Whether you’re looking for a large dog to welcome into your home, or you’re just curious about which are the tallest dog breeds, we’ve prepared a list of the large dogs that exist today.
There are some rules when measuring dogs. The dog’s height is measured when the dog is standing on all of its four legs. We don’t consider the height from the top of the dog’s head to the ground, but the real height is considered from the ground to the shoulders also called withers.
Although a dog that has a long neck or a huge head may appear taller than the dog whose height is larger at the withers, he is not considered to be taller than the other.
We used the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) measurements as the standard average height for certain breeds. Although there is only one that holds the title of the tallest dog breed, there are a few others that are close to that standard height that deserve to be mentioned.
Can you imagine how tall these dogs are? We’re talking about 30 inches and over! Let’s take a look at the top 15 tallest dog breeds we picked out in no particular order for those of you who believe that size does matter!
1. Neapolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan Mastiff was bred to be a working dog, but over time their easy-going nature made them a perfect fit as family pets. They are considered an ancient breed because a long time ago they were used as guard dogs in the gladiator arenas in Ancient Rome.
You can recognize them by their skin folds and loose wrinkles that are spread all over their body. Although a big dog with a menacing expression, they have a character that is very gentle and peaceful and very good with children.
The males’ height ranges from 26 to 32 inches at the withers, while females stand 24 to 27 inches tall.
2. Scottish Deerhound
The Scottish Deerhound is a sighthound bred in Scotland to be a hunting dog. Being one of the tallest dog breeds, Scottish Deerhounds have a very strong drive to run. They are very fast so their running should be limited on a leash, or a place with a fence.
By nature, they are very connected with their family, gentle, intelligent, and calm. Although Deerhounds are docile dogs, their will to hunt is still there. They enjoy playing and running with Deerhounds or other larger breeds.
Due to their tendency to become overweight, it is recommended that you keep an eye on their nutrition and training.
The so-called royal dog of Scotland, this breed has a height that ranges from 32 to 35 inches at the shoulder, and females are at least 28 inches tall.
The AKC recognized them as a breed in 1886.
The Borzoi, also called the Russian Wolfhound, was bred in Russia and is considered a sighthound breed. They are very fast as they can run up to 40 miles per hour. Their coats are silky and usually wavy.
Their character is by nature very calm, they haven’t a tendency towards aggressive behavior. These dogs respect their owners. However, they can be very stubborn during the training so owners will need a lot of patience with them.
Their average height ranges from 30 to 33 inches at the withers. Meanwhile female Borzoi are from 26 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder.
The Greyhound is a breed that has existed for almost 4,000 years; its origin is in Eastern Europe. With stamina to hunt and race, Greyhounds are bred to hunt with their sight, just like all the other sighthounds. They have a strong desire to hunt other mammals such as dogs and cats.
Besides being one of the tallest dog breeds, they carry the title as one of the fastest dogs in the world. They make great family dogs because of their gentle nature. It is recommended that they socialize when they are puppies, and that their owners avoid harsh training.
The males’ height ranges from 25 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder, while the females’ height ranges from 27 to 28 inches.
5. Black Russian Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier is a very loyal, strong guard dog that tends to be distant with strangers. Bred by the Soviet government in the 1930s to be a border guard or prison camp guard, the Black Russian Terriers now is a powerful family dog that is very loyal and has a great temperament.
Although they have “terrier” in their name, they are just 15% terrier. Because of its large head, it seems much taller than it actually is, but male Black Russian Terriers can grow up to 30 inches tall at the withers, while females are from 26 to 29 inches tall.
6. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees, also called the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, was bred to be a watchdog. They originated in the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains where they defended their group from predators such as wolves and people.
Their large, thick white coats and sporty, thick muscles protected them from the cold in the mountains. The Great Pyrenees are indeed great as they are independent and patient. This dog with a very calm temperament and power requires training as a puppy so they know how to behave when they grow up.
As one of the tall dog breeds, The Great Pyrenees’ male height is from 28 to 32 inches tall, while females normally stand 26 to 30 inches tall.
7. Great Dane
Great Danes, one of the largest dog breeds, were bred to be guard and hunting dogs of wild boars, deer, and bears . The Great Danes, also called German Mastiffs, make wonderfully loyal family pets with their outgoing and friendly temperaments, but these so-called gentle giants can, at any moment, enter “guard mode” if their family and home is in danger.
With their loving and docile temperaments, they easily become the best companions. Because of their size, they require a lot of training, exercise, and proper nutrition to prevent any health problems that may occur.
The Great Dane male stands from 31 to 35 inches at the withers, while female Danes are 28 to 33 inches tall. It is worth mentioning that the world’s tallest dog according to the Guinness Book of World Records was a Great Dane, named Zeus who stood 44 inches tall at the shoulder.
Unfortunately, Zeus is no longer with us, as he passed away relatively young.
8. English Mastiff
The English Mastiff breed has existed for a long time. In addition to being one of the large dog breeds, they have a title of the heaviest dog. As a very docile and loving breed, they make loyal family dogs. Socialization at an early age is very important because they are very distant from strangers.
They are distinguished by their huge head, short coat and black face mask on the beige-coated body. Training and exercise should be a regular practice to keep them fit and healthy.
Male English Mastiffs stand from 30 to 37 inches at the shoulder, while females are a bit smaller, with the minimum height of 27 inches.
The Leonberger originated in Germany, in the city of Leonberg, after which it was named. The Leonberger belongs to a giant dog breed. Unlike many of the other mentioned dog breeds, they were originally bred to be companion dogs for the royalty of Europe. Later on, they become watchdogs and very adaptable working dogs.
With their thick and fuzzy coats, they resemble lions . They are very strong and healthy, and their self-discipline makes them loyal family dogs as they are very adaptable to any situation.
Male Leonbergers’ height is from 28 to 31 inches, while female Leonbergers’ height is around 30 inches.
The Newfoundland was first bred to work with Canadian fishermen to help them pull nets out of the cold icy water. They are also known for their heroic water rescues. Their waterproof outer coats and webbed feet made their purpose easier.
Although they still help in the water doing rescues around the globe, their gentle and easy going nature, along with their sweet temperament, is really worth having in your home. Especially because they are easy to train.
The one downside is their unfortunately short lifespan of a mere 8-10 years on average.
The Male Newfoundland stands at around 28 inches while females are around 26 inches tall.
11. Saint Bernard
This very famous breed, the Saint Bernard, originated in the Swiss Alps. Their size and power helped them with being great working dogs that rescued people lost in the snow.
They are known for their wonderful bond with children. Their calm, loving, and charismatic temperament made the media go head over heels for them. For that, they are now sought after as adorable family pets. Even though they are great with kids, they definitely need training because they must learn to behave from an early age.
The male St. Bernard’s height can go from 28 to 30 inches, while females measure 26 to 28 inches tall.
12. Dogue De Bordeaux
Dogue De Bordeaux is the oldest French dog breed in the world. Besides being one of the largest dogs, they have the title of the breed with the largest head.
The Dogue is a very powerful guard dog that has an expressive face. While no one would say that they are sensitive, nonetheless they are very loving, loyal, and protective. They can be very stubborn, so training while they’re still puppies is really important.
Males stand at a height of 24 to 27 inches, while females reach 23 to 26 inches at the withers.
13. Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound would probably catch your eye because of their elegant and glam look. Their silky, long fur they are recognized by isn’t just for decoration, but it helped them through the cold conditions in mountains.
Although they look very sophisticated, they can behave in very silly ways but they’re very loyal towards their owners. The Afghan Hound is not for everyone as they are exceptionally active with a high stamina to hunt and chase.
The male Afghan Hound stands 27 inches tall, and females are 25 inches tall.
14. Kangal Shepherd Dog
The Kangal Shepherd Dog, also called the Anatolian Shepherd, was bred to protect livestock. Their origin is in central Turkey. Because of their size, they intimidate predators such as bears, jackals, and wolves and for that they are perfect ornament-like guard dogs of your home or a farm.
They are very hard to train, but their loyalty, intelligence, and calmness make them a good family dog. If you decide to own a Kangal, know that they are very protective, and you surely can feel safe with them.
Overall, male Kangals can be from 28 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder, while females’ height can be from 25 to 30 inches.
15. Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound is the world’s tallest dog breed according to the American Kennel Club. Although they were mainly bred to be game hunters, today they make great family dogs.
In the 15th century, they helped to control the Irish elk in Ireland. At that time they were called “The Irish Hunting Dog” or “The Great Dog of Ireland”.
Many sighthounds are faster than the Irish Wolfhound, but their ability to take down huge prey is impeccable. They have powerful muscles and rough coats.
If you are a bit reserved and introverted, this dog might be the right choice for you because they are just the same. They need gentle leadership and if you need them to do something without you, they will gladly do it.
Do be aware of their short lifespan, a curse of every large dog, as they only live to be 6-10 years old on average.
As the world’s tallest dog breed male Irish Wolfhounds are 32 to 35 inches tall at the shoulder, while females can be 28 inches at the withers.
All In All
There are certainly many more really tall dog breeds but these ones belong to a group of the tallest dog breeds.
If you think of getting a large dog, know that the bigger the dog, the bigger the needs. They require a lot of space, and their nutritional needs are much more demanding than those of the small dog.
However, if you are ready to have a fun-loving companion that can protect you in any serious moment then a tall dog is the right fit for you!