What Is the Largest Dog Alive?

by Jenny Newberry, Demand Media Google
    Forget fire hydrants, some of these bruisers will be looking for telephone poles on their walks around the neighborhood.

    Forget fire hydrants, some of these bruisers will be looking for telephone poles on their walks around the neighborhood.

    It’s a good thing the word ginormous recently was added to the dictionary because that is the term that comes closest to describing the world’s largest dogs. Male or female, thin or stout, the largest living dogs tower over their height and weight challenged canine relatives.

    Tallest Male Dog

    The 2013 edition of the Guinness World Records lists Zeus, a great Dane, as the world’s tallest living dog. He stands 44 inches at the shoulders and measures 7 feet 4 inches from nose to tail. Zeus eats a whopping 12 cups of food a day to sustain his 155 pounds. Owner Denise Doorlag says that the only downside to this wonderful dog is that everything costs more including a van to transport him. Fortunately, his friendly nature matches his size; he is well mannered, and enjoys the attention his enormous presence attracts.

    Tallest Female Dog

    On June 27, 2012, Bella was named the tallest living female dog and entered into the 2013 edition of the Guinness World Records. This great Dane, owned by Andrew and Suzanne Barbee of Chandler, Ariz., stands just more than 37 inches at the shoulder and weighs 170 pounds. According to Guinness World Records, she has proven her intelligence by winning four obedience trial titles. Her status as tallest female dog quickly was challenged, however. On April 17, 2013, a great Dane named Morgan took the top spot as the tallest living female dog with a weight of 200 pounds and a height of 38 and one-half inches.

    Heaviest Dog

    While Zeus enjoys the honor of being the tallest living dog, as well as the tallest dog in history, he is not the heaviest. In 1989, prior to the Guinness World Records’ decision to no longer accept nominations for the heaviest animals, an English mastiff named Zorba claimed the title as heaviest living dog. He weighed 343 pounds and measured more than 8 feet 3 inches from nose to tail, however, he only stood 37 inches tall at the shoulder. In 2001, after Zorba’s death, another English mastiff named Hercules stepped into the record book as the heaviest living dog with a weight of 282 pounds; that’s much lighter than Zorba’s astounding record, but massive, nonetheless.

    Largest Dog Breeds

    Mastiffs and great Danes are only two of the largest dog breeds. Also on the list are wolf hounds, great Pyrenees, Scottish deerhounds, Leonbergers, Neapolitan mastiffs, Kuvasz, black Russian terriers, Anatolian shepherds, Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, dog de Bordeaux, greater Swiss mountain dogs and Tibetan mastiffs, all of which average between 26 to 34 inches in height at the shoulder and on average weigh between 100 to 200 pounds. Their size alone makes each of these breeds an excellent choice as a guard dog, provided that they are well-trained and socialized early. They also need assertive owners to avoid the spectacle of a dog walking their person.

    About the Author

    Jenny Newberry, a former teacher with 25 years of experience, is a professional writer and photographer and holds a B.S. and a M.Ed. in elementary and special education from the University of South Alabama. She is also a history buff, praise and worship pianist, pet enthusiast, avid crafter and hobby gardener.

    Photo Credits

    • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images