10 Largest Dog Breeds by Height, Weight, and Personality

Mastiffs are the heaviest dog breed, and Irish wolfhounds are the tallest. Big dogs can have big personalities and provide companionship, but they have special considerations to be aware of.

Melanie Lockert
Written byMelanie Lockert
Melanie Lockert
Melanie Lockert
  • 10+ years writing on personal finance topics

  • Host of the Mental Health and Wealth podcast

Melanie is a blogger, author, and speaker specializing in personal finance and debt management. She’s also the author of the blog and book “Dear Debt.”

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Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Updated February 2, 2024 at 11:00 AM PST

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If you’re looking for a dog breed that provides comfort and security, with a larger-than-life personality, you might want a big dog. Large dogs can be appealing and useful, providing protection and even more to love. However, large dog breeds have some special considerations and things to know before getting one.

Here are the largest dog breeds and the best ones for companionship and loyalty.

10 biggest dog breeds

The table below shows the largest dog breeds, their most winning feature, and what role they’re best suited for, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

RankBreedMost Winning FeatureBest for
1Mastiff (aka English mastiff)ProtectiveLoyal guard dogs
2Saint BernardPlayfulOwners with children
3Great DaneDependableClose bonds with owner
4LeonbergerFriendlyAffectionate
5Neapolitan mastiffVigilantSecurity
6Anatolian shepherdStrongFarmers who need a livestock or flock guardian
7NewfoundlandSweet temperamentCompanionship
8Tibetan mastiffWatchfulCalm temperament 
9Black Russian terrierIntelligentService or therapy dog
10BullmastiffBraveProtection

Just how big are we talking?

When looking at the largest dog breeds, height and weight can vary by gender. Generally, big dogs can range from 23 to 32 inches in height and 70 to 230 pounds. Many giant dogs are part of the working group and have a striking appearance. These dogs were bred to work and help with pulling sleds, protecting flocks, providing security, and more.[1]

Breeders typically consider height at the shoulder when the dog is on all fours, standing height on hind legs, weight, musculature, and the dog group. These factors combined create the largest dog breeds.

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Biggest dog breeds by height

If you’re looking at giant dog breeds, height is a consideration. Here are the top three tallest dog breeds, including their height at shoulder, weight, and life expectancy, according to the AKC.

BreedHeight (at Shoulder)WeightLife Expectancy
Irish wolfhound

30 inches or more (female)

32 inches or more (male) 

105 lbs (female)

120 lbs (male)

6–8 years 
Scottish deerhound

28 inches or more (female)

30–32 inches (male)

75–95 lbs (female)

85–110 lbs (male)

8–11 years 
Great Dane

28–30 inches (female)

30–32 inches (male)

110–140 lbs (female)

140–175 lbs (male)

7–10 years 

Biggest dog breeds by weight

Giant dogs have a commanding stature and come in many different sizes. Here are the top three heaviest breeds by weight, including height at shoulder and life expectancy, according to the AKC.

BreedWeightHeight (at Shoulder)Life Expectancy
Mastiff

120–170 lbs (female)

160–230 lbs (male)

27.5 inches or more (female)

30 inches or more (male)

6–10 years
Saint Bernard

120–140 lbs (female)

140–180 lbs (male)

26–28 inches (female)

28–30 inches (male)

8–10 years
Great Dane 

110–140 lbs (female)

140–175 lbs (male)

28–30 inches (female)

30–32 inches (male)

7–10 years

Big dog breeds with the best personalities

Large dogs may have been bred for different purposes. If you’re looking for a big dog with a bright personality, here are some that make great companions:

  • Saint Bernard: Patient, playful, and good with children, Saint Bernards have a personality that’s easy to love.

  • Great Dane: If you want a friendly, reliable, and commanding dog, a Great Dane may be a good fit. Great Danes are gentle giants and can provide security and companionship.

  • Leonberger: Known as a kind, gentle, peaceful dog, Leonbergers are the definition of a furry friend.

  • Newfoundland: This “nanny dog” is a devoted, kind breed that’s good with kids, according to the AKC.

  • Bernese mountain dog: These affectionate and loving dogs are good with young children and often form deep emotional attachment.

Pros and cons of big dogs

Large dogs are unique in that many of them were bred for a specific purpose, such as watching the farm, providing protection, pulling sleds, and more. Some of the biggest dog breeds can be gentle giants and provide dog lovers security and comfort.

Before adding a large dog to your family, consider the pros and cons.[2]

Pros
  • Good guard dogs: Many of the largest dogs were bred to provide protection and security and can help ward off potential attackers or invaders.

  • Great companions: Large breed dogs can also be loyal and loving companions.

  • Unique skills: Some large dog breeds were bred to rescue people or to hunt, making them useful working dogs that can help you accomplish unique tasks.

Cons
  • More expensive: You’ll need more food, more space, larger toys, and beds. Vet appointments and pet insurance will likely cost more, too.

  • Require training: Since many large dogs were bred for a specific purpose, if you’re getting one as a pet, you’ll need to train it so it’s not a danger to others.  

  • Slower development: Physically and mentally, it can take a longer time for bigger dogs to mature fully.

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Big dog breed costs

Big dogs can come with big costs. If you’re considering getting one of the largest dog breeds, review your budget and total costs. Here are some common expenses associated with larger dogs.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/df30ef509c/dog.svg

    Puppy cost

    Puppies can be cute and cuddly but may require a high initial cost. Buying food, harnesses, leashes, crates, beds, bowls, and more can add up fast. Adoption fees for dogs and puppies can range from $166 to $767, according to the Animal Humane Society.[3]

    Giant dogs are in the puppy stage longer than small dogs, taking up to two or three years to mature.[4] The first-year costs for large dogs can be $1,020 to $1,825 — about $300 or more than first-year costs for small and medium-sized dogs.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/00dd026525/paw.svg

    Training

    Training is crucial with larger dogs. Without training, bigger dogs could jump on strangers, get onto the counter, or cause damage to your house.

    Obedience training can cost between $45 and $120 a session, with weekly costs of $200 to $600. Having a bigger dog may require more training and additional costs.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/101x101/88ac443824/dog-collar.svg

    Living expenses

    Day-to-day living expenses can be higher with a larger dog. Big dogs need a large bed, larger toys, more space, and can have higher grooming and pet care costs.

    Annual dog toy costs can be $50 or more, annual grooming costs could be $60 or more, and boarding costs may set you back $300 or more per year.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/cf28042561/shot.svg

    Healthcare

    Healthcare costs for larger dogs tend to be more expensive. First, you need to find a local veterinarian equipped to see and treat bigger dogs. If you need medication for your large dog, that may be more expensive, too.

    Regular visits to the vet could cost between $300 and $600, and surgery may start at $600.[5]

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/3bb84026e5/lunch.svg

    Feeding

    Like feeding a growing, hungry teenager, feeding large dogs can mean higher food expenses. Large dogs are bigger in every way — including their stomachs. So you need more food for them than you might realize.

    Additionally, large dogs may need special food, as they have a delicate gastrointestinal tract and different needs. Food for larger dogs may cost $500 to $600 or more per year.[5]

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/4d03c561b5/declaration-page.svg

    Pet insurance

    Pet insurance can help offset some costs related to illnesses and accidents. In exchange for paying a premium monthly, you’ll be eligible for certain benefits to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Benefits vary based on the insurance company.

    Large dogs may be susceptible to certain conditions and have higher medical costs, increasing pet insurance costs. The average monthly premium for a 5-year-old dog is between $33 and $209 per month.

Largest dog breed FAQs

If you’re considering one of the largest dog breeds, you may have some questions. Here’s some additional information about large dogs.

  • What is an XL dog breed?

    Various types of large dogs can differ by weight. An extra-large, or XL, dog breed is typically one that’s 100 pounds or more. Dogs like cane corsos, Great Pyrenees, Irish wolfhounds, and Great Danes are all considered extra-large breeds.

  • Which dog breed is heaviest?

    The heaviest dog breed is the mastiff. Female mastiffs can weigh up to 170 pounds, while male mastiffs can weigh up to 230 pounds. At those weights, Mastiffs can be heavier than some humans.

  • Which dog breed is tallest?

    The tallest dog breed is the Irish wolfhound. Female Irish wolfhounds can be 30 inches at the shoulder, and males can be 32 inches at the shoulder. The Irish wolfhound is officially the tallest dog breed, according to the AKC.

  • What is the laziest big dog?

    Irish wolfhounds are part of the largest and tallest dog breeds, but they’re also a lazy breed.

  • What large dog breed is best for families?

    Two large dog breeds good for families with children include Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands. Saint Bernards are protective and fond of children, while Newfoundlands are referred to as a nanny dog, according to the AKC.

Sources

  1. American Kennel Club. "The 7 AKC Dog Breed Groups Explained." Accessed January 25, 2024
  2. American Kennel Club. "The Largest Dog Breeds: What to Know." Accessed January 25, 2024
  3. Animal Human Society. "Adoption fees." Accessed January 25, 2024
  4. American Kennel Club. "How to Care for Giant Dog Breeds & Extra-Large Pups." Accessed January 25, 2024
  5. LA Central Animal Hospital. "The realistic cost of owning a larger dog." Accessed January 25, 2024
Melanie Lockert
Melanie Lockert

Melanie Lockert is the founder of the blog and author of the book, "Dear Debt." Through her blog, she chronicled her journey out of $81,000 in student loan debt. Her work has appeared on Allure, Business Insider, Credit Karma, Fortune, and more. She is also the co-founder of the Lola Retreat and host of the Mental Health and Wealth show podcast. She lives in Los Angeles and enjoys jazz music, traveling, coffee, and spending time with her two cats and partner.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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