Dogs are everywhere and are a common sight everywhere you go, but there are some unusal breeds around. Have you seen these five large breeds before?
The majestic Great Dane is a working dog originally bred for hunting wild boar, though in modern times they have become companion dogs. They are short coated dogs with naturally floppy ears and their coats tend to be fawn, brindle, harlequin and mantle. At a minimum height of 28-31” and minimum weight of 50-82 kg, they are among the largest breeds. The tallest dog in history was a black Great Dane called Zeus, who stood 44” at the shoulder. They are known for their placid temperament and are commonly referred to as gentle giants and the world’s biggest lapdogs.
Originally bred by monks as a rescue dog, the St Bernard’s is a giant breed generally around 28-35” at the withers and weighing between 65 and 125kg. They have either a smooth or rough coat in a reddish shade or mahogany brindle with white patches and black shading around the ears and face. They are gentle, friendly and are great with children. They have a natural ability for scent work and are very intelligent and easy to train.
The English Mastiff is an extremely large breed thought to be descended from dogs Romans used to fight lions, tigers, bears and gladiators in arenas. Their coats are typically fawn, dark fawn brindle, silver fawn or apricot fawn with black around the muzzles, ears and mouth. Their minimum height is between 28 and 30” and they grow to between 52-85kg. The heaviest dog on record was an English Mastiff called Aicama that weighed in at a whopping 156kg! Described by Sydenhem Edwards as being “the noblest of dogs” they have a docile nature and are excellent with children.
Leonbergers are mountain dogs with thick, waterproof double coats originally bred in Leonberg in Germany as farm dogs. With roots as a working dog they have been used as search and rescue dogs form the 20th century onwards. They are recognisable by their lion yellow, sand, red-brown and red coats with black noses foot pads and lips. They can grow to 26-30” and are muscular and agile. Mature males can grow a pronounced mane. During World War II they were used to pull ammunition carts and were nearly wiped out completely. Every Leonberger today can trace its roots back to the 8 dogs that survived the conflict.
With Roman pottery found in Argyll dating back to 1st Century AD depicting them hunting, Scottish Deerhounds have a long history. Used as a hunting dog they originally hunted deer by coursing. Similar to Greyhounds, they have a wiry, rough coat and are generally found with blue, brindle, fawn, red and yellow coats. They have a distinctive long tail that almost touches the ground and can grow up to 28-32”. The breed is famed for being docile and being extra friendly to humans.