The Dog Breed With The Biggest Paws

Even people who don't particularly like dogs will admit that, yes, puppies are cute. Part of that appeal — not unlike human babies — is the disproportionate body parts. Eyes that seem enormously, well, enormous, out of that relatively tiny head. And that head, that seems to get ahead of everything else as the furball tries to learn to coordinate all those legs at once. Including the paws. Because as the American Kennel Club points out, puppy paws always seem like something the rest of the body has to catch up with. 

Even as the dog ages, paws can be part of the appeal. Enormous paws are just kind of endearing, even when they're tracking in enormous amounts of mud or — well, whatever. On the other hand, maybe you don't want your pet to have enormous paws that bring in enormous amounts of mud or — well, whatever. Before we get started, be warned that this article deals with specific breeds of dog. Good shelter dogs are waiting for adoption almost everywhere, and preferences for paw sizes can be accommodated — big, small, in-between. That having been said: It's relative.

A Newfoundland's paws might give you pause

Different authorities rank breeds differently. Paw size objectively or subjectively? Puppies often seem to have enormous paws in comparison to the rest of their adorable selves, but (most of the time, anyway) they grow into them. Some breeds are specifically renowned for distinctively large paws, by any standard of measurement. Authorities disagree on the "biggest" part of the description. Many dogs were originally bred to perform specific tasks, and these are no exception.

Toward the top of both Tail and Fur and Time for Paws' lists of contenders is the Great Pyrenees. These dogs were originally bred to guard sheep, but now often work in rescue and therapy settings. The males easily top 150 pounds — so yes, that's going to include some serious paw size. There's also the Newfoundland, another working breed used to pull fishing nets and haul wood. They're good on the ground, but also swim well — no doubt in part because of their massive paws. They're also large — about the same size as the Great Pyrenees.

Paw Prints and the Pupper

Any tally of big-pawed dogs has to include the Saint Bernard. They're one of the largest (and most amenable) breeds of dog in the world. They were created as mountain rescue dogs on the Swiss-Italian border — "gentle giants," legendary heroes, rescuing stranded and endangered travelers in mountain passes, often approaching 200 pounds. Then there's the Irish Wolfhound, one of those creatures that looks fierce but is almost guaranteed to affectionately lick you to death. Big, yes — often standing three feet tall at the shoulder.

Even people who don't pay attention to all matters dogified would include the Great Dane (thank you, Marmaduke) on a list like this. Great Danes are known for being, well, great — in the sense of huge. According to ABC News, the world record for tallest dog was held by a Great Dane named Zeus, who measured 44 inches from paw to shoulder. And, we suspect, had the paws to go with it.

If the size of the paws doesn't give you pause, there are lots of options available that are nothing to sneeze at. Unless, of course, you're allergic.