Top 12 Tallest Dogs

Written by Patrick Sather
Updated: October 5, 2021
Image Credit Jose Arcos Aguilar/Shutterstock.com
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Which dog breed is the tallest? With so many breeds out there, it’s difficult to say for sure which breeds stand head and shoulders above the rest. That said, some dogs clearly stand taller than others and earn a reputation for their immense height. However, measurements can vary within breeds, so when discussing the tallest dogs, it’s essential to lay down some ground rules. 

When measuring dogs, the official rules dictate that you must measure a dog’s height when standing on all four legs. In addition, you should only measure a dog’s size from the ground to its shoulder or withers. While some breeds measure higher than others if you measure from the top of their head to the floor, this is not the officially recognized way to measure height. Furthermore, some especially large specimens skew the results for breeds. Therefore, maximum sizes outside of the average should only be considered to break a tie. 

In this article, we’ll rank twelve of the tallest dogs in the world. To avoid receiving conflicting data from different sources, we’ll limit sources of information to secondary sources on individual dogs and official measurements from dog associations. Measurements will be based on the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) metrics. Without further ado, here are the top 12 tallest dogs. 

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#12: Greyhound

Calmest dog - greyhound standing in the field
Greyhounds stand 27 to 30 inches tall, and are one of the fastest dogs in the world.

The Greyhound is an ancient breed of sighthound or gazehound popular in hunting and racing. Evidence of Greyhounds dates back almost 4,000 years, with their origins lying either in Eastern Europe or Eurasia. Like all sighthounds, Greyhounds hunt based on their eyesight rather than by smell. In addition to its status as one of the fastest dogs globally, the Greyhound also ranks as one of the tallest. Male Greyhounds measure from 28 to 30 inches tall, while females stand 27 to 28 inches tall. Widely considered good pets thanks to their gentle nature, Greyhounds favor quiet environments due to their sensitive nature. That said, many Greyhounds exhibit a high prey drive, leading them to chase small cats, dogs, or other mammals. 

#11: Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff sitting outdoors
The distinctive Neapolitan Mastiff is one of the tallest dogs, standing up to 31 inches tall.

Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

Also known as the Mastino Napoletano in Italian, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a member of the Mastiff family. Closely related to the Cane Corso, Neapolitans Mastiffs constitute a relatively new breed. In central Italy, selective breeding started in the 1940s, when breeders began raising Neapolitans Mastiffs for work as guard dogs. On average, male Neapolitan Mastiffs stand 26 to 31 inches tall, while females stand 24 to 27 inches tall. Aside from its size, the most distinguishing feature of the Neapolitan Mastiff is its coat. They possess short black or grey hair and numerous wrinkles, particularly on their heads. Although originally bred as working dogs, Neapolitans make good family pets thanks to their easy-going nature. 

#10: Kangal Shepherd Dog

Biggest Dog Breeds: Anatolian Shepherd
The Kangal Shepherd is famed for its protective instincts.

CharlitoCZ/Shutterstock.com

Also known as the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, the Kangal Shepherd Dog, or Kangal, constitutes a large breed of livestock dog. Kangals originate from Sivas, a province in central Turkey. Despite their name, Kangals do not work as shepherds but rather as guard dogs. The people of Sivas purposefully bred Kangals to protect their livestock from wolves, bears, and jackals. Generally, male Kangals measure 28 to 31 inches tall at the withers, while females stand 25 to 30 inches tall. Official Kangals appear sable or fawn-colored, and many working dogs typically sport cropped ears. While cropping is illegal in many countries, the practice continues in the region to show ownership and protect dogs during fights with predators. Only experienced dog owners should adopt a Kangal, as their high intelligence and protective nature make them difficult to train.  

#9: Romanian Bucovina Shepherd

Tallest Dogs: Romanian Bucovina Shepherd
The Romanian Bucovina Shepherd is one of the tallest dogs in the world.

The Romanian Bucovina Shepherd is another large shepherd dog bred to protect herds from predators. They originate from the Bucovina region of northern Romania, a country known for producing large working dogs. Other breeds of shepherd dogs from the area include the Mioritic, the Carpathian Shepherd Dog, and the Romanian Raven Shepherd Dog. Male Bucovina’s typically stand 27 to 31 inches tall, while females measure between 25-28 inches tall. Known for their commanding presence and courage, Bucovinas serve as excellent watchdogs. They mistrust strangers and can act fiercely protective of their owners.   

#8: Leonberger

Biggest Dog Breeds: Leonberger
The strong and muscular Leonberger can stand up to 31 inches tall.

Peter Josto/Shutterstock.com

The Leonberger is a giant working dog breed that gets its name from the city of Leonberg in Germany. Originally bred to assist in water rescues, Leonbergers sport a thick and fluffy double coat which makes them look even larger than their already massive frame. Males usually measure taller than females, standing 28 to 31 inches tall, while females range from 26 to 30 inches tall. Typically strong and healthy dogs, Leonbergers make good family dogs thanks to their composed, self-disciplined nature. They easily adjust to different circumstances, as seen by their roles over the years in water rescue, as draft animals, and watchdogs. 

#7: Great Pyrenees

Tallest Dogs: Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyreenes is known for its distinctive white coat and large size.

Also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog outside of the United States, the Great Pyrenees vbgrt4 hails from the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains. Although they share a common ancestor, the Great Pyrenees differs from its close neighbor the Pyrenean Mastiff. Originally bred as watchdogs to protect livestock from predators, the Great Pyrenees certainly loofk imposing. Males stand 28 to 32 inches tall, while females normally measure 26 to 30 inches tall. In addition to their tall stature, Great Pyrenees also sport thick muscles and heavy coats. Thanks to their history as guard dogs, Great Pyrenees typically exhibit strong protective instincts and independent yearnings. They require obedience training early in life to ensure they don’t become too physically demanding as adults. 

#6: Borzoi

Tallest Dogs: Borzoi
The Borzoi is one of the tallest sighthounds and sport a unique wavy coat.

Also known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is a sighthound breed of domestic dog. Originally bred in what is now Central Russia during the 17th century, the traditional name for Borzois translates to “fast wavy-haired dog.” The description is apt, as Borzoi can run quite fast, and typically feature silky, wavy hair. Male Borzois measure at least 30 inches tall at the withers and frequently reach 32 or 33 inches tall. Meanwhile, females usually measure 26 to 31 inches tall. Borzois come in a range of colors, from red to white to black to patterned. Athletic and independent dogs, Borzois rarely act aggressively and possess natural respect for their owners. That said, they can quickly tire of repetitive tasks, so owners require patience to effectively train a Borzoi. 

 #5: Spanish Mastiff

Spanish Mastiff with a herd of sheep.
The Spanish Mastiff is the second-largest Mastiff breed in terms of height.

The Spanish Mastiff is an ancient breed of working dog. Bred since medieval times to protect flocks from predators such as wolves, Spanish Mastiffs certainly appear imposing. Males stand 30 to 33 inches tall at the withers and can reach up to 35 inches tall. Meanwhile, females stand at least 28 inches tall. The breed originates from Spain, and the country now recognizes the Spanish Mastiff as its National dog. While the most common color is fawn, they can also appear reddish, black, or brindle-colored. Known for their aloof, dignified manner, Spanish Mastiffs is wary of strangers, although not overtly mistrustful. However, they can act aggressively towards other dogs, so training from an early age is essential to make sure a dog is properly socialized.

#4: Scottish Deerhound

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

Also known simply as the Deerhound, the Scottish Deerhound is a large sighthound from Scotland. Deerhounds were originally bred to hunt red deer, and rely on their keen eyesight and quick speed to run down prey. Males stand at least 32 inches tall and can reach a maximum height of 35 inches, while females measure at least 28 inches tall. A progenitor of the equally if not more tall Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound fell out of fashion as a hunting dog with the invention of modern rifles in the 19th century. While not as fast as a Greyhound, Scottish Deerhounds appear similar, albeit with larger and heavier frames and thicker, rougher coats. Famed for their docile and eagerness to please, Scottish Deerhounds also need decent amounts of exercise. They require plenty of space to run around and thrive when they can play with another Deerhound or other large breed.

#3: English Mastiff

Tallest Dogs: English Mastiff
The English Mastiff is not only one of the tallest dogs, it is also one of the heaviest.

Known simply as the Mastiff in the United Kingdom, the English Mastiff is one of the largest breeds in the world. In addition to earning the title of heaviest dog, the English Mastiff can also reach incredible heights. Males measure at least 30 inches tall and can reach up to 37 inches at the withers. Although females measure smaller, they stand at least 27 inches tall. You can almost always recognize an English Mastiff due to its massive head, short coat, and standard beige color, and black face mask. While they almost went extinct during the 20th century, the breed’s popularity soared in the late 20th century. Known for their courage, nobility, and even temper, English Mastiffs make great family dogs. Due to their size, they move quite awkwardly until they reach adulthood, and often struggle to run consistently until adulthood. That said, they require frequent exercise to ensure they don’t gain too much weight and suffer health issues. 

#2: Irish Wolfhound

Calmest dog - Irish wolfhound sitting in the sun
On average, the Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world.

iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

The Irish Wolfhound is a breed famed for its abilities as a sighthound. While other sighthounds may run faster, the Irish Wolfhound earned respect from hunters thanks to its ability to take down large prey. Males stand at least 32 inches tall and frequently reach 35 inches tall, while females stand at least 28 inches tall. At their tallest, Irish Wolfhounds can stand 37 inches at the withers. On average, they stand taller than any other breed, although the Great Dane can reach taller heights at the maximum. Also prized by shepherds as guard dogs for livestock, Irish Wolfhounds possess powerful, muscular frames. Their rough coat comes in many shades including grey, red, black, white, or fawn. Despite their large sizes, most Irish Wolfhounds act quite introverted and reserved. They require firm but gentle leadership and can operate independently when required.

#1: Great Dane

Great Danes
The Great Dane can grow taller than any breed, reaching up to 44 inches tall.

Jesus Souto/Shutterstock.com

Also known as the German Mastiff or Deutsche Dogge, the Great Dane can stand taller than any other dog in the world. That said, heights can range wildly between specimens. Males typically stand 31 to 35 inches tall, while females measure 28to 33 inches tall. However, some Danes can reach extraordinary heights, and many of the tallest dogs ever were Danes. For example, Zeus, a Great Dane from Otsego, Michigan, ranked as the world’s tallest dog in 2012 and 2013, stood 44 inches tall at the withers. Originally bred to hunt bears, boar, and deer by European nobility, Great Danes now serve more often as family pets. Widely considered gentle giants, they possess a docile and loving nature. However, they can experience numerous health issues due to their large size, so plenty of exercise and a proper diet is key to ensuring their well-being.

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