I love little dogs, my tall husband does not. I don’t know what it is, the little paws, the needy voice, the vulnerability. All those things that make these dogs simply irresistible to me repulse my man. He is known for saying “that’s no dog, that’s a rodent,” as a little Chihuahua prances along the sidewalk in front of our house. It wasn’t until recently when I saw a very tall man at my son’s school with two little Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on leashes that I realized, my husband’s aversion to small dogs has more to do with proportion than prejudice. This 6’6” man waiting on the playground with his little dogs looked ridiculous. It was if he was carrying a dainty designer handbag. Now, I am certain that I am going to offend some small dog owners out there but if you are at all considering what dogs “go best” with a tall man consider the following top ten list of tall dogs.
Top Ten Tallest Dogs in the World
These breeds are some of the leggiest in the dog world! While they all are distinctly different, they all have one thing in common – they are proportiante to a tall owner! As puppies they may appear gangly and awkward, but as adults they are some of the most breathtaking breeds out there!
1. Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhoundsare a type of sighthound that are generally considered the tallest breed of dogoverall. Wolfhounds reach average heights of 31-34 inches at the neck (withers) and weigh from 110-180 lbs. The history of this breed dates all the way back to 1st century BC (if not before) when the Celts raised them as dogs of war. Later their value was noted as hunting dogs, when they earned their keep taking down wolves and boar. Irish Wolfhounds have sweet and gentle temperaments and are especially reliable with children. Their massive size must be taken into account if you are interested in bringing one of these rough-coated giants into your home. Care must be taken in their growing years not to over exercise these large dogs, or permanent damage can result.
2. Saint Bernard
Saint Bernards are burly working dogsthat have the reputation for carrying small casks of brandy to travelers stuck in snowstorms. However monks at the St. Bernard Hospice, where many of the breed originated said this never happened. In fact, brandy would actually kill a person suffering from hypothermia! This breed is not only tall (27-35 inches) but also very heavy! Dogs can range in weight from 160 to over 240 lbs at maturity! Apparently a Saint named “Benedictine” weighed in at a whopping 357 lbs! Due to their large size, Saint Bernards are often prone to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia.
3. Great Dane
Although Irish Wolfhounds are generally considered the tallest dogs, the current Guinness Book Of Worlds Records award for that trait goes to a Great Danenamed “Gibson”. Gibson measures in at a massive 42.2 inches at his withers (nape of the neck)! The average Dane usually reaches a height between 28-32 inches and weighs in between 100 -150 lbs (though some reach weights over 200 lbs!). Although many assume the breed is from Denmark, it is more probably that they originated in Germany! Great Danesare slow to mature and need to be socialized at an early age with other dogs. This breed is prone to Gastric volvulus (bloat).
4. English Mastiff
The English Mastiffis truly massive! While they outweigh (130-200+lbs) the Wolfhound and most Great Danes, they are a bit shorter – usually only reaching 30 inches or so at the withers. Mastiffs were bred in England and originally heavily used in blood sports (bull and bear baiting). However today these gentle giants are quite passive! While their imposing size makes them ideal guard dogs, they are excellent with children and are quite mellow. Due to their heavy bone structure, English Mastiffs need to have a carefully balanced diet and not be overly exercised during the first years of their lives.
5. Anatolian Shepherd
The Anatolian Shepherd is probably the rarest dog on our list of tall dogs! This Turkish breed was created to guard flocks of sheep from predators. Because these uninvited guests came in the form of wolves and even bears, the Anatolian Shepherd had to be big! These dogs measure 28-30 inches at the withers and weigh in between 100-150 lbs. Like many of the herding breeds, the Anatolian is quite independent. Combined with its build, this trait makes it a poor choice for a novice dog owner. They have a tendency to become very protective.
6. Caucasian Mountain Dog
The Caucasian Mountain Dog, also known as the Caucasian Ovtcharka, is the most popular mountain dog in Russia. Its origins as a guard dog for sheep, changed in the 1960s when they were used as a border patrol dog in East Germany. Today the Caucasian Mountain Dog is still used as a guard dog. Generally male dogs stand at 30 inches tall and weigh around 150 pounds, while the females stand at around 27 inches and can weigh as much as 120 pounds.
Some people say that Borzoi resemble longhaired Greyhounds. These tall, curvaceous Sighthounds are also known as Russian Wolfhounds. Weight wise, they are the lightest dogs on this list, with weights over 100 lbs being at the high end of the spectrum for the breed. As far as height goes, the Borzoi usually stands between 26-28 inches at the withers. The speedy Borzoi was bred for hunting wolves and did so in packs during the reign of the Russian Tsars. As companions, the Borzoi is quiet and sensitive. They respond well to positive reinforcement. Due to their background as hunters they should be introduced to smaller animals at a young age.
8. Scottish Deerhound
The Scottish Deerhound looks like a cross between an Irish Wolfhound and a Greyhound! This tall Sighthound measures in between 28-32 inches and weighs between 75-110 lbs. The Deerhounds rough coat protected it from the harsh weather when hunting Red Deer on the Scottish Moors. It is believed to be a close “cousin” to the Irish Wolfhound. Scottish Deerhounds are gentle pets but they do require the chance to get out to run and chase. A safe, fully enclosed space is required for this activity. This breed excels in Lure Coursing (as do most Sighthounds!).
The largest breed of Japanese dog is the Akita, also known as the Akita Inu, and the Japanese Akita. Known as a companion or security dog, the Akita has proved to be a dedicated pet, showing a great deal of devotion to their owner. Mild-mannered, cautious, intelligent, and active, the Akita is a sturdy companion whether it’s playing around on a beach, or hiking through the mountains. The Akita is a stunning breed. The classic look is one of small brown eyes, ears that are petite, always vertical, and triangular in shape, and a large black nose. Male Akita’s generally weigh between 95-130 pounds, and stand between 26 and 28 inches tall. The females are not too far behind, with an average weight of 70 to 110 pounds, and a height of 24 to 26 inches tall.
10. Swiss Mountain Dog
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, also known as the Greater Swiss Cattle Dog, was created in the early 1900s in Switzerland, and was originally used as a draft dog for local farmers. Today, the breed is used as a companion dog all over the world. The breed typically has almond shaped brown eyes, triangular shaped ears, and a wide flat nose, that is always black. The average male stands at 28 inches tall and weighs around 140 pounds, while the average female stands 26 inches and weighs 110 pounds.