Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiniest of Chihuahuas to the towering Great Danes. While most breeds fall in between, there are some that just tower over the rest.
The internet is full of dogs standing on their hindlegs and comically towering over their owners, or a giant dog sitting on some pushover’s lap pretending to be a Shih Tzu.
If you were ever wondering what the world’s tallest breeds are, here’s a list of dogs most likely to be mistaken for a horse.
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1. Irish Wolfhound
In the red corner, topping off at 35 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 180 lbs, the Irish Wolfhound!
The Irish Wolfhound is a breed of dog that originates from Ireland (err…surprise!). The fearless breed is known as the tallest breed of dog in the world.
Despite their intimidating size, Irish Wolfhounds are gentle giants and loving companions that are good with children and other animals. They are also highly intelligent, easily learning tricks and commands.
Originally bred for hunting wolves in Ireland, today the Irish Wolfhound is a loyal friend and devoted family member. They are relatively healthy dogs and have a lifespan of 6 to 10 years.
2. Great Dane
In the blue corner, standing up to 32 inches at the shoulder and weighing 175 lbs, the Great Danes! (who are actually from Germany, not Denmark)
Great Danes are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, and it’s easy to see why. They are gentle giants, known for their loyalty, intelligence, and loving nature. Great Danes make outstanding companion animals and are an ideal breed for families with children.
They are also relatively easy to train and can be taught tricks and commands with relative ease. In addition, Great Danes are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, and they don’t require a lot of exercise.
The Great Dane is thought to have emerged in Germany in the 1600s as a hybrid of a Mastiff and a Greyhound when these two breeds were crossed. The resulting dogs were larger than either parent breed and were prized for their size, strength, speed, and agility.
Today, Great Danes are still prized for these same qualities and are considered to be one of the most versatile breeds. They make excellent family pets, as well as loyal protectors and reliable working dogs.
3. Scottish Deerhound
Recognized by the AKC in 1886, the Scottish Deerhound is a large breed of hound, once used primarily for hunting deer in the Scottish Highlands. Although it is no longer used for this purpose, it remains a popular breed due to its docile and gentle nature.
The exact origins of the Scottish Deerhound are unclear, but it is thought to be descended from the ancient Celtic Hounds. These dogs were brought to Scotland by the Romans, and they quickly became popular with the local aristocracy. In the Middle Ages, Scottish noblemen began to use Deerhounds for stag hunting, and the breed gradually developed into the form we know today.
Standing up to 32 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 110 lbs, this majestic breed resembles the silhouette of a classic Greyhound.
4. Tamaskan Husky
The Tamaskan Husky is a relatively new breed of dog, having only been developed in the last century. However, the history of the Tamaskan Husky is already full of intriguing stories and facts. For example, the breed was originally developed in Finland by cross-breeding various Siberian and Alaskan huskies.
This was done in order to create a working dog that would be well-suited to the cold climate of Finland. Interestingly, the name “Tamaskan” is actually derived from an indigenous Finnish tribe known as the “Sami.”
Today, the Tamaskan Husky is truly a global breed, with dogs living all over the world in places as diverse as Canada, Australia, and even Antarctica! Up to 28 inches tall and weighing up to 100 lbs, Tamaskans are loyal, friendly dogs that must be socialized well.
5. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees is a large, solidly built dog with a thick coat of white fur. Originally bred as a working dog in the Pyrenees Mountains, the Great Pyrenees is now a popular pet and livestock guardian dog known for its loyalty, gentle disposition, and guarding instincts.
Although they are gentle with children and other pets, Great Pyrenees are fearless when it comes to protecting their family and home.
For this reason, Great Pyrenees make excellent guard dogs. However, their size and strength also make them suited for other roles such as search-and-rescue, therapy work, and avalanche rescue. In addition to their working ability, Great Pyrenees are also known for being calm and easygoing.
6. Neapolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a large and powerful dog breed that originates from Italy. Though they may look intimidating, they are actually gentle and loving dogs that make great family pets.
They are loyal and protective of their family, and will do anything to keep them safe. They are also very intelligent dogs, and are easy to train. As a result, the Neapolitan Mastiff is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a big, loyal, and loving companion.
7. Bucovina Sheepdog
The Bucovina Sheepdog is a large, wolf-like dog that originates from the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. Also known as the Romanian Drover Dog, this breed was originally developed to help farmers drive their livestock to market.
Standing up to 30 inches tall at the shoulder, the Bucovina Sheepdog is a powerful and athletic breed. They are solidly built, with thick fur that ranges in color from grey to brown to black.
The Bucovina Sheepdog is an intelligent and independent breed, making them somewhat challenging to train. However, with patience and consistent training, they can be very obedient dogs.
8. Kangal Dog
The Kangal Dog is a large, solidly built breed with a short coat of dense hair. The most distinguishing feature of the Kangal Dog is its large, powerful head, which is adorned with erect ears and a long muzzle.
The breed is also known for its strong jaws and impressive bite force. Kangal Dogs are native to Turkey, where they were originally bred as guard dogs for livestock. However, the breed has since gained popularity around the world as a loyal and affectionate companion.
Thanks to their gentle nature and formidable size, Kangal Dogs make excellent guardians for families with young children.
Kangal dogs are often mistaken for Anatolian Shepherds, which are a group of mixed dog breeds from the bloodlines of all the Turkish livestock guardian dogs.
The Leonberger is a giant breed of dog that is known for its loyalty, strength, and gentle nature.
Originally bred in the town of Leonberg in Germany, these dogs were originally used as working dogs on farms. However, they quickly became popular as companion animals due to their affectionate nature. Today, Leonbergers are still used as working dogs in some parts of the world, but they are also widely kept as pets.
Standing up to 30 inches tall at the shoulder, these dogs are certainly imposing creatures.
10. Saint Bernard
Popularized by the movie “Beethoven” and the many media portrayals of an avalanche rescue dog with a flask of whiskey tied around its neck, that’s the Saint Bernard for you.
Saint Bernards are gentle giants who were originally bred for rescue work in the Swiss Alps. They are famously loyal, protective, and patient, making them ideal companions for families with children. Saint Bernards are also surprisingly easy to train, and they love nothing more than being a part of the action.
The top sprinters of the canine world, these elegant, supersonic dogs have been prized for their speed and athleticism for thousands of years, and they continue to be popular pets and racing dogs today.
The exact origins of the Greyhound are unknown, but they are thought to date back to ancient Egypt or Greece. Some historians believe that Greyhounds may have even been mentioned in the Bible. These dogs were originally used for hunting, and they were prized for their ability to bring down large prey. In medieval England, Greyhounds were often given as gifts to royalty, and they became a symbol of wealth and status.
Today, Greyhounds are still prized for their speed and athleticism, and they continue to be popular pets and racing dogs.
It is impossible to dislike Newfies! Water-lovin’, fluffy gentle giants, Newfoundlands were originally bred in Newfoundland, Canada (yes, really.)
The breed is known to be patient and gentle with children, and their size makes them excellent watchdogs. They are also known for being particularly good swimmers. Newfoundlands need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy, but they are just as content to lounge around the house with their family.
The other Usain Bolts of the canine world, Salukis are the fastest dogs in the world over longer distances. While the Greyhound is credited with being the fastest dog breed for distances of up to 2,600 feet, the Saluki has been recorded to be faster over distances beyond that.
Salukis are extremely loyal and devoted to their families, bonding closely with their human companions and forming strong bonds of affection. They are also gentle and good-natured, making them great pets for families with children.
So there you have the tallest dog breeds in the world. Now if you ever want to form a canine basketball team, you’ll know where to look!