The Top 10 Strongest Dog Breeds in 2024

Written by Rebecca Bales
Updated: November 18, 2023
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Key Points

  • Some of the strongest dog breeds on this list include Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, and Great Danes.
  • Many dog breeds mentioned in this piece of content were originally bred as work dogs.
  • Like most animals listed here, strength may be something they were bred for, but over time, other positive qualities such as affection are often more important.
The Mastiff is the world’s strongest dog.

What are the strongest dog breeds in the world? The idea of owning one of the strongest dogs is appealing to many people, not because they want a fierce creature but because these animals tend to be gentle giants.

Strong dogs can keep up with active owners and do well in busy households, on farms, and as family protectors. But when they do not have to show their strong side, any one of these muscle-bound hounds can be your best friend and cuddle buddy.

If you are searching for one of the strongest dogs, be prepared to fall for a dog breed that offers more than just pound-for-pound strength against other animals, tough jobs, and humans. Among the most powerful are breeds that bring a lot of history and loving companionship. Some were bred hundreds or even thousands of years ago for bite force or fighting.

Others were bred as bodyguards or agricultural working animals. A glimpse into their history and background can help you understand their strength and why training and socialization are very important for these powerful animals, from the start.

To aid you in your hunt for a new companion with strength, companionship, and loyalty to offer, check out these 10 strongest dogs in the world.

#10: Cane Corso

The Cane Corso makes for a great bodyguard.

©Taisya Korchak/Shutterstock.com

The Cane Corso is a dog breed often described not just as strong, but majestic. This powerful canine was first bred for its loyalty and protective instincts in ancient Roman times. The breed is heavily muscled at often more than 100 pounds and 28 inches at the shoulder. It has an intimidating stance and clear intelligence behind its eyes. Because they are so imposing and able to so effectively scare away intruders, the Romans’ chosen name of Cane Corso for the breed translates from Latin as “bodyguard-dog.” But as the American Kennel Club points out, it is important to train and socialize this powerful breed which has a lifespan of 10 -12 years well or they can end up “owning the owner.”

#9: German Shepherd

German Shepherds are commonly used as police and military dogs.

©lightman_pic/Shutterstock.com

Like the Cane Corso, the German Shepherd is large, muscular, intelligent, noble, and strong. This breed, one that originated in Germany as its name implies, is so loyal and courageous that police forces around the world rely on them. The dog’s bravery is matched only by their gentle character when off-duty. They are used by military, police, and emergency forces in searches, pursuits, and rescue operations of all kinds.

German Shepherds stand up to 26 inches tall at the shoulder. They can run at high speeds in pursuit, just as well as they can focus on tasks at close range. Their ability to learn many skills and commands makes them easy to work with and, when combined with their physical strength and protective nature, these characteristics place them among the most powerful, trusted, and strong of dog breeds. They have a lifespan of 9 – 13 years.

#8: Great Dane

Great Danes were originally bred to hunt wild boar.

©Ricantimages/Shutterstock.com

Whether close-up or from a distance, it is easy to see why the Great Dane is among the most powerful dogs in the world! This breed is known for its intimidating size, standing up to 32 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing as much as 175 pounds. But unless you have owned one, you may not know just how friendly, playful, patient, and dependable these gentle giants are, at the same time. Great Danes are among the working class of dogs, always ready to use their imposing size and physical strength to protect their home and family.

Hailing from Germany, not Denmark, Great Danes are called the Apollo of Dogs. They were originally bred to hunt dangerous wild boar as part of noble sporting. Today, many owners enjoy the breed’s sweet spirit and their ability to scare away intruders at just one glance. When it comes to physical size, strength, character, dependability, protective nature, and playfulness, the Great Dane is certainly one of the most powerful dogs in the world! They have a lifespan of 8 – 10 years.

#7: Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is often used as a rescue dog.

©Roman Zaiets/Shutterstock.com

At 28 inches tall at the shoulder and up to 150 pounds, the Newfoundland is certainly a large dog with a lifespan of 8 -10 years. But what makes them one of the strongest dog breeds is not just brute force or big bones. In addition to being sizable, these dogs can use their strength with intelligence, physical endurance, and even the ability to swim long distances. These characteristics are why Newfoundlands are often working dogs used to rescue humans, such as drowning victims. But like other breeds among the most powerful, strength is not this dog’s best characteristic. The Canadian breed is sweet enough around kids to have earned the nickname “nanny dog.”

#6: Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is well-known for pulling sleds through deep snow.

©travelarium.ph/Shutterstock.com

Surprisingly, even medium-sized breeds rank among the world’s strongest dog breeds. Such is the case with the Siberian Husky, a beautiful creature standing at only up to 23.5 inches at the shoulder and weighing about 60 pounds with a lifespan of 12 -15 years. Strength is not always measured through bite force, fighting prowess, intimidation, height, or weight. Siberian huskies earn their place by being highly energetic with outstanding physical endurance, able to pull heavily weighted sleds through deep snow for hours. Some of these dogs prove their endurance and strength each year when taking part in the famed Iditarod race. They are pack animals, loyal to the group, and sweet to family, children, and each other.

#5: Pit Bull

Pit Bulls are a dog breed that has one of the most powerful bite forces.

©iStock.com/Ksenia Raykova

The pit bull terrier was originally bred from a cross of Bulldogs with Terriers. The resulting newer breed is pound for pound the most powerful biter on this list. A compensating factor for being relatively lightweight compared to several other contenders on this list (pitbulls weigh between 35 -60 lbs). Their bite force is 235 pounds per square inch (PSI). For this reason, many people have inhumanely bred and trained these dogs for illegal fighting. That is sad because pit bulls likely also have the strongest heart for their owners. They are loving, loyal, and playful pups eager to cuddle whenever they can. Despite their ability to bite, these dogs are also easily trained to refrain from using their jaws. This training and socialization should start at a very young age. Pitbulls generally live between 8 – 15 years.

#4: Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound was originally bred as big-game hunters.

©iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

The tallest of all dogs registered by the AKC is the 36 inch, 180 pound Irish Wolfhound. At first glance, these pups do not look like they rank among the strongest dog breeds in the world. They look more like they might be rated as “most loyal” or “friendliest.” But their calm, dignified and loving demeanor only masks the courage, stamina, and strength they also possess in their massive bodies. Irish Wolfhounds were first bred as big-game hunters. Amazingly, these intriguing creatures can take down adult elk or even a wolf, as their name implies. When it comes to courage, tenacity, and hunting strength, pound for pound the Irish Wolfhound stands head and shoulders above all of the rest! Unfortunately, they are relatively short-lived compared to most other canines on this list and live between 6 – 10 years.

#3: Rottweiler

Rottweilers have a fiercely protective nature.

©Mariya Kuzema/Shutterstock.com

First recognized as a unique breed by the AKC in 1936, the Rottweiler stands up to 27 inches at as much as 135 pounds, and has a lifespan of 8 – 10 years. This is certainly not the biggest dog on this list. But, like the Pit Bull terrier, the Rottweiler brings other skills to the ranks of the strongest dogs in the world. Descended from the Mastiffs, this breed is heavily muscled, particularly in their hindquarters. This makes them skilled runners and bounders, able to chase down a threat and hold it at bay. They possess a fiercely protective nature, keeping watch over their owners like a guardian angel. That angel seems to think it is a Toy Poodle when there is no threat, however. Rotties are always ready to jump on the sofa and take a nap cuddled up against a family member.

#2: Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards can endure extremely cold weather, making them great search and rescue dogs.

©iStock.com/swisshippo

If you ever find yourself stranded on a snowy mountain in the Swiss Alps, there is only one dog you want coming to your rescue — the Saint Bernard — a true lifesaver able to endure extremely cold temperatures to find lost explorers and even warm rescued victims with their body heat.

Known as playful, charming, and curious, these dogs bred since the 17th century are called “extraordinarily muscled” and massive. They stand at up to 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh as much as 180 pounds. That is 180 pounds of love and warmth able to find and rescue someone lost under an avalanche, making the Saint Bernard one of the strongest dogs in the world!

Saint Bernard’s are known as rescuers, gaining their name from the dangerous St. Bernard pass located in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The breed is actually famous for rescuing people lost in the snowy mountains and buried in avalanches. Theses canines that also come with a lifespan of 8 – 10 years, are indeed a loving and caring breed of dog.

#1: Mastiff

Most Mastiffs outweigh adult males.

©Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

With a name sounding close to “massive” and a body size matching that term, the Mastiff is top of the list among the world’s strongest dogs. Most of this breed outweighs a fully grown adult male. They stand up to 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh an incredible 230 pounds. The strength is in those numbers, just as their heritage as bodyguards since 3000 B.C. proves the quality of their courage and loyalty. They have a lifespan of 6 – 12 years making them another shortlived breed.

Three More Strong Dogs to Consider

Tosa Inu

Tosa

By nature, the Tosa Inu can be cautious when meeting strangers and aggressive toward other dogs.

©acceptphoto/Shutterstock.com

The Tosa Inu is not only one of the strongest dogs but also ranks among the most dangerous. This massive breed was bred in Japan to fight other dogs and is actually banned in many countries because of its aggressive nature. These powerfully built dogs stand around 32 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 200 pounds.

Alaskan Malamute

Sled dog racing alaskan malamute snow winter competition race

Any dog bred to pull a heavy sled has to be strong!

©freevideophotoagency/Shutterstock.com

There is another strong sled dog worth noting! Bred for its strength and endurance, the Alaskan Malamute is a powerhouse capable of pulling 3,000 pounds! These mighty dogs grow to 25 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh up to 84 pounds. Alaskan Malamutes were bred to hunt bears but their claim to fame is pulling sleds of supplies for hundreds of miles across heavy snow during the Alaskan Gold Rush. Iditarod Race? No problem! The grueling 1,000-mile race is just another day at the office for an Alaskan Malamute.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman pinscher with erect ears laying in leaves

The

Doberman Pinscher

was first bred by a tax collector who needed protection.

©DragoNika/Shutterstock.com

Doberman Pinschers are 100 pounds of sheer muscle with long powerful limbs and a fearless temperament. Bred in the 1880s in Germany by Karl Friedrich Doberman, these dogs were created to exhibit stamina, strength, and intelligence. Many Dobermans served and died among U.S. Marines during World War II – with a dog named Kurt being the first to be buried in the War Dog Cemetery. Kurt is the Doberman depicted in bronze sitting atop the World War II War Dog Memorial. Physical strength plus strength in character – the Doberman Pinscher has it all!

List of the Top Strongest Dogs

Here is a summarized list of the top 10 strongest dogs:

RankDog BreedsWeightFunction (Historic or Present)
10.Cane Corso100 lbsHuman protection
9.German Shepherd65 – 90 lbsPolice and military search and rescue operations
8.Great Dane175 lbsHunting
7.Newfoundland150 lbsRescue operations
6.Siberian Husky60 lbsSled pulling
5.Pit Bull35 – 60 lbsIllegal dog fighting
4.Irish Wolfhound180 lbsBig game hunting
3.Rottweiler135 lbsSecurity and herding
2.Saint Bernard180 lbsRescue operations
1.Mastiff230 lbsHuman protection

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Waldemar Dabrowski/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Rebecca is an experienced Professional Freelancer with nearly a decade of expertise in writing SEO Content, Digital Illustrations, and Graphic Design. When not engrossed in her creative endeavors, Rebecca dedicates her time to cycling and filming her nature adventures. When not focused on her passion for creating and crafting optimized materials, she harbors a deep fascination and love for cats, jumping spiders, and pet rats.

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