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Biggest dog breeds

  • Biggest dog breeds

    It’s a cliche to refer to dogs as “man’s best friend,” but the four-legged furballs have earned the distinction. According to archeologists, dogs were the first domesticated animal, with some scientists estimating that dogs began accompanying humans as early as 30,000 years ago. Since then, dogs have changed, shifting from their wolf ancestry slowly, and then rapidly, as breeding became more and more refined. Today, there are dogs so small they can hide behind a dollar bill and weigh the same as an apple.

    But there are also the big dogs, bred to hunt and guard and rescue drowning fishermen. They’re giants, usually fiercely loyal and a nightmare for intruders. They herd sheep, fight off lions, and chase bears up trees. They also enjoy belly rubs and cuddling with their humans. They’re mascots, movie stars, and official state dogs. The big dog is a symbol of loyalty, bravery, toughness, and strength.

    Big dogs also require a certain level of commitment from their owners. For example, they’re usually high energy and need frequent exercise in order to stay physically and mentally healthy. They tend to be more aggressive than their smaller counterparts and need intentional and focused training in order to be their friendly best. Big dog owners must be sure that they can provide the level of commitment and care these breeds need in order to be happy and healthy.

    In the following slides, Stacker analyzed 193 dog breeds based on American Kennel Club data, sifting through statistics on dogs ranging from Afghan hounds to Yorkshire terriers. What lies ahead is a ranking of the 96 biggest dog breeds, based on a size index, which incorporates the typical max height and weight of each breed. Read on to discover the personalities and histories behind some of the biggest canines in the world.

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  • #96. Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever

    - Size index: 44
    - Typical max height: 21 inches
    - Typical max weight: 50 pounds

    The foxy red fur of Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers is no accident—early breeders of the dog specifically sought out the color in an effort to fool waterfowl, who would then be enticed to draw near enough to be picked off at ease. Acting as a lure for unsuspecting birds isn’t this retriever’s only contribution to the hunt. Webbed feet make them excellent swimmers, which comes in handy when they’re sent out to the center of the lake to retrieve the fallen ducks.

  • #95. Border collie

    - Size index: 44.4
    - Typical max height: 22 inches
    - Typical max weight: 45 pounds

    Ancestors of the border collie include ancient Roman herding dogs and Viking spitzes, whose genetics were combined to create what the American Kennel Club describes as the “world’s greatest herder.” Incredibly high energy, border collies need frequent exercise and require ample room to run and play, meaning they’re best suited for owners with lots of time and space to share.

  • #94. Norwegian elkhound

    - Size index: 44.4
    - Typical max height: 20.5 inches
    - Typical max weight: 55 pounds

    For more than six millennia, the Norwegian elkhound has prowled around Europe, acting as a guard dog, herding livestock, and, once upon a time, helping their Viking masters trail giant elk on the hunt. The breed can be reserved upon initial introduction, but once it develops a bond with its owner, it is fiercely loyal, sweet, and sensitive.

  • #93. Finnish Lapphund

    - Size index: 44.7
    - Typical max height: 21 inches
    - Typical max weight: 53 pounds

    In Lapland, a region north of the Arctic Circle, a nomadic people called the Sami have spent the past several centuries migrating around with their herds of reindeer. Walking alongside them is this tough and weatherproof breed, the Finnish Lapphund, who earns its keep working as a herding dog. The breed stands out as one of the most diligent and empathetic breeds recognized by the AKC.

  • #92. Chinese shar-pei

    - Size index: 44.8
    - Typical max height: 20 inches
    - Typical max weight: 60 pounds

    More than 2,000 years ago in the southern provinces of China, the Chinese shar-pei began its history as an all-purpose peasant’s dog. Beginning in 1949 during the country’s Communist regime, the dogs were all but made extinct by a government that frowned on pet ownership. Thankfully, a Hong Kong breeder stepped in to save the fiercely loyal guard dog in the mid-1970s.

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  • #91. Harrier

    - Size index: 46.4
    - Typical max height: 21 inches
    - Typical max weight: 60 pounds

    First bred for hunting hare sometime in the 13th century, harriers perform their work best in packs. Slightly larger than their beagle cousin, the dogs first made their appearance in America in the Colonial era, likely brought over by George Washington and his compatriots to work as sporting dogs. While the breed is loving and friendly, it can be fiercely independent and needs a firm training hand.

  • #90. Bearded collie

    - Size index: 46.7
    - Typical max height: 22 inches
    - Typical max weight: 55 pounds

    The history of the shaggy-coated bearded collie is somewhat contested, but the most-agreed-upon theory is that it descended from dogs native to Eastern Europe sometime in the 1500s. The breed is fiercely independent, loves being outdoors, and needs ample exercise to be at its best.

  • #89. Chow chow

    - Size index: 47.2
    - Typical max height: 20 inches
    - Typical max weight: 70 pounds

    It is thought that chow chows are among the world’s oldest breeds, with evidence of their existence predating 206 B.C. Beloved in China, these dogs with their lionesque mane are also some of the cleanest canines, easy to house train and bearing minimal dog odor. Aloof with strangers, loyal to loved ones, and not needing too much space to roam, these pups make great city pets.

  • #88. Entlebucher mountain dog

    - Size index: 47.5
    - Typical max height: 21 inches
    - Typical max weight: 65 pounds

    The Entlebucher mountain dog is the smallest of the Alpine mountain breeds developed by Swiss cattlemen in the valleys of the Entlebuch river. Quick, agile, and muscular, these dogs make wonderful companions for children, require ample exercise, and thrive when given plenty of focused attention. The breed isn’t typically a good fit for inexperienced owners.

  • #87. Xoloitzcuintli

    - Size index: 48.3
    - Typical max height: 23 inches
    - Typical max weight: 55 pounds

    Named for the Aztec god Xolotl 3,000 years ago, the hairless Xoloitzcuintli were considered sacred by their Aztec owners and were often buried alongside them in order to act as guides into the next world. Today, these pups are often employed as guard dogs in this life for their owners. And if hairless dogs aren’t your thing, there is a coated variety of the pooch as well.

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