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14 Tallest Dog Breeds: Pictures & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Two irish wolfhounds dogs at the field

When it comes to the canine world, size does matter—especially if you’re looking for a dog that can look you in the eye or even outdo you in height when on their hind legs!

Today, we’re focusing on some of the tallest dog breeds that not only loom large in size but also in personality, capability, and charm. Whether you’re into sighthounds or guard dogs, there’s a large canine friend out there for you.

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How Are Tallest Dog Breeds Classified?

You might be wondering, “How do we define ‘tall’ in the realm of dog breeds?” The height of a dog is generally measured from the floor to the top of its shoulders when the dog is standing on all fours.

From there, we simply measure in inches to determine the average height of each breed. So, with that, let’s get down to business, shall we? For our list, we’re considering dogs that stand at least 24 inches tall. Strap in for some towering canine revelations!

The 14 Tallest Dog Breeds:

1. Irish Wolfhound

irish wolfhound dog at the park
Photo Credit: volofin, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Ireland
  • Lifespan: 6–10 years
  • Height: 30–35 inches

You won’t find a more dignified yet gentle giant than the Irish Wolfhound. This breed hails from Ireland and is a veritable walking history lesson. Reaching back as far as the 5th century, this breed has seen its fair share of castles, wars, and Irish fog.

Initially bred for hunting and guarding, today’s Irish Wolfhound is more likely to be a sensitive, four-legged therapist who happens to love running in open spaces. True, they may look imposing, but they’re really happiest sitting next to you on a cozy couch.

2. Spanish Mastiff

spanish mastiff
Photo Credit: LFRabanedo, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Spain
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Height: 28–35 inches

Meet the Spanish Mastiff, the embodiment of both guardian and companion. Tasked primarily with the oversight of Merino sheep in Spain, this breed is no slouch when it comes to its responsibilities.

While his imposing stature might suggest otherwise, this Mastiff is generously affectionate. Whether you own expansive land or you’re an avid hiker, he’ll relish the chance to keep you safe while relishing his role as a grand sentinel.

3. Great Dane

Photo Credit: Richard L. Paul, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Germany
  • Lifespan: 8–10 years
  • Height: 28–32 inches

Contrary to popular belief and cartoon representation, the Great Dane hails not from Denmark but from Germany. Don’t let Marmaduke and Scooby-Doo mislead you; while they aren’t the tallest canines on the block, they still pack a considerable punch in the size department.

Well-suited for family life, they get along splendidly with kids and smaller pets. If you’re into the cuddling arts, rest assured a Great Dane is more than happy to oblige as the larger participant in any snuggle session.

4. Scottish Deerhound

scottish deerhound dog near a pond
Image Credit: Antonia Gros, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Scotland
  • Lifespan: 8–11 years
  • Height: 28–32 inches

The Scottish Deerhound may seem like the quiet type, but let’s just call them selectively social. They once had a day job as hunting scouts on sprawling Scottish Highland estates, which speaks volumes about their loyalty and knack for independence. Don’t mistake their laid-back attitude for lethargy.

Once the hunt is afoot—or when they see a squirrel—they can unleash their inner athlete, accelerating to speeds of 30 mph. You don’t want to discover this speed the hard way. It’s imperative to have both a leash and keen eyes when you’re out and about with your Deerhound.

5. Great Pyrenees

great pyrenees dog standing in the middle of bluebonnet and indian paintbrush field at springtime
Image Credit: Trong Nguyen, Shutterstock
  • Origin: France/Spain
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Height: 25–32 inches

If you’ve ever thought, “I wish I could find a four-legged friend as adventurous as I am,” well, consider the search over. Enter the Great Pyrenees. Born in the rugged terrains of the mountain range dividing France and Spain, these dogs have “rugged” hardwired into their DNA.

Frequently employed for socialization training because of their placid nature, they mesh well in family settings. But keep that grooming kit handy—those lush, white coats require a touch more upkeep than your average pup. Consider it a small price to pay for a lifetime of majestic fluff.

6. Leonberger

happy leonberger
Image Credit: AnetaZabranska, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Germany
  • Lifespan: 8–9 years
  • Height: 26–31 inches

Step aside, teddy bears—there’s a new cuddly champion in town: the Leonberger, affectionately known as “Leos.” These colossal canines hail from Germany, embodying a delightful blend of charm, intelligence, and a dash of Old-World elegance. Exceptionally trainable, they thrive in a variety of roles.

With a storied history reaching back to the 1800s, these dogs have earned their paws in both agricultural fields and royal courts. There’s a reason they’ve been beloved by German farmers and royalty alike: Leos have a congenial spirit that’s as enduring as their robust physique.

7. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff dog jowl_Mary Swift_shutterstock
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Italy
  • Lifespan: 8–10 years
  • Height: 24–30 inches

Talk about a dichotomy! The Neapolitan Mastiff is a storied breed with a resume that includes stints as war dogs in ancient Rome. While they carry an aura of intimidation—thanks to their robust size and protective nature—Neapolitan Mastiffs are often found commanding a much less daunting territory: the living room sofa.

Yes, these mastiffs have largely traded in their battle helmets for blankets. Far from being fierce warriors, they are more likely to defend their favorite couch corner than any ancient stronghold. So, if you’re looking for a loyal but laid-back companion, this Italian import is worth considering.

8. Mastiff

abruzzese mastiff dog lying on the grass outdoor
Image Credit: Fiery Phoenix, Shutterstock
  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Lifespan: 6–10 years
  • Height: 28–36 inches

The Mastiff is a classic in the canine world, making its debut with the American Kennel Club in the mid-1800s. This British behemoth is an example of size coupled with gentleness. While their height is certainly noteworthy, one Mastiff, Zorba, even secured a Guinness World Record with a length of 8 feet, 3 inches!

If you’re considering adopting one of these massive beasts into your home, be prepared to rearrange the furniture: their sizable presence demands space. A bigger couch could be a wise investment if a Mastiff is on your wishlist.

9. Greyhound

a rampur greyhound by the beach
Image Credit: wjarek, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Ancient Middle East/Africa
  • Lifespan: 10–14 years
  • Height: 27–30 inches

The Greyhound boasts a heritage that reads like a world history textbook. With early origins traced back to ancient Egypt and Greece, these towering sighthounds are nothing short of aristocratic.

Devoted to their human families, they’re so attached that they could develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long. They’re not just affectionate but agile, too, capable of sprinting at speeds up to 45 mph. If you’re considering a Greyhound, remember that “catch me if you can” could become a daily game.

10. Saint Bernard

saint bernard puppy at the park with owner
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Switzerland
  • Lifespan: 8–10 years
  • Height: 26–35 inches

From the lofty peaks of the Swiss Alps to the silver screen in Hollywood, the Saint Bernard has a history as diverse as it is long. Known for Alpine Mountain rescues and even World War II heroics, this breed has a flair for the dramatic.

But at home, they’re all about the family. Especially good with children, a Saint Bernard turns into the ultimate confidante, silently agreeing to keep all those childhood secrets. Expect an abundance of good cheer and family frolics with this lovable giant.

11. Anatolian Shepherd

anatolian shepherd dog in the grass
Image Credit: FOTMA, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Turkey
  • Lifespan: 10–13 years
  • Height: 28–32 inches

Work ethic is at the core of the Anatolian Shepherd, sometimes referred to as the Kangal. Originating from the Anatolian Plateau of Turkey, the breed has a 6,000-year history, predominantly spent safeguarding livestock.

Those who know their way around dogs will attest that positive reinforcement training is key to optimizing this vigilant guardian’s capabilities. The Anatolian Shepherd is active, alert, and ready for any task—especially if it involves protecting home and herd.

12. Borzoi

Image Credit: artbycharlotte, Pixabay
  • Origin: Russia
  • Lifespan: 9–14 years
  • Height: 26–28 inches

The Borzoi, also known as the “Deco Dog,” is an art aficionado’s dream come true, having inspired the work of 1920s and ’30s artist Erté. This Russian breed might not enjoy the same celebrity status in the US as other sighthounds, but they’ve got plenty to offer.

With a gentle temperament and willingness to play nicely with children and other pets, the Borzoi is not just a pretty face but also an amiable companion. Whether you’re single or you have a busy household with loved ones, this is an adaptable breed that will fit in nicely.

13. Newfoundland

two black newfoundland puppies
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Newfoundland
  • Lifespan: 8–10 years
  • Height: 25–28 inches

Don’t be surprised if you hear a few extra woofs around the house—a Newfoundland, often affectionately referred to as a “Newfie,” has just walked in. Rooted in the Canadian province bearing the same name, this working breed knows a thing or two about multitasking.

Whether it’s assisting a fisherperson, excelling in water-based search and rescue, or simply being the family’s oversized lap dog, the Newfoundland is as versatile as they come.

14. Cane Corso

Cane Corso formentino color
Image Credit: Skox, Shutterstock
  • Origin: Italy
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Height: 24–28 inches

The Cane Corso is the four-legged embodiment of athletic prowess among tall dog breeds. These dogs are the decathletes of the canine world—ready, willing, and more than able to indulge in running, hiking, and even the occasional dock dive. You’ll need to step up your fitness game to keep pace.

Originating from the Mollosser breed lineage, like other Mastiffs, the Cane Corso isn’t just about brawn; it’s also about brains. Positive reinforcement training is a must from puppyhood to adult life to ensure they grow up well-rounded. Ever vigilant, the Cane Corso prefers to be right by your side, serving as your stalwart companion.

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Tips to Care for Large Dog Breeds

So, you’ve made the decision to bring home a large breed of dog. Great! But unlike smaller breeds, there are some things you need to know about their care. To get you started on the right track, here are some essential tips.

  • Pay Attention to Nutrition: Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean more when it comes to feeding your large breed dog. Oversized servings can lead to obesity—a bigger problem than you might think. Consider dog food specially formulated for large breeds that caters to their unique nutritional needs.
  • Regular Exercise Is Non-Negotiable: Your large pooch isn’t just an oversized lap dog. These titans require ample exercise to keep their muscles toned and minds sharp. Be it a lengthy walk, a game of fetch, or agility training, make exercise a daily routine.
  • Know the Importance of Mental Stimulation: Just because they’re big doesn’t mean they’re dull. Large breed dogs often enjoy puzzle toys, obedience training, and tasks that require a little brainpower.
  • Make Room for a King-Sized Bed: You’ve seen the height stats; now imagine the length when they’re fully stretched out! A proper dog bed, or even an entire dog room, can help your large breed dog get the rest it deserves.
  • Health Checkups Are Paramount: Large breeds often come with their own set of health issues, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis. Regular vet visits are essential for early detection and management of these conditions.
  • Socialization Skills: From the get-go, socializing your large breed dog is key. Given their size, any behavioral issue can escalate quickly. Socialization helps them become well-adjusted adults, comfortable around both people and other animals.
  • Professional Grooming: Depending on the breed, you may need to invest in professional grooming services. Between the fur, the paws, and the general larger surface area, maintaining their appearance can be a job in itself.
  • Tailor Training Techniques: Don’t assume one size fits all when it comes to training. Each breed has specific quirks and needs. Customizing your training approach can go a long way in establishing a harmonious human-dog relationship.

Caring for a large breed dog is, of course, a big responsibility, but with the right approach, it can be a highly rewarding experience. If you’re ever in doubt, give your vet a shout!

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Owning one of these giant breeds isn’t just about having a larger-than-life fur buddy—it also means more food, more space, and more commitment. You could say the responsibilities grow proportionally with the size of the dog.

So, before you go off searching for your future colossal companion, just remember: these dogs are not just a statement piece; they are loyal friends who will need your time, love, and attention.

Featured Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock

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