What Are Giant Dog Breeds?

Great Danes are one of the tallest breeds of dogs.
Great Danes are one of the tallest breeds of dogs.

The term giant dog breeds refers to several breeds of dogs that are larger compared to other breeds of dogs which are relatively smaller in their full adult sizes. The group has no universal weight or height specification, but many experts tend to agree that giant breeds are heavier than 50 kilograms. They are generally stronger than other breeds and most of them posses working abilities. Giant dog breeds usually are calm, and they tend to make great family dogs. They are rarely intimidated by other people due to their towering size, and they adapt quickly to meeting family members, children, or friends of their owners. However, these dogs are very protective of their owners when they sense any threat towards them.


Caring for larger breeds of dogs is expensive since their consumption is higher than that of smaller dogs. They may also need specialty diets sometimes for weight and joint management. Besides spending more on food, owners of larger breeds have to spend more on larger beds, toys, and collars as well as kennelling and grooming. When compared to smaller breeds, giant breeds suffer more health-related setbacks such as joint problems like arthritis and hip dysplasia. They are also more prone to diseases of the bones such as osteosarcoma and cartilage diseases. Due to the higher mass and volume of giant dog breeds, their treatment charges are higher because the cost of pharmaceuticals and aesthetics is determined by the weight of the dog. Also, giant breeds have a shorter lifespan compared to smaller breeds.

Common Examples of Giant Dog Breeds

Great Dane

The Great Dane is also known as the German Mastiff or Deutsche Dogge. Its country of origin is Germany, and it is one of the tallest breeds of dogs. The tallest dog in the world was a Great Dane called Zeus with a height of 111.8 centimeters from shoulder to paw. Zeus died in September 2014 at the age of 5 years. On average, the Great Dane lives for eight years, but some reach ten years. The minimum weight of the dog in its full adult size ranges between 50 and 82 kilograms.

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is an Irish breed of domestic dog known for its formidable size. The dog got its name since it was used by the Irish people on their wolf hunting expeditions on the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the prescribed minimum weight for female Irish Wolfhounds is 48 kilograms while that of males is 54 kilograms. The Irish Wolfhound is the national animal of Ireland.

Saint Bernard

As its name suggests, the St. Bernard was originally bred at the Great St Bernard and Little St Bernard passes for the purpose of rescuing people in the alpine mountains. The average weight of this giant dog is between 65 and 120 kilograms, and its height varies from 70 to 90 centimeters. The St. Bernard shares a common ancestor with the English Mastiff, another giant dog breed.


Boerboels are powerful dog breeds originally bred by the Boers of South Africa to guard their homesteads. The AKC classifies them as working dogs. The minimum weight of male boerboels ranges between 65 and 80 kilograms and that of females is 50 to 65 kilograms. The average height of the dog is between 60 and 70 centimeters. Boerboels are sometimes called South African Mastiffs.


More in World Facts