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Home > Dogs > 20 Tallest Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

20 Tallest Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

saint bernard dog standing on the lawn

“Bigger is better” is a popular motto, and for some people, that motto extends to the canines in their lives. Some dog breeds are incredibly tall and large, so they can seem a bit intimidating at first (particularly if they’re taller than you when they stand on their hind legs!), but large dogs are just as loving and affectionate as smaller breeds. So, if you’ve been thinking about adding a large or giant dog to your home, here’s a look at the 20 tallest dog breeds around.


How Are Tall Dog Breeds Classified?

When it comes to the classification of tall dog breeds, there are large and giant breeds. Large dog breeds must measure at least 24 inches tall and weigh 50–70 pounds. Giant breeds don’t have particular height and weight standards, but they typically weigh 100+ pounds and measure over 24 inches tall. How do you find the height of a dog? You must measure at the withers—or while your dog is standing, measure from their shoulder blades to their feet.

The 20 Tallest Dog Breeds:

1. Afghan Hound

An afghan hound dog walking on the lawn
Image Credit: raywoo, Shutterstock
Origin: Somewhere in the Afghanistan, Pakistan, India region
Lifespan: 12 — 15 years
Height: 27 — 29 inches

The Afghan Hound is a distinctive-looking dog with its height and long flowing coat. The breed is one of the oldest in the world (there was even a myth about them being on Noah’s Ark!) and alternates between regal and dignified to silly and playful. Afghan Hounds are independent, intelligent thinkers and make wonderful pets for those willing to dedicate the time necessary to training them.

2. Akbash Dog

Image Credit: Liam Copeland, Shutterstock
Origin: Turkey
Lifespan: 10 — 12 years
Height: 28 — 34 inches

The Akbash Dog is a livestock guardian dog, so it’s a canine that needs to work, and due to its protective nature, these pups don’t always make the best pets (at least not for first-time pet owners). They can be incredibly wary around strangers, so they will need extensive training when young. They do become extremely close with their families, though.

3. Anatolian Shepherd

anatolian shepherd dog standing
Image Credit: SusImage, Shutterstock
Origin: Anatolia
Lifespan: 11 — 13 years
Height: 27 — 29 inches

The Anatolian Shepherd is another ancient breed believed to have been around since at least the Bronze Age. As the name suggests, these canines are working dogs meant to guard sheep and livestock. However, those guardian tendencies will easily transfer to the humans in their lives. This means they are another breed that requires extensive training and socialization while young; otherwise, they will be overly suspicious of strangers and may become aggressive. With their families, though, the breed is often described as a “gentle giant”.

4. Black Russian Terrier

black russian terrier by brick wall
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock
Origin: Russia
Lifespan: 10 — 12 years
Height: 26 — 30 inches

The Black Russian Terrier was the result of Russian scientists and breeders working together in the 1930s to try and create a “superdog” that could work for the Russian army. They originally worked in prison camps and patrolling borders, making this breed a powerful and athletic one. These days, the breed can make a wonderful pet for the right families, as they can be sweet, loving, and protective. They are fairly rare, though, so you may be unable to locate one.

5. Boerboel

Standing boerboel dog in a summer meadow
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock
Origin: South Africa
Lifespan: 9 — 11 years
Height: 22 — 27 inches

This mastiff breed originated in South Africa with the influx of Dutch and German settlers in the mid-1600s. These large pups were bred to guard homesteads against wild predators, so this breed is quite strong. This makes them an excellent choice for a family guard dog. Though calm, confident, and eager to please their people, this breed might be a bit much for a newbie dog owner to handle. Like other tall dogs on our list, they need a lot of training and socialization when young.

6. Borzoi

Image Credit: Pixabay
Origin: Russia
Lifespan: 9 — 14 years
Height: 28 & up inches

The Borzoi breed has been around since the Romanovs ruled Russia, but it might not be a breed you’re familiar with. They look similar to greyhounds and have the speed to match (they can get up to 40mph!). That speed helped them in their original designation as wolf hunters. These days, they’re much better suited to being pets, with their relaxed, loving, gentle natures, though! As former hunters, be aware they’re big on chasing things smaller than them, so they may not do well in homes with cats or smaller dogs.

7. Bukovina Sheepdog

Bukovina Sheepdog
Image Credit: Fabian Emanuel Balint, Shutterstock
Origin: Romania
Lifespan: 10 — 15 years
Height: 25 — 31 inches

The Bukovina Sheepdog is a livestock guardian dog from Romania, but despite that guard dog background, these aren’t particularly aggressive canines. Because they’re bred in Romania for the most part, you may find it challenging to find one in the U.S., but if you do, you’ll find these pups are sweet, gentle, loyal, and highly intelligent. They can also be a bit stubborn at times, though, so they may be a bit of a handful during training.

8. Bullmastiff

bullmastiff outdoors in autumn
Image Credit: photosounds, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 7 — 9 years
Height: 24 — 27 inches

The Bullmastiff was bred in England in the mid- to late 19th century in an effort to scare poachers away from large estates with game preserves. These canines can be intimidating at first glance, so it’s easy to see how they could accomplish this task! As a Bulldog and Mastiff mix, the breed isn’t as tall as the Mastiff, but they come close. And though they are large enough to look a bit scary, they can make wonderful pets for those willing to spend the necessary time training during puppyhood, as the breed is fearless, loyal, and calm.

9. English Mastiff

English Mastiff
Image Credit: Michal Ninger, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 6 — 10 years
Height: 30 & up inches

The English Mastiff (or just Mastiff) is another ancient breed that’s been around for eons, and they’re one of the tallest canines around. Though some of these pups can outweigh an adult man, they’re exceptionally gentle and patient. They are still guardians, though, so they require a lot of training when they’re young; otherwise, they may be overly wary of strangers, which could cause issues. These dogs require a commitment nearly as large as they are, so consider carefully whether you’re up to the task before getting one!

10. Great Dane

great dane dog standing on grass
Image Credit: belu gheorghe, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 7 — 10 years
Height: 28 — 32 inches

Great Danes are among the tallest canines on the planet. Though many will reach 32 inches in height, several Great Danes have been even taller than that, like Zeus, the tallest dog ever to live, standing at 44 inches! Then there’s Giant George, another Great Dane who stood at 43 inches, and the current tallest dog (another Great Dane named Zeus), who is 39 inches tall. So, if you get one of these pups, be aware they’ll soon tower over you! The breed originally hunted boar, but these days, they make giant, friendly pets who are affectionate and energetic.

11. Great Pyrenees

great pyrenees dog sitting outdoor
Image Credit: outdoor-Mikhail Farina, Shutterstock
Origin: Pyrenees Mountains
Lifespan: 10 — 12 years
Height: 25 — 32 inches

These herding dogs are powerful enough to deter wolves from stealing sheep, yet incredibly mellow and patient as pets. This is one breed that’s wonderful with children, not only during play but when it comes to keeping them safe. They will require training to ensure they don’t get overly protective; due to their strong independent streak, you might run into a few issues here and there during this time.

12. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Image Credit: Nadiia Diachenko, Shutterstock
Origin: Swiss Alps
Lifespan: 8 — 11 years
Height: 24 — 28.5 inches

When you think of the Swiss Alps, you probably picture the St. Bernard, but the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is also from the region. These canines are the descendants of Julius Caesar’s war dogs, so they’ve been around in one form or another for a while. This is a rarer breed, but if you manage to get your hands on one, you’ll find them dependable, calm, and intelligent. They can be a bit stubborn at times, too, so early training while they’re still small is a must!

13. Greyhound

Greyhound_elisabettabellomi, Pixabay
Image Credit: elisabettabellomi, Pixabay
Origin: Egypt
Lifespan: 10 — 13 years
Height: 27 — 30 inches

The ubiquitous racing dog, the Greyhound breed is another of the tallest canines around. Coming from ancient Egypt, they’ve been around for ages and are known not just for their speed but their elegance. Though known best for their speed, the breed originated as hunting dogs—but ones who hunted by sight rather than sound. You might have difficulty locating a Greyhound as a pet (as they’re usually bred for racing), but the breed does make a wonderful one. They’re known for being laidback, gentle, and tolerant. They’re on the independent side, though, so they can be challenging to train.

14. Irish Setter

irish setter standing in the field
Image Credit: Reddogs, Shutterstock
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 12 — 15 years
Height: 25 — 27 inches

The Irish Setter is an absolutely gorgeous canine with a red coat. The breed also has an amazing temperament that makes them fantastic family pets. If you’re looking for a friendly, sweet-tempered, playful, easier to train tall dog, the Irish Setter could be a perfect fit!

15. Irish Wolfhound

irish wolfhound is standing on a green meadow
Image Credit: Tikhomirov Sergey, Shutterstock
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 6 — 8 years
Height: 30 — 32 inches

You may not be as familiar with the Irish Wolfhound as some of the other dogs on our list, but these hail from the time of the Roman Empire and were originally bred to hunt wolves. Nowadays, they’re more than suited to the life of a pet with their mild-mannered, friendly temperaments. This breed definitely needs a lot of space to play, though, so they’re better suited to life outside the city. They can also be a bit lazy at times, so you’ll have to encourage them in their daily exercise!

16. Leonberger

leonberger dog in the grass
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 7 years
Height: 25 — 31.5 inches

It’s no surprise that the Leonberger is known for its grace and elegance; this dog breed was initially bred to be the companion of royals! And a royal pup needs a royal temperament, which the Leonberger has in spades. Despite their size, these canines are patient, gentle, calm, and love human companionship. The breed was also used as guard dogs in the past, so they make excellent watchdogs, too.

17. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock
Origin: Unknown
Lifespan: 7 — 9 years
Height: 24 — 31 inches

It’s unclear where the Neapolitan Mastiff (or Mastino) originated, but they might have found their start as far back as 700 BC. They were used as guardians, gladiators, and war dogs back in the Roman Empire, but don’t let their huge size and past intimidate you. These canines are incredibly loving and sweet and fiercely loyal to their humans. The breed makes an excellent pet but also a fantastic watchdog.

18. Saint Bernard

Saint bernard in winter
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock
Origin: Swiss Alps
Lifespan: 8 — 10 years
Height: 26 — 30 inches

These gentle giants used to be guard dogs for monks and rescue dogs for travelers passing through the Swiss Alps. Despite being former guardians, these canines aren’t very aggressive (though they are undoubtedly protective of their loved ones). They love being around their people and are exceptionally friendly; however, they may still be a bit too challenging for a first-time dog owner.

19. Scottish Deerhound

scottish deerhound
Image Credit: Kim Christensen, Shutterstock
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 8 — 11 years
Height: 28 — 32 inches

The Scottish Deerhound breed is so old they might have been in Scotland before the Scots even arrived. These pups used to hunt massive deer (roughly 400 pounds!) but aren’t that fierce these days. These giant canines are easy-going, affectionate, and don’t bark or growl at strangers (so, if it’s a watchdog you’re after, this isn’t the right breed for you).

20. Spanish Mastiff

Spanish Mastiff_Marcelino Pozo Ruiz_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Marcelino Pozo Ruiz, Shutterstock
Origin: Iberian Peninsula
Lifespan: 10 — 12 years
Height: 28 — 35 inches

These massive livestock guardian dogs can be intimidating when you first see them, but the Spanish Mastiff breed has always been a loyal companion to people. They can sometimes be a bit of a challenge as a pet, though, as they’re fairly stubborn and independent. The breed requires extensive training and socialization during puppyhood, but doing this will ensure a trustworthy and protective canine companion.

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Several dog breeds around are taller than you when they’re on their hind legs! Don’t let these pups’ size fool you, though; for the most part, large and giant dogs tend to be among the gentlest, most patient around. Having a tall dog as a pet does require more work than having a small dog, as you need plenty of room to keep one of these animals, and they are more prone to health issues than smaller dogs. But a large canine equals a larger amount of love in your life!

Featured Image Credit: Rita Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

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