Top 10: Biggest dog breeds in the world

Our best friends can sometimes be a bit too big to cuddle-up with on the sofa.

When we think of big dogs, we probably think of intimidating beasts foaming at the mouth and bounding towards us in the park (looking at you, Fluffy from Harry Potter). However, the reality when it comes to the largest of dogs is very different.

Most of the breeds on our list, as you will see, are the epitome of the phrase 'gentle giant'. They are great big cuddly teddy bears, ready to smother you with love.

But they can also be fierce protectors and guardians, ready to use their strength and power to come to your aid when required.

Here are the biggest dog breeds in the world according to weight.

10. Bernese Mountain dog

Pal, a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog Stands in the grass in a late winter shoot.

Originating in the mountains of Switzerland, these powerful dogs were bred to herd cattle, and to keep watch over farmland. On average they can weigh between 35 and 55kg.

This breed has distinctive markings and a beautiful tricolour coat, which is thick and keeps them warm in cold winter conditions. They are also extremely gentle in nature, making them good family dogs.

9. Kangal shepherd dog

Dog walking in yard

The kangal shepherd dog hails from Turkey, where they were originally bred to be a protector of livestock (particularly sheep). Their speed and agility make them perfect for fending off attacks by wolves, but it also means that a domesticated kangal needs at least two hours (!) of exercise a day.

On average, this breed can weigh between 40 and 60kg. In terms of their nature, they are observed to be sensitive and independent, forming strong bonds with humans.

8. Irish wolfhound

Irish wolfhound in side profile

In terms of weight, the Irish wolfhound can average between 41 and 72kg, and when standing on their back legs can be taller than most humans.

In fact, at almost 2.9m in height when on his back paws, one Irish wolfhound from Manchester (called Murphy) recently narrowly missed the world record for the world's tallest dog (find out who holds the record below).

As their name suggests, they are derived from old breeds of hunting dogs from Ireland. For hundreds of years, they were bred mainly used to kill wolves.

7. Pyrenean mountain dog

white dog in white snow

Another breed of livestock protector from the French area of the Pyrenees. This breed averages between 55 and 75kg, and this size helps it to protect livestock from bears and wolves. Think of it as a great big fluffy bouncer.

However, this breed is also friendly towards humans, especially children. Coupled with their protective nature, this makes them ideal family pets. That is if you don't mind taking a shovel and bucket with you when you go for walkies.

6. Leonberger

Close up of Leonberger dog

These beautiful dogs, as the name suggests, are German in origin. Their lush thick coats act as a waterproof barrier but require a lot of brushing and care. Like many dogs on this list, they are intelligent and make good family pets.

Weighing in at an average of 41 to 77kg, this breed also has quite an impressive mane around their necks. Combined with their size, they make excellent watchdogs, especially when they get mistaken for a male lion.

5. Boerboel

large brown dog in photo studio

The Boerboel hails from South Africa – its name means 'farm dog', and they are skilled at protecting livestock from predators with their powerful jaws and muscular build. On average they can weigh between 69 and 91kg.

This breed is a mastiff-type breed crossed with a bulldog. Even though they are fearsome protectors, they are also loving and loyal family dogs and are especially good with children.

4. Great Dane

great dane face close-up

The great dane owns the record for the tallest dog ever – an individual named Zeus measured a huge 111.8cm at the shoulder.

They're somewhat of a misunderstood breed. Firstly, it doesn't come from Denmark, but from northern Germany. Secondly, this imposing dog is actually very caring in nature.

With some of them weighing in at 111kg, they might not be to everyone's taste, but bear in mind that these dogs are incredibly loyal. They are also very strong and make great guardians of their home. You might just need a home bigger than most to house one.

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3. Newfoundland

black colored Newfoundland Dog close up portrait with red colored ears

Calm, strong and loyal, these were originally bred as working dogs for the fisherman of the Dominion of Newfoundland (now Canada). They have webbed feet and huge lungs to help them swim, which also makes them perfect as water rescue dogs.

The largest individual weighed in at 120kg, but on average they generally weigh 55 to 90kg. Most of this mass comes from their thick strong bones and muscular build.

2. English Mastiff

soulful dog lies down

Another behemoth on our list, the English mastiff just misses out on the top spot, though it is not through lack of trying. These powerful dogs are docile in nature and rarely bark.

Despite this, they make excellent guard dogs and are more likely to corner an intruder and wait for backup rather than rip them to shreds.

One of the biggest dogs ever recorded (according to the Guinness Book of World Records, 1989) was an English Mastiff named Zorba, weighing in at an incredible 142kg.

1. Saint Bernard

white Saint bernard dog

Perhaps best known as Nana from Disney's Peter Pan, the Saint Bernard is one of the world's best-known large dogs.

Their name comes from the Great Saint Bernard Pass, a mountain pass in Switzerland. Here they were bred to be rescue dogs, aided by their muscular frame. However, contrary to popular belief, they were never officially equipped with casks of brandy around their necks.

The heaviest Saint Bernard (named Benedictine) weighed in at an astonishing 167kg and currently holds the record as the heaviest dog of all time.

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