The AKC declares that the world’s tallest modern canine is the Irish wolfhound, whose breed standard describes the mature male as standing at least 32 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds. A height of up to 34 inches is permissible. Their female counterparts should be at least 30 inches tall and weigh about 105 pounds. While Irish wolfhounds typically tower well above all other dogs, they’re not the largest if you factor weight into the “big” equation.
Tall Tails: Exceptions to Rules
Fanciers of tall dogs have plenty of breeds to choose from, including the loveable Saint Bernard, who may bend the "tallest dog rule" by growing to 35 inches tall and tipping the scales at more than 240 pounds. The somewhat smaller English Mastiff may exceed 30 inches tall, but outweighs most canines at 130 to 200 pounds. Anatolian Shepherds, Turkish protectors of sheep, can grow to 30 inches tall and weigh as much as 150 pounds.
Exceeding Great Expectations
Great Danes typically reach heights of 28 to 32 inches and weights of about 100 to 150 pounds. At the verified height of 43 inches tall and 245 pounds, Giant George the Great Dane was declared the “Tallest Living Dog” as well as the “Tallest Dog Ever” in 2010 by the Guinness Book of World Records. George passed away on Oct. 17, 2013 -- a week before his eighth birthday. Those records were shattered by a 44-inch-tall Great Dane named Zeus in 2012. This pooch weighed 155 pounds.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images