Discover the Top 7 Largest Hound Breeds

Afghan Hound
© Dezy/

Written by Lev Baker

Updated: July 13, 2023

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Hound breeds have been around for a long time. These breeds were used for hunting, tracking, and chasing other animals, and some of these breeds are still used for these purposes today. Because hound breeds are working dogs, they require a lot of physical and mental exercise. Even though their energy requirements are high, their sweet and loyal nature makes them excellent pets.

Irish Wolfhounds were bred to hunt and kill wolves and have been around for over 1,000 years.

In this article, we will discuss the seven largest hound breeds. From the moment you lay eyes on these majestic canines, their sheer size leaves a sure impression. However, their stature is matched by their gentle and affectionate nature, making them fantastic companions for both families and individuals alike.

1. Irish Wolfhound

• 30 to 34 inches tall at the shoulder

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the tallest dog breeds in the world. These dogs are incredibly muscular and possess great speed. These fearless hunters are a hound breed that uses sight to hunt. A male Irish Wolfhound can stand at almost 3 feet tall at shoulder height and can weigh up to an incredible 180 pounds! Female Irish Wolfhounds are likely to be smaller than male Irish Wolfhounds. The coats of these dogs are rough and hard and come in various colors. Coloring can include white, gray, brindle, red, black, and fawn. These dogs also have bodies that are built along classic Greyhound lines — long slender legs, deep chests, and tucked bellies.

Not only is the Irish Wolfhound the largest hound breed, but it is also an incredibly old dog breed that’s been around for centuries. These dogs were bred to hunt and kill wolves and have been around for over 1,000 years. Although still used for hunting, these dogs are often found in homes as well, as they are now known for their serene and agreeable nature. They are patient with children and make great family pets. However, the Irish Wolfhound must have all of their physical and mental needs met to live a happy life. Like any dog breed, they require proper care, socialization, and exercise to live a happy and healthy life.

Irish wolfhound sitting in the sun

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the tallest dog breeds in the world.


2. Scottish Deerhound

• 28 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder

The Scottish Deerhound is smaller than the Irish Wolfhound. Standing at around 30 to 32 inches in height for males and 28 inches and up for females, these dogs are one of the largest hound breeds in the world. Similar to the Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound has a greyhound-like physical appearance. They have long and slender legs, tucked-in bellies, and long necks. However, one distinguishing feature between the Irish Wolfhound and the Scottish Deerhound is the amount of muscle. The Scottish Deerhound is not as muscular as the Irish Wolfhound. Instead, the Scottish Deerhound has a larger bone structure and size. The Scottish Deerhound has a wiry coat that can come in various colors. Coat colors include blue gray, gray, brindle, red fawn, and more.

The Scottish Deerhound has been around for a very long time — so long that no one knows when the true origin of the Deerhound came about. These incredible dogs were used to hunt wild red deer, hence its name. Today, the Scottish Deerhound is sought after for their gentle, polite, and dignified nature. They are great with other dogs and are incredibly affectionate with family, which makes them perfect pets. Because these dogs are hound dogs, their physical and mental needs are high and must be met. They must be allowed to run and get all the exercise they need so that they do not become destructive.

Tallest Dogs: Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is the progenitor of one of the tallest dogs, the Irish Wolfhound.


3. Greyhound

• 27 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder

The Greyhound is famous for their speed and agility. In fact, the Greyhound is considered the fastest dog breed: they can reach speeds of over 44 miles or 70 kilometers per hour! Standing between 27 and 30 inches tall, these beautiful and slender dogs are incredible hound dogs. Female greyhounds will weigh anywhere between 60 and 65 pounds, while male greyhounds will weigh between 65 and 70 pounds. The Greyhound is built for speed. This is evident in their body and face shape. They are incredibly lean with a deep chest and tightly tucked abdomen. Greyhounds have short, smooth coats that come in a range of different colors. Coloring can range from black, brindle, red, white, blue fawn, blue, and more.

The Greyhound’s origin began in Egypt around 5,000 years ago. The hounds were used to detect, chase, capture, and dispatch the wildlife of Egypt’s deserts. Greyhounds make amazing pets as they are gentle and affectionate. They are independent but can be good with other dogs. However, it’s worth noting that these dogs are not for everyone, as they have incredibly high energy levels. They require a lot of physical exercise and need a lot of space to run at full speed.

Gray Dog Breeds

The Greyhound is famous for their speed and agility.


4. Afghan Hound

• 25 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder

The Afghan Hound is a large, beautiful hound dog that stands at around 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder. The weight of the Afghan Hound is generally between 50 and 60 pounds. This breed has physical characteristics that stand out from other breeds. The most distinguishing feature of the Afghan Hound is its coat. They have a beautifully thick, silky, long, flowing coat that is, for lack of a better word, glamorous. There is much variety in the coloring of the coat for this breed. Some colors include black, black and tan, blue, blue and cream, red, silver, and white. These dogs have excellent vision and great speed – ideal sighthound dogs.

The Afghan Hound is an old breed. In fact, some authorities say that this beautiful dog is the oldest breed of purebred dog! These dogs were used for hunting and relied on their excellent vision and explosive speed to do so. The unique long, silky coat serves a purpose as it protects the breed from the harsh climate in mountainous areas. Although not a popular dog to keep as a pet, the Afghan Hound is a very loyal, sweet dog. This breed is very independent but does need a lot of physical and mental exercise. The dog’s coat is also high-maintenance as they do need to be brushed often. The Afghan Hound is certainly not a dog for first-time pet owners!

Afghan Hound standing in a park

Afghan Hounds have a beautifully thick, silky, long, flowing coat that is, for lack of a better word, glamorous.


5. Rhodesian Ridgeback

• 24 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a medium to large hound dog that stands between 24 and 27 inches tall. The weight of the dog is generally between 70 and 85 pounds. One unique physical feature of the dog is its back. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a ridge, or a stripe of hair, that grows backward on its back. These beautiful dogs have short, smooth fur that is wheaten in color. They are incredible athletes and are fast and powerful.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in South Africa and was used to track lions. Because of their incredible skill at hunting lions, they are also commonly known as the African Lion Hound. Today, these dogs make popular pets due to their affectionate and loyal nature to their family. They are great with children and are even-tempered dogs. Furthermore, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their strong-willed and independent nature. They are confident, intelligent, and can be somewhat aloof with strangers, making them good watchdogs. They are generally reserved and may not be as openly affectionate with strangers compared to their own family members.

Because they are a hound breed, these hound dogs need a decent amount of mental stimulation to live a fulfilling life. It is important to know that the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a very strong prey drive and will require training and socialization from a young age.

rhodesian ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are incredible athletes and are fast and powerful.


6. Otterhound

• 24 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder

The Otterhound is a big, boisterous hound dog. Males stand 27 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are 24 inches tall. These dogs are large and can weigh between 80 and 115 pounds. This breed is known for its shaggy coat, webbed feed, and ability to swim. They have broad chests and powerful shoulders that make them amazing swimmers without tiring. These fantastic dogs also have sensitive noses that can follow trails over large distances. Otterhounds have medium-length waterproof coats that are rough and double-coated. Coat colors can include black, gray, tan, wheaten, and more.

As their name suggests, otterhounds were used to hunt otters in medieval England. Their swimming ability, along with their excellent noses, made them incredibly successful hunters. In fact, these dogs were so successful in their hunts that river otters nearly went extinct, and hunting them became outlawed. Nowadays, these majestic dogs are kept as pets as they are amiable, even-tempered, and extremely affectionate. The otterhound is quite boisterous and can be very vocal if they want to be.

Otterhounds have a strong hunting instinct that can manifest in their behavior. It’s important for owners to be aware of this trait and provide appropriate outlets for their natural instincts, such as engaging them in scent games, tracking exercises, or participating in dog sports like tracking or nose work. It’s essential to meet their mental and physical stimulation needs to prevent boredom or destructive behavior.

Rare breeds of dogs - Otterhound

Otterhounds’ swimming ability, along with their excellent noses, makes them incredibly successful hunters.


7. Ibizan Hound

• 22.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder

The Ibizan Hound is a lean breed with long legs that make it an amazing sprinter and leaper. Female Ibizan Hounds stand between 22.5 inches and 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 45 pounds. Male Ibizan Hounds are slightly larger, standing between 23.5 inches and 27.5 inches tall and weighing around 50 pounds. These beautiful dogs have long, slender bodies with large, erect ears. The coat can be smooth or wiry and is usually red and white in color.

The Ibizan Hound originated around 3,000 years ago. These dogs were used as rabbit hunters. Their speed and ability to leap made them excellent hunting dogs. These beautiful dogs are still used for their hunting abilities in Spain and other areas. The Ibizan Hounds are also great at agility, obedience, and tracking. Because this breed is so affectionate, they also make amazing family pets.

Similarly to the other hound breeds listed, the Ibizan Hound has a lot of energy, and their energy requirements must be met in order for them to live a great life. These dogs must also have their mental stimulation needs to be met to keep them from becoming bored and destructive. Since they are known for their speed, agility, and impressive jumping skills, Ibizan Hounds have a natural ability to leap over obstacles with grace and ease. Their athleticism makes them well-suited for activities such as lure coursing and agility trials. Engaging them in these types of activities can provide Ibizan Hounds with the mental and physical stimulation they need.

One year old Ibizan Hound dog lying in front of brown background

The Ibizan Hound is a lean breed with long legs that make it an amazing sprinter and leaper.

©Kuznetsov Alexey/

Summary of the Top 7 Largest Hound Breeds

RankNameShoulder Height
1Irish Wolfhound30 to 34 inches
2Scottish Deerhound28 to 32 inches
3Greyhound27 to 30 inches
4Afghan Hound25 to 27 inches
5Rhodesian Ridgeback24 to 27 inches
6Otterhound24 to 27 inches
7Ibizan Hound22.5 to 27.5 inches
Summary Table of the Top 7 Largest Hound Breeds

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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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