1. Great Dane
We’ll start with the breed that is widely recognized as the largest, at least in terms of height. The Great Dane is a breed of German origin and its German name of Deutsche Dogge, means German mastiff. However, before setting down official roots in Germany, the dogs that eventually became the Great Dane breed came from a crossbreed between English mastiffs and Irish wolfhounds.
Though they aren’t the heaviest dogs, reaching around 100-120 pounds, they are among the tallest. The average Great Dane stands around 28-30 inches tall but often they can be taller. The world record holder for tallest dog was a Great Dane named Zeus who stood an astounding 44 inches tall. However, these big dogs trade longevity for their size, and live only to be between 6 to 8 years old. Zeus died of old age at just 5 years old.
Though the Great Dane is typically considered the largest of all dog breeds, we’re going to look at a few other breeds that give this one a run for its money, including one breed that is actually even taller.
2. Neapolitan mastiff
Mastiff breeds are certainly among the largest dogs in terms of sheer mass. The Neapolitan mastiff originated in southern Italy. Used as a guard dog, the average male mastiff stands between 26-31 inches tall and weighs a hefty 130-155 pounds. Females are usually a little smaller, standing a few inches shorter and weighing 110-130 pounds.
This breed is known for being fearless and protective of home and family, making it an ideal guard dog — but not an ideal warning system. Mastiffs tend to be quiet, and are known for sneaking up on intruders rather than barking to warn them off. Because of the breed’s protective nature, you certainly don’t want to stand between these dogs and their family, which makes this dog a breed only for owners well versed in dog training and able to put in the extensive time needed for socialization.
3. Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux goes by several other names, including the Bordeaux mastiff, French mastiff and Bordeauxdog. But this breed, by any other name, still stands as massive. Though other breeds, from the poodle and French bulldog to the Great Pyrenees and Basset hound may be more famous breeds of French origin, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient breeds of France.
The Dogue de Bordeaux stands between 23-27 inches tall and weighs between 125-150 pounds. But though it is fairly average as far as mastiff breeds go, it does have one thing that sets it apart: It is reported to have the largest head of any canine in relation to body size.
Unlike the Neapolitan mastiff, the Bordeauxdog has been used for more than simply guarding house and home, though that was also in its job description. These dogs also were used for everything from watching over flocks to pulling carts. It has historically been a true working dog and a jack of all trades — at least, as far as dogs go. The breed is active and energetic outdoors, but once inside is, well, mellow to say the least.