Not only are big dogs extra huggable and not as fragile as their smaller relatives, they’re often described as calmer, quieter, and easier to train. “Many big dogs tend to feel secure in their own position in the world – literally and figuratively – and they often don’t feel as compelled to prove themselves,” breeder Denise Flaim explains in this Reader’s Digest
Not to mention, many larger dogs like Mastiffs and Newfoundlands have been bred over centuries to protect and rescue their humans, so they’re literally hardwired to be your BFF and/or save your life. Now, commencing our countdown of the world’s largest dog breeds:
Like most of the dogs on this list, Leonbergers have a reputation for being gentle giants. This loving breed hails from the German city of Leonberg and, according to legend, was bred to resemble the lion on the city’s coat of arms. They can weigh up to 170 pounds and grow to be over 31 inches tall at the shoulder.
5. Irish Wolfhound
Originally bred in Ireland for the purpose of – you guessed it – hunting wolves, this breed is actually sweet-tempered, patient, and makes a wonderful family dog. They often weigh up to 180 pounds, so even if they’re lacking the original killer instinct, size alone might intimidate unwelcome guests.
4. Great Dane
Fun fact: Scooby Doo was a Great Dane! Embodying his cartoon counterpart in real life, this breed is friendly, confident, and gentle. One particular Great Dane named Zeus was certified as a Guinness World Record holder for being 46 inches tall (!), but generally this breed stands at 34 inches tall and weighs from 100 to 200 pounds.
3. Saint Bernard
Particularly massive Saint Bernards have been known to hit a whopping 260 pounds – safe to say, you’ll want to steer clear if they drool. (Which they do. A lot. But it’s worth it, because they’re adorable.) Bred for rescue work in Switzerland as far back as 1707, these sweet creatures stand tall at 35 inches and have been described as “charming” on more than one occasion.
2. Caucasian Shepherd
Caucasian Shepherds have quite the rep – due to their formidable height (30+ inches) and weight (up to 220), they’re “theoretically” capable of killing a lion – but provided they’re properly socialized and trained from a young age, these loyal dogs do well in a family home.
1. English Mastiff
Get this: the largest English Mastiff weighed
343 pounds. That’s about 113 pounds heavier than the average male Mastiff, which weighs 200-230 pounds and grows to be approximately 36 inches tall. Luckily, these enormous pups aren’t big jumpers – they’re described as docile, affectionate and good-natured.
At the end of the day, it’s not the size of the dog that matters – it’s the amount of love, training, and freedom you give them! (Our extra-large dog doors can help with the freedom part. You’re welcome.)