It is said that a dog is a man’s best friend, and indeed these wonderful creatures are the most loyal and kind companion animals to be found on this earth. There are a lot of dog breeds, but in the course of this article, we are going to speak about pros and cons of the 15 largest dog breeds in the world.
From ancient times, people have been fascinated with these kindhearted giants. Of course, large dogs can bring a lot of love and joy to any family. However, sometimes their keeping implies certain difficulties one should be ready for. Among their advantages is a wonderful personality – as a rule, dogs of large breeds (under the condition of their correct upbringing) are very gentle, amiable and loyal creatures. They are easy-to-train and do not require tons of exercise. Relatively high food costs, as such large animals require a corresponding amount of food, are the definite downside of taking care of a large dog. And the most depressing factor is the fact that life expectancy of such dogs is much lower compared to their smaller counterparts. However, despite all this, many people still prefer to have a large dog that will become a good friend and reliable guardian of the whole family.
The Great Dane
Great Dane is indeed the tallest dog breed. Males reach a minimum height of 80 centimeters, and females – 75 centimeters at the withers. Depending on their growth, male dogs can weigh between 70 to 100 kilos and females from 50 to 80 kilograms. Great Dane is a cute giant that requires an experienced owner who can handle a large dog and can afford great expenses on to take care of his/her pet. Great Danes are usually calm, proud, well behaved, loving and devoted to their owners. These dogs are also great with kids; however, they can accidentally knock a child down with a large paw or tail. Their average lifespan is 6-8 years. In addition to their large size, Great Danes are known for their distinctive coats. And some of them can boast a unique blue coat color. Because of their huge size, special attention should be paid to their training to teach Great Danes how to properly behave themselves with children and other pets. Some dogs may exhibit dominance, so their owners should teach them obedience from puppyhood.
The most renowned representative of Great Dane breed is Scooby Doo – a fictional character and a protagonist of the eponymous animated film series, which is equally beloved by adults and children all around the world. Speaking about celebrities: Great Dane from the US state of Michigan called Zeus with the height of 1.12 meters got into the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest dog in the world. To feed Zeus, Denis Doorlag, a happy owner of this four-legged wonder, needed 14 kilograms of food daily.
Anatolian Shepherd originates from the legendary Turkish Kangal. Kangal is a national treasure of the country and is banned from the export. It is a clever, strong, courageous and at the same time calm and not aggressive dog. Primarily, this dog breed was used to guard animal herds against coyotes, jackals, bears and wolves. Until now they have preserved their unique personality traits and that is why they are ideal for protecting one’s property. Anatolian Shepherds weigh up to 68 kilos, males can reach a height of 80 centimeters, and bitches – only 73-75. Because of their thick coat, these dogs look more massive than they really are.
It is worth noting, that they like to dominate, but at the same time they belong to one of the most trainable dog breeds. Like all large dogs, Anatolian Shepherds require early socialization. They are very fawning with their owners and people they know, and very suspicious of strangers, especially after reaching the age of 1.5 -2 years. Easy-to-keep and undemanding to food, can live outside in all seasons. Their lifespan – 10-25 years. This dog breed is rarely exposed to diseases, including hip dysplasia.
Dogue De Bordeaux
Dogue de Bordeaux or French Mastiff is one of the oldest dog breeds in Europe that were primarily used for physically demanding jobs (e.g. carts pulling). It is, first and foremost, the power and the huge, frightening size, which make it an excellent guard dog and protector. Males of the breed usually weigh up to 68 kg, their height – 69 centimeters.
His size and ferocious appearance made Dogue De Bordeaux a perfect fighter, hunter and guard throughout the history of the breed. But the truth is that its appearance has nothing in common with its real essence. Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most gentle, calm and sociable dog breeds. The first thing you notice when looking at such a dog is its large head and, indeed, it is one of the largest among other dog breeds. Average lifespan – 5-6 years. These are dogs with a high energy level that must be replenished throughout the day via frequent meals. Leonberger
Leonberger is a large dog breed that was named after the city where the breed was developed – Leonberg, Germany. Leonberger is an even-tempered, calm and loving dog. It is a devoted protector with a friendly attitude. Playful, intelligent, brave and easy-to-train Leonbergers are always striving to please their owners. They are gentle and patient with children. Also, they are excellent as a therapy and rescue dogs. These dogs really need communication. When they lack attention Leonbergers become lethargic and bored. Dogs of this breed feature a double coat of fur and a kind of black mask on the face. Leonberger males reach the height of 72-80 centimeters, their weight – 64-68 kg. Female height – 65-75 centimeters, weight – 52 kg. Their average lifespan is just 7 years.
Newfoundland is a popular dog breed that originates from Newfoundland area, Canada. Due to its ability to swim quickly, newfoundland was primarily used by fishermen as a working dog. This massive dog has long and thick black or brown fur with a thick undercoat. Could also have white spots on the chest and feet. These dogs are adapted to live in the cold and swim in the ice water. Their sizes are really impressive. Newfoundlands weight can reach up to 80 kg and 70 centimeters in height. However, the heaviest representative of this breed weighed 120 kg. Their unique abilities and physical features like webbed paws make them the perfect water rescue dogs.
St.Bernards are sweet and tender dogs. Despite the fact that this breed is considered to be one of the largest and strongest dog breeds, they are the best pets for families. Originally St Bernards were developed as rescue dogs, however, they are very patient with children and other pets in the house. These brave dogs have established a reputation of avalanche rescue dogs. Due to the multiple successful rescue operations in the alpine mountains, St Bernard has become a Switzerland’s national dog. And it is no wonder that the urge to seek and find people is in their blood! These natural born “searchers” have an excellent sense of smell and can find a person buried under 6-meters of snow. Male dogs reach the weight of 120 kg and height of 90 centimeters. However, one representative of the breed called Benedictine managed to gain 166 kg of weight. The most famous St Bernard called Barry, according to different sources, saved from 40 to 100 lives.
Irish Wolfhound is justly considered to be one of the oldest breeds in the whole world. It is believed that its ancestors could have dated back to 7000 BC. Irish Wolfhound is a loving, friendly, patient, thoughtful and extremely intelligent pet. It is a true friend and a faithful family member. Due to their strong hind legs, Irish Wolfhounds are extremely fast, what makes them excellent guard and hunting dogs. However, this breed almost never exhibits aggression. And very often their impressive size becomes the only thing they can intimidate a stranger with. Males reach the weight of 55 kg, while females weigh 48 kg. The average height of the breed is 78 centimeters, while the length of their hind legs reaches 7 feet.
English Mastiffs are dogs with dignity and long history as their breed dates back to 6th century BC. They are calm and docile animals and excellent family pets. They are good with children but are not suited for communication with little kids because of their massive size. In general, these extremely kind dogs love and need the company of people. English Mastiffs are not exactly playful dogs, however, they prefer to always be around their family. You can rarely hear English Mastiffs bark because this breed is taciturn by nature. However, it still has its drawbacks like loud snoring and drooling. Males weigh around 113 kg. Their height – 75cm. Currently, this breed is the heaviest in the world. In this aspect, one of the brightest representatives of English Mastiffs is a dog called Hercules that has the weight of 127 kg. However, the record belongs to Zorba – an English Mastiff that managed to weigh 156 kg. In the view of everything said above, think twice before buying or adopting an English Mastiff, especially if you are short of space.
Kuvasz is another large dog in our list. This breed was developed in Tibet, however, currently is considered to be a Hungarian breed. It is an intelligent, funny and sensitive dog that barks only when necessary. Strong and courageous, it is able to protect the herd from wolves and bears. In ancient times these large and hardy dogs were used for livestock guarding and hunting, and their fearlessness made them unsurpassed watchdogs. Their characteristic features: the double fur coat and white color. The fur can be both wavy and straight. Males usually reach the weight of 68 kg, and grow up to 76 centimeters.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Shepherd Dog was developed to protect property and livestock from predators. Its massive body and stoic personality create an impression of legendary brutality and strength. As is evident from its name, this breed originates from the Caucasian region and was very popular in the following countries: Armenia, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, etc. Its guard instinct together with mistrust of strangers has made it an ideal guardian. Caucasian Shepherd Dog perceives its owners and others pets as its family that must be protected. Males of the breed reach the height of 79 centimeters, their average weight is 45 kg, which is not much in comparison with other large breeds. This muscular dog can be aggressive, but it is mostly docile and even tender towards its family.
Russian Black Terrier
Russian Black Terrier is a USSR military dog breed that was developed in the kennel “Red Star” in the second half of the XX century. The breed was created by crossing 17 different breeds: Giant Schnauzer, Airedale, Rottweiler, Newfoundland and other. An adult male representative of the breed can weigh up to 60 kg and have the height of 78 cm. Females are respectively smaller and lighter. As was already mentioned, Black Russian Terrier was created as a military dog, so its protection skills are coded genetically. This is a very brave and observant dog with an excellent reaction. Its average lifespan is 14 years. Unfortunately, they can be affected by genetic diseases such as elbow or hip dysplasia.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a dog breed native to the Swiss Alps. If you need to describe the essence of this breed in one word, it probably would be the word loyalty. It seems that the purpose of its existence is to be loyal and helpful to its owner and his/her family members. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a friendly personality, which allows it to adapt to almost any environment. Children and other pets are not a problem for such a social and amicable breed. Moreover, it is also very strong and agile, usually boasting excellent physical condition. These features have made it ideal for serving as a working farm dog. Adult males can weigh up to 72 kg and reach the height of 76 cm.
Tibetan Mastiff originates from Tibet. Nomadic people of China, Central Asia, and Nepal also reared it. Tibetan Mastiff is an affectionate, understanding and very patient dog, which have learned to understand people during the centuries of mutual coexisting. Dogs of this breed are fearless and loyal defenders, they have been known to secure a victory in encounters with wolves and snow leopards. This massive and muscular dog features dark and thick coat and the ability to adapt to the poor weather conditions in the mountains. The average height of the Tibetan Mastiff males reaches 83cm., their weight can vary between 45 kg and 72 kg.
Landseer dog breed resembles Newfoundland. The majority of kennel clubs does not recognize it as a separate breed and consider Landseers a black-and-white Newfoundlands. However, Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognizes it as a separate breed. Landseer takes its origin from Switzerland and Germany. That time it was a working dog, helping fishermen to pull nets out of the water. Landseer dogs came to England in 18th century and quickly became very popular. The breed was named after Edwin Henry Landseer, an English artist and sculptor of the Romantic Era that often depicted these wonderful animals in his paintings. The weight of adult male dogs can reach 80 kg, their average height is 80 cm. Despite their large size, these dogs are gentle, graceful, intelligent, affectionate, courageous, active and friendly with children. Landseers are perfect swimmers, they like swimming with children to ensure their safety. And of course, they are good water rescue dogs!
Akbash is a very beautiful, large white dog from Western Turkey. The breed name comes from the Turkish word “akbas”, which means ” white head”. Dogs of this breed belong to the group of Turkish shepherd dog, which includes Kars, Anatolian Shepard, and Karabash Dog. This dog comes in a bigger size, its weight can vary between 34 kg and 64 kg and height between 69 cm and 86 cm. It has a smooth short white coat and distinctive marks on the ears. It’s a quiet and sensitive dog that does not exhibit aggression. When used as a guard dog, it is very attentive to strangers and unusual sounds. This breed was created to be discerning and able to think independently. With proper education and training, Akbash is hostile to predators, but attentive to newborn lambs. The average lifespan of the breed is 10-11 years.
As you can see, the majority of large dog breeds from our list were developed to serve a wide variety of purposes. And their impressive size only helps these cute giants cope with their task.