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Ten of the largest dog breeds

Throughout the world, dogs have been bred to suit the climate and country in which they were living and to carry out certain jobs. 

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Here we look at some of the largest dog breeds in the world.


The Akita breed is the largest of the dogs originating in Japan. They are also known as the Japanese Akita. The first Akita dogs emerged during the 1600s in order to help with hunting. They were also bred for dog fighting. By the 1930s the Akita was virtually extinct. At this stage the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Breeds stepped in and began efforts to save the breed.

In today’s society the Akita is seen as an active, intelligent, mild-mannered and cautious. They have also proven to be a very dedicated pet and shown high devotion to their owners. Akitas have become trusted companions throughout different circumstances and some have proved to be valuable and effective guard dogs.

Akita dogs have a very specific look with small brown eyes, a big black nose and small triangular, upright ears. Male Akitas tend to weigh between 95lbs to 130lbs and reach a height of about 28 inches at the shoulder. Female Akitas are a bit smaller reaching an average height of 26 inches and weighing between 70lbs to 110lbs.

Akitas don’t tend to be one particular colour and can range from black to white. However, the colour of the coat does seem to depend on the country in which they are bred. For example, Akita dogs bred in Japan tend to be orange or white and those bred in Europe tend to have a black muzzle with a black or brown coat.

Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd dogs are originally from Turkey and are also known as the Karabash, Kangal dogs and Coban Kopengi dogs. They were first bred around the Middle Ages in order to project sheep from bears, wolves and jackals.

The Anatolian Shepherd is a particularly strong dog which is naturally loyal and protective. They are extremely independent and are very protective of their territory. The breed can become family dogs and will be effective at providing protection and security. However, owners have to be sure to introduce new visitors to their Anatolian Shepherd or they may find they won’t let them past the front door!

These dogs are still used widely as sheepdogs and are highly regarded because of their stamina and intelligence. They are an extremely alert and observant breed that will always ensure that the flocks are safe.

Anatolian Shepherds tend to be muscular. Male dogs tend to weigh around 125 pounds and be about 29 inches tall. Female Anatolian Shepherds weigh about 100 pounds and are about 27 inches tall. These dogs tend to be of a fawn colour with a black mask or pinto, brindle or white.

The Great Dane

Great Danes were first bred in Germany in the Middle Ages and used for hunting and in battle. They remain a very well-known and popular breed today. Great Danes have in the past been called German Mastiffs. Their nickname the ‘Apollo’ comes from them being able to take on large and powerful dogs and bring them down.

Great Danes are extremely elegant with stunning looks and features. They have a short, dense coat and a naturally long tail. Their eyes tend to be dark and deep-set. Their ears tend to fold forwards although they are high set. Usually their snout is black, but in blue Great Danes it tends to be black and blue spotted.

The colour of Great Danes can include shades from black to brindle, blue, harlequin and fawn to name just a few. Black Danes have particularly polished coats. Brindle Danes tend to have brindle stripes through their coats with a gold base colour to them. Harlequin Danes have a white base with black spots on them, whilst Mantle Danes are black with both a white muzzle and white patches. Female Danes tend to be around 30 inches tall and weigh about 120 lbs, whilst male Danes are on average 32 inches tall and 160lbs.

Great Danes are one of the most loving and gentle breeds of dogs, and for this reason are an extremely popular family pet. Danes are very trustworthy companion dogs and are very good around children, as they are friendly and affectionate. Danes are extremely reliable and are popular as guard dogs. They rarely bark without good reason making them good for security.

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds were first bred in the 1800s in Ireland to be used as hunting dogs and are one of the tallest breeds of dogs in the world.

Today the Irish Wolfhound is most commonly a family dog. In the past they were bred for wolf hunting, but they are one of the most kind and loving breeds of dogs. This surprises many people who expect the gigantic dog to be aggressive. They are extremely good with good with children due to their sweet and kind natures. They are very good with strangers and take well to guests within their home and are extremely loyal to their owners.

The male Irish wolfhound stands around 32 inches tall, while females are around 30 inches tall. Another distinctive feature of the Irish Wolfhound is its rough and heavy fur, which also tends to look scruffy. Wolfhounds can be a number of colours such as black, grey, white or red. They also tend to have particularly large heads, with small ears and a large muzzle.        

Both genders of Wolfhound have muscular and strong legs, which add to their strong and powerful presence. Irish Wolfhounds are a particularly fast-growing breed and can be very clumsy during their puppy days.


Also known as the English Mastiff, these dogs were first bred as a military fighting dog in England. They are now kept as loving family pets who make good guard dogs.

They are particularly large dogs, with males weighing about 190 pounds and being about 32 inches tall. Female Mastiffs weigh about 150 pounds and stand about 27 inches tall. Their eyes are small and dark and set widely apart. Their noses tend to be flat and they have a short, broard dark muzzle. Their fur is short and the colour varies from apricot, fawn and brindle.

Mastiffs are extremely good with children and have a naturally playful nature. They are very caring and enjoy playing games with their owners. They are also easy going, gentle dogs which again is why they are so popular with families. However, due to their loving nature Mastiffs become extremely protective of their owners and tend to bark at any sign that their family could be in danger. They may obedience training from a young age in order to get them used to both people and other animals.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards get their name as they were originally raised by Bernadine Monks in Switzerland during the 1600s where they were used as rescue dogs. They have also been known as Alpine Mastiffs. In modern times they are kept as companion animals and family pets.

Saint Bernards love children and are patient, loving and kind. They are also intelligent dogs who are easy to train. It is advisable to train them from a young age, though their attitude is very easy going. Saint Bernards will protect their family if and when they need to.

Saint Bernards can be both short-haired and long-haired. The short-haired variety has a coat that tends to be very soft and smooth. Long-haired Saint Bernards have coats that tend to be rougher with a natural wave. They tend to have white patches on their coat around their feet, tail, chest, forehead, nose and collar. Some dogs can be white with red shades to them or brindle with white patches to them. Even though they are large dogs they aren’t particularly tall. Males reach an average height of 28 inches and weigh around 175 lbs. Female Saint Bernards stand taller at 36 inches and weigh 130 lbs.

They are a breed which tends to have large heads and above their eyes they have winkles. Their muzzles tend to be short and wide and they have black lips. They also have strong and muscular legs and a long straight tail.

Tibetan Mastiff

Also known as the Do-Khyi, these dogs originate from Tibet and were traditionally used to herd and guard. Today they are still used as a guard dog but many people choose to have them as a companion.

They are an extremely independent dog which means they tend to do what they want and can therefore be difficult to train. If they are trained from a very young age they can be managed a lot better. They are very intelligent dogs that become protective of their surroundings and their family, which means they have to watched around strangers. It is also important to socialise this breed from a young age because of their strong instinct to guard. 

Tibetan Mastiffs have a double coat witha n outer layer which is very long and thick with a natural wave to it. The undercoat is a lot shorter and heavy. This is particularly useful to them as it keeps them warm in the winter months. They tend to vary in colour from black, grey, sable and brindle.

Though they have a tendency to drool, they are gorgeous dogs with medium-sized dark eyes and v-shaped ears which become raised when they are alert. Their noses tend to be wide and back.

Swiss Mountain Dog

This breed originates from Switzerland in the early 1900s and they were once used by farmers, which is why they are also known as the Greater Swiss Cattle Dog. They are now kept in homes all over the world.

They have a short-haired, tri-coloured coat. The top coat is black with white and rust markings and the undercoat is a mixture of tawny and grey shades. They also have a number of rust markings on their coat around their chest and eyes, and white patches on their neck, muzzle and sometimes on their paws.

Swiss Mountain Dogs are extremely energetic, caring and lovable. They are great family pets as they are good with children and enjoy being around their owners as much as possible. For this reason they tend to bark a lot if strangers are near as they are very protective of their family.

They have lovely, brown circular eyes, with a flat black nose and triangular ears. Male Swiss Mountain Dogs tend to be around 140 pounds and 28 inches tall, whereas females tend to weigh 110 pounds and be 26 inches tall.


This breed originated in Hungary and so it is often known as an Hungarian Kuvasz. Their traditional job was to be a guard dog.

Due to their background, they are extremely protective of their family. They are a very courageous breed and rarely let down their guard. Kuvasz are extremely intelligent and so take very well to training. They are hard-working dogs which are able to work for long periods of time before they become tired. Even though they are a courageous dog, they are very sensitive and they love nothing more than being around their family. If they are left alone for long periods of time they can become destructive.

Though they are a strong and powerful dog, the male Kuvasz is 28 inches tall and weighs at the most 115 pounds. Female Kuvasz tend to be the same height and can weigh at the most 90 pounds.

The breed is also known for its cat-like paws which are very small in comparison to the rest of their body. They have a double coat with the top being rough and wavy or straight while the undercoat tends to be smooth and thin. They also tend to be white but can have patches of grey or black. They have v-shaped ears and almond-shaped brown eyes.

Caucasian Mountain Dog

Caucasian Mountain Dogs were first used as guard dogs and in the 1960s they were used as border patrol dogs in East Germany. They are now the most popular mountain dog in Russia.

As the name suggests they originated as mountain dogs and are ideally-suited to cold weather. They have a distinctive thick coat and large paws, with strong legs which help them cope with mountainous territory. They can be found in a number of colours, but the majority of Caucasians tend to be tan, brindle, fawn and pied.

Caucasians, also known as the Caucasian Ovtcharka, aren’t natural family dogs. They are courageous, strong-minded and strong-willed and very suspicious of strangers. These are also dogs that need to be trained from a young age or they can become extremely aggressive and uncontrollable.

Male Caucasians tend to be about 150 pounds in weight and stand around 30 inches tall. The females weigh about 120 pounds and stand an average 27 inches tall.

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