered. Their great size may be intimidating (males are about 140-175 pounds and 30-32 inches tall; females are about 110-140 pounds and 28-30 inches tall), but they are friendly, patient, and love people. Considered one of the giant working breeds, these dogs have a life expectancy of approximately 7-10 years, with the main health concern facing them being bloat (when the stomach becomes distended from excess gas and twists). Despite their name, Great Danes do not come from Denmark, but actually have German origins.
Like Great Danes, Mastiffs are also gentle and loyal creatures. For males, height can reach 30 inches and up, with weight in the range of 160-230 pounds. Females stand at 27 inches and up and weigh between 120-170 pounds. Mastiffs belong to the working group, and are known as great guardians of the home. They require training at an early age, but also have a low exercise requirement in general. A Mastiff's life expectancy is generally 6-10 years, and they are prone to skeletal disorders and bloat.
Characterized by their wrinkly skin, Neapolitan Mastiff males can reach up to 31 inches, and females can grow as large as 29 inches tall. This breed is believed to go as far back as 700 B.C., and also believed to have enjoyed popularity during the Roman Empire. Mastiffs are courageous, but also easy to manage and gentle. Health-wise, this breed can also develop bloat and hip dysplasia, and it's important to recognize the signs of bloat to get them help as soon as possible. Though they have very loose skin, they don't have any skin issues.
The Saint Bernard has a popular reputation as a reliable helper dog that was used in the past as a rescuer. Saint Bernards can grow to be as large as 30 inches (males) or 28 inches (females) tall. They shed about twice a year and drool a lot, but it only adds to their charm. Saint Bernards also have a great sense of smell and are excellent at finding paths, hence the reason why they were used so often on rescue missions. Like the other big breeds on this list, Saint Bernards can suffer from bloat as well. If you're looking for a mellow, docile companion, a Saint Bernard is a great choice.
Standing at 28 inches tall, the Newfoundland male cuts an imposing figure. He can weigh up to 150 pounds, rivaling a full-grown human. Females are can reach 26 inches and weigh 120 pounds. Big breeds come with their particular challenges, but the Newfoundland can be trained well with some gentle techniques, and even has cultivated a reputation as a "nanny dog" that is good with children. Newfoundlands generally live from 9-10 years, and can suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia, cardiac disease, and a condition that causes stones to develop in the urinary system.
The Great Pyrenees breed was originally used for its ability to guard sheep. These days it makes a great family dog, as it is patient, sweet, and attentive. Males can grow to be as tall as 32 inches and weigh about 100 pounds. Females grow to be as tall as 29 inches and weigh around 85 pounds. This breed is not generally as heavy as the other big breeds on this list, but they are still quite imposing. As the name suggests, they were indeed bred to guard livestock in the Pyrenees Mountains and to help with herding.
The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from Bern, Switzerland. It was bred to guard livestock and farms from various threats, mainly predators that would threaten cattle and other farm animals. They are calm and loving companions, who love to please. Males tend to grow up to 27.5 inches, while females are slightly shorter at 26 inches. Weight ranges from 115 pounds (males) to 95 pounds (females). Since bigger breeds tend to have shorter lifespans, Berners usually live about 7-10 years.
This breed is believed to be the ancestor of all Mastiff breeds. Tibetan Mastiffs may or may not hail from Tibet, but they have been known as the guardians of the Himalayas. They have very strong jaws and teeth, so be careful with any items around the house -- they will almost surely be destroyed. Still, Tibetan Mastiffs are very good guard dogs who will behave calmly and docilely with the family. They live between 10-12 years, and grow to be at least 26 inches (male) and 24 inches (female).
One of the tallest breeds, Irish Wolfhounds stand at a minimum of 32 inches (males) and 30 inches (females). In the past, they were used to hunt the now-extinct Irish elk, and later, wolves. Wolfhounds are muscular and strong, with very good eyesight. Personality-wise, they are calm and might not necessarily be great guard dogs. However, they are good with children. Unfortunately, they only live about 6-8 years, which is not very long at all, even for a big breed.
This big breed is a cross between a Saint Bernard and a Newfoundland, originally bred by Heinrich Essig of Leonberg, Germany. Essig wanted to breed a dog worthy of royalty, and indeed, Leonbergers have been owned by various royals throughout history. They can reach 31.5 inches (males) and 29.5 inches (females). Males can grow to be 170 pounds, while females will peak at 140 pounds, usually. They are characterized by a lion-like mane around the neck, and have a double coat that will require regular brushing. They can also make great therapy dogs for people suffering from mental health concerns.
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