As a specialist of the English language, I am excited to dive into the fascinating world of the largest and fattest dog breeds.
While some people prefer small, lap-sized dogs, there are others who are intrigued by the sheer size and majestic presence of larger breeds.
In this exhaustive article, we will cover the seven most colossal canines in the world, exploring their physical characteristics, history, and unique qualities that make them stand out among other breeds.
So, without further ado, let’s embark on this journey to meet these gentle giants.
1. The Mighty English Mastiff
Standing at the top of our list is the English Mastiff, a breed known for its immense size and strength.
Originating from the United Kingdom, the English Mastiff holds the record for the heaviest dog in the world. Aylesbury Odin, an English Mastiff, weighed a staggering 343 pounds and held the Guinness World Record in 1989. However, the average weight for a male English Mastiff is around 230 pounds, while females generally weigh about 170 pounds.
- Physical Characteristics: These dogs have a massive, muscular build with a broad head, powerful jaw, and a thick, wrinkled forehead. Their coat is short and dense, coming in colors such as fawn, apricot, and brindle.
- Temperament: Despite their intimidating appearance, English Mastiffs are known to be gentle, good-natured, and loving with their families. They are loyal and protective, making them excellent guard dogs.
- Health: Due to their size, these dogs are prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and heart disease. Regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet can help mitigate these risks.
2. The St. Bernard: A Gentle Giant
Next on our list is the St. Bernard, a breed that originated in the Swiss Alps and is renowned for its size and gentle nature.
- Size and Weight: Male St. Bernards typically weigh between 140 and 180 pounds, while females fall within the 120 to 140-pound range. These dogs can stand as tall as 30 inches at the shoulder.
- History: The St. Bernard was initially bred as a working dog by monks in the Swiss Alps. They were used for rescue missions, seeking out lost travelers in the snowy mountains. The most famous St. Bernard, named Barry, is believed to have saved over 40 lives during his time at the monastery.
- Coat and Markings: St. Bernards have a thick, weather-resistant coat that comes in two variations: short-haired and long-haired. The coat is typically white with shades of red or brown, and they have distinctive facial markings that include a black mask around the eyes and ears.
- Notable Traits: Known for their patience, kindness, and intelligence, St. Bernards make for wonderful family pets. They are also known to drool quite a bit, which can be endearing to some owners and off-putting to others.
3. The Newfoundland: A Gentle Seafaring Giant
The Newfoundland, hailing from the Canadian island of the same name, is a large, powerful breed with a rich history.
Noted for their size and impressive swimming ability, these dogs were historically used as working dogs by fishermen. They were known to pull nets, haul wood, and even rescue drowning individuals. The breed has retained its strong swimming skills and affinity for water, making them a popular choice for water rescue operations.
Physical Attributes: With a sturdy, muscular build, Newfoundlands can weigh anywhere from 100 to 150 pounds, with males generally being larger than females. They have a thick, water-resistant double coat that comes in black, brown, gray, or Landseer (white with black markings).
Temperament: Newfoundlands are known for their sweet, patient, and gentle disposition, making them excellent family pets. They are also highly intelligent and eager to please, which makes them highly trainable.
4. The Great Dane: The Apollo of Dogs
Moving on to the Great Dane, a breed originating from Germanyand known as the “Apollo of Dogs” due to their incredible height and regal appearance.
This breed holds the record for the tallest dog in the world, with a Great Dane named Zeus measuring an astounding 44 inches at the shoulder. While not typically as heavy as some of the other breeds on our list, the Great Dane’s sheer height makes them one of the most colossal canines.
- Great Danes have a sleek, muscular build with long legs and a deep chest. Their coats are short and can come in a variety of colors, including fawn, brindle, black, blue, harlequin, and mantle.
- Despite their size, Great Danes are known to be friendly, gentle, and affectionate dogs. They get along well with children and other pets, making them an excellent choice for families. However, due to their size, they require ample space and regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.
- Great Danes can be prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, heart disease, and bloat. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and preventative measures against bloat can help ensure their well-being.
5. The Neapolitan Mastiff: A Brave and Loyal Protector
The Neapolitan Mastiff, originating from Italy, is an imposing breed known for its massive size and strong protective instincts.
Size and Weight: Male Neapolitan Mastiffs typically weigh between 130 and 150 pounds, while females can weigh anywhere from 110 to 130 pounds. They can stand up to 31 inches tall at the shoulder.
History: The Neapolitan Mastiff’s ancestry can be traced back to ancient Roman war dogs. They were bred to guard homes and estates, and their loyal and protective nature continues to make them excellent guard dogs today.
- Physical Characteristics: These dogs have a powerful, muscular build with a large head and loose, wrinkled skin. Their coat is short and dense, coming in colors such as black, blue, mahogany, and tawny.
- Temperament: While they can be quite imposing and protective, Neapolitan Mastiffs are also known to be gentle, affectionate, and devoted to their families. Early socialization and training are essential to ensure a well-behaved and well-adjusted dog.
6. The Leonberger: A Majestic Mountain Dog
The Leonberger, a breed originating from Germany, is a large and powerful dog with a striking appearance and gentle nature.
- Size and Weight: Male Leonbergers can weigh between 120 and 170 pounds, while females typically weigh between 100 and 135 pounds. They can stand up to 31.5 inches tall at the shoulder.
- History: The Leonberger was bred in the 19th century in the German town of Leonberg as a companion and working dog. They were used for various tasks, such as pulling carts and guarding livestock.
- Coat and Markings: Leonbergers have a long, thick, double coat that comes in a variety of colors, including red, brown, and cream. They have a distinctive black mask on their face, which adds to their striking appearance.
- Notable Traits: Leonbergers are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them excellent family pets. They are intelligent, eager to please, and relatively easy to train, particularly when given ample positive reinforcement.
7. The Irish Wolfhound: A Gentle and Regal Giant
Lastly, we have the Irish Wolfhound, a breed that hails from Ireland and holds the title of the tallest dog breed in terms of average height.
Originally bred to hunt wolves, elk, and other large game, the Irish Wolfhound is now a loving and gentle companion. While not as heavy as some of the other breeds on our list, their height and overall size still earn them a place among the largest and fattest dog breeds in the world.
- Size and Weight:
- Male Irish Wolfhounds can weigh between 140 and 180 pounds, while females typically weigh between 115 and 140 pounds. They can stand up to 35 inches tall at the shoulder, with some individuals even reaching 37 inches.
- The Irish Wolfhound has a long and storied history, dating back to ancient Ireland where they were used for hunting, guarding, and even warfare. Their impressive size and hunting skills earned them a place in Irish mythology and folklore.
- These dogs have a lean, muscular build with long legs and a deep chest. Their coat is rough and wiry, coming in colors such as gray, brindle, red, black, and white.
- Despite their hunting background, Irish Wolfhounds are known to be sweet, gentle, and patient dogs. They get along well with children and other pets, making them a great choice for families. However, due to their size, they do require ample space and regular exercise to maintain their health and happiness.
- Irish Wolfhounds can be prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, heart disease, and bloat. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and preventative measures against bloat can help ensure their well-being.
In conclusion, the world of colossal canines is vast and varied, with each of the seven largest and fattest dog breeds offering unique qualities and characteristics. From the mighty English Mastiff to the regal Irish Wolfhound, these gentle giants are sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of dog lovers everywhere. It is important to remember that while their size can be awe-inspiring, these breeds also require special care and attention to ensure their health and happiness. With proper care, training, and love, these magnificent dogs can make an incredible addition to any family.