Meet 10 of the Tallest Dog Breeds

When we think of dogs, we often picture our friendly, tail-wagging companions that fit perfectly beside us on the couch. However, some dogs wouldn’t quite fit on that couch—unless maybe you moved the coffee table!

These canine giants not only stand head and shoulders above the rest (literally), but they also have big hearts and personalities to match.

1. Irish Wolfhound: The Towering Hunters of Ireland

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Statuesque and Regal: The Irish Wolfhound is often regarded as the tallest dog breed in the world. Standing up to 35 inches at the shoulder, these dogs combine power and grace in a shaggy package. Originally bred to chase down wolves, their size was a necessity for survival and hunting in the rough Irish landscape. (ref)

Gentle Giants: Despite their imposing stature, Irish Wolfhounds are known for their gentle and friendly nature. They make excellent family pets and are particularly good with children, often showing a patient and protective demeanor. Their life expectancy is around 6-8 years, which is a common trait among larger dog breeds.

2. Great Dane: The Noble Giants of the Dog World

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The “Apollo” of Dogs: The Great Dane is a breed that impresses with its size and noble appearance, often standing as tall as 34 inches. They are affectionately called the “Apollo of dogs,” after the Greek god of sun and beauty, which is fitting given their dignified and calm demeanor.

A Friendly Companion: Despite their size, Great Danes are loving, affectionate pets that are great with families. They are surprisingly gentle and are often seen being cautious around small children and other animals. Regular exercise and a proper diet are key to managing their health, given their size and propensity for heart issues.

3. Scottish Deerhound: The Graceful Sprinters of the Highlands

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Majestic and Swift: Scottish Deerhounds resemble a more wiry version of the Irish Wolfhound and are known for their deer-hunting heritage. They can reach up to 32 inches in height and are incredibly fast and agile, originally bred for pursuing game over the rugged Scottish terrain.

Loyal and Reserved: This breed is characterized by its loyalty and reserved nature. Scottish Deerhounds are not as outgoing as other large breeds but are incredibly devoted to their families. They require regular exercise to match their high energy levels but are also content to relax at home.

4. Newfoundland: The Gentle Giants of the Sea

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A Born Rescuer: Newfoundland dogs are not only among the tallest but also some of the most robust, often weighing over 150 pounds. Known for their water rescue abilities, they have a dense, water-resistant coat and a unique swimming style that makes them excellent lifeguards.

Sweet and Nurturing: Despite their large size, Newfoundlands are famously gentle and have an inherent nurturing instinct that makes them fantastic family dogs. They are particularly known for their patience and propensity to watch over children.

5. Leonberger: The Majestic Lion-Like Companions

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Gentle Lions: Leonbergers are named after the city of Leonberg in Germany and were bred to resemble the lion in the town’s crest. They typically stand about 31 inches tall and are known for their luxurious mane and striking appearance.

Affectionate and Adaptable: These dogs are highly affectionate and thrive on family activities. They are known for their adaptability and can comfortably live in various settings as long as they have enough space to stretch their legs. Their friendly nature makes them poor guard dogs but excellent companions.

6. Saint Bernard: The Iconic Rescuers of the Alps

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Iconic Alpine Rescuer: Famous for their role in alpine rescue missions, Saint Bernards can grow to about 30 inches tall and are renowned for their strength and endurance. They carry a heritage of saving travelers from snow and avalanches in the Swiss Alps. (ref)

Calm and Patient: This breed is known for its calm and patient nature, often showing a tolerant attitude toward children. They drool significantly, which potential owners should consider. Due to their low energy levels, they make excellent indoor pets despite their size.

7. Borzoi: The Aristocratic Speedsters

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Elegance in Speed: The Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, stands around 28 inches tall and has a distinctively sleek and elegant silhouette. They were bred for speed and agility in hunting and are capable of quick bursts of speed.

Reserved but Affectionate: Borzois are somewhat reserved, especially with strangers, but they form strong bonds with their family. They are known for their quiet and gentle demeanor at home, though they retain a strong hunting instinct and love to chase.

8. Anatolian Shepherd: The Vigilant Guardians of the Flock

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Vigilant Protector: Originally bred for guarding livestock, the Anatolian Shepherd is a formidable breed that typically stands around 29 inches tall. They are robust and rugged, with a keen sense of duty and a vigilant nature.

Independent and Intelligent: This breed is not for novice dog owners. They are highly intelligent and somewhat independent, often making their own decisions about protecting their territory. Proper training and socialization are crucial from a young age.

9. English Mastiff: The Benevolent Behemoths

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The Gentle Titan: The English Mastiff is one of the heaviest dog breeds, with some males weighing over 200 pounds. They may not be the tallest at around 30 inches, but their bulk makes them a massive presence.

Loyal and Protective: Mastiffs are known for their loyalty and protective nature. They tend to be good-natured with families and cautious around strangers, making them excellent guard dogs. Their size requires careful management through diet and exercise to prevent health issues.

10. Dogue de Bordeaux: The Stout Heart of France

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Powerful and Placid: Also known as the French Mastiff, the Dogue de Bordeaux stands around 27 inches tall but is incredibly muscular and powerful. They have a distinctive wrinkled face and a serious expression.

Affectionate and Devoted: Despite their formidable appearance, Dogues de Bordeaux are very affectionate and devoted to their families. They are relatively low energy but need firm training and consistent leadership due to their strong will.

Living Space Adaptations

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  • Elevated Feeding Stations: Tall dog breeds may benefit from elevated feeding stations to reduce strain on their neck and back while eating. Invest in sturdy, elevated bowls or feeding platforms to accommodate their height.
  • Specialized Bedding: Provide large, comfortable bedding options that can support the size and weight of tall dog breeds. Consider orthopedic mattresses or raised beds to provide proper support for their joints and ensure a good night’s sleep.
  • Sturdy Furniture: Opt for sturdy furniture that can withstand the weight and activity of tall dog breeds. Choose couches, chairs, and beds made of durable materials and reinforce weak spots to prevent damage from jumping or climbing.
  • Spacious Play Areas: Create designated play areas with ample space for tall dog breeds to move around freely. Remove obstacles and hazards to prevent accidents and provide plenty of interactive toys and enrichment activities to keep them mentally stimulated.
  • Secure Outdoor Enclosures: Install tall, sturdy fences around outdoor spaces to contain tall dog breeds safely. Ensure fences are tall enough to prevent jumping or climbing, and reinforce gates and barriers to prevent escapes.
  • Accessible Water Stations: Provide multiple water stations throughout the living space, including indoors and outdoors, to ensure tall dog breeds have easy access to fresh water at all times. Consider automatic water dispensers or large, spill-proof bowls for convenience.
  • Protective Flooring: Use durable, easy-to-clean flooring materials that can withstand the wear and tear of tall dog breeds. Consider options such as tile, laminate, or vinyl flooring that are scratch-resistant and easy to maintain.
  • Designated Rest Areas: Create designated rest areas where tall dog breeds can retreat and relax away from high-traffic areas. Provide cozy bedding, soft blankets, and quiet corners where they can unwind and recharge.
  • Safety Measures: Implement safety measures such as baby gates or barriers to restrict access to certain areas of the home, such as stairs or hazardous areas. Use childproof locks on cabinets and drawers to prevent tall dog breeds from accessing harmful substances.
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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.