23 of the World’s Strongest Dog Breeds [Pound for Pound]

Every breed of dog has something that makes it unique, and each offers its own special set of characteristics.

But if you’re looking for some of the greatest working breeds around, a great watch dog, or are just interested in which breeds may have a bark that’s worse than their bite, we’ve compiled 23 of the strongest dog breeds in the world.

Alaskan Malamute

14. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is often mistaken for another breed, the Husky, a dog which we will explore later on in our list.

However, there are significant differences between these two breeds. Namely, the size of the Alaskan Malamute.

Malamute’s are very large working dogs, reaching up to 100 pounds, and equipped with a musculature that enables them to pull very heavy cart loads.

At its best, an Alaskan Malamute can pull up to 1500-2000 pounds for short distances.

With thick coats, these high energy, intelligent dogs have a great work ethic and an impressive ability to thrive in cold climates, as their namesake would suggest.


Irish Wolfhound is a strong dog

13. Irish Wolfhound

One of the largest dogs on our list, the Wolfhound can reach up to 200 pounds.

So, it may be no surprise that what it has in size, it matches in strength.

A hound class, this dog is great at tracking at hunting down prey, and boasts a bite PSI, or pounds of force per square inch, of up to 224.

But don’t let this scare you off.

Irish Wolfhounds are gentle giants, whose demeanor is not typically aggressive or stubborn.

Wolfhounds are good with children, and work well in houses that have other pets.

Regular exercise is a must for this breed, as well as firm training to ensure any potentially aggressive behavior is curbed early.


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Rhodesian Ridgeback

12. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Easily recognized by the tell tale line or “ridge” of fur stretching down their backs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are also known in literature as the “African lion dog”.

This big breed has a bold personality to match, as strong prey instincts were bred into these dogs in their evolution.

They are notoriously independent and strong willed, and require a firm hand and steady training from the time they are puppies.

These dogs love to roam large distances, so they are ill suited to apartment living or for families with limited space.


Great Dane is a strong but gentle giant

11. Great Dane

Also featured on our fastest dog list, it may be no surprise to see them featured here as well.

Another breed that can reach up to 200 pounds, the Great Dane such a great runner thanks to its incredibly strong and developed musculature that propels them across distances.

Though very large and remarkably strong, the Great Dane is another breed often referred to as a gentle giant.

This breed is gentle and mild-mannered, patient and good with families, children, and other pets.

Sadly, these dogs' great size also mean shorter lifespans, with few Great Danes living past 10 years.


St Bernard sitting

10. St Bernard

You may recognize this breed from some of your favorite movies or shows.

St Bernard’s gentle personality and high intelligence makes them great candidates for not only the big screen, but also as working dogs.

This breed rose to prominence in the Swiss Alps, where they used their impressive strength, dense coat, and size to assist in rescue missions.

The breed was so successful in their position, that they became the national dog of Switzerland, and are still beloved in the country today.

All that fur may make them popular in the Alps, but warm weather friends may think twice before adding a St Bernard to the family.

Thick coats make warmer climates difficult for this breed, and they may grow uncomfortable in consistently hot weather.


Top Strong Dog Breed Great Pyrenees

9. Great Pyrenees

Another working dog, the Great Pyrenees is easily recognizable for its large size and striking white coat.

Bred to protect livestock from predators, this breed possesses impressive strength, as well as high intelligence.

This dog's muscular body also has lended it to a long history of sledding and carting work, as it is able to pull large loads for long distances in cold conditions.

Temperament for this breed is generally steady, however their predatory instincts have been known to make appearances from time to time.

If trained correctly, the Great Pyrenees can be a loyal and reliable dog for an experienced owner.


Top Strong Dog Breed Great Pyrenees

8. Newfoundland

Affectionately referred to as “Newfies” by lovers of the breed, these big dogs are known as the original “ship dogs”, known to historically accompany sailors on long voyages.

This said, it should come as no surprise that Newfoundland’s are excellent water dogs, whose strong and powerful frames propel them through water with ease.

Another working class breed, Newfies have been historically used for their strength in sledding expeditions or carting jobs.

Though big, these dogs are popular for their sweet and obedient demeanor, and are not quick to aggression.

Generally agreeable, this breed is great for families who love to boat or take regular trips to the lake.


Rottweilers are strong dogs

7. Rottweiler

Marked by black and rust colored coats, these stocky, muscular dogs have a reputation that precedes them.

Reaching nearly 130 pounds, their muscular bodies are notable, and many may connect Rottweilers with connotations of aggression.

However, this strong breed has been misbranded.

If handled well from birth, by trainers or owners with knowledge in stubborn or single minded breeds, Rottweilers are rarely aggressive, and can actually make loyal and sweet family companions who are highly intelligent and make great work or play dogs.


Loenberger dog

6. Loenberger

Originating from German, first thoughts upon seeing this breed may be “that’s a whole lot of dog”.

This assessment isn’t wrong...

The Loenberger can stand 31 inches at the shoulder, and may weigh as much as a full grown adult human.

They are built with powerfully strong muscles, and has a long history as a work dog in Germany pulling carts.

If you’re in the market for a watchdog, this breed may be the perfect candidate.

Powerful but friendly, these are good family dogs and watchdogs, easier to train than some other strong breeds, and with a more even temperament.


English Mastiff

5. English Mastiff

The breed from which a handful of dogs on this list developed, the English Mastiff is especially notable for its remarkable size and larger head.

These dogs are historically heavy, weighing between 140 to 200 pounds.

Bred initially for fighting and defense against bulls and bears, this is one of the older breeds in the Americas.

The English Mastiff was originally brought over on the Mayflower, and has continued to evolve as a breed ever since.

If you’re no fan of drooling, this may not be the dog for you, as the breed is known for its tendency to slobber.

Like the Great Dane, you can expect a shorter life span from the breed, aging only to 6-10 years due to their large size.


Tosa-Inu dog laying on carpet

4. Tosa-Inu

The Tosa Inu originates from Japan, and is a unique looking breed.

Its squared off muzzle and very muscular frame is a reflection of its impressive strength.

The Tosa-Inu was bred as a fighting dog in Japan, but nearly went extinct after the second world war.

Luckily, the breed rebounded after those times, and today this dog is beloved in the country of Japan.

Prospective owners should be aware of this dog’s quiet but willful temperament.

Though loyal and affectionate to owners, without proper training or socialization, this breed may have aggressive tendencies.

This can be avoided with the right handler.

Tosa-Inu should have access to plenty of mental stimulation and room to run, or they may become destructive in the home.


Boerboel dog

3. Boerboel

Part of the Mastiff class, which contains many of the strongest dogs on our list, the Boerboel is a stocky, muscular, and large breed.

This dog has a dominant and independent personality, and needs very strict training from the time they are born in order to ensure even temperament and to prevent issues with aggression.

Bred for protection in Africa, the Boerboel is a natural guard dog, and is driven to defend against any predator who they perceive as a threat to their home or territory.

Like others nearing the top of our list, the bite for this breed is arguably worse than its bark.

For this reason, this breed is not recommended for inexperienced or first time dog owners.


Bandog strong breed

2. Bandog

Like the previously mentioned Boerboel, the Bandog is a breed that descends from the Mastiff class.

Just by looking, the strength of this dog is obvious, with its stocky build and muscular frame.

The temperament of this breed is unpredictable, and Bandogs are actually illegal to own in some areas of the world.

If not handled and trained correctly, this breed can be naturally more aggressive than others, and their size, strength, and bite make experienced ownership an absolute must.

With the right handling, this dog can make a loyal companion, a great work dog, and a stellar protector of homes and livestock.


Kangal is the strongest breed of dog

1. Kangal

Topping out our large breed category is the breed with the strongest jaw in the world.

The Kangal Dog, or Turkish Kangal dog, has the highest bite PSI in the world, coming in at a whopping 743 pounds of pressure per square inch.

This may seem extreme, but this bite was actually bred as a favorable trait, as the Kangal was raised as a herding dog meant to protect flocks against large predators.

Perhaps it should be unsurprising that this breed is highly protective, but with the right trainor, the Kangal can be an affectionate and loyal companion.

The Kangal is highly intelligent and requires daily exercise.

Perhaps more surprising is that, for the impressive strength of its body and bite, the Kangel is nowhere near the largest dog of this category, averaging out at around 125 pounds, far less than the English Mastiff or Great Dane.


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Strongest Medium Size Dogs

Malinois running through water

7. Malinois

The Malinois is the first Shepherd class dog on our list, but will not be the last.

Like other Shepherd breeds, the Malinois is not only incredibly strong, but also very smart and has a deep love for work and pleasing their owners.

This particular breed of dog was bred to work outdoors, and needs a great deal of exercise to be satisfied.

Without room to run, and a job to do, the Malinois may become bored, and may take to causing havoc in small homes or apartments.


Siberian Husky in snow

6. Siberian Huskey

The smaller twin to our first bred, the Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky also finds its way onto our list of strongest breeds.

The husky is one of the greatest working dogs, and its endurance is nearly unrivaled by any other breed.

Known as the great sledding dog, this breed can pull far over their body weight for extended periods without tiring due to a modified metabolic rate.

In addition to their incredible strength and stamina, the Siberian Husky also has an excellent temperament, and is a good family dog who is friendly, inquisitive, and great learner.

However, prospective owners should be aware of the exercise needs of this breed, and modify their lifestyles accordingly.

Room to run and regular walks are a must to avoid damaging boredom in the breed.


Chow Chow dog

5. Chow Chow

Easily recognizable for their short faces and extremely fluffy coats, the Chow Chow is a favorite breed of dog shows, likely for their remarkable looks.

What is less touched upon is their impressive strength, and single minded personalities.

Chow Chows are a muscular breed, with an impressive bite.

Though loyal to owners, this breed may show signs of aggression towards strangers or unfamiliar dogs, and may not be great in family or child settings.

Though they are a strong breed, the Chow Chow is notorious for their laziness, and doesn’t require as much exercise as one may think.

If you’re up for the task of socializing and training a stubborn breed, then the Chow Chow may be the perfect dog for you.


Doberman Pinscher

4. Doberman

Another recurrence from our fastest dog articles, the Doberman makes the strongest list for their impressive muscular build, which endows them with impressive speed.

This may be second, however, to their intelligent and sensitive nature.

Dobermans are less likely to be aggressive than some other breeds on this list, however, like all dogs, still should be trained and socialized accordingly.

The Doberman’s striking features make them a highly sought after breed in the United States, and around the globe.


A bounding Boxer dog

3. Boxer

Though the name and presentation of the Boxer may suggest an aggressive breed, the truth of these dogs couldn’t be farther.

The boxer is known for its notoriously sweet and friendly disposition, and they make excellent dogs for nearly any home. Good with children and pets, these athletic dogs are great jumpers, and excellent candidates for fly ball or frisbee.

Just be certain you are able to provide them with the right amount of exercise, as a bored Boxer is no fun for any household.


Pitbulls are misunderstood strong dog breeds

2. Pitbull

Another breed with a long reputation, the Pitbull may be one of the more misunderstood breeds on our list.

Certainly this dog is a strong breed!

The Pitbull was initially bred to bull bait, and were adapted as farm working dogs for their impressive strength.

Later, this breed was tragically bred into fighting rings, a pastime that showed their strength, but were tragically inhumane, and gave the breed a bad reputation for aggression.

Many Pitbull experts, however, will be quick to note the breed's snuggly demeanor, and their intense affection for people and their owners.

This isn’t to say prospective families shouldn’t take heed.

It is far easier to ensure a lack of aggression from Pitbulls trained and handled from birth than from older adopted Pitbulls with unclear histories.

However, it’s unfair to stereotype the entire breed from a tragic history or reputation.

If you’re interested in Pitbulls, do your research, and make sure you are equipped to handle training a dog with potential aggression issues.


Strongest medium dog breed the German Shepherd

1. German Shepherd

Rounding out our list of medium build dogs is the German Shepherd.

Beloved by families around the world this breed is true to its namesake, and hails back to Germany.

Intelligent and eager to please, this strong breed is one of the most utilized in work settings, lending its sharp mind and strength to police departments, rescue missions, and drug sniffing alike.

Though even tempered and trainable, the German Shepherd is not immune from aggression, and it would be unwise to ignore working with your pup from the time they are young to ensure proper socialization.


Small But Mighty Dog Breeds

2. Xoloitzcuintli

Otherwise known simply as the “Xolo” or the “Mexican Hairless”, this breed actually comes in three sizes.

The Xolo is one of the oldest dog breeds, and among the first to step foot on the North American continent.

This dog is great for those with strong hair or dander allergies, however many are not wise to the temperament of the Xolo.

A very muscular breed, this dog has retained a strong prey drive, and is single minded.

If training is neglected, aggressive or protective behavior may be exhibited.

If owners are not equipped to handle the strong willed nature of the larger size of this breed, downsizing to a Toy variety may be beneficial.


Adorable American Bulldog is the strongest small dog pound for pound

1. American Bulldog

This easily recognizable breed rounds out our list with its short, stocky, and powerful build.

Historically, these dogs were bred to herd and take down bulls, but have since become notorious lap dogs.

Though they may seem a little imposing, and certainly have strong jaws, the American Bulldog is actually great with kids.

These dogs don’t need much exercise nowadays, and are usually notably lazy, loving the couch potato lifestyle after a short daily walk.


Wrapping It pUp...

There’s a lot to consider when looking for your perfect furry friend.

No two dog breeds are the same, and if you’re considering adopting a new member of the family, it’s important to look for a breed that fits your lifestyle.

From speed, to size, different breeds have different requirements, so it’s no surprise that you should consider strength and temperament as well.

All of the dogs listed above have impressive strength, in body and bite, though some may require more training or a firmer hand.

A strong dog with a strong will needs an owner that is prepared to invest time and energy into training.

However, breeds such as the American Bulldog or Great Dane offer all the perks of a strong breed with fewer temperament concerns.

With this in mind, if you’re looking for a guard dog, a companion to accompany you on hunting trips, or simply a great dog to join your family, one of these breeds may be for you!

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