When Can Labrador Puppies Start Swimming?

Labradors are known for their fondness of water and for the most part they love to swim. This is unsurprising when you consider the origins of the breed and the fact that they are considered to be the king of waterfowl retrievers.

But a common question that gets asked about the breed is “when can Labrador puppies start swimming?”. In this article we will be answering that question, along with a few other questions about Labradors and swimming.

When Can Labrador Puppies Start Swimming?

There is a lot of conflicting opinions on this question with some people and experts stating that Labradors can start swimming as early as 8 weeks, while some believe it is much later at something like 3 months.

The truth is that all these answers are somewhat correct and the age at which a Labrador puppy can start swimming depends on number of factors. We have outlined some of these factors below:

Physical Strength

Your Labrador puppy needs a certain level of physical strength before they can start to swim properly. Their muscles need time to grow and they are usually not strong enough to swim properly until around 3 months of age. However, Lab puppies can start swimming at around 8 weeks in very calm and shallow water.

Vaccination Status

It is not recommended that you take a Labrador puppy swimming in public pools and areas until they are fully vaccinated. Vaccinations usually start at around 6 to 8 weeks and then continue to around 4 months of age, when the final round is given. If you do not wait until your Lab puppy is fully vaccinated, they are at risk of catching deadly diseases and viruses.

Surroundings & Influences

If your puppy lives near a safe body of water that they can access quite easily (supervised of course) they will be more likely to start swimming earlier. Additionally, if their mum, brothers, and sisters are keen swimmers then they will probably just follow their lead and head into the water at some point.

Their Past Experiences  

If your Labrador puppy becomes scared of water at some point then it will take them longer to swim. This usually happens when they accidentally fall or are forced into water that is too deep and dangerous for them.

It is recommended that you wait until about 6 months of age before taking your Labrador puppy to a larger body of water such as the sea or a big lake. If you want to start earlier, you should find a shallow and calm place to so that your puppy can get used to the water.

With all of these factors out of the way we would recommend that you start introducing your Labrador puppy to the water at around 3 – 4 months. This way they will be stronger and their vaccinations will be/or nearly be finished.

Can Labradors Swim Naturally?

While Labradors have an innate ability to swim, they do not swim naturally like fish. A Labrador’s body may be more suited to swimming than other dog breeds, but it does not mean they can swim for any duration of time or in any condition. It is important to remember that your Labrador (especial so for puppies) has limitations to their swimming ability.

Why Are Labradors Such Good Swimmers?

There are a number of reasons why Labradors are known for their swimming ability with the first being their love of water. The other reasons are to do with their physical traits such as their water-resistant coat and their wide tail that acts somewhat like a rudder. Labs also tend to have a very sleek profile that lets them cut through the water.

How to Encourage a Labrador to Swim

For the most part, Labradors don’t need any special motivation or training to make them swim. Most Labs, including Labrador puppies, will simply jump straight into water and love it from the get-go.

However, this is not always the case for every Labrador puppy. Some puppies will show signs of fear the first time they approach the water. One of the best ways to get them in the water is to use the assistance of an older dog who likes to swim. The older dog can teach the young Lab puppy how to swim and encourage them into the water.

It is important that this process is not forced. Do not simply drop your puppy in the water and make them swim. By doing this you will traumatise your puppy and they may become scared of the water. This will make it much harder to teach them how to swim and it could set you back months (possibly even longer).

If your Lab puppy doesn’t want to swim and you don’t have access to an older dog (or they won’t follow the older dog into the water), you are going to have to get creative. Instead of taking your puppy to a lake or small stream, you could purchase a children’s paddling pool or fill up the bath and encourage them to get into it.

To do this, bring your Lab puppy to the edge of the water and start playing with them. Remember to bring their favourite toy and make them fetch repeatedly. After a while of playing with them, toss the toy into the water.

Hopefully your puppy will overcome their fear of the water and chase after the toy. If they do not, keep trying until they enter the water (you may have to do this over a couple of play sessions). When your puppy does enter the water make sure you praise and reward them with a treat. Reward your puppy even if they only put one paw in the water.

After a while, your Labrador puppy will begin to love the water and they will dive straight in after the toy. Once your puppy becomes used to the water in a paddling pool or bath, move onto a larger body of water. Find a small lake, pond or stream and do the same as you did before.

Some puppies will dive straight into the water without any encouragement, while others may need more encouragement. If this is the case, use the toy trick again (something like a cheap tennis ball is good because you don’t want to lose their favourite toy) and when they approach or go into the water remember to reward and praise them.

If you are still struggling, get into the water yourself. Puppies have a natural tendency to follow their mother and family, so they will probably follow you straight in.

By doing this your Labrador puppy will eventually become used to a wide range of water bodies and they will love swimming.

Swim Safety for Labradors

While Labradors are excellent swimmer, there are some precautions you need to take when your dog is around water (especially so for puppies). We have listed some things to watch out for below:

Avoid areas with strong currents or waves – A fast-moving river is not an ideal place to take your puppy for a swim, even if they are experienced. You could easily be separated from your dog or they may be pulled under by the currents. The same can be said for places where there are large waves as they may pull your dog under or out to sea.

Look for clean water – You wouldn’t go swimming in dirty water, so don’t make or let your dog go in polluted water either. If you are near a polluted body of water it may be best to keep your puppy on a lead to stop them going in or drinking the water.

Avoid bodies of water that have steps or sloped ground – If your Lab gets into trouble you will want it to be easy for them to get out. If the water body you are letting them in has steep slopes or stairs it may be difficult for your dog to get out.

Never leave your dog alone – Always make sure you supervise your dog or puppy when they are in the water. If you do not you may lose them or may not notice if they get into trouble.

Buy them a life vest – If you are going into some rough water or you are on a boat we recommend that you buy your Labrador a life vest such as this one. While a life vest probably isn’t suitable for a young Lab puppy that is growing quickly, it will be great once you dog gets older.

Don’t overexert your dog – Be mindful of overexerting your Labrador, especially if they are a puppy. If your dog becomes too tired while they may not be able to get back to shore without your help.

Be mindful of other animals and predators – Do not let your Labrador swim in areas with dangerous animals. Jellyfish, large fish, crocodiles and sharks are a threat that you should keep in mind.

What Are the Biggest Dog Breeds? 25 Largest Dog Breeds

Do you love big dogs? Many people prefer larger dogs to smaller ones and if you are one of those people we have created a list of the ’25 biggest dog breeds’. We have included information on their history, temperament, characteristics and common health conditions.

Characteristics of the Biggest Dog Breeds in the World

The largest dog breeds in the world are surprisingly different when it comes to their characteristics and even their physical abilities and stature. Some big dogs are bred to hunt and guard while others are gentle giants that roll over when anyone comes in the room.

Many of the largest dog breeds in the world have been bred to perform jobs such as protecting farmers from wild animals or to hunt large animals. For this reason it is important to learn your dog breed’s history. If your dog’s breed was created to work all day, they are going to need more exercise than some other breeds.

Unfortunately, many large dog breeds have a short lifespan compared to smaller breeds. They also tend to have more health complications than their smaller counterparts and can be more costly to own.

Bigger dogs also tend to need more space than smaller canines, which means they may not be suitable for apartment living. They can also need more training as a misbehaving Great Dane is probably going to be a bigger problem than a badly behaved Boston Terrier.

The 25 Largest Dog Breeds in the World

Below we have listed the 25 biggest dog breeds in the world. We have included information on their history, characteristics and more. Note: we have ranked the breeds below based on their weight.

English Mastiff (54 – 113 kg)

This massive breed holds the record for the greatest weight ever recorded for a dog at 155.6 kg (343 lb). The record setting English Mastiff was known as Aicama Zorba, and he stood 94 cm (37 inches) at the shoulder and was 251 cm (8 ft 3 inches) from tip to tail.

English Mastiffs can trace their roots back to Roman times with part of their ancestry being the Pugnaces Britanniae (Dogs of Roman Britain). It is unsure when exactly the Pugnaces Britanniae breed came into existence, but some believe they were descended from dogs brought to Britain by the Phoenicians in the 6th century BC.

The Alaunt is likely to have been another contributor to the English Mastiff. Alaunts were introduced into Britain by the Normans. Over the course of centuries, the English Mastiff breed developed and they were primarily used as guard dogs.

English Mastiffs feature a massive body with an extremely broad head. They are the largest dogs in the world in terms of mass, although Irish Wolfhounds and Great Danes can be taller. Most male English Mastiffs tend to weigh between 68 to 113 kg (150 – 250 lb), while females tend to be 54 – 91 kg (120 – 200 lb). Heights are usually around 76 cm (30 inches) for males and 70 cm (27.5 inches) for females.

Despite their enormous size and appearance, English Mastiffs tend to be quite gentle and docile dogs. They are powerful and loyal, but due to their physical size they are not suited to city life.

It is extremely important that these dogs be fed well and exercised correctly. Excessive running for the first two years of an English Mastiff’s life is not recommend as it may damage the growth plates in the joints. The breed tends to suffer from hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, obesity and more.

English Mastiff Stats

  • Male weight – 68 to 113 kg (150 to 250 lb)
  • Male height – 76 cm (30 inches)
  • Female weight – 54 to 91 kg (120 to 200 lb)
  • Female height – 70 cm (27.5 inches)

Caucasian Shepherd Dog (45 – 100 kg)

The Caucasus Mountains are home to some of the oldest living dog breeds, such as the Azerbaijani Volkodav, Azerbaijani Shepherd Dog and Georgian Shepherd Dog. During the 20th century Soviet breeders selected some of these varieties and created the Caucasian Shepherd Dog.

The different varieties of Caucasian mountain dog have been used as hunters, guardians and shepherds for thousands of years. The traits of these dogs were passed onto the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and the breed is still used to protect livestock from predators.

Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are extremely muscular and strong boned. Plain Caucasian Shepherds have a shorter coat and appear taller as they are less strongly built, while Alpine types are more muscular with a heavier coat.

With an average weight of 50 – 100 kg (110 – 220 lb) for males and 45 – 80 kg (100 – 180 lb) for females, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog is one of the heaviest and largest dog breeds in the world. Males tend to stand 72 – 90 cm (28 – 35 inches) tall and females are usually 67 – 78 cm (26 – 31 inches).

Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are extremely independent, intelligent and fearless. They are highly protective of their territory, which makes them an excellent guard dog. Additionally, the breed can be aggressive towards other dogs, which means socialisation and obedience training is extremely important.

With a lifespan of 10 – 12 years, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a long-lived large breed of dog. They tend to be healthy dogs, however, hip dysplasia, obesity and heart disorders can be a problem.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog Stats

  • Male weight – 50 to 100 kg (110 to 220 lb)
  • Male height – 72 to 90 cm (28 to 35 inches)
  • Female weight – 45 to 80 kg (100 to 180 lb)
  • Female height – 67 to 78 cm (26 to 31 inches)

Tosa Inu (36 to 90 kg)

This breed of dog originates from Japan and was originally bred in Tosa, Shikoku (present day Kochi) as a fighting dog. They are considered to be rare and ownership in many countries is restricted as they are considered to be a dangerous breed.

Tosa Inus were first created in the second half of the 19th century. The breed started from the native Shikoku-Inu (an indigenous dog that weighs about 25 kg (45 lb). Breeders then cross the Shikoku-Inu with European dog breeds such as the Old English Bulldog and the English Mastiff. The aim of this was to create a larger, more powerful breed of dog.

Coats on Tosa Inus tend to be short and smooth, and are often red, brindle or fawn, but occasionally they can be dull black. The coats require very little maintenance.

Interestingly, Japanese breeders tend to focus on producing smaller dogs, while non-Japanese breeders focus on larger Tosa Inus. Japanese dogs tend to weigh between 36 to 61 kg (80 to 135 lb), while those from other countries are usually anywhere from 60 to 90 kg (130 to 200 lb). The larger foreign Tosa Inus tend to stand anywhere from 62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 inches) tall.

Tosa Inu Stats

  • Japanese weight – 36 to 61 kg (80 to 135 lb)
  • Non-Japanese weight – 60 to 90 kg (130 to 200 lb)
  • Height – 62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 inches)

Tibetan Mastiff (55 – 90 kg)

The Tibetan Mastiff is not only one of the world’s largest dog breeds, it is also the world’s most expensive breed with one selling to a Chinese businessman for an eye-watering $1.5 million.

Tibetan Mastiffs are known as ‘Dogs-Khyi’ in Tibetan and they have been used to protect herds, flocks, tents, villages and more for thousands of years. They are traditionally allowed to run loose at night and they are known for their fierce loyalty.

Interestingly, the Tibetan Mastiff is not a true Mastiff and it gets its name from the Europeans who first came to the country. In Europe, almost all large breeds of dog were referred to as “mastiff”, so they carried on the tradition. In truth, the Tibetan Mastiff should really be called the Tibetan Mountain Dog or the Himalayan Mountain Dog.

There are essentially two types of Tibetan Mastiff: the first being the ­Do-khyi and the second being the Tsang-khyi. The Tsang-khyi is referred to as the “monastery” type and is generally taller, heavier and bigger boned. The Do-khyu is regarded as the “nomad” type and is typically used for more active jobs. Both types can be produced in the same litter.

Male Tibetan Mastiffs can reach heights of up to 83 cm (33 inches) and usually weigh between 55 – 90 kg (121 – 198 lb). In some cases, Tibetan Mastiffs can weigh in excess of 115 kg (254 lb), however, these are generally not used as working dogs as they would cost too much to feed.

The breed features a long double coat that can be found in a wide variety of colours, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of red and more. Tibetan Mastiffs also lack the unpleasant smell that affects many larger breeds of dog.

Like many large dog breeds, it is important to train and socialise Tibetan Mastiffs. They are incredibly intelligent and known for being somewhat aloof with strangers. Tibetan Mastiffs often sleep during the day and can be more active at night. They have a very loud, strong bark that means they should not be left outside at night.

Compared to many other larger dog breeds, Tibetan Mastiffs tend to have a longer life expectancy (breeders often claim 10 – 16 years). They tend to have fewer genetic health problems although Hypothyroidism is fairly common in the breed.

Tibetan Mastiff Stats

  • Weight – 55 to 90kg (121 to 198 lb). In some cases they can exceed 115 kg (254 lb)
  • Height – Up to 83 cm (33 inches)

Boerboel (55 to 90 kg)

This large, mastiff-type breed of dog originates from South Africa and is bred for the purpose of guarding homes and farms. They are one of the strongest and most powerful dog breeds in the world with a bite force of 800 psi.

It is generally believed that Boerboels were created from the interbreeding of native African landrace dogs, such as the Africanis, with breeds brought into South Africa by British, Dutch, and French settlers.

Boerboels are large with a very strong bone structure and well-developed muscles. They tend to have a blocky head, with a short length between the stop and nose. The coat is short and sleek with a dense coverage of hair. The recognised colours are brindle, fawn, brown and black.

Male Boerboels usually weigh between 65 to 90 kg (143 to 198 lb), while females are smaller at 55 to 70 kg (121 to 154 lb). Heights typically range from 60 to 77 cm (24 to 30 inches).

This is a highly intelligent and energetic breed. They are often called “Velcro” dogs, as they always want to be with their owners. While they tend to be good with children, Boerboels need firm training and good socialisation from a young age. The breed can be somewhat aggressive to other dogs.

Overall, Boerboels are healthy dogs but they can suffer from hip and/or elbow dysplasia. The average life expectancy is ten years for this breed.

Boerboel Stats

  • Male weight – 65 to 90 kg (143 to 198 lb)
  • Female weight – 55 to 70 kg (121 to 154 lb)
  • Height – 60 to 77 cm (24 to 30 inches)

Bully Kutta (60 to 89 kg)

This extremely large breed of dog is also known as the Indian Mastiff or the Indo-Pakistan Mastiff. The breed dates back to the 16th century and it is believed that it either came from the Thanjavur and Tiruchi districts of Madras or the Sind region of Medieval India.

Bully Kuttas are working dogs that are primarily used for hunting and guarding purposes. They have also been kept as pets by ruling families in India and the surrounding region.

Male Bullys can weigh anywhere from 70 to 89 kg (154 to 196 lb), while females can be 60 to 70 kg (132 to 154 lb). Heights typically range from 76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 inches) for males and 75 to 80 cm (29.5 to 31.5 inches) for females.

This breed is often described as intelligent, alert, responsive and aggressive. They should only be owned by experienced dog owners and they need to be trained and socialised from a young age.

Bully Kutta Stats

  • Male weight – 70 to 89 kg (154 to 196 lb)
  • Male height – 76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 inches)
  • Female weight – 60 to 70 kg (132 to 154 lb)
  • Female height – 75 to 80 cm (29.5 to 31.5 inches)

St. Bernard (54 – 82 kg)

The St. Bernard breed is an extremely large breed of a working dog that originates from the Western Alps in Italy and Switzerland. They were originally bred for rescue by the hospice of the Great St Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border.

The hospice was built by and named after the Italian monk Bernard of Menthon. The earliest written recordings of the breed date back to 1707, while the first evidence that the dogs were used in the monastery date back to 1690 in paintings done by Italian artist Salvator Rosa.

The most famous St. Bernard at the hospice was a dog called Barry. According to reports, Barry saved somewhere between 40 and 100 lives during his service. There is a monument to Barry in the Cimetière des Chiens, and his body was preserved in the Natural History Museum in Berne.

St. Bernards can have either a smooth or rough coat. The smooth coat is usually close and flat, while the rough is dense, flat and more profuse around the neck and legs. Most dogs are typically a shade of red with white, or mahogany brindle with white. Black is also usually found on the face and ears.

Most St. Bernards weigh between 54 to 82 kg (120 to 180 lb) and they usually stand anywhere from 66 to 76 cm (26 to 30 inches) tall. However, the breed is known to get much larger. A St. Bernard by the name of Benedictine V Schwarzwald Hof reached a weight of 143 kg (315 lb), which made earned him a place in the 1981 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Due to the incredibly fast growth rate of St. Bernards, it is incredible important to feed and exercise them properly, otherwise they can suffer from serious joint and bone problems. Hip and elbow dysplasia are common and Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is hereditary. Most St. Bernards have a lifespan between 8 – 10 years.

These dogs are known as gentle giants and they tend to be very calm and patient with adults and children alike. They also tend to be very friendly with other dogs, but correct obedience and socialisation training is important.

St. Bernard Stats

  • Male weight – 64 to 82 kg (140 to 180 lb)
  • Male height – 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)
  • Female weight – 54 to 64 kg (120 to 140 lb)
  • Female height – 66 to 71 cm (26 to 28 inches)

Great Dane (50 – 82 kg)

In the 16th century, the nobility in many European countries imported strong, long-legged dogs from England. These dogs were descended from crossbreeds between English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds. They were given the name “Englische Dogge (English dog)”, however, there was no formal breed for them.

The dogs were primarily used for hunting bear, boar, and deer, with the favourite ones staying at night in the bedchambers of their lords. When firearms become more prominent Englische Dogges become rare and were only kept as pets or as a hobby.

During the 19th century the name of these dogs was changed a number of times. It was known as the “Deutsche Dogge” in Germany and the “German boarhound” in English-speaking countries. The breed would later become known as the “Great Dane”, after the grand danois in Buffon’s Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière

Great Dane’s have a powerful and muscular body with a coat that can come in Fawn, Black, Brindle, Mantle, Blue, Grey, and Harlequin. Other colours are possible, but not acceptable for show dogs.

The breed also has natural floppy, triangular ears that, in the past, were commonly cropped to make injuries less likely during hunts. In the United States it is common to find Great Danes with cropped ears that stand up, however, in many other countries the practice is banned.

Great Danes are one of the largest breeds of dog with most weighing between 50 to 82 kg (110 to 180 lb). They can also be very tall with males usually standing 76 to 79 cm (30 to 31 inches), while females are typically 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches). The tallest dog ever was a Great Dane called Zeus who measured 111.8 cm (44 inches) from paw to shoulder.

Dilated cardiomyopathy and many congenital heart diseases are also commonly found in the Great Dane. Additionally, they tend to suffer from bloat and can develop Wobbler disease, a problem that affects the vertebral column. Average lifespans tend to be 6 to 8 years.

Great Danes are usually a very friendly and gentle breed of dog, but they can become very fearful or aggressive if they are not socialised or trained properly.

Great Dane Stats

  • Weight – 50 to 82kg (110 to 180 lb)
  • Male height – 76 to 79 cm (30 to 31 inches)
  • Female height – 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)

Landseer (60 – 80 kg)

During the colonial times, large white and black “Newfoundland dogs” were brought to England because of their excellent swimming abilities. Fishermen used these dogs to tow nets to the shore and to save them or other fishermen from drowning.

Because of the breeds impressive appearance, many painters made them the subject of their work. The most famous of these paintings was created by renowned English animal painter Sir Edwin Landseer in 1838. Later the breed would be named after Sir Edwin Landseer.

Male Landseers are very big dogs with a bodyweight of 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb), while females are slightly smaller at 60 to 75 kg (132 to 165 lb). Heights can range from 72 to 80 cm (28 to 31 inches) for males and 67 to 72 cm (26 to 28 inches) for females.

Landseers are known for their sweet disposition, gentleness and serenity. They love swimming and make great family pets. However, socialisation and training is still important as they can be unruly if not trained properly.

Landseer Stats

  • Male weight – 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb)
  • Male height – 72 to 80 cm (28 to 31 inches)
  • Female weight – 60 to 75 kg (132 to 165 lb)
  • Female height – 67 to 72 cm (26 to 28 inches)

Newfoundland (55 – 80 kg)

This massive breed originated on Newfoundland and it is descended from a breed indigenous to the island known as the lesser Newfoundland, or the St. John’s dog. Newfoundlands around closely related to other Canadian retrievers such as the Labrador and Golden Retriever.

The Molosser-like appearance of the breed is a result of an introduction of Mastiff blood. It is believed that the Mastiffs introduced into the breed were either from Portugal or England.

Newfoundlands tend to be black, brown, grey, or white and black in colour. They have extremely large bones and a muscular body. Additionally, Newfoundlands have enormous lung capacity and webbed feet for swimming extremely long distances, and a thick, oily, waterproof double coat that protects them from the cold.

Male Newfoundlands tend to weigh anywhere from 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb), while females are usually 55 to 65 kg (121 to 143 lb). the largest ever recorded Newfoundland was 120 kg (260 lb) and measured 1.8 m (6 ft) from tip to tail. Most male Newfoundlands tend to be 71 cm (28 inches) in height, while females are typically 66 cm (26 inches).

Newfoundlands are calm and docile dogs, but extremely strong. They are extremely loyal and are known as “gentle giants”. It is fairly easy to train these dogs as long as the training process is started early.

The breed is prone to hip dysplasia, cystinuria and SAS. Newfoundlands tend to live around 8 to 10 years, however, it is not uncommon for them to live up to 15 years.

Newfoundland Stats

  • Male weight – 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb)
  • Male height – 71 cm (28 inches)
  • Female weight – 55 – 65 kg (121 to 143 lb)
  • Female height – 66 cm (26 inches)

Leonberger (45 – 77 kg)

In the 1830s, Heinrich Essig, a dog breeder and mayor of the town of Leonberg in Germany, claimed to have created the Leonberger by crossing a Newfoundland with a Great St. Bernard Hospice and Monastery. Later, a Pyrenean Mountain Dog was added, which resulted in very large dogs with long, white coats.

The first dogs registered as Leonbergers were born in 1846 and they featured many of the prized qualities of the breeds from which they were derived. It was believed that only five Leonbergers survived the First World War and almost all were lost in the World Ware II as well. During both wars, Leonbergers were used to pull ammunition carts. Leonbergers today can be traced to eight dogs that survived the Second World War.

The breed features a water-resistant double coat and a large and muscular body. A striking black mask adorns the head and projects the breed’s distinct expression of intelligence, kindness and pride. A variety of colours are acceptable, including red-brown, yellow, sand, black and more. The nose, paw pads and lips should always be black

Male Leonbergers tend to weigh anywhere from 54 – 77 kg (120 – 170 lb), while females tend to usually weigh around 45 – 61 kg (100 – 135 lb). In terms of height Males are usually 71 – 80 cm (28 – 31 inches) and females can be 65 – 75 cm (26 – 30 inches).

Leonbergers are excellent family dogs and once socialised and trained they are self-assured, submissive to family members, friendly with children and insensitive to noise. They tend to be very intelligent, loyal dogs that are also playful. Proper training and socialisation is essential.

Overall, Leonbergers are strong, healthy dogs and don’t usually suffer from hip dysplasia (Many breeders screen their Leonbergers for the problem). However, while they tend to be quite healthy dogs, they have a short lifespan of around 7 – 8 years, around 4 years shorter than the average purebred dog.

Leonberger Stats

  • Male weight – 54 to 77 kg (120 to 170 lb)
  • Male height – 71 to 80 cm (28 to 31 inches)
  • Female weight – 45 to 61 kg (100 to 135 lb)
  • Female height – 65 to 75 cm (26 to 30 inches)

Bernese Mountain Dog (40 to 75 kg)

Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of the four breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. They were bred from crosses of Mastiffs and guard-type breeds, and were brought to Switzerland by the Romans 2,000 years ago. However, despite the breeds ancient beginnings, it was only officially established in 1907.

The breed was originally used as an all-purpose farm dog for guarding property and to drive dairy cattle long distances from farms to alpine pastures They were also used to transport carts of milk and cheese, and as such, they were given the nickname “Cheese Dogs”.

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a highly muscular body with a very strong, wide back. The head of these dogs is flat on the top and they feature a distinctive tri-coloured coat that is black, white and rust in colour.

Males typically weigh between 45 to 75 kg (100 to 160 lb), while females are usually 40 to 65 kg (90 to 140 lb). Most males stand 64 to 70 cm (25 to 27.5 inches) in height, with females being 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches).

Bernese Mountain Dogs can have quite a varied temperament, however, they should not be aggressive, anxious or shy. As they are outdoor dogs at heart, it is important to exercise them regularly. If they are not exercised correctly, Bernese Mountain Dogs can harass their owners or bark continuously.

Unfortunately, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a much higher rate of fatal cancer than most other breeds of dog. As such, they have quite a low life expectancy of around 7 to 8 years.

Bernese Mountain Dog Stats

  • Male weight – 56 to 75 kg (100 to 160 lb)
  • Male height – 64 to 70 cm (25 to 27.5 inches)
  • Female weight – 40 to 65 kg (90 to 140 lb)
  • Female height – 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches)

Pyrenean Mountain Dog (39 to 73 kg)

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog or Great Pyrenees in North America is a very large breed of dog that is used to guard livestock. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were bred centuries ago to work with shepherds and herding dogs in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Span.

One of the first descriptions of the breed comes from Fray Miguel Agustín’s book the Libro de los secretos de la agricultura, casa de campo y pastoral, which was published in 1617. The spread of the breed occurred in the 19th century with the first of them being introduced into the United States in 1824.

Pyrenean Mountain Dogs feature a weather-resistant double coat that consists of a long, flat, thick, outer coat and a fine, woolly undercoat. The main coat colour is white, but varying shades of grey, red, or tan are acceptable.

Males of the breed usually weigh between 45 to 73 kg (100 to 160 lb), while females tend to be 39 to 52 kg (85 to 115 lb). Heights range from 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches) for males and 64 to 74 cm (25 to 29 inches for females).

Overall, Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are confident, gentle and affectionate. They are territorial, independent dogs that like to patrol. The breed can be slow to learn new commands and they can also be stubborn when it comes to training time.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog Stats

  • Male weight – 45 to 73 kg (100 to 160 lb)
  • Male height – 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches)
  • Female weight – 39 to 52 kg (85 to 115 lb)
  • Female height – 64 to 74 cm (25 to 29 inches)

Neapolitan Mastiff (50 – 70 kg)

This massive breed of dog derives from the traditional guard dogs of Central Italy. Selective breeding began in 1947 by Piero Scanziani. He created the standard for the breed and it was officially recognised in Italy in 1949, while it would have to wait until 1956 for its international recognition.

The most prominent feature of Neapolitan Mastiffs is the abundant and loose skin around the neck and head (although they do have loose skin in other areas as well). Around the neck and head, the skin hangs in heavy wrinkles much like a Chinese Shar-Pei.

Neapolitan Mastiffs tend to have black, grey or leaden coats, however, other colours such as fawn, mahogany, hazelnut and more are accepted. White markings on the toes and chest are tolerated for this breed.

Males tend to weigh anywhere between 60 to 70 kg (130 to 155 lb), while females are usually smaller at 50 to 60 kg (110 to 130 lb). Heights can range from 65 to 75 cm (26 to 30 inches) for males and 60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 inches) for females.

Unfortunately, Neapolitan Mastiffs have quite a short life expectancy with most living on average around 7 years. About 1 in 6 will live to 9 years or more.

Neapolitan Mastiff Stats

  • Male weight – 60 to 70 kg (130 to 155 lb)
  • Male height – 65 to 75 cm (26 to 30 inches)
  • Female weight – 50 to 60 kg (110 to 130 lb)
  • Female height – 60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 inches)

Irish Wolfhound (48 – 70 kg)

The Irish Wolfhound is a historic breed of sighthound that originates from Ireland. The original Irish Wolfhound breed was presumed extinct by most knowledgeable experts but was recreated by Captain George A. Graham in the late 19th century.

It is believed that the original Wolfhound breed dates back to the Roman times and they were used for hunting. During the 1836 meeting of the Geological Society of Dublin, Dr. Scouler presented the “Notices of Animals which have disappeared from Ireland“, with the wolfdog mentioned.

Modern Irish Wolfhounds were created from the best examples of the Scottish Deerhound and the Great Dane, two breeds which are believed to have been derived from the original Wolfhound. It is also believed that some other breeds such as the Tibetan Mastiff were used to develop the modern Irish Wolfhound.

Irish Wolfhounds have a rough coat with a very muscular, strong build that somewhat resembles a Greyhound. They can come in a variety of colours including grey, red, black, fawn, and wheaten.

Male Irish Wolfhounds usually weigh between 54 to 70 kg (120 to 155 lb), while females are typically 48 to 61 kg (105 to 135 lb). They are considered to be the tallest dog breed in the world with males coming in at 81 to 86 cm (32 to 34 inches), while females are usually around 76 cm (30 inches).

This breed tends to be introverted and intelligent. They are considered to be poor guard dogs and will protect individuals instead of the owner’s house or possessions. Irish Wolfhounds are favoured for their loyalty, affection and patience, and they tend to be good with children.

Like many large breeds of dog, Wolfhounds have a relatively short lifespan of about 7 years. Dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer are the leading causes of death in this breed.

Irish Wolfhound Stats

  • Male weight – 54 to 70 kg (120 to 155 lb)
  • Male height – 81 to 86 cm (32 to 34 inches)
  • Female weight – 48 to 61 kg (105 to 135 lb)
  • Female height – 76 cm (30 inches)

Dogue De Bordeaux (45 to 68 kg)

The Dogue De Bordeaux (also known as the Bordeaux Mastiff, French Mastiff or Bordeauxdog) is one of the oldest and largest French dog breeds. The earliest known recordings of the breed date back as far as the fourteenth century, however, a formal breed type was not established until about 1920.

Due to their power and size, the breed has been put to work in many different capacities from pulling carts to guarding flocks and European castles.

The Dogue De Bordeaux features a well-balanced, muscular build. A massive head with proper proportions and features is an important trait of this breed. Compared to a breed like the English Mastiff, Dogue De Bordeaux are set somewhat low to the ground. The coat should be short and fine, with a soft to the touch feel. Colours tend to be fawn to mahogany with a black, brown, or red mask.

Males of the breed usually weigh between 50 to 68 kg (110 to 150 lb), while females are typically 45 to 57 kg (99 to 125 lb). Heights range from 61 to 69 cm (24 to 27 inches) for males and 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches) for females.

Unfortunately, even compared to large breeds the Dogue De Bordeaux has a short lifespan of about 5 to 6 years. Some are known to live longer, but in an American survey the oldest of the breed was 12 years old.

Dogue De Bordeaux Stats

  • Male weight – 50 to 68 kg (110 to 150 lb)
  • Male height – 61 to 69 cm (24 to 27 inches)
  • Female weight – 45 to 57 kg (99 to 125 lb)
  • Female height – 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches)

Kangal Shepherd Dog (41 – 66 kg)

The Kangal Shepherd Dog is a large breed that was originally created to serve the people of Anatolia. The breed has been in use for thousands of years, and despite its name, it is not a herding dog but rather a guardian. Kangal Shepherd’s often live with flocks of sheep and actively fend off predators of all sizes.

Compared to many other Mastiff breeds, the Kangal Shepherd Dog is not as heavy. This allows the breed to be much more agile and faster than other large dogs. Kangal Shepherds have a short and dense coat that is pale fawn or tan in colour, and all of them have a black facial mask with black or shaded ears.

In America, the standard for the breed is a weight of 50 to 66 kg (110 to 145 lb) for males and 41 to 54 kg (90 to 120 lb) for females. Heights range from 76 to 81 cm (30 to 32 inches) for males and 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches) for females.

This breed tends to have a temperament that is calm, controlled, independent and protective. They can be aloof to strangers, but a well-socialised dog will be friendly with visitors and children. Kangal Shepherd Dogs are not recommended for inexperienced dog owners.

Kangal Shepherd Dog Stats

  • Male weight – 50 to 66 kg (110 to 145 lb)
  • Male height – 76 to 81 cm (30 to 32 inches)
  • Female weight – 41 to 54 kg (90 to 120 lb)
  • Female height – 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)

Anatolian Shepherd (40 – 65 kg)

This breed originates from Turkey and is named after the peninsula of Anatolia. Anatolian Shepherds are members of a very old breed of dog and are probably descended from the powerful hunting dogs of Mesopotamia.

They were developed over time to meet a specific set of circumstances. The most important of these was the ability to live in both very hot and very cold environments. Additionally, they had to be able to guard flocks moving great distances across the Central Anatolian Plateau. Today, they are still used to guard livestock and can be found in many parts in rural USA.

Male Anatolian Shepherds can be between 50 to 65 kg (110 to 143 lb), while females are typically smaller at 40 to 55 kg (88 to 121 lb). Heights are usually 74 to 81 cm (29 to 32 inches) for males and 71 to 79 cm (28 to 31 inches) for females.

As this breed was developed to be independent and forceful, they can be challenging to own as pets. It is vitally important that socialisation and firm training are undertaken at a young age. They tend to roam, so microchipping and tagging is highly recommended.

Like most breeds of dog, the primary cause of death in Anatolian Shepherds is cancer. They tend to live around 11 years on average, higher than most other breeds of similar size.

Anatolian Shepherd Stats

  • Male weight – 50 to 65 kg (110 to 143 lb)
  • Male height – 74 to 81 cm (29 to 32 inches)
  • Female weight – 40 to 55 kg (88 to 121 lb)
  • Female height – 71 to 79 cm (28 to 31 inches)

Akbash (34 to 63 kg)

This rare breed of dog originates from Turkey and goes by several other names such as the Coban Kopegi, Akbaş Çoban Köpeği, and Askbash Dog. The breed is primarily used as a livestock guardian or a shepherd dog.

Not much is known about the history of the breed, but it is thought that they were created about 3,000 years ago. Modern day versions of the breed were first introduced into the United States in the 1970s and they were officially recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1998.

The coats of this breed only come in white and as such, they blend in with flocks of sheep. Additionally, the coat is of the double variety and it is medium length.

Akbash dogs tend to weigh between 34 to 63 kg (75 to 140 lb) and stand 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches) tall.

The Akbash breed is predisposed to some of the same health conditions that Mastiff-type breeds may also face. The most common health issues include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and gastric torsion (bloat).

Akbash dogs tend to be very protective of their family and they are fiercely loyal. They are intelligent dogs and if they sense anything amiss, they can growl or bark. A well trained and socialised Akbash should not be aggressive or shy.

Akbash Stats

  • Weight – 34 to 63 kg (75 to 140 lb)
  • Height – 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches)

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (36 to 61 kg)

This large breed of dog was developed in the Swiss Alps and at one point it was believed to have been one of the most popular breeds in Switzerland. The exact origin of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is not known, however, the most popular theory on the creation of the breed is that it is descended from the Molosser.

The Molosser was a large, Mastiff-type dog, which accompanied the Roman Legions during their invasion of the alps more than 2,000 years ago. A second theory is that in 1100 BC, the Phoenicians brought a large breed of dog with them to settlements in Spain. These dogs later migrated eastward to the Swiss Alps.

It is believed that Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs almost died out in the 19th century but the breed was rediscovered in the early 1900s. Today, numbers of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog have grown, but it remains a rare breed.

Males of the breed are usually 41 to 61 kg (90 to 135 lb) in weight, while females are typically 36 to 50 kg (80 to 110 lb). Heights range from 65 to 72 cm (25.5 to 28.5 inches) for males and 60 to 69 cm (23.5 to 27 inches) for females.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs tend to be very happy and enthusiastic, especially when they are around people or other dogs. While the breed does need exercise, they do not need a vast space to play in, unlike some other larger dogs.

For the most part, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are relatively healthy for their size and have far fewer health related problems than other breeds of similar size. Despite being healthy dogs, they still have a relatively short lifespan of about 8 to 11 years.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Stats

  • Male weight – 41 to 61 kg (90 to 135 lb)
  • Male height – 65 to 72 cm (25.5 to 28.5 inches)
  • Female weight – 36 to 50 kg (80 to 110 lb)
  • Female height – 60 to 69 cm (23.5 to 27 inches)

Black Russian Terrier (45 – 60 kg)

The Black Russian Terrier (BRT), also known as the Chornyi Terrier is a breed of dog that was created by the USSR in the late 1940s for use as military/working dogs. Breeds used in the development of the BRT largely came from countries where the Red Army was active during the Second World War. The main breeds that make up the BRT include the Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and Caucasian Shepherd Dog.

BRTs were bred solely by the state-owned Red Star Kennel in Moscow until 1957, when some puppies were sold to civilian breeders. In time, the breed spread to other parts of the USSR and then to the rest of the world.

The breed has a double coat with a coarse outer guard hair over a softer undercoat. The coat is hard and dense, and it should b trimmed to between 5 and 15 cm (2 to 6 inches). A beard and eyebrows should form on the face, and there is usually a slight mane around the neck that is more pronounced on males.

Male BRTs should weigh between 50 and 60 kg (110 to 132 lb), while females should be 45 to 50 kg (99 to 110 lb). The height of the breed should be 72 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches) for males and 68 to 72 cm (27 to 28 inches) for females.

This breed is typically calm, confident and courageous, however, some can be stubborn and lazy. They tend to be highly intelligent dogs that respond well to training. BRTs can be somewhat aloof with strangers, but are extremely friendly once they get to know a person.

Compared to many other large breeds of dog, BRTs have quite a long lifespan of 9 to 14 years. They are mostly healthy dogs, but suffer from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and Hyperuricosuria

Black Russian Terrier Stats

  • Male weight – 50 to 60 kg (110 to 132 lb)
  • Male height – 72 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)
  • Female weight – 45 to 50 kg (99 to 110 lb)
  • Female height – 68 to 72 cm (27 to 28 inches)

Komondor (40 – 60 kg)

The first written reference to the Komondor breed dates back to 1544, however, it is believed that the breed started much earlier. Komondors are descended from Tibetan dogs and came from Asia with the Cumans. The Cumans had to flee westwards when the Mongols began to expand their territories. Komondors are related to the South Russian Ovcharka, the Puli, the Old English Sheepdog and more.

With a long, thick, strikingly white coat, Komondors are a unique looking breed. Their coat features a soft undercoat and a coarser outer coat that combines to form tassels or cords. The coat is usually around 20 to 27 cm long and it is the heaviest in the canine world.

Male Komondors tend to weigh between 50 and 60 kg (110 to 132 lb), while females are usually 40 to 50 kg (88 to 110 lb). The average height of males is 80 cm (31.5 inches), with females being 65 cm (25.5 inches).

Like most livestock guarding dogs, Komondors are calm and steady when things are normal, but fearless and defensive when things go bad. They are independent thinkers and very protective of their family. They tend to be very good with other family pets but are intolerant to trespassing animals.

Komondor Stats

  • Male weight – 50 to 60 kg (110 to 132 lb)
  • Male height – 80 cm (31.5 inches)
  • Female weight – 40 to 50 kg (88 to 110 lb)
  • Female height – 65 cm (25.5 inches)

Cane Corso (40 to 50 kg)

This breed of dog comes from the South of Italy and is closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. They are descended from the old Roman Empire Molosser dogs and the name is derived from cane da corso, an old term for catch dogs used in rural activities for cattle and swine.

Cane Corsos were used to protect property, livestock and families, and some continue to be used for these purposes today. The breed become rarer in the 20th century when life changed for Southern Italian rural farms. In the late 1970s a group of enthusiasts began a program to bring the breed back from near extinction.

The most distinguishing feature of Cane Corsos is arguable the large and imposing head. They appear in two basic colours: black and fawn. Brindling of varying intensity is common on both coat colours and white markings are common on the chest, tips of toes, the chin, and the bride of the nose.

Male Cane Corsos tend to weigh between 45 and 50 kg (99 to 110 lb), while females are slightly smaller at 40 to 45 kg (88 to 99 lb). Heights range from 62 to 70 cm (24 to 28 inches) for males and 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches) for females.

Cane Corso dogs are usually docile and affectionate to their owners. They can be easily trained, but very aggressive to strangers and difficult to handle for vets. The average lifespan of this breed is around 9 years with some colours living longer than others.

Cane Corso Stats

  • Male weight – 45 to 50 kg (99 to 110 lb)
  • Male height – 62 to 70 cm (24 to 28 inches)
  • Female weight – 40 to 45 kg (88 to 99 lb)
  • Female height – 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches)

Scottish Deerhound (34 – 50 kg)

The Scottish Deerhound is not only one of the largest dogs in the world, it is also one of the fastest. It is a large breed of sighthound that was originally bred to hunt Red Deer by coursing.

Scottish Deerhounds are somewhat similar in appearance to a Greyhound but with a heavier build and longer, rough coat. The breed is closely related to the Irish Wolfhound and was a contributor to the breed when it was re-created at the end of the 19th century.

With the demise of the clan systems in Scotland, Deerhounds became sporting animals for landowners and the nobility. Due to their speed and silent hunting ability they are capable of making quick work of any game the size of a hare or larger.

Male Deerhounds are usually 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches) in height while females are typically around 71 cm (28 inches). Weights for males can be anywhere from 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds), while females can be 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds).

This breed is known to be gentle and extremely friendly. They need considerable amounts of exercise when they are young to properly develop their health and condition. While they do not need considerable amounts of space to live in, apartment living is not recommended for these dogs.

Scottish Deerhounds tend to live around 8 to 9 years and they can suffer from cardiomyopathy, osteosarcoma, bloat, stomach or splenic torsion, and a variety of other health problems.

Scottish Deerhound Stats

  • Male weight – 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds)
  • Male height – 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches)
  • Female weight – 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds)
  • Female height – 71 cm (28 inches)

Dogo Argentino (35 – 45 kg)

The Dogo Argentino is a large, muscular breed of dog that was originally developed in Argentina for the purpose of big-game hunting. It was first bred in 1928 from the Cordoba dog, along with a number of other breeds, including the Great Dane.

Antonio Nores Martínez was the man behind the creation of the breed, and he wanted a dog that would exhibit steadfast bravery and an unwavering willingness to protect its owner. The breed is so determined and strong that they are known to take down mountain lions.

Dogo Argentinos have a short, white coat with black spots in its skin. The body is strong and muscular, and there are rarely any markings on the coat. The breed is often described as looking similar to the American Bulldog.

Males are usually 40 to 45 kg (88 to 99 lb), while females are typically 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 lb). Heights range from 60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 inches) for males and 60 to 65 cm (24 to 26 inches).

Dogos are highly intelligent and courageous with a strong, natural instinct to protect their home and family. They are very social dogs, but they make a strong distinction between familiar people and strangers. This means it is very important that they are trained and socialised correctly.

As with Dalmatians, white Boxers, and white Bull Terriers, Dogos may experience pigment-related deafness. There is a possibility of around 10% deafness in Dogos, but this problem can be dramatically reduced with proper breeding.

Dogo Argentino Stats

  • Male weight – 40 to 45 kg (88 to 99 lb)
  • Male height – 60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 inches)
  • Female weight – 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 lb)
  • Female height – 60 to 65 cm (24 to 26 inches)

Biggest Dog Breeds Quick Guide

NameMax WeightMin WeightHeight Range
English Mastiff113 kg (250 lb)51 kg (120 lb)70 to 76 cm (27.5 to 30 in)
Caucasian Shepherd Dog100 kg (220 lb)45 kg (100 lb)67 to 90 cm (26 to 35 in)
Tosa Inu90 kg (200 lb)36 kg (80 lb)62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 in)
Tibetan Mastiff90 kg (198 lb)55 kg (121 lb)83 cm (33 in)
Boerboel90 kg (198 lb)55 kg (121 lb)60 to 77 cm (24 to 30 in)
Bully Kutta89 kg (196 lb)60 kg (132 lb)75 to 86 cm (29.5 to 34 in)
St. Bernard82 kg (180 lb)54 kg (120 lb)66 to 76 cm (26 to 30 in)
Great Dane82 kg (180 lb)50 kg (110 lb)71 to 79 cm (28 to 31 in)
Landseer80 kg (176 lb)60 kg (132 lb)67 to 80 cm (26 to 31 in)
Newfoundland80 kg  176 lb)55 kg (121 lb)66 to 71 cm (26 to 28 in)
Leonberger77 kg (170 lb)45 kg (100 lb)65 to 71 cn (26 to 31 in)
Bernese Mountain Dog75 kg (160 lb)40kg (90 lb)58 to 70 cm (23 to 27.5 in)
Pyrenean Mountain Dog73 kg (160 lb)39 kg (85 lb)64 to 81 cm (25 to 32 in)
Neapolitan Mastiff70 kg (155 lb)50 kg (110 lb)60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in)
Irish Wolfhound70 kg (155 lb)48 kg (105 lb)76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 in)
Dogue De Bordeaux68 kg (150 lb)45 kg (99 lb)58 to 69 cm (23 to 27 in)
Kangal Shepherd Dog66 kg (145 lb)41 kg (90 lb)71 to 81 cm (28 to 32 in)
Anatolian Shepherd65 kg (143 lb)40 kg (88 lb)71 to 81 cm (28 to 32 in)
Akbash63 kg (140 lb)34 kg (75 lb)69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 in)
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog61 kg (135 lb)36 kg (80 lb)60 to 72 cm (23.5 to 28.5 in)
Black Russian Terrier60 kg (132 lb)45 kg (99 lb)68 to 76 cm (27 to 30 in)
Komondor60 kg (132 lb)40 kg (88 lb)65 to 80 cm (25.5 to 31.5 in)
Cane Corso50 kg (110 lb)40 kg (88 lb)58 to 70 cm (23 to 28 in)
Scottish Deerhound50 kg (110 lb)34 kg (75 lb)71 to 81 cm  (28 to 32 in)
Dogo Argentino45 kg (99 lb)35 kg (77 lb)60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 in)

What Is The Fastest Dog Breed – 20 Fastest Dog Breeds

We all think our dogs are lightning fast as they speed around the house or garden, but have you ever wondered what the fastest dog breeds in the world are? Today we are going to answering that very question with the top 20 fastest dog breeds in the world.

Characteristics of the Oldest Dog Breeds in the World

Many of the fastest dog breeds in the world share similar physical traits with slender bodies and long legs. They have developed over centuries and have often been used for hunting, sport and other activities.

The fastest dog breeds in the world tend to be extremely energetic and need lots of exercise to be both physically and mentally stimulated.

Compared to humans, dogs are extremely fast. The fastest human speed ever recorded was achieved by Olympian Usain Bolt, who ran at a speed of nearly 45 hm/h (28 mph). The fastest dog breed in the world, the greyhound, can run at an incredible 72 km/h (45 mph).

20 Fastest Dog Breeds in the World

Below we have put together a list of the 20 fastest dog breeds in the world. Check below to see if your dog has made the list. At the end of this article we have a handy table comparing the speeds of the 20 fastest dog breeds.

1 – Greyhound

While similar in appearance to the Saluki or Sloughi breeds, the Greyhound is actually more closely related to herding dogs. It is believed that the Greyhound’s origins lie with the Celts from Eastern Europe or Eurasia.

Greyhounds are a gentle and intelligent breed whose combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, flexible spine and slim build allow them to reach an incredible top speed of 72 km/h (45 mph). They can reach this speed within 30 metres (98 ft) or six strides.

Male Greyhounds are usually 71 to 76 centimetres (28 to 30 inches) tall at the withers, and on average weigh between 27 to 40 kg (60 to 88 lbs). Females tend to be smaller with heights ranging from 66 to 71 cm (26 to 28 inches) and weights from 25 to 34 kg (55 to 75 lbs). However, they can be bigger or smaller than these weights and sizes.

Greyhounds have very short fur and there are around 30 different recognised combinations including white, black, red and more. They are dolichocephalic with a skull that is relatively long compared to its width.

Greyhound Stats

  • Top speed – 72km/h (45 mph)
  • Weight male – 27 to 40 kg (60 to 88 lbs)
  • Height male – 71 to 76 centimetres (28 to 30 inches)
  • Weight female – 25 to 34 kg (55 to 75 lbs)
  • Height female – 66 to 71 cm (26 to 28 inches

2 – Saluki

Not only is the Saluki one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, it is also one of the fastest. The Saluki can trace its roots back to Egyptian times, with dogs that resemble them being depicted on tombs at around 2,100BC (Some believe they even date back as far as 7,000BC).

Salukis are known as the royal dog of Egypt and they were bred to hunt wild animals due to their speed and endurance. Unlike some other breeds, Salukis hunt primarily by their sight rather than their scent (they are classed as sighthounds).

The normal size for modern Salukis is 58 – 71 cm (23 – 28 inches) high at the withers and 16 – 29 kg (35 – 65 pounds) in weight, with females being slightly smaller. They feature a long and narrow head with large eyes and drop ears. Salukis are typically deep-chested with long legs and a slim body.

Compared to Greyhounds, Salukis are slightly slower with a top speed of 68.8 km/h (42.8 mph). However, Salukis are regarded as faster than Greyhounds over distances in excess of 800 metres (0.5 miles). This is due to their heavily padded feet and remarkable stamina when running.

Saluki Stats

  • Top speed – 68 km/h (42.8 mph)
  • Weight – 16 – 29 kg (35 – 65 pounds)
  • Height – 58 -71 cm (23 – 28 inches)

3 – Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are the third fastest dog breed in the world and are closely related to the Saluki. The breed dates back to pre-Christian times and was primarily used for hunting wild animals. Today, Afghan Hounds are popular show dogs due to their tall stature and distinctive long coat.

Today’s purebred Afghan Hounds descend from dogs brought to Great Britain in the 1920s, which King Amanullah of the Afghan Royal Family gave as gifts. There are around 13 different types of Afghan Hound and the breed is classed as a sighthound.

The Afghan Hound is tall with a height of 61 – 74 cm (24 – 29 inches) and a weight of 20 – 27 kg (44 – 60 lbs). Coats can come in a wide variety of colours, but white/cream tends to be the most common colour. Many Afghan Hounds also feature a black facial mask and some even have facial hair that looks like a Fu Manchu moustache.

Despite its appearance, the Afghan Hound is an extremely athletic dog. They can turn very well and have extremely good endurance. With a top speed of 64.4 km/h (40 mph), the Afghan Hound is one of the fastest breeds of dog on the planet.

Afghan Hound Stats

  • Top speed – 64.4 km/h (40 mph)
  • Weight – 20 – 27 kg (44 – 60 lbs)
  • Height – 61 – 74 cm (24 – 29 inches)

4 – Vizsla

The Vizsla breed of dog originates from Hungry and is classed as a Pointer. The first written reference to the Vizsla was recorded in Illustrated Vienna Chronicle prepared on order of King Louis I of Hungary by the Carmelite Friars in 1357.

As companions of early Hungarian warlords and barons, the breed was held in high esteem for its hunting and athletic ability. During the Turkish occupation (1526 – 1696), the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, World War I and World War 2, the breed almost became extinct. It was believed that only about a dozen purebred Vizslas survived the Second World War.

Vizslas feature a very-short coat and no undercoat so they are unsuited to living outdoors. They have a very robust, yet light build with very defined muscles that lets them hit a top speed of 64.4 km/h (40 mph). The nose of a Vizsla will always have a reddish colour that blends with the coat colour. While the standard coat comes in a solid golden rust colour, they can also come in a number of other colours.

The Vizsla is classed as a medium-sized dog with an average height of 58 – 69 cm (23 – 27 inches) for males and 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches) for females. The average weights are 20 – 30 kg (45 – 66 lb) for males and 18 – 25 kg (40 – 55 lbs) for females.

Vizsla Stats

  • Top speed – 64.4 km/h (40 mph)
  • Weight male – 20 – 30 kg (45 – 66 lb)
  • Height male – 58 – 69 cm (23 – 27 inches)
  • Weight female – 18 – 25 kg (40 – 55 lbs)
  • Height female – 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches)

5 – Ibizan Hound

The fifth breed of dog on this list is the Ibizan Hound and it features a top speed of 64.4 km/h (40 mph), which is the same as the Vizsla and the Afghan Hound above.

Originating from the island of Eivissa, the Ibizan Hound has been traditionally used in the Catalan-speaking areas of Spain and France to hunt rabbits and other small game. Due to its extreme speed and agility, the breed can hunt on all types of terrain, working by scent, sound and sight. Females tend to make up the majority in a hunting pack as they are considered to be better at the task.

The Ibizan Hound is an elegant and agile breed, with an athletic physique and a springy trot. Its large upright ears are a hallmark of the breed and they feature a long and lean neck. Ibizan Hounds come in both smooth and wire-coated varieties, and their coat is a combination of red and white.

On average, the breed stans 56 – 74 cm (22 – 29 inches) tall and weighs from 20 – 29 kg (45 – 65 pounds).

Ibizan Hound Stats

  • Top speed – 64.4 km/h (40 mph)
  • Weight – 20 – 29 kg (45 – 65 lbs)
  • Height – 56 – 74 cm (22 – 29 inches)

6 – Jack Russell Terrier

Don’t be fooled by the Jack Russell’s small stature, it is actually one of the fastest dogs on the planet. The Jack Russel Terrier is a small terrier that has its origins in fox hunting in England. It is commonly confused with the Parson Russel terrier and the Russell terrier, a stockier, shorter-legged variant.

The Jack Russell Terrier we know today was first bred by the Reverend John Russell, a parson and hunting enthusiast born in 1795, and they can trace their origin to the now extinct English white terrier.

Due to their working nature, Jack Russells remain much the same as they were 200 years ago. They are sturdy, and tenacious with an athletic build measuring 25 – 38 cm (10 – 15 inches) at the withers, and a weight of 6 – 8 kg (14 – 18 lbs).

The Jack Russell Terrier is the fastest small dog breed with a top speed of 61.2 km/h (38 mph).

Jack Russell Terrier Stats

  • Top speed – 61.2 km/h (38 mph)
  • Weight – 6 – 8 kg (14 – 18 lbs)
  • Height – 25 – 38 cm (10 – 15 inches)

7 – Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is a medium sized breed of dog and is known for its unique black, liver spotted coat. Interestingly, a Dalmatian’s coat is not spotted at birth. Puppies of this breed are born with plain white coats and their first spots usually appear within 10 days (however, the spots are visible on the skin).

It is unknown the exact history of the Dalmatian, but it is known that Croatia is the breed’s country of origin. The breed was seen in paintings dating back as far as the early 1600s and again when it was described as Canis Dalmaticus in the church chronicles from 1719 by Bishop Petar Bakić.

During the Regency period, Dalmatians became a status symbol and were often seen trotting alongside horse-drawn carriages. For this reason, the breed was given the nickname “the spotted coach dog”.

With a well-defined, muscular body, Dalmatians usually stand 48 – 61 cm (19 – 24 inches) tall and can weigh anywhere from 20 – 34 kg (45 – 75 lbs). They have excellent stamina and endurance, and are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world with a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph).

Dalmatian Stats

  • Top speed – 60 km/h (37 mph)
  • Weight – 20 – 34 kg (45 – 75 lbs)
  • Height – 48 – 61 cm (19 – 24 inches)

8 – Borzoi

Also known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. The breed is originally descended from dogs brought to Russia from central Asian countries. They are similar in shape to a Greyhound and are also a member of the sighthound family.

Borzoi’s feature a silky, flat coat that can often be wavy or slightly curly. The long top-coat is quite flat, with varying degrees of waviness or curling. Underneath the top-coat is a soft-undercoat that thickens during the winter months and sheds during hot weather.

Male Borzois typically weigh between 34 – 48 kg (75 – 105 lbs) and stand 75 – 85 cm (30 – 33 inches). Females are smaller with a weights ranging from 25 – 41 kg (55 – 90 lbs) and heights from 68 – 78 cm (27 – 31 inches).

With an athletic body, Borzois were bred to pursue game and have a powerful instinct to chase things that run from them. Built for speed and endurance this breed has a top speed of 58 km/h (36 mph).

Borzoi Stats

  • Top speed – 58 km/h (36 mph)
  • Weight male – 34 – 48 kg (75 – 105 lbs)
  • Height male – 75 – 85 cm (30 – 33 inches)
  • Weight female – 25 – 41 kg (55 – 90 lbs)
  • Height female – 68 – 78 cm (27 – 31 inches)

9 – Whippet

Whippets are a medium sized breed of dog and they originate from England, where they descend from Greyhounds. As you can imagine, any breed that is directly descended from Greyhounds is going to be fast and Whippets are no exception. With a top speed of 56 km/h (35 mph), the Whippet is the ninth fastest breed of dog in the world.

Whippets were bred to hunt by sight, chasing game in open areas at high speed. The first recorded use of the word Whippet in regard to a type of dog was in 1610. They are commonly known as “snap dogs” for their tendency to “snap up” nearby prey.

Due to their incredible speed Whippets have also been used for racing. The earliest form of racing they competed in was known as ‘ragging’. Dogs were kept on a leash by a person known as a slip and they would release them all at the same time. The dogs would then race towards their owners waving towels or rags.

Whippets usually weigh anywhere from 6.8 – 19.1 kg (15 – 42 pounds). Males tend to be 47 – 57 cm (18.5 – 22.5 inches) in height while females tend to be 44 – 55 cm (17.5 – 21.5 inches) in height. They come in a wide variety of colours from solid black to white, blue and more.

Whippet Stats

  • Top speed – 56 km/h (35 mph)
  • Weight – 8 – 19.1 kg (15 – 42 pounds).
  • Height male – 47 – 57 cm (18.5 – 22.5 inches)
  • Height female – 44 – 55 cm (17.5 – 21.5 inches)

10 – Pharaoh Hound

This interesting looking breed of dog is believed to be descended from the Tesem, one of Ancient Egypt’s hunting dogs. Images and descriptive writings found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs share striking similarities with the Pharaoh Hound.

At first glance, the Pharaoh Hound looks both graceful and elegant, yet powerful and athletic. They have well defined muscles that are not too bulky. The long and chiselled skull resembles a blunt wedge and the eyes are commonly amber-coloured.

Pharaoh Hounds tend to weigh up to 20 – 25 kg (45 – 55 pounds) with males being slightly heavier than females. In terms of weight, males are usually 58 – 64 cm (23 – 25 inches) while females tend to be 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches).

This breed is extremely proficient at hunting with female Pharaoh Hounds leading the chase while males keep the game from veering to far to the sides. They also let out a distinctive high pitched bark that attracts other dogs and hunters to their location. Pharaoh Hound’s top speed of 56 km/h (35 mph) helps them chase down prey.

Pharaoh Hound Stats

  • Top speed – 56 km/h (35 mph)
  • Weight – 20 – 25 kg (45 – 55 pounds)
  • Height male – 58 – 64 cm (23 – 25 inches)
  • Height female – 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches)

11 – Weimaraner

Originally bred to hunt large game such as boar, bear and deer for royalty, this large breed of dog gets its name from the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Karl August.

The Weimaraner is a very athletic breed of dog and the tail is often docked in countries where the practice is still allowed. The breed’s short coat and unusual eyes give it a distinctive appearance. Coats usually range from a charcoal-blue colour to mouse/silver-grey, while the eyes can be light amber, grey or blue-grey.

Male Weimaraners usually weigh anywhere from 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds) and stand 59 – 70 cm (23 – 28 inches) tall. Females are typically smaller at 25 – 35 kg (55 – 77 pounds) and 57 – 65 cm (22 – 26 inches) in height.

Weimaraners are highly energetic hunting dogs and they are prized for their endurance and stamina. They are the eleventh fastest dog breed in the world with a top speed of 56 km/h (35 mph).

Weimaraner Stats

  • Top speed – 56 km/h (35 mph)
  • Weight male – 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds)
  • Height male – 59 – 70 cm (23 – 28 inches)
  • Weight female – 25 – 35 kg (55 – 77 pounds)
  • Height female – 57 – 65 cm (22 – 26 inches)

12 – Dobermann

The Dobermann, or Doberman Pinscher in the United States and Canada, is a medium to large breed of dog that was originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. While, there are a number of contradicting theories on why the Dobermann was originally created, it is believed that Karl Dobermann wanted to create a breed that could protect him.

The Dobermann breed is thought to be a mixture of several different breeds of dog that had characteristics Karl Dobermann was looking for. While the exact breeds used remain uncertain, experts believe that Dobermann used a combination of the following:

  • Beauceron,
  • German Pinscher
  • Rottweiler
  • Weimaraner

As the Dobermann was originally intended as a guard dog, males have a very muscular and intimidating appearance. They usually weigh anywhere from 40 – 45 kg (88 – 99 pounds) and stand 68 – 72 cm (27 – 28 inches) tall. Females on the other hand tend to be a bit smaller at 32 – 35 kg (71 – 77 pounds) and 63 – 68 cm (25 – 27 inches) tall.

Despite their impressive size, Dobermanns can run quite fast with a top speed of 51.5 km/h (32 mph).

Dobermann Stats

  • Top speed – 51.5 km/h (32 mph)
  • Weight male – 40 – 45 kg (88 – 99 pounds)
  • Height male – 68 – 72 cm (27 – 28 inches)
  • Weight female 32 – 35 kg (71 – 77 pounds)
  • Height female – 63 – 68 cm (25 – 27 inches)

13 – Great Dane

Looking at a Great Dane you wouldn’t assume they are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. The Great Dane is undoubtedly the heaviest dog breed on this list, which makes their top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph) all the more impressive.

Great Danes originated in continental Europe from dogs that originally came from England. They were bred to hunt bear, boar and deer at princely courts, with the favourites staying in the Lord’s chambers at night.

The Great Dane is a very large dog breed and in fact, the tallest dog ever was a Dane known as Zeus, who stood 111.8 cm (44 inches) tall. Typically, males stand 76 – 79 cm (30 – 31 inches) in height, while females are 71 – 76 cm (28 – 30 inches) tall. Both males and females can weigh anywhere from 50 – 82 kg (110 – 180 pounds).

Great Danes have a very square build and feature naturally floppy, triangular ears. In the past, when Great Danes were commonly used for hunting, cropping of the ears was performed to reduce the likelihood of injuries during hunts. Cropping of the ears is still carried out in some countries, but many countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark the practice is banned.

Great Dane Stats

  • Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
  • Weight – 50 – 82 kg (110 – 180 pounds)
  • Height male – 76 – 79 cm (30 – 31 inches)
  • Height female – 71 – 76 cm (28 – 30 inches)

14 – German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a medium to large-sized working dog that originated from Germany. It is known as the Deutscher Schäferhund in Germany and was known as the Alsatian in the UK from after the First World War until 1977 when its name was changed back to German Shepherd.

While German Shepherds are best known for their service in police forces around the world, they actually originate from the European Continental Shepherd Dog, which was used to herd sheep.

Max von Stephanitz, an ex-cavalry captain, was impressed by the intelligence, strength and ability of Germany’s sheepdogs and bought one for himself. After buying the dog he changed the name to Horand von Grafrath and set up the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for German Shepherd Dogs). Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd and was the first dog added to the society’s breed register.

German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and are ranked third for intelligence behind Border Collies and Poodles. They feature a double coat which is close and dense with a thick undercoat. The coat most commonly comes in either tan/black or red/black, however, other colours are available.

Male German Shepherds usually weigh anywhere from 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds) and stand 60 – 65 cm (24 – 26 inches) tall. Female Shepherds are typically smaller with a weight of 22 – 33 kg (49 – 73 pounds) and a height of 55 – 60 cm (22 – 24 inches). They are one of the fastest dog breeds with a top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph).

German Shepherd Stats

  • Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
  • Male weight – 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds)
  • Male height – 60 – 65 cm (24 – 26 inches)
  • Female weight – 22 – 33 kg (49 – 73 pounds)
  • Female height – 55 – 60 cm (22 – 24 inches)

15 – Border Collie

Border Collies are descended from Landrace Collies, a breed type found widely in the British Isles. The name of the breed came from its probable place of origin along the Anglo-Scottish border. They are widely used for herding due to their intelligence and obedience, and they are sometimes referred to as sheep dogs.

In general, Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with a moderate amount of coat. They feature a double coat that varies from rough to smooth and it can sometimes be curled. While black and white is the most common colour for the breed, they also appear in just about any colour and pattern known to occur in dogs.

Border Collies require immense amounts of physical exercise and mental stimulation to remain happy. They are one of the smartest dog breeds in the world and as such they can develop problematic behaviours in households that are not able to provide for their needs.

Male Border Collies usually weigh anywhere from 14 – 20 kg (31 – 44 lbs) and can be anywhere from 48 – 56 cm (19 – 22 inches) in height. Females are usually smaller at 12 – 19 kg (26 – 42 lbs) and 46 – 53 cm (18 – 21 inches) in height. With a top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph), they are one of the fast dog breeds in the world.

Border Collie Stats

  • Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
  • Male Weight – 14 – 20 kg (31 – 44 lbs)
  • Male Height – 48 – 56 cm (19 – 22 inches)
  • Female Weight – 12 – 19 kg (26 – 42 lbs)
  • Female Height – and 46 – 53 cm (18 – 21 inches)

16 – Standard Poodle

While the exact origin of this breed is unknown, it has appeared in various different forms of imagery and literature going back as far as the 15th and 16th centuries. The Poodle was the principle pet dog of the late 18th century in Spain and they are commonly used as show dogs today.

Poodles are ranked as the second most intelligent dog breed just behind the Border Collie. They are incredibly skilful in many dog sports such as agility, tracking, herding, obedience and more. Poodles not only share similar levels of intelligence with Border Collies, they also share the same top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph).

Standard Poodles can be anywhere from 38 – 61 cm (15 – 24 inches) in height (measured at the shoulder) and usually weigh around 27 kg (60 pounds). Anything below 38 cm is considered to be a miniature Poodle.

Poodles have a unique coat that sheds minimally. They do not have a double coat like most dog breeds and the coat texture ranges from course and woolly to soft and wavy. The body is usually quite slim which helps the breed excel in agility sports.

Standard Poodle Stats

  • Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
  • Weight – 27 kg (60 pounds)
  • Height – 38 – 61 cm (15 – 24 inches)

17 – Scottish Deerhound

This large breed of sighthound was originally bred to hunt Red Deer by coursing. It appears somewhat similar to a Greyhound but with a heavier build and longer, rough coat. The breed is closely related to the Irish Wolfhound and was a contributor to the breed when it was re-created at the end of the 19th century.

With the demise of the clan systems in Scotland, Deerhounds became sporting animals for landowners and the nobility. Due to their speed and silent hunting ability they are capable of making quick work of any game the size of a hare or larger.

While Scottish Deerhounds are slower than Greyhounds on smooth, firm surfaces, they actually beat the world’s fastest dog when the going gets rough. With a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) and incredible endurance, the Scottish Deerhound is a formidable breed when they get going.

Male Deerhounds are usually 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches) in height while females are typically around 71 cm (28 inches). Weights for males can be anywhere from 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds), while females can be 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds).

Scottish Deerhound Stats

  • Top speed – 45 km/h (28 mph)
  • Male weight – 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds)
  • Male height – 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches)
  • Female weight – 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds)
  • Female height – 71 cm (28 inches)

18 – Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is another working breed of dog from Germany and is the largest of the three breeds of Schnauzer. Numerous breeds were used to create the Giant Schnauzer, including the Great Dane, the Bouvier des Flandres, and the German Pinscher.

Giant Schnauzers emerged from Swabia in the German state of Bavaria, and Württemberg in the 17th century. They were originally bred as a multipurpose farm dog for guarding property and driving animals to markets. Following this they began to be used as watchdogs at factories, stockyards, breweries and more across the state of Bavaria.

While the Giant Schnauzer is called ‘Giant’, the breed is not that big compared to other large dogs. Males usually stand anywhere from 65 – 70 cm (25.5 – 27.5 inches) and females are typically 60 – 65 cm (23.5 – 25.5 inches). Weights usually run anywhere from 35 – 47 kg (77 – 104 pounds).

Giant Schnauzer Stats

  • Top speed – 45 km/h (28 mph)
  • Male height – 65 – 70 cm (25.5 – 27.5 inches)
  • Female height – 60 – 65 cm (23.5 – 25.5 inches)
  • Weight – 35 – 47 kg (77 – 104 pounds)

19 – Rhodesian Ridgeback

This South African breed can trace its roots back to the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi, which were crossed with European dogs by the early colonists of the Cape Colony of southern Africa.

The breed has been previously known as Van Rooyen’s lion dog, the African Lion Hound, and the African Lion Dog. It earned these names due to its ability to keep lions at bay while waiting for its master.

The Ridgeback’s distinguishing feature is the ridge of hair running down its back in the opposite direction from the rest of its coat. It consists of a fan-like area formed by two whorls of hair (called “crowns”) and tapers from immediately behind the shoulders down to the level of the hips.

Male Ridgebacks are usually 64 – 69 cm (25 – 27 inches) in height and weigh about 36.5 kg (80 pounds). Females are typically 61 – 66 cm (24 – 26 inches) in height and about 32 kg (71 pounds) in weight.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Stats

  • Top speed – 40 km/h (25 mph)
  • Male weight – 5 kg (80 pounds)
  • Male height – 64 – 69 cm (25 – 27 inches)
  • Female weight – 32 kg (71 pounds)
  • Female height – 61 – 66 cm (24 – 26 inches)

20 – Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound has been a popular breed with nobility and royalty. Among those believed to have kept it are Frederick II, The Duke of Swabia, and even Queen Victoria.

Italian Greyhounds are the smallest of the sighthounds and usually weigh no more than 5 kg (11 pounds) and stand about 38 cm (13 – 15 inches) tall.

The breed is deep chested with a tucked-up abdomen, long slender legs and a long neck that tapers down to a small head. They have a long and pointed head, and they come in a variety of colours from black to blue and more.

Despite having the same name as the fastest dog in the world, they are quite a bit slower with a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph).

Italian Greyhound Stats

  • Top speed – 40 km/h (25 mph)
  • Weight – 5 kg (11 pounds
  • Height – 38 cm (13 – 15 inches)

Fastest Dog Breeds Quick Guide

PositionBreedTop speed
1Greyhound

 

72km/h (45 mph)
2Saluki

 

68 km/h (42.8 mph)

 

3Afghan Hound

 

64.4 km/h (40 mph)

 

4Vizsla

 

64.4 km/h (40 mph)
5Ibizan Hound

 

64.4 km/h (40 mph)
6Jack Russell Terrier

 

61.2 km/h (38 mph)

 

7Dalmatian

 

60 km/h (37 mph)
8Borzoi

 

58 km/h (36 mph)
9Whippet

 

56 km/h (35 mph)
10Pharaoh Hound

 

56 km/h (35 mph)
11Weimaraner

 

56 km/h (35 mph)
12Dobermann

 

51.5 km/h (32 mph)
13Great Dane

 

48 km/h (30 mph)
14German Shepherd

 

48 km/h (30 mph)
15Border Collie

 

48 km/h (30 mph)
16Standard Poodle

 

48 km/h (30 mph)
17Scottish Deerhound

 

45 km/h (28 mph)
18Giant Schnauzer

 

45 km/h (28 mph)
19Rhodesian Ridgeback

 

40 km/h (25 mph)
20Italian Greyhound

 

40 km/h (25 mph)

What Is The Oldest Dog Breed – 25 Ancient Dog Breeds

We all know that dogs are man’s best friend and that they have been an integral part of human history for millennia. It is believed that the domestication process of dogs started 10,000 to 30,000 years ago when a group of wolves first came into contact with European hunter-gatherers. Over time, wolves changed both physically and psychologically to become the friendly pets we know today.

While those earlier breeds of dog have died out, some have lasted thousands of years. Today we are going to be looking at the oldest dog breeds in the world and how they have evolved over time.

Characteristics of the Oldest Dog Breeds in the World

Many of the oldest dog breeds in the world share similar physical characteristics, as well as personality traits. Ancient dog breeds usually have strong bodies with well-developed muscles. Some of them have a wolf-like appearance and their coats are often a brown, red, tan or white colour.

In terms of their personality and character, these dogs tend to be very intelligent and independent. They are usually active dogs and they show great aptitude for learning. The breeds on this list typically show greater autonomy than some other dog breeds and they can make their own decisions.

While you could say that the dogs on this list are more wild in nature than some other breeds, they do make good pets. These dogs need lots of attention and effort must be made to train and socialise them correctly. If these dogs are not trained or socialised, it can lead to behavioural problems in the future.

The Origins of the Domesticated Dog

It is known that the dog was the first domesticated species and that their closest living relative is the Gray Wolf. Archaeological records show that the first undisputed dog remains were buried with a human 14,700 years ago, with disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago. This shows that the earliest dogs arose in the time of human hunter-gatherers.

The genetic diversion of dogs is thought to be caused by an initial wolf population split into East and West Eurasian Wolves. These were then domesticated independently around 6,400 to 14,000 years ago before going extinct into two different dog populations.

1 – What is the Oldest Dog Breed in the World? The Basenji

The Basenji is believed to be the oldest dog breed according to a scientific study which compared the origin and genomic analysis of 161 breeds of dog. Researchers estimate that the Basenji originated from the African continent and they were used to track and hunt prey. It is thought that the breed is the one depicted in cave paintings found in Libya that date back around 6,000BC.

Well known as the “barkless” dog from Africa, the Basenji does not emit a normal bark but a high pitched howl which almost resembles a laugh or yodel. They feature a short coat, small, muscular body, erect ears and a tail curled tightly over one hip. A wrinkled brow gives them a somewhat mischievous expression.

The Basenji is an incredibly intelligent breed of dog and they are often quite stubborn. They are incredibly curious and are highly active, requiring lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Due to their highly inquisitive nature, the Basenji will destroy or chew almost anything left lying about.

A big plus of owning a Basenji is that they love to play. They are also known the make excellent watch dogs, standing up to intruders and defending their territory when challenged. Interestingly, they have almost feline-like grooming habits and they are fond of escaping.

2 – Shanxi Xigou (Chinese Saluki)

The Saluki is one of several breeds that can trace its roots back to Egyptian times, with dogs that resemble them being depicted on tombs at around 2,100BC. The breed then spread to different parts of the world and was first directly mentioned in 685AD during the Tang Dynasty.

Salukis possess a greyhound-like build, combining slender legs, a narrow body, deep chest, long tail and a small waist. They have a slightly slopped face and they are built for both speed and endurance.

The Saluki is a devoted breed of dog, but they tend to be aloof, or even shy, with strangers. They are typically very quiet and gentle, and they are good with other dogs.

These dogs must get the chance to run and burn off some energy every day. They are moderately obedient, but they can misbehave if they are not exercised. Despite their gentle, quiet domineer, the Saluki is a serious hunter.

3 – Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and is thought to date back to pre-Christian times. It is closely related to the Saluki and is classed as a basal breed that predates modern breeds of dog.

Although the Afghan Hound is undoubtedly ancient, there are no written or visual records of the breed in these early times. Most modern purebred Afghan Hounds descend from dogs brought to the United Kingdom in the 1920s. Today, they have become very popular as show dogs, but back then they were used for hunting and protecting purposes.

They are a tall dog with a very distinctive long coat. The long, fine-textured coat requires a considerable amount of grooming and care. Coats can be any colour but white markings, particularly on the head are not desirable for show dogs.

While Afghan Hound puppies eagerly seek affection from family members, adult dogs can be somewhat aloof and do not lavish attention. They are very independent dogs and will think for themselves.

Afghan Hounds are known to be quite mischievous and there are many stories of them stealing objects from under the noses of family members. They are certainly an interesting breed of dog, but they may not be the best suited to first time dog owners.

4 – Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be the progenitor of all breeds of Mastiff dog and they have long been used by local tribes of Tibetans to protect sheep from wolves, leopards and bears. In 2008, a study concluded that while 12 breeds of dog appeared to have diverged from the Gray Wolf 42,000 years ago, the Tibetan Mastiff diverged earlier at 58,000 years. It is still unsure when the breed first became domesticated, but it could arguably be the oldest dog breed in the world.

While the Tibetan Mastiff is still used to protect livestock from wild animals today, they also enjoy life as a family companion or show dog. Their unique appearance with a long coat, appealing colours and beautiful tail make them a conversation starter.

Despite their size and somewhat ferocious look, the Tibetan Mastiff is a gentle, loving and patient dog. They are hard-working dogs and fiercely loyal to their owners. They make excellent guard dogs and centuries of breeding for that specific task have made them the perfect protector.

Tibetan Mastiffs are generally quiet dogs when their needs are met, but if they are upset about something they can start barking. Socialisation is especially important for this breed and you need to introduce them to lots of other dogs and people when they are a puppy.

Pure Tibetan Mastiffs are incredibly rare, so expect to pay a premium for them. The world’s most expensive dog was a Tibetan Mastiff puppy that sold for $2 million in China and one sold in 2011 with a price tag of $1.5 million.

5 – Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is one of the world’s oldest working breeds of dog and their story starts with the Chukchi people thousands of years ago. Chukchi originate from east Siberia and their hunter gatherer culture relied on the Siberian Husky. The Husky pulled their owner’s sleds, protected the Chukchi people from invaders and worked to help them hunt.

The breed is incredibly active, energetic and resilient. They have a unique coat that is thicker than most other dog breeds, comprising of two layers; a dense under coat and a larger top coat of short hairs. It protects the dogs against the harsh Artic winters, but also reflects the heat in the summer. A Husky’s coat is so effective that it is capable of keeping them warm down to temperatures as low as -50 to -60 degrees Celsius

The Husky howls rather than barks and they often quite mischievous. Huskies will often escape and they are known to be incredibly intelligent, demanding dogs. However, they are known to be good with children but need plenty of exercise and training to keep them under control.

Huskies have a high prey drive as the Chukchi people allowed them to roam free in the summer. They would hunt in packs and preyed on birds, wild cats and other animals, but they can be trained to live with other dogs or small animals like cats.

6 – Greenland Sledge Dog

The Greenland Sledge Dog are believed to have arrived in Greenland with the Paleo-Eskimo peoples around 2,500BC to 800BC. Later, the Vikings then settled in Greenland and became aware of these dogs. The Greenland Sledge Dog was then used by whalers, explorers and fur traders to explore and travel across the arctic regions.

They are a powerful, heavy-built dog and have a broad, wedge shaped head. Their coat is of medium length and consists of two layers that protect against the cold (similar to the Siberian Husky). The males are significantly larger than females and many of them have triangular shaped area on the shoulders.

Like many other sled dogs, the Greenland Sledge dogs have incredible stamina and they are capable of traversing difficult terrain with ease and speed. As working dogs, they are highly valued for their immense strength and endurance.

The Greenland Sledge dog is much the same as it was when it was first brought to Greenland. They are kept for their speed and strength as a working dog, not for their personality. As such, these dogs require an extremely confident, firm and consistent owner to make them a good household pet.

7 – Alaskan Malamute

Like the Greenland Dog and the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute is well adapted to cold and has been identified as basal breed that predates the emergence of modern dog breeds. The Malamute has a similar east Asian origin to, but it not related to the Canadian Eskimo Dog and the Greenland Dog. However, the breed contains a possible admixture of the Siberian Husky.

It has been discovered that the Malamute, the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Husky share a close genetic relationship with each other and where related to the Chukchi sled dogs.

The coat of the Malamute is double layered like the Siberian Husky and Greenland Dog. The undercoat has an oily woolly texture and can be as thick as two inches. The outer guard coat is coarser and features longer hairs.

Malamutes are still used as sled dogs, but most are kept as family pets, show dogs or performance dogs in weight pulling or agility.

The Malamute is highly-intelligent, resourceful and independent. They have a high prey drive and need lots of exercise. While Malamutes are particularly amicable around people, they do need to be trained to tolerate smaller pets. It is also necessary to be mindful of them when they are around small children.

8 – Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu has become an incredibly popular dog breed and it is the smallest of the six original spitz breeds native to Japan. Primitive drawings from as far back as 300BC depict the Shiba Inu living with humans, but the origins of the dog date back 9,000 years ago.

The Shiba Inu is recognised as the official national dog of Japan and the breed was declared a national treasure in 1936. They were used to hunt deer, wild boar and small game as they are extremely quick and agile.

These dogs have a small, compact frame with well-developed muscles. They are double coated like many of the other basal breeds and they excel at dealing with cold, harsh winters.

Shibas are independent, intelligent dogs that have high prey drive. They can sometimes show aggression, but consistent socialisation and obedience training turn them into fantastic household pets.

They are a relatively fastidious breed and can often be seen cleaning themselves as much as cats. Because of their fastidious, proud nature, Shiba puppies are known to be easy to toilet train and will in some cases do it themselves.

9 – Akita Inu

Like the Shiba Inu above, the Akita has a long history with Japanese culture and its origin dates back thousands of years to the Matagi Inu. Today’s Akita has developed primarily from dogs in the northernmost region of the island Honshū in the Akita prefecture, thus giving the breed its name.

The breed became famous after the story of Hachiko, an Akita who would walk with his owner to the train station every day and wait for him to return after work. His owner died one day at work, but Hachiko kept going to the train station every day for nine years, waiting for his owner to come back. A bronze station was erected in his honour at the Shibuya train station in Tokyo in 1934.

Again, the Akita features a double coat and they feature a muscular build. While the majority of them are short haired, some feature long coats (known as Moku) due to the presence of a recessive gene.

Akitas are known to be highly intelligent, strong dogs that are courageous and loyal. They are also dominant, independent and can have a spontaneous nature about them. They tend to be fairly quiet and will think about a situation before acting upon it.

As they bred to work and live alone or in pairs, Akitas do not tend to be friendly towards other animals. Due to their silent nature, they do not show signs of aggression and their attacks can be sudden.

These dogs are not suited for first time dog owners due to their complex personality. They need a confident owner who can train and socialise them correctly.

10 – Chinese Shar-pei

The Shar-pei breed has existed in China since ancient times and they have been used for anything from hunting to herding and even fighting. Originating from the Guangdong province in China, the original Shar-pei looked very different to the breed that has become popular in the west. People in southern China, Macau and Hong King differentiate the two types of Shar-pei by calling them ‘meat mouth’ and ‘bone mouth’.

The Shar-pei’s distinctive loose skin and prickly coat are designed to help the breed fight off wild boar and animals. Additionally, these enhanced traits were beneficial when it came to fighting, as the breed was difficult to grab onto. If another dog did manage to grab on, the Shar-pei still had room to manoeuvre and bite back.

During the Communist Revolution the Shar-pei population reduced dramatically. Matgo Law, a Hong Kong businessmen, appealed to the Americans through a magazine to save the breed. Around 200 Shar-peis were smuggled into the United States. The majority of the American Shar-pei population is related to these 200 dogs.

The Shar-pei’s coat is rough to the touch and extremely prickly. They come with various different types of coat; horse, brush and bear. The rough, prickly horse coat is closer to the original Shar-pei’s coat. Compared to the horse coat, the brush coat is slightly longer and smoother. Additionally, brush coat Shar-peis are more docile, whereas horse coat variants are more active and dominant.

Any coat that is longer than one inch is considered to be a ‘bear coat’ and is not considered breed standard. This occurs when both the male and female carry recessive coat genes. The bear coat resembles that of the Chow Chow and the dog’s personality tends to be more like those with the brush coat.

All Shar-pei puppies need early socialisation and training. They can be suspicious of strangers and they are a very independent, reserved breed of dog. If they are poorly socialised and trained, the Shar-pei can become aggressive and/or territorial. Nevertheless, they are extremely loyal and devoted dogs, and they can make great companions. Training is not too difficult and they respond well to positive reinforcement techniques.

11 – Chow Chow

One of the most distinctive dog breeds around, the Chow Chow originates from northern China and has been identified as a basal breed. It is believed that the Chow Chow originated in China or in Arctic Asia about 2 – 3000 years ago and then migrated to Mongolia and other parts of Asia.

One Chinese ruler was said to own 5,000 Chow Chows and a Chinese legend talks about large war dogs from Central-Asia that resembled lions. The breed was bred to pull sleds and sadly for human consumption as well.

The Chow Chow is a very sturdily built dog and is known for its extremely dense double coat that can either be smooth or rough. The fur is particularly thick around the neck, giving it the appearance of lion. Additionally, Chow Chows have a distinctive blue-black/purple tongue and very straight legs. They also have a curled tail and their coats come in black, blue, cream, tan or a slight shade of red.

Chow Chows are fiercely loyal and they can become extremely protective of their territory and owners. While they are not an excessively active breed, they do need daily exercise and mental stimulation.

To avoid aggression and problems when they get older, Chow Chows should be socialised as early as possible. They can be an aggressive breed, but most are known to be fairly easy-going in nature and in some cases, slightly aloof to those around them. Due to their strong hunting instincts it is recommended that these dogs stayed fenced and away from smaller dogs and cats. However, they can be trained to live with other animals if they are socialised correctly.

12 – Samoyed (Bjelkier)

Originally breed to hunt, herd and pull sleds, the Samoyed originates from Siberia and takes its name from the Samoyedic people. The Samoyed has been identified as a basal breed and the first American Samoyed was registered with the AKC in 1906.

The appearance and character of Samoyeds is similar to that of the Siberian Husky. Their most notable feature is their brilliant and fluffy white double coat. They have a curled tail similar to the Malamute and they sometimes sleep with their tail over their noses to provide additional warmth.

Samoyed’s eyes are typically brown or black in colour and are almond in shape. They also have triangular shaped ears and are solidly built dogs.

Interestingly, despite their similar appearance and character to Siberian Huskies, they are not an aggressive breed of dog. It is extremely rare to find an aggressive one and because of this they make poor guard dogs. However, they are known to bark whenever someone approaches their territory.

Samoyeds are excellent companions and are great around children or other dogs. They do need plenty of exercise to keep themselves stimulated and they have a tendency to start digging when they are bored. Due to their herding nature, they will often try to move children and other dogs in a different direction by rounding them up.

13 – Finnish Spitz

Indigenous to Finland, the Finnish Spitz was breed to hunt all types of game from squirrels and other rodents to bears. The Finnish Spitz was developed by selectively breeding Spitz-type dogs that inhabited Russia several thousand years ago. Finno-Ugrian tribes in the far northern regions bred dogs to their specific needs and found the Finnish Spitz to be particularly good at hunting.

By 1880, the breed was becoming extinct due to it mating with other breeds of dog. Around the same time, a Finnish sportsman named Hugo Roos decided to revive the breed. He saw the many virtues of the breed and only selected pure Finnish Spitz dogs to breed from. Thirty years of breeding led to the modern Finnish Spitz.

These dogs have square build and a double coat that consists of a dense under coat, and a long guard coat. Proper coat care is incredibly important for this breed. It is important that owners brush out the old undercoat so that the new coat can grow properly, as excessive undercoat can cause skin problems.

Finnish Spitz puppies are often described as having a similar appearance to a red fox cub. They are born with a dark, grey, black, brown or fawn coat, but the adult colour is typically golden-red with variations from pale honey to dark chestnut.

They are an active, lively dog and they love to bark. In Finland, these dogs are even prized for their barking ability and they can bark as many as 160 times per minute. Finnish Spitzes are independent, determined and very intelligent. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and can be excellent companions.

14 – Japanese Chin

While it bears the name of Japan, the Japanese Chin is actually believed to originate from China. The route by which it arrived in Japan is widely debated, but it is thought to have arrived when the breed was gifted to the Japanese royalty in AD 732 by the rulers of Korea. The breed is descended from the “Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog” and originated at about the same time as the Tibetan Spaniel.

The Japanese Chin was unique as it was owned strictly for companionship, rather than its working abilities. Due to its distinct appearance and character, the Chin was only allowed to be owned by those of royal and noble blood.

The breed stands about 20 to 27cm in height and can vary in weight from a low 1.4kg, all the way to 6.8kg. They have a distinctive expression that is characterised by large wide-set dark eyes, a large rounded broad head, a very short muzzle, feathered eyes and unique facial markings.

The Japanese Chin has one coat and it can be either black and white, red and white, or a combination of the two (tricolour).

Japanese Chins are considered to be one of the most cat-like dog breeds in terms of attitude. They are incredibly intelligent, independent and they even use their paws to wash their face. Additionally, they like sleeping on high surfaces, hiding in strange places and they have a very good sense of balance.

The breed is very friendly, but can be defensive when they sense something is out of the ordinary. They can be easily socialised and they are very good around other dogs or children. Additionally, as the Japanese Chin was bred for the purpose of entertaining their owners, they can perform a variety of different tricks.

15 – Tibetan Spaniel

Like the Japanese Chin, the Tibetan Spaniel is descended from the “Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog”. The breed originated over 2,500 years ago in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet and they were used as monastery dogs.

The Tibetan Spaniel was not only used as a pet and a companion, but also a watch dog. They would sit on the walls of monasteries, keeping watch over the countryside. Their keen eyesight gave them the ability to see great distances and they would bark to alert the monks and Tibetan Mastiffs down below. Additionally, they were trained to spin the monk’s prayer wheels and would sleep with the monks at night to keep them warm.

This breed has a small domed shaped head and short blunt muzzle. They have wide set eyes and their ears are featured. The neck is covered in a mane of hair, which is why they have the nickname “little lions”. Tibetan Spaniels come in a range of different colours including; white, red, gold, cream, black, fawn or a mixture.

Like the Japanese Chin above, the Tibetan Spaniel is almost cat-like in its behaviour. They will climb onto any high place they can get to and they love to be around people. It is important that they have regular contact with humans and they do not respond well to being left alone. However, Tibetan Spaniels can be somewhat aloof with strangers and they need to be socialised at an early age.

16 – Pekingese

The Pekingese originated in China and is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, with the first recorded noting around 2,000 years ago. They share their ancestry with the Tibetan Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Shih Tzu, Tibetan Terrier and the Pug.

For centuries, the Pekingese could only be owned by members of the Chinese Imperial Palace. During the Second Opium War, in 1860, British and French troops found a number of Pekingese at emperor Xianfeng’s palace and took them back to the west. Around the turn of the century, the breed become very popular in the west.

Despite being over 2000 years old, the breed has hardly changes. One difference is that modern breeders and dog show judges seem to prefer the long-haired variant to the more traditional spaniel-cat one.

Pekingese dogs have a very distinctive flat face and their compact body sits low to the ground. The breeds unusual rolling gait may have been deliberately bred into them to prevent the dogs from wandering away in ancient times.

Their coats come in a wide range of colour combinations such as; red, gold, cream, white, tan, black, grey and even blue. They usually weight anywhere from 3.2kg to 6.4kg, but they can be slightly smaller or larger.

Daily brushing and a trip the groomers every 8 – 12 weeks is required to keep their coats healthy and presentable. Additionally, the breed is prone to heatstrokes due to their abundance of fur.

Pekingese are extremely affectionate dogs and make great companions, but their stubbornness makes them difficult to train. They can be wary of strangers, which makes them excellent watchdogs. The breed is fond of barking, so it may be a good idea to train them not to at an early age.

17 – Lhasa Apso

Like the Tibetan Spaniel, the Lhasa Apso were bred as watchdogs for places such as palaces and monasteries. The breed gets its name from the city of Lhasa, which is the religious and administrative capital of Tibet. Apso means “bearded” in Tibetan, which means that Lhasa Apso translates to “long-Haired Lhasa dog”.

It is believed that the breed was domesticated and actively bred as long ago as 800 BC. They are closely related to the ancestral wolf and in Tibet they are referred to as Apso Seng Kyi, which can be translated as “Bearded Lion Dog”.

The Lhasa Apso has a long, heavy coat that is very dense. They come in a variety of colours including black, white, red, tan and gold. Most have black noses with dark brown eyes, but some may have liver-coloured noses.

The breed’s protective nature can surprise those who are unfamiliar with them, but they are never usually aggressive. They make excellent watchdogs as they are highly alert and can be somewhat suspicious of strangers.

Lhasa Apsos must be socialised early and trained well. These dogs are more difficult to train than more obedient dogs such as Labradors. Training should be consistent and if you do not take charge, the Lhasa will.

This breed is known to be impatient with children and can sometimes nip if they become annoyed. They tend to bond with adults more, or those who are particularly gentle with dogs.

18 – Shih Tzu

The name may mean Little Lion, but there is nothing fierce about the Shih Tzu. This breed is believed to have originated in China as far back as 800 BC. It is thought that the breed developed from a cross between the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese.

The breed was a favourite of China’s royals and so prized that, for many years, the Chinese refused to sell, trade or give them away. The first Shih Tzus didn’t make their way to the west until the 1930’s and weren’t widely spread until after the second World War.

These dogs have large dark eyes and a short muzzle. They have a long double coat that is soft to the touch, but some may have a shorter curly coat. The coat comes in a variety of colours, but is usually white, black or grey. Daily brushing is required to avoid tangles and regular grooming is needed as their coat grows so quickly.

As this breed was bred to be a friendly companion, they are incredibly affectionate and make excellent pets. They love to meet new people and dogs, and they are well suited to city or country life.

Shih Tzus are excellent around children and they tend to get along well with other animals. While they were not bred to be watchdogs, the Shih Tzu makes for great guard dog due to their active and alert nature.

19 – Tibetan Terrier

Another breed to originate from Tibet, the history of the Tibetan Terrier dates back thousands of years. They were kept as mascots, good luck charms, watchdogs, companions and even herding dogs. Tibetan Terriers were often used to retrieve items that had fallen down mountain sides.

Also known as the “Holy Dogs of Tibet”, Tibetan Terriers were never sold and only given as gifts by monks. Because of this, current Tibetan Terriers can be linked to a handful of foundation dogs. Tibetan Terriers were kept purebred for over 2000 years and were often referred to as “the little people”, as they made great companions. The first Tibetan Terriers were brought to Europe in the 1920’s.

Tibetan Terriers are a powerful, medium sized dog, with a shaggy coat. Their size and weight can vary wildly, with some weighing as much as 14kg. They have widely set, dark eyes and a skull that is neither rounded nor flat.

The breed features a double coat that requires occasional trimming. The coat should be long and thick, but not so much that it touches the floor like in other breeds such as the Lhasa Apso. Their coat is so effective that Tibetan Terriers can withstand temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius.

Tibetan Terriers are active enough to compete in agility training and they need regular exercise to keep them both mentally and physically stimulated. They are incredibly alert and make excellent watchdogs. Despite being incredibly friendly, they can be reserved with strangers.

20 – Norwegian Elkhound

This wolf-like breed is one of the ancient Northern Spitz breeds and is the National Dog of Norway. Like many of the other Spitz dogs, the Elkhound was used as a hunter, herder and defender. They are known for their courage when hunting moose (or elk) and other large game such as bears.

The history of the Elkhound dates back thousands of years, with archaeologists finding skeletons of dogs that resemble the breed as far back as 5,000 BC. The Norwegian Elkhound became a breed of interest after the Norwegian Hunters Association held its first dog show in 1877.

Norwegian Elkhounds should ideally stand about 50cm high and weigh up to around 23kg. They have a double coat that is usually grey, white and black in colour, and a tightly curled tail.

The Norwegian Elkhound is exceptionally affectionate and loyal, and they tend to be very good around children. Despite being good around people, Elkhounds can be somewhat aggressive to other dogs so it is important to socialise them as early as possible.

They can be dominating and difficult to train due to their intelligence and independence. Training requires a consistent and firm approach, and there is no room for timidness. The breed requires plenty of exercise and while they do okay in apartments, they are better suited to houses with sizable gardens.

21 – Swedish Vallhund

The national dog breed of Sweden can trace its roots back to the 8th or 9th century, however, its origins may date even further back. Also known as the Västgötaspets or Swedish cow dog, the Vallhund was bred to herd cows and protect livestock.

The breed is thought to have played a part in the development of the modern Welsh Corgi and the Lancashire Heeler. They are related to the other, larger Spitz breeds which have been found buried with their owners thousands of years ago. The skeleton of the Vallhund is remarkably similar to that of the Elkhound above.

Vallhund’s have a strong, long body and they are born with every variance of tail length, from no tail to a full length one. They have a harsh topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat. Their fur can vary in colour from grey to brown/red to black and they are usually darker on their back, sides and neck.

They are an energetic, lively breed that are known to create games to keep themselves mentally stimulated. Vallhund’s love any form of training, dog sports or activities and will be keen to head out the door with you.

While the Vallhund sounds like the perfect breed of dog, with their lovely nature and medium sized build, they are not for everyone. The Vallhund has a tendency to bark at strangers and their high energy levels are not suited to inactive owners.

22 – Icelandic Sheepdog

Another breed from the Spitz family, the Icelandic Sheepdog was brought to Iceland by the Vikings. The Icelandic Sheepdog very much resembles dogs found in graves in Sweden and Denmark from about 8000 BC, but it is unsure when exactly the breed first came into existence.

Plague and canine distemper wiped out over 75 percent of the breed in the late 19th century, which led to a ban on importing dogs to Iceland. The breed faced extinction once again in the late 20th century, and as a result the Icelandic Dog Breeder Association was setup to preserve the breed.

While, the Icelandic Sheepdog was not used to take sheep from one place to another, it was used to prevent them from wandering off. The breed was also used to herd other animals such as horses as well. In Iceland, sheep often become lost and it is the job of the Sheepdog to find them and return them to the herd. They are, therefore, very good at working on their own and figuring out problems by themselves. Additionally, these dogs were used to protect livestock from birds of prey.

Due to their history as a working dog, the Icelandic Sheepdog is incredibly tough and active. They are always alert and active, giving visitors or family members a very enthusiastic welcome. They are not aggressive and they get along well with children, as well as other pets.

This breed is excellent for activities such as dog agility trials, obedience training, tracking, herding and much more. If you are looking for a great breed to train and work with, the Icelandic Sheepdog should be on your list.

23 – Keeshond

Named after the 18th-century Dutch Patriot, Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer, the Keeshond is closely related to German spitzes such as the Pomeranian and Klenspitz. The breed was previously known as the Dutch Barge Dog, as it was frequently seen travelling on barges and boats on rivers and canals in Holland.

Like other spitz-type dogs, the Keeshond has a double coat with a softer undercoat and a rougher top coat. Males tend to lose their coat once a year, while females lose it twice a year and they require regular brushing. Their coat colour is usually a mixture of grey, black and white, but with a small amount of cream on the legs and feet.

They are sturdily built, with a wedge shaped head, small pointed ears and an expressive face. The tail is tightly curled and it can be difficult to distinguish it from the rest of the body.

Keeshonds tend to be very active, playful dogs and they are very eager to please. They are incredibly intelligent and will quickly learn any commands you teach them. Because of this, they make excellent agility and obedience dogs. In some cases, they have been trained to serve as guide dogs.

This breed is excellent around children and they make great family pets. They usually get on well with other dogs and animals in the house. However, Keeshonds can clingy and they are known for their very load, distinctive bark. If you are looking for a quiet dog, the Keeshond is probably not going to be the right breed for you.

24 – Standard Schnauzer

Schnauzer-type dogs of medium size were bred as working dogs in 14 – 16th century Germany. They were used as herders, guard dogs and general all-purpose working dogs, and they have appeared in numerous artworks across the ages.

The breed was used by peasant farmers for centuries, but with the advent of dog showing in the 19th century they quickly became a favourite for shows. The first official recorded import of a standard Schnauzer into the United States happened in 1905, but it wasn’t until after World War I that they became more popular. During the First World War, Schnauzers were used by the German Army to carry small packages and by the Red Cross as guard dogs.

Standard Schnauzers have distinctive long eyebrows and beards. Their coats are always pepper and salt or black in colour, with stiff and wiry hair. A Schnauzer’s hair will perpetually grow in length, but contrary to popular belief they do shed to some degree. While other dogs usually shed their coat twice a year, a Schnauzer’s coat will become dull and easy to pull out. When this happens, the coat can be stripped out by hand, letting the new coat grow. Alternatively, the coat can be clipped but this does result in a less full coat.

The breed makes for an excellent family dog and they are incredibly loyal to their owners. They can adapt to almost any climate condition and they are known to be good with children. Proper training and socialisation at an early age will make them very tolerant and patient in almost any situation.

They are known to be intelligent and easy to train. In Stanley Coren’s book “The Intelligence of Dogs”, they were ranked 18th out of 140 different breeds of dog for their intelligence and ability to follow commands.

25 – Pomeranian

The earliest recording relating to the Pomeranian breed is from 2 November 1764, in a diary entry in James Boswell’s Boswell on the Grand Tour: Germany and Switzerland. Additionally, the breed was referred to in Thomas Pennant’s A Tour of Scotland from 1769.

Pomeranians were first brought to England in 1767 and the breed’s evolution was heavily influenced by the British Royal Family. In 1912, two Pomeranian dogs were among only three dogs to survive the sinking of the Titanic.

They are compact but sturdy dogs, weighing in at anywhere from 1.9-3.5kg. The breed has a top coat that forms a ruff of fur on the neck, which they are well known for. Modern Pomeranians come in almost any colour, but early ones typically featured white, black or brown coats. They have a double coat and breeders recommend that they are groomed daily.

Pomeranians are usually a very friendly, playful breed of dog and they make excellent family companions. However, they can be aggressive with other dogs and they will need to be trained to live with other animals.

The breed can be somewhat defensive of their territory and as a result they may bark when someone comes to the door. This breed needs early training and socialisation to prevent them from becoming dominant.

Tell us your favourite in the comments below!

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492993/figure/F1/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1673852708600491?via%3Dihub

Now Read: 27 Best Tips for Training a Dog

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Dogs provide all sorts of entertainment, but one of the funniest things they do has to be when they chase their tail. Seemingly out of the blue, dogs can start spinning in circles, trying to catch their tail. It may seem strange to us as humans, however, it can be a sign of bigger problems.

Tail chasing can be caused by a whole raft of things and behavioural issues. In this article, we hope to answer the question of “why does my dog chase their tail?” and help you fix the issue if it is becoming serious.

Why Dog Dogs Chase Their Tails?

There are many reasons for tail chasing in dogs and in some cases it may be caused by more than one thing. Below we have created a list of some of the reasons why your dog may be chasing their tail.

Boredom

The number one reason for tail chasing is undoubtedly caused by boredom. Just like humans, dogs need exercise and mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored, and if they don’t get it they will make their own fun.

Those with puppies or younger dogs will probably experience more tail chasing as they have higher energy levels than older canines. Younger dogs may not even realise that that their tail is part of their body.

While tail chasing caused from boredom is not necessarily harmful to your dog, it can be a sign that they are not receiving the required exercise or mental stimulation. To fix this you may need to take them for more walks, buy them some new toys and interact with them on a more regular basis.

If your dog is chasing their tail and you have not been able to find a reason, it is almost certainly caused by boredom. The good thing is that it is pretty easy to fix.

Attention

Just like a naughty child will do something to get their parents attention, dogs can chase their tails to get your attention. This reason usually emerges after a dog has started chasing their tail for a different reason.

For example, your dog may have originally started chasing their tail because they were bored, but because you gave them attention when they did so, they see that as positive reinforcement. Your dog will associate the attention you give them with the act of chasing their tail, which will cause them to do it in the future to get a reaction from you.

There is really no problem with this behaviour, but it can hide other problems with your dog such as boredom, infection or injury. The fix for this is to simply not give your dog attention when they chase their tail, however, we know how hard this can be.

Infection, Injury or Other Problems

Like we said above, tail chasing can be a sign of infection or injury. Infection can be quite painful and itchy, and they can cause your dog to chase their tail. It can even lead to your dog attempting to chew and bite on their tail to relieve the irritation.

Some dogs are more likely to develop these sort of issues than other breeds. Canines with corkscrew tails are more to develop bacterial infections as their tails can be very tight or even dig into their skin.

While it is rare, serious injury or infection can lead to your dog’s tail being amputated, however, most tail problems can be cured relatively easily. We recommend that you regularly check your dog’s tail (and their body) for any signs of infection, skin problems or injury.

Read more about dog skin conditions and diseases here.

Genetics

Interestingly, genetics play a role in the amount a dog chases their tail. Breeds like German Shepherds and terriers are more likely to participate in a bit of tail chasing action than other breeds of dog.

The reasons for this are unknown and there is no fix for the problem. We suggest that you try to keep your dog well, exercised and mentally stimulated throughout the day to reduce the tail chasing.

Mental Illness

Mental illness in humans is still an incredibly complex field and it’s no different for dogs. Some dogs can develop a compulsive disorder that involves them chasing or chewing their tail. This sort of behaviour can come about for many reasons from physical abuse, injury, confinement, separation anxiety and many more. This compulsive behaviour can even lead to injury or the development of aggressive behaviour, so it should not be left untreated.

Dogs that compulsively chase or bite their tail can experience hair loss on their tail and even injuries that may require veterinary treatment.

Treating this compulsive disorder may require specialist treatment or medication. You should talk to your vet about your dog’s behaviour and make sure they are receiving plenty of exercise, attention and love. Try not to punish your dog and instead focus on positive reinforcement as this can help.

Here’s a bit more information about tail chasing in dogs caused by mental illness.

Why Do Dogs Chew Their Tails?

Just like tail chasing, biting or chewing can be caused by a number of different reasons including boredom, injury or stress. In addition to this, tail chewing can also be caused by the following.

Parasitic Infestations

Fleas and ticks are common on dogs and they can spread like wildfire, especially in confined areas. A dog that has fleas may bite or chew the site where they are having a reaction to the flea’s saliva. Additionally, tapeworms can cause physical discomfort or irritation in the area around the anus, causing a dog to gnaw at the base of their tail.

If your dog is suffering from a parasitic infestation, you should seek advice from your veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on the best treatment plan. We have also written an article on “The best flea treatment for dogs”.

Allergies

Inflammation of the skin or dermatitis can also be caused by allergies, which can lead to tail biting. Like humans, a dogs first instinct to a skin allergy is to scratch it (or in a dog’s case bite it). Allergies may simply require a specific shampoo or more complex medication may be needed. Also check your dog’s diet, as certain food products or items can lead to allergic reactions.

Hot Spots

Hot spots are caused by excessive scratching or chewing, which leads to an open wound. Bacteria finds its way into the warm moist wound and can quickly form a hot sport or secondary infection. A trip to the vets can help you diagnose this problem, and the underlying causes can be anything from hygiene to nutrition or stress.

Impacted Anal Glands

While talking about a dog’s anal glands isn’t the nicest thing, impacted ones are a common problem. Canine anal glands are incredibly important as they secrete fluids that dogs smell when they meet each other.

Signs that your dog may have anal gland issues include bum dragging fouler-than-normal smell from their behind, trouble defecating, blood or pus in their feces and of course tail biting.

Anal gland problems can be caused by dietary issues amongst other things. Improper defecating can lead to impacted anal glands (a common problem for dogs that suffer from regular diarrhea).

Now we’ve covered all that, check out this video of some of the best tail chasing videos around.

https://youtu.be/-AxW9MQ2qPI

Summing Up Why Do Dogs Chase and Chew Their Tails?

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why dogs chase and chew their tails. While the most likely cause is boredom, you should not rule out the other possible causes on this list. If you are ever unsure or you think the problem is more serious, you should contact your veterinarian to get their advice.

Now read: 27 Of The Best Training Tips for Dogs