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Some dog owners have a weak spot for cute floppy ears. Others favor dogs with long fluffy tails like a feather duster. But if you ask me, dogs with long legs have a leg up when it comes to being the best-looking canine around!
Go ahead and imagine a long-legged dog. What do you see? I’ll bet that you’re picturing a giant dog like a Great Dane that towers above most other dogs. While large breeds do tend to have long legs because every part of them is proportionally longer than average, medium- and small- breeds can also have disproportionately long legs that grant them a tall, majestic stance.
So which dog breeds have long legs?
Large dog breeds with long legs include the world’s tallest dogs such as the Irish Wolfhound and Great Dane. There are also medium breeds with long legs made for running such as the Saluki and Whippet. Finally, there is the long-legged terrier group of small dogs that includes the Kerry Blue Terrier among others.
Without further ado, let’s look at some beautiful long-legged dogs of all sizes!
7 Large Breeds With Long Legs
As mentioned earlier, large breeds are usually what come to mind when thinking about long-legged dogs. When the body size of a pooch increases, the leg length must too. Could you imagine a huge great dane walking around on teeny tiny dachshund legs? It’d be ridiculous!
While the exact proportion between leg length and height has some wriggle room to fluctuate between different breeds, it’s not too much of a jump to claim that the tallest breeds have the longest legs. Below are some of the tallest dogs in height order! If the numbers feel off to you, keep in mind that dog height is measured at the withers near the top of the shoulder, not by the top of their ears!
The informative video above will tell you all about owning the Irish Wolfhound, which is the tallest dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They are so tall that the AKC doesn’t even bother listing the upper limit of their height. Instead, they state that the average height of a male Irish Wolfhound is “32 inches minimum.” That makes most Irish Wolfhounds nearly as tall as your kitchen counter, if not taller. Good luck with preventing these intelligent dogs from wolfing down that pizza you left out on the counter!
Part of the reason why the Irish Wolfhound is so tall is that he was bred to be a fast-moving hunting dog. You might remember hearing in your gym class days that long legs are better for running. It’s true, and Irish Wolfhounds with longer legs had a bigger advantage when chasing wild boars and deer.
Modern Irish Wolfhounds still require a lot of exercise. Canine sports such as agility and lure-coursing can be a great way to get those long legs moving!
The short four-minute video above will introduce you to the Akbash, a rare long-legged breed that many dog lovers have never heard of before. Originally from Ancient Turkey, the Akbash were guard dogs who could patiently sit outside all day to keep a watchful eye on livestock. Because of this, they are calmer and less exercise-crazed than other large dog breeds. However, they still enjoy being active. After all, they had to be fit enough to chase away any predators that dared to set foot on their turf.
A fun fact about the Akbash is that they only come in white and “biscuit” colors. This is because most of the predators they guarded against were dark-colored. If you were a livestock owner, seeing a dark, dog-like shape among your flock could get confusing. Is that creature a wolf? Or just your guard dog? The light-colored fur of the Akbash solves this problem. Plus, it can give the guard dogs a battle advantage by camouflaging against the flock to confuse their enemy.
This breed comes in at about 28-34 inches tall. That’s a whole lot of dog, including a large amount of leg! While a lot of dog lovers would agree that more dog is better than less dog, keep in mind that the Akbash doesn’t do well in multi-dog homes. Having been bred to protect their family against other canids like wolves, they can make the mistake of thinking that harmless little Fido is a threat.
While the average male Great Dane stands between 28-32 inches tall, there have been a few exceptional individuals to reach heights greater than the tallest Irish Wolfhounds! Currently, a great dane named Zeus holds the world record for the tallest dog with a height of 44 inches tall. Talk about long legs! When he stood on his hind feet, he reached over seven feet tall!
Because of how huge Zeus is, many people have asked if they can ride him like a horse. However, like all dogs, Great Danes should not be ridden. If you are curious about the lifestyle of the world’s tallest dog, check out the video above!
In general, Great Danes are known for being gentle giants. While they were originally bred for hunting wild boar, over time dog lovers learned that they make great companions. Today, it’s most common to see a great dane lounging around on a couch watching TV with her owners. However, they still require moderate amounts of activity to keep them happy.
Just look at those two long-legged beauties joyfully romping around! The Scottish Deerhound is another tall breed that can reach 28-32 inches tall according to the AKC. Due to their long legs and handsomely scruffy coat, many people think that the Scottish deerhound looks quite majestic. The Scottish sure did! For a long time, only the Scottish nobility was allowed to own this hound. This ultimately led to the breed being nicknamed the “Royal Dog of Scotland.’
Who wouldn’t want to own a royal breed? Well, it turns out that the Scottish Deerhound requires a LOT of exercise. They were bred to chase down giant red deer.
While the Scottish Deerhound is very affectionate towards their family, they also have a sensitive side. When training them, they respond best to positive reinforcement, which has been shown to be the most effective dog training method.
The Borzoi is another beautiful breed with long, elegant legs. The average male Borzoi stands over 28 inches tall. Their uniquely shaped, long-snouted faces give them a sweet and delicate appearance.
They were bred during the 16th century to be the perfect dog for the aristocrats of Russia. They were speedy enough to chase down scary Russian wolves, fluffy enough to stay warm during the harsh Russian winters, and fancy enough to win over the hearts of the nobles. I don’t know about you, but they’ve sure won over my heart!
Like all sighthounds, they are exceptionally fast sprinters who are prone to rocket after any sudden movement. You can learn more about this elegant pup using the video above.
The Greyhound is the next tallest sighthound on our list, with the average male reaching heights of 27-30 inches tall due to his long legs. You may have heard of this famous breed before as they are the fastest dog in the world! From their aerodynamic body to their spring-loaded long legs, these doggies are built for speed! They can reach speeds of up to 45 mph. Impressed yet? I sure am! Take a look at them doing what their long legs were made for in the video above.
The Greyhound isn’t just known for their speed. Their beautiful form has long been a popular artistic muse since the Age of the Renaissance when artist Paolo Veronese painted “Boy with a Greyhound” and other famous works featuring the breed.
Because of their sighthound identity, greyhounds are notoriously bad at listening to instructions. This is because hunting sighthounds had to chase after the quickest flash of movement before their owners even had time to speak the command. While this worked out well for them when hunting was more popular, their decision-making skills nowadays are a bit more flawed. See a rabbit move? They’re on it. See a car move? Yikes!
The Afghan Hound is a regal breed with long, graceful legs that stands up to 27 inches tall.
This is a loyal dog who loves her people! In a quiet environment, they are relatively easy to train as all of their focus will be on their favorite person. However, Afghan Hounds are also sighthounds that are easily distracted by movement, which is why they can struggle to stay focused in busier environments.
Afghan Hounds are also phenomenal at using their long legs to jump over backyard fences. While this can make keeping them contained in your yard difficult, one Afghan Hound named Wonder uses her jumping skills to compete in dog dock diving competitions.
If this beautiful dog has caught your eye, you can learn more about her in the video above.
5 Medium Breeds With Long Legs
While giant breeds are great for their own reasons, there are many advantages to owning a smaller pet. I know I enjoy being able to nap with my favorite furry family member without her taking up the entire bed. Medium-sized dogs allow you to have the best of both worlds with a dog that isn’t too large, but also not too small.
Try not to blink, because the medium-sized breeds up next all have long legs built for speed. They could be gone in a flash if they want to!
While the Azawakh is an ancient dog breed, the above video is a great resource for learning about the pros and cons of owning this unique hound in modern times.
The Azawakh is a tall and lean medium breed with long, elegant legs just like a gazelle.
Speaking of gazelles, let’s take a moment to dive into the Azawakh’s history. This beautiful gal used to live a nomadic lifestyle with her human hunters in West Africa. While her range spanned the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, she is named after the Azawakh Valley in the Niger Basin. She not only helped to feed her people by partaking in gazelle hunts, but she also protected them by guarding the camp.
After the introduction of guns, she was no longer needed for hunting purposes. With a powerful affection for her people, she made a smooth transition into her new role as a beloved pet.
While the AKC breed standards for Vizslas try to keep the breed from getting “too leggy,” there are many Vizsla owners out there who prefer the leggy look, especially those who own Vizslas for their speed! These natural athletes have great stamina and can run up to 40 mph, which has made them popular trail companions in the mountain biking community. So much so that the Vizsla is even USA Olympic Mountain Biker Kate Courtney’s preferred trail buddy! The video above shows a Vizsla having a blast hitting the dirt.
Vizslas are quiet dogs who are not prone to barking but can be prone to destructive behaviors when allowed to become bored. These dogs are highly intelligent and need to remain mentally stimulated. Vizslas also love to be around people and may struggle with being on their own for extended periods of time.
Overall, vizslas are best suited for active families who have plenty of time to devote to their dog. Bonus points if you want a hiking companion!
What an adorable Sloughi family playing outside! As you can see, the Sloughi is a tan beauty with long legs that give her the graceful appearance of an antelope.
This ancient sighthound is a sensitive soul who is extremely loyal to her owners. If playful banter is your thing, you’ll love having “conversations” with the Sloughi because she is a chatty dog who isn’t afraid to talk back! However, strangers make her a bit nervous, which can lead her to be quiet and reserved in new social situations.
The Sloughi thrives when she receives over 2 hours of exercise each day, which can make her a difficult dog to own if you are pressed for time. However, that makes this sweetheart a great choice if you are interested in canine sports. Due to her power and speed, the Sloughi is often referred to as the “Arabian Greyhound.” With training, she can learn to be confident enough to compete in public without experiencing stage fright.
Do you think you have what it takes to own the handsome Saluki? Check out the video above!
The Saluki is an extremely tall, thin-legged dog with a refined appearance.
Without proper socialization as a puppy, the Saluki can easily become a high-strung dog who is super sensitive to even minor changes in the home. However, if he starts training young with a focus on exposing him to a wide variety of situations and environments, the Saluki can develop into a confident dog who is capable of adjusting to change.
Due to his sighthound lineage, the Saluki is a highly intelligent, speedy dog with a high prey drive. This should be remembered before introducing him to a home with cats, as he may have difficulties suppressing his urge to chase the cats.
While there are a lot of special considerations when it comes to owning the Saluki, he will reward the experienced sighthound owner who takes him on with unending love and loyalty!
Meet Spitfire, a famous whippet known for his athletic ability and amazing bond with his teenage trainer.
The Whippet is a tall-legged prince who distinguishes himself from the common dog by naturally holding his tail at a low angle.
Descended from the Greyhound, this hound has inherited the gift of speed. Before you let your Whippet off-leash, make sure his recall is impeccable. If it came to a race, your Whippet would easily leave you in the dust!
While his speed makes the Whippet a breed that excels at doggy sports, his friendly temperament makes him suited for a wide range of activities, including being a therapy dog.
5 Small Dog Breeds: Long-Legged Terriers
While terriers are known for being small dogs with huge personalities, there is a subset of them who are also known for their long legs. These breeds are called long-legged terriers. In order to be leggy enough to fall in this group, a recognized terrier breed must have a humerus (the bone of their upper forelimb) that is longer than their scapula (their shoulder bone).
The legginess of these breeds not only gives them a powerful stance, but also gives them an advantage to hunting medium-sized critters such as foxes and badgers.
While not a complete list of long-legged terriers, here are five breeds that stand above the rest when it comes to their leg length!
Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a terrier from Ireland whose original purpose in life was to hunt badgers. She has natural safety goggles in the form of thick curly hair that grows over her eyes, allowing her to safely run through thick forest brush. It also gives her the appearance of having eyebrows which are actually quite common amongst many terrier breeds.
This fashionable dog is also famous for her looks! The Kerry Blue is named after her slate blue fur, which is a rarity in the dog world. The thick, curly fur covering her long legs also makes her silhouette look like she is wearing flared pants.
As explained in the video above, the Kerry Blue Terrier is a playful family dog who makes an amazing pet!
The Bedlington Terrier has a soft, white coat that makes him look like an adorable little lamb! Let him loose in a field, and the sight of him frolicking on those long, bouncy legs will only make the image of a lamb more vivid!
This terrier is a loving yet energetic fellow who is always ready to embark upon his next adventure. If there is nothing for the Bedlington Terrier to do, he has no qualms about creating his own fun and especially favors barking, digging, and chasing.
This breed was originally bred to keep vermin away from the home, but today it is much more common to find him flaunting his good looks at dog shows.
While the Manchester Terrier was known for living in the city, he loves exploring the great outdoors when the opportunity arises!
This small dog receives his name from the English city of Manchester where he became popular as “The Gentleman’s Terrier” during Elizabethan times. Intelligent, alert, and suave, it is easy to see how the Manchester Terrier was a respectable companion to keep around.
This little dog with his muscular long legs and fearless personality is a great athlete who was originally bred for hunting rats. Today, dog trainers love to make use of his courage and intellect to partner with him for a wide variety of doggy sports, from lure coursing to freestyle dancing.
Standard and Toy are the two sizes that he comes in, and both have similar temperaments.
Our next breed is another dog that looks like an adorable animal. The Border Terrier looks like a cute little otter due to his broad, flat head. While his long legs might make him look like a good swimmer, Border Terriers tend to be hit or miss when it comes to doing the doggy paddle. I’d recommend buying a doggy life jacket just in case the Border Terrier in your life is one of the ones that come without natural swimming instincts.
This scruffy little dog is upbeat and agile. He is a hard worker whose motto is “work hard, play harder.” The Border Terrier can be extremely determined when there is a job to be done, but he also loves to chill out and play with the children at the end of the day. Overall, he is a fantastic pet and makes a great adventure buddy for young children.
Shown above is a Border Terrier going on a fun weekend adventure with his family!
We saved the best for last, as the Airedale Terrier is the long-legged terrier with the longest legs! Among his fans, this has earned him the title, “King of Terriers.” Even while playing rambunctiously, his long legs make any movement elegant. In the video above, the three Airedale Terriers almost appear to be leaping in slow motion!
Airedale Terriers are known to be bold, courageous, and determined. While these are typically good qualities, these terriers sometimes push the traits into the more negative realm of “stubborn.” Even with their stubborn episodes, Airedale Terriers are great dogs who love their people.
They also know how to be gentle with children, which is always a plus!
Do Dogs With Long Legs Need Special Care?
Some dog breeds have long legs that grow really quickly. During this period of rapid growth, the limbs are weaker as they try to keep up with the high rate of growth. In larger, heavy dogs such as Great Danes, there is a higher risk of rambunctious puppies breaking limbs by catapulting themselves from high heights. While your large puppy may believe his size makes him invincible, the open growth plates in his legs say otherwise and may fracture if he decides to take a leap of faith from halfway up the staircase.
Other than keeping an eye on puppies to make sure they don’t do anything too terribly stupid, the only other thing to keep in mind with long-legged breeds is that many have a higher exercise requirement than other dogs. Many were bred to be hunters, so their long legs are built to be fast and have crazy amounts of stamina!
Failure to provide this required exercise can not only decrease your dog’s quality of life via the inability to express natural behavior, but also result in increased behavior problems. This is because being cooped up can be frustrating for a dog with too much energy. The resulting problematic behaviors such as destructive chewing are used by the dog as an outlet to release stress when there is a lack of better options. Thankfully, this issue can be avoided by making sure your dog gets plenty of playtime, which is fun for everyone involved!
Whether you prefer to have a giant Irish Wolfhound keep you company, or would rather have a smaller Border Terrier as your adventure buddy, there is an appropriately-sized dog with long legs out there for everyone. I hope you enjoyed learning about the seventeen distinct long-legged breeds featured in this article!
If you need a change of pace after learning about the many of the overwhelming energetic breeds in this list, why not slow things down by taking a look at this list of breeds who love to sleep?