The 14 Tallest Dog Breeds—Who Can Easily Look You In the Eye
The tallest dog breeds don't shy away from all the looks they get at the dog park. Like fur-clad supermodels owning the runway, they know how to strut their stuff! Some are spindly and lightning fast while others are broad and able to scale a mountainside, but all are loving, completely adorable, and ready to be your best four-legged friend.
Lindsay Condon is the CEO and president of Big Dogs Huge Paws, a rescue and resource agency for giant dog breeds in Englewood, Colo. She says despite their size, many large dogs, such as Great Danes or mastiffs, make wonderful apartment or condo pals. Why? "Because they don't require as much exercise and have lower energy than many other dog breeds." Of course, you'll need to share couch space with them, which could prove to be a tad difficult!
Big dogs share massive amounts of love with you, but only for a short time. Condon says the tallest dog breeds' average lifespan is approximately 8–10 years. So if you decide one of these towering titans of the canine world needs to be yours, make the most of every second.
What Is the Tallest Dog Breed?
A dog's height is measured at the withers (also known as the shoulders), not the head, so when we're talking about tall dogs, we really mean it! To make it easier, we've ranked the top contenders in order of height. Once you bring one home, it's doubtful you'll ever be able to hide doggie treats above the fridge!
Height: 30–35 inches.
Officially the world's tallest dog breed, the Irish wolfhound is also one of the oldest. They have a celebrated history in their native Eire, with references in laws and literature dating back to the 5th century. More than just a fuzzy face, these sensitive and devoted sighthounds can expel a blast of energy if a tiny creature catches their eye, as they were bred to track prey. But mostly, they want a brisk gallop around the neighborhood before returning to the coziness of home.
Height: 28–35 inches.
Although he looks so serious, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated big and tall cuddlebug than the Spanish mastiff. A prime guardian of Merino sheep in his native country, he takes great pride in minding others in his care. If you have a lot of land perfect for roaming and a flock that needs tending, or simply long for a reliable hiking companion, this handsome fella is for you.
Height: 28–32 inches.
It's easy to think of a Great Dane as the tallest dog breed in the world because who hasn't seen the antics of that comedic colossal Marmaduke—and Scooby Doo! In reality, your Dane, who's actually German, is a mild-mannered pooch who's a delightful family member, a true pal to children and smaller pets, and the perfect full-body napping buddy.
Height: 28–32 inches.
If you have a large fenced yard, then you're one step closer to making a comforting home for your new Scottish deerhound. Once a feature of expansive Highland estates as a gamekeeper's hunting scout, deerhounds are renowned for their loyalty and easygoing personality. However, these skilled sighthounds can sprint up to 30 mph in a flash, thus leash training is a must so you don't get left behind!
Height: 25–32 inches.
The Great Pyrnees is named after the mountain range between Spain and France, so right away, you know this is a hardy canine ready to tackle any outdoor adventure. Patient, kind, and composed, they score high marks in socialization training, which helps blend their independent natures with family life exceptionally well. And they're so fluffy! You'll have plenty of bonding time during grooming as you spiff up their glorious white coat.
Height: 25.5–31.5 inches.
Tall dog. BIG dog! A Leonberger is a lot of dog, easily reaching 100–170 pounds. Popular in Germany since the 1800s among farmers and royalty alike, they're also dripping with sweetness. In fact, "Leos" are so doggone friendly and easy to train, they're often top choices for therapy dogs. They know how to put their giant paws into action, though, and excel at tasks such as search and rescue, too. There's even a special Leonberger University that focuses on training for this notable breed.
Height: 24–31 inches.
Since we have some different types of mastiffs on this list, we'll just say it now: They're all large and in charge! As descendants of the oldest war dogs (dating as far back as 2500 B.C.), the mastiff line is famous throughout history. Neapolitan mastiffs, for example, are believed to have fought with Romans. Truth be told? The modern pup is simply looking for a good place to snooze! Good-natured and mellow, they really just want to chill with you after a languid stroll around the block.
Height: 27.5–30+ inches.
As one of the first breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club in the mid-1800s, this version of mastiff is another big softie. Along with impressive height, a mastiff named Zorba also holds a Guinness World Record for being the longest dog: 8 feet, 3 inches! Yeah, your apartment totally needs another couch.
Height: 27–30 inches.
It's only natural to love the lofty grace of a greyhound. Perhaps one of the most classic of the tallest dog breeds, there are depictions of them in artifacts of ancient Egypt and Greece. They're so affectionate with their family, they might experience separation anxiety if left alone too long. Not that you'd ever want to be away from them! But make no mistake: This sighthound bolts at speeds of 40–45 mph and will leave you in the dust in an instant.
Height: 26–30 inches.
You've heard magnificent tales of the Saint Bernard, including Alpine mountain rescues and World War II heroics. You also know them as silver screen legends, especially as Beethoven. But as your lovable giant doggo, just expect a lot of amiable good cheer and family frolicking. Saints will be your kids' trusted playmate, keeping all secrets and snuffling what they drop under the table.
Height: 27–29 inches.
Asking an Anatolian shepherd, sometimes referred to as the kangal, to do a chore or two is no tall order for this fine, hard-working canine—in fact, he expects it! Hailing from the Anatolian Plateau of Turkey this breed comes from a line that's 6,000 year old, and they've watched over sheep herds for about as long. Experienced dog owners understand how positive reinforcement training brings out the best of this active and alert guardian.
Height: 28+ inches.
Known throughout the art world as the "Deco Dog," the glamorous borzoi (pronounced BOR-zoy) is a Russian dog breed whose lankiness inspired the work of artist Erté in the 1920s and 1930s. Although not as popular in the U.S. as other sighthounds, they should be, as they have a gentle disposition and are quite accommodating of children and other pets once properly introduced.
Height: 26–28 inches.
Who let this dog out? Woof! Woof! Woof! A Newfoundland—or "Newfie" as their fans call them—is a majestic family-loving canine who understands that sometimes the best place to rest your weary head is on your dog. And they're big enough to cradle it. Natives of the Canadian province of the same name, this working breed is an excellent swimmer, a fisherperson's friend, and a leader in water search and rescue.
Height: 23.5–27.5 inches.
Descendants of the same Mollosser breed as other mastiffs, cane corsos are eager to do all the things: running, hiking, and even dock diving. Probably the most athletic of all the tall dog breeds, they won't tolerate laziness in themselves—or you! There's a job to do and they know it. So as a pet parent, enroll them in puppy kindergarten and stay consistent with their schooling with positive reinforcement training as they grow. Ever watchful, their favorite place is by you.
Taking Good Care of Your Tall Dog Breed
Based on the average cost of owning a dog, it's imperative to consult a veterinarian before choosing your favorite among the tallest dogs, as they supersize everything! From crates, harnesses, and other accessories to vaccines, heartworm and tick prevention, and food, you'll pay a lot extra for your extraordinary pup.
A vet will also partner with you to develop a progressive health plan so you're more prepared for the typical medical conditions that often affect tall dogs. Condon says the most common health issues are:
"In case of an unexpected accident or illness, we strongly encourage giant breed dog owners to get pet insurance as a way to protect themselves from having to make a difficult decision due to cost," Condon advises. She says the average price of surgery is $3,000–$5,000, and medication is also more expensive because of the larger doses required.
"Obesity and inactivity are the leading risk factors for joint problems, so keeping their muscles strong to help support their joints is helpful," Condon adds. Create a staged nutrition plan with your vet that caters to the slower maturation of larger dogs—usually 18–24 months, compared to 9–12 months for smaller dogs. This should help keep them on track.
Purposeful movement every day is important for your leggy pooch, but extensive exercise probably isn't necessary. "When puppies are still growing, it's a good idea to avoid high-impact exercise such as running on hard surfaces," Condon says. "Many giant breeds love the water, which is a wonderful low-impact form of exercise."