Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

10 Strongest Dog Breeds in The World: Info, Pictures, & More

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

west german shepherd dog running outdoor

Although modern dogs often have few responsibilities beyond eating, offering cuddles, and taking up space on the couch, humans have relied heavily on hardworking pups since the dawn of their domestication. From pulling loads across vast distances to tirelessly tending herds in the fields, dogs have exhibited control, stamina, and strength in numerous disciplines, making them indispensable assets throughout our history.

Careful breeding over the millennia has given us remarkable diversity within the species. Though companions and lapdogs have largely replaced utilitarian pups, many of today’s breeds maintain those early traditions of strength and power. Find out which breeds stand out from the pack with this look at the strongest dog breeds in the world.


How Are the Strongest Dog Breeds Classified?

Several metrics can define a dog breed as one of the strongest in the world. Muscle-y Pitbulls and Dobermans seem as if they could best any animal in an arm-wrestling contest, but duties like cart-pulling or protection and traits like bite force can distinguish many unassuming and little-known breeds as some of the most powerful.

Unsurprisingly, the larger the dog, the stronger they are. Many of these dogs are gentle giants, often happier doing work or relaxing than trying to stir up trouble. Although they can overpower almost anybody or anything if given a reason, most large dogs make for some of the most affectionate, content, and laid-back pups you could hope to own.

Divider-Dog bone- New

The 10 Strongest Dog Breeds

1. American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier at sand beach with bluffs
Photo Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 9–10 years
Height: 22–27 inches

One could argue that any Pit Bull breed is, pound for pound, among the most powerful dogs in the world, but the American Pit Bull Terrier is a stalwart example of this group’s potential. The joyous, family-loving, and often silly pups are as strong as they look. Having taken on a multi-purpose role for herding livestock and guarding property, they needed to be tough and capable, attributes that are easy to spot in their stocky, muscular statures.

Although much attention has gone to the Pit Bull’s bite force, which comes in at around 240 psi, it isn’t particularly noteworthy compared to the average dog. Instead, the impressive leg strength makes these some of the strongest dogs on the planet.

Despite weighing around 60 pounds at most, American Pit Bull Terriers have set numerous weight-class pulling records, with many hauling well over 4,500 pounds behind them.

2. German Shepherd

alert german shepherd dog wearign harness lying on the grass
Photo Credit: JenniMack, Shutterstock
Origin: 19th century, Germany
Lifespan: 7–10 years
Height: 22–26 inches

German Shepherds earned their name from their sheep-tending origins, but it wasn’t long after these dogs appeared that they became popular in more demanding roles. Since the early 1900s, GSDs have been quintessential military and police dogs, supplying power, athleticism, and poise that made them indispensable in the most challenging circumstances.

With brains to match their strength, German Shepherds can fill numerous roles beyond their more aggressive police work. They’re exceptional service dogs and make excellent assets in search and rescue functions. In the home, these playful pups offer boundless affection and loyalty for their loved ones, explaining why they’re America’s fourth most popular breed.

3. Kangal

turkish kangal dog in winter
Photo Credit: K.Bry, Shutterstock
Origin: 11th century, Turkey
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 25–34 inches

The mighty and independent Anatolian Shepherd Dog’s slightly larger cousin, the Kangal Shepherd Dog, is a livestock protector hailing from Turkey. Sporting a noble character and deep loyalty to its owners, this powerful dog carried the heavy task of defending their territory against fierce predators, including wolves and bears.

Though more affectionate than the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, the Kangal is still highly independent. For centuries, they had to be resilient and self-reliant. While the need for Kangals as protection waned as the country modernized, a long history of producing stronger dogs created one of today’s most powerful breeds. Weighing over 150 pounds in some cases, Kangals have the highest bite force of any canine at a whopping 743 psi!

4. Siberian Husky

couple siberian husky dogs in the snow
Image Credit; Konstantin Zaykov, Shutterstock
Origin: Northeast Asia
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 20–24 inches

The ever-underestimated Siberian Husky may seem an odd fit on this list, but 4,000 years of cold and pure purpose have made them the ultimate sled dogs. Undersized compared to the competition, these remarkable runners blew away larger teams when they first ran the Alaskan dog-sledding races in the early 1900s.

Resembling their wolf ancestors, Siberian Huskies pack plenty of power into slight frames rarely exceeding 60 pounds. Their bite force of 320 pounds is higher than most dogs, but their stamina in demanding circumstances places them among the strongest breeds.

The serum run in 1925 is the shining example of the Husky’s strength. Racing over 600 miles, Husky-led sled teams endured perilous terrain and intense blizzards to bring a diphtheria cure to Nome. One team leader, Togo, ran over 260 miles, even saving his entire crew from an ice floe to ensure the life-saving serum’s delivery.

5. Mastiff

fawn mastiff outdoors
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Origin: United Kingdom
Lifespan: 6–10 years
Height: 27.5+ inches

The Mastiff hardly has to prove its strength, instead letting its massive form make the point. With many males exceeding 30 inches in height and 200 pounds in body weight, even lifting themselves takes considerable strength. And with a bite force of over 550 psi, they’re powerful in nearly every sense of the word.

Luckily, the Mastiff’s aggressiveness in no way matches its power. It is arguably the most dignified of breeds. Mastiffs tolerate rough handling and overexuberance from their family with unparalleled grace and patience. They are loyal to a fault, only abandoning their docile nature when they sense a threat to their loved ones.

6. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock
Origin: Alaska
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Height: 23–25 inches

Alaskan Malamutes are typically not much larger than their close relative, the Siberian Husky, but they also boast energy and power borrowed from their background as tough working dogs.

Since they’re big-boned and muscular under their dense coat, the Alaskan Malamute has exceptional stamina for pulling. A giant 150-pound Mal holds a track record for the most weight pulled after hauling 5,400 pounds! Given their equally strong will during training, you can bet an Alaskan Malamute is not for the faint of heart.

7. St. Bernard

saint bernard dog standing on the lawn
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock
Origin: 17th century, Switzerland
Lifespan: 8–10 years
Height: 26–30 inches

As a hero of the Alps, the St. Bernard is legendary in Europe, particularly around Switzerland and Italy. The friendly, docile dogs were essential aids to the Hospice of St. Bernard, which was located along the treacherous mountain route between the two nations. When a traveler succumbed to the harsh elements on their way to the hospice, St. Bernards often handled the search and rescue mission.

Being powerful, muscular, and strong is part of the St. Bernard’s breed standard. They are massive dogs, weighing well over 120 pounds in most cases. But like the Mastiff, the strength and size accompany a mild temperament, and the St. Bernard is friendly toward strangers, gentle with children, and generally patient and laid back.

8. Rottweiler

rottweiler dog sitting on grass
Image Credit: Kevin Seibel, Pixabay
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 9–10 years
Height: 22–27 inches

Since they’re descended from Roman mastiff dogs, Rottweilers maintain a tradition of strength in their muscular, imposing frames. They played valuable worker roles for centuries as guard dogs, cattle drivers, and cart pullers. Rottweilers developed from these functions into the intelligent, trainable, and undeniably powerful pups we know today.

Because they are aloof with strangers and loving with family members, these loyal guardians have a reputation for aggression. Rottweilers can overpower almost anyone or any other pet, making early training and socialization an absolute necessity.

9. American Bulldog

white american bulldog in the park
Image Credit: Golland, Shutterstock
Origin: 17th century, United States
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 20–25 inches

The American Bulldog is a short and muscular yet surprisingly agile dog. The intelligent and loving family pets were originally all-purpose ranch dogs, helping to guard the property and catch loose livestock, including cattle and pigs.

While loving, caring, and loyal, American Bulldogs are also immensely powerful. Like the closely related American Pit Bull Terriers, they are champion weight pullers, boasting agility, strength, and stamina retained from their years chasing down and controlling animals.

10. Newfoundland

newfoundland dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: PH888, Shutterstock
Origin: 15th century, Canada
Lifespan: 9–10 years
Height: 26–28 inches

As the St. Bernard is the savior atop the mountain, the noble and equally enormous Newfoundland has been a hero to those in distress at sea. While they often took on roles as fishing net pullers and cart haulers near the shoreline, the hardworking and highly skilled swimmers became famous for fearlessly saving numerous shipwreck victims off the Atlantic Coast.

With enormous frames weighing up to 150 pounds, Newfoundlands can save entire boatloads of people in one run. The gentle, docile dogs have pulled well over 10,000 pounds, though they may not have the same capacity while swimming.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 3


The world’s strongest dog breeds are capable of some astonishing feats, but they’re rarely intimidating. Most burly dog breeds have a deep working background, meaning they likely carry an affinity for pleasing and loving their people. More often than not, it only takes a confident and caring approach to disarm even the toughest, most powerful members of the canine community.

Featured Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database