Some of our canine companions really are dino material - take a look at these 9 giant breeds that'll should be renamed dog-megasaurs...
Great Dane - Well known, and well loved, these giants stand, on average, around 28-30 inches tall but often they can be taller. The world record holder for tallest dog was a Great Dane named Zeus who stood a mega 44 inches tall, or 3 foot 7! They are a breed of German origin and their German name, Deutsche Dogge, means German mastiff. However, before setting down official roots in Germany, the dogs that eventually became the Great Dane breed came from a crossbreed between English mastiffs and Irish wolfhounds.
Neapolitan mastiff - Mastiffs are among the largest breeds due to sheer mass. Originally bread in Southern Italy, they were used as guard dogs (unsurprisingly). The average male mastiff stands between 26-31 inches tall and weighs a hefty 130-155 pounds (or 11 stone).This breed is known for being fearless and protective of home and family, making it an ideal guard dog — but not an ideal warning system. Mastiffs tend to be quiet, and are known for sneaking up on intruders rather than barking to warn them off. Because of the breed's protective nature, you certainly don't want to stand between these dogs and their family, which makes this dog a breed only for owners well versed in dog training and able to put in the extensive time needed for socialisation.
Scottish deerhound - Originally bred for, yep, you guessed it, hunting deer. Originating in Scotland well before recorded history, the breed was once used to hunt red deer and easily chased down its prey. They are larger and heavier than greyhounds but are built similarly, with a lanky body meant for speed. They can stand as tall as 32 inches and weigh as much as 8 stone.
Dogue de Bordeaux - One of the most ancient breeds of France, the Dogue de Bordeaux stands between 23-27 inches tall and weighs between 125-150 pounds. But though it is fairly average as far as mastiff breeds go, it does have one thing that sets it apart: It is reported to have the largest head of any canine in relation to body size. They were used for watching over flocks, pulling carts, and guarding the home. They have historically been a true working dog and a dog of all trades. Once such steed is beautiful Hugo!
Newfoundland - Originating from... Newfoundland. Unlike many larger breeds, the Newfie wasn't bred to be a guard dog. Instead, it's purpose was originally to help fishermen. The big, muscular dogs are able to haul nets and lines from boats, pull carts and, most importantly, fetch anything that falls overboard, including people. The breed is an exceptional water dog and strong swimmer, and there have been many rescues of people out at sea credited to these big, gentle-natured dogs. Newfoundland dogs stand between 27-30 inches tall and weigh as much as 150 pounds. They look even bigger because of their thick double coat, which keeps them warm even in icy water.
English mastiff - These megasaurs can grow to a height of 30 inches, these dogs can weigh as much as. They hold the record for the heaviest dog - the largest was an English mastiff named Aicama Zorba, who weighed in at 24.5 stone! Their size is a significant part of the breed's past purpose, which included blood sports such as bull, bear and lion baiting. Today, fortunately, they are simply gentle giants, letting those courageous and fearless aspects of the breed's temperament sit on the back burner while the mellow, even-tempered and loyal sides come forward.
Saint Bernard - These guys were originally created in the Swiss Alps and northern Italy as a rescue dog. The monks of the Saint Bernard Hospice are credited with training dogs for rescue and for playing a role in developing the breed we know today. They can stand between 25-30 inches and weigh up to 13 stone. T
Leonberger - In the mid-1840s, Heinrich Essig of Leonberg, Germany, crossed a Newfoundland and a Saint Bernard for 4 generations, then added a Pyrenean Mountain dog in there as well, and boom: the Leonberger was born. This breed stands between 27-31 inches tall and can weigh as much as 13 stone. Their main purpose is as a companion animal, but the breed does very well in everything from water rescue to tracking to herding. If it is an activity that requires both strength and smarts, the Leonberger is probably going to be good at it.
Irish wolfhound - These dogs were bred to be a courser, and was, of course, originally used to chase down wolves. Developed from war hounds into a dog used for hunting and guarding, the Irish wolfhound is ancient and may have been brought to Ireland as far back as 7000 B.C. They are the tallest dogs, even taller than the Great Dane. According to breed standards, the minimum height should be 32 inches for males and 30 inches for females. That's just the minimum. Males often stand as tall as 34-35 inches and weigh upwards of 10 stone.
So there you have it - some tremendous dogosaurs of epic proportions - who said the dinos were extinct?!