Dogs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but there’s just something about tall, skinny dogs that piques our curiosity. Apart from the usual favorites like the French bulldog and the German shepherd, many regal and unique breeds come with great abilities and charming personalities. In this article, we share the best tall and skinny dog breeds that might be a great addition to your family, while others are seldom seen outside of their country but are nevertheless majestic.
Best Tall and Skinny Dog Breeds
Coming from all corners of the world, these dogs are both exotic and peculiar in the way they look; below are the best tall, skinny dog breeds.
1. Doberman Pinscher
This strong dog comes with a smooth coat that’s sleek and elegant — they hail from Germany and are known for being excellent guard dogs. Because they’re strong and slim, they can run fast and excel as guard dogs or even friendly pets. While they might look scary at first, these dogs are smart, kind, and very loyal to their families but they will need a lot of exercises because they’re high-energy dogs.
2. Afghan Hound
Its proud demeanor and silky coat make this dog seem like the runway model of the dog world and their long hairs will need regular grooming. First bred in the Middle East, these dogs were used by nomadic tribes to hunt for small game because of their ability to run at high speeds and good sense of smell. They enjoy running over long distances and can be the perfect buddy for those looking for an active lifestyle.
3. Great Dane
Often referred to as “gentle giants,” Great Danes aren’t just incredibly tall but very sweet too. These pups come from Germany and were originally used to hunt wild boar, but it’s best to always be aware of their height — they can easily push kids over without meaning to. Their lean body, combined with their affectionate personality makes them great family dogs.
4. Irish Wolfhound
Known as one of the oldest dog breeds, the Irish Wolfhound has been around for a long time and has been used to hunt wolves and in wars. These dogs have a unique look; their skinny body and thick coat will need regular grooming to keep them looking good. If you want to add these dogs to your family, be sure to give them a lot of exercise; they’ll be happy with regular walks and some playtime.
5. Scottish Deerhound
This dog is related to the Irish Wolfhound and is big but gentle — as their name implies, they were used to chase deer around Scotland. These tall dogs have thick, rough coats that will need weekly brushing to keep them well-kept. Despite their big and rough appearances, they’re loving and kind dogs but if you want to add them as family members, be sure to give them plenty of exercise. Once they get exercise they can be fantastic family dogs.
These dogs are sometimes called “the poor man’s racehorse,” and are known for their graceful appearance and incredible speeds. Whippets are medium-sized breeds that have a slender body, short coat, and an athletic build, which allows them to run at great speeds. Whippet dogs were made to be a smaller and faster variant of the Greyhound, but today they’re more content to lounge indoors and can make great family pets.
7. American English Coonhound
First developed in the southern United States, the American English Coonhound comes with a keen sense of smell which is effective at tracking. Their short coat comes in various colors and will often come with white markings — they’re intelligent, sociable, and energetic, so they need someone with an active lifestyle. Thanks to their background in hunting, they can become great guard dogs but when given the right training, they can also be good pets for your family.
8. Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhounds are a blend of an athlete and a lapdog and feature slender bodies with a long nose. While it’s a highly athletic canine, they’re also able to form strong bonds with family and will share plenty of affection with the whole family. However, these playful and lively pups will come with a delicate bone structure and will do best in a family with older children who will be able to treat them with care.
The Saluki breed comes from an old lineage of dogs from Egypt and the Middle East and is often referred to as the “Egyptian royal dog” or “Gazelle hound.” People from desert tribes often raised them to hunt due to their deep chest and long legs that allowed them to run far. While they excel at running, they’re also calm and sweet inside a house and will do well with families that can give them daily exercise and a quiet environment.
10. Ibizan Hound
These dogs are native to the Spanish islands and possess a unique look thanks to their red and white colored coats. The Ibizan Hound is also related to an ancient Egyptian breed — these tall dog breeds are experts at hunting down small animals using their agility and speed. Because they have such an active lifestyle, they’ll need someone who can provide their daily exercise requirements.
11. Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)
This dog is the epitome of elegance, grace, and beauty; originally bred in Russia, the Borzoi is known for its curved neck and gorgeous coat and is a favorite among royalty. Despite their noble origins, they are affectionate and loving dogs to their humans and will desire an active life with a family that can give them open spaces to roam around. They were originally bred for their extreme speed and keen sight — these beautiful canines also come with long coats to protect them from the cold weather.
Azawakh dogs from West Africa were traditionally raised by nomadic tribes where they were used as guard dogs and protected their communities from predators. The Azawakh breed sports long legs and deep chests that make them naturally built for running across the vast deserts of their native country. Their lean bodies are resilient and strong, so they’ll need regular exercise inside an active environment — these loyal dogs can serve well as guards for your home.
Also known as the Hungarian Pointer, the Vizsla comes with shiny golden coats and is highly active and sporty. While they’re great hunters, many people are fascinated by their golden-rust coats and expressive dark brown eyes. This skinny breed is fast and is happy to work with its owner — with proper training, they can become close with their family and will be happy with exercise and games to keep them healthy and happy.
14. Pharaoh Hound
This medium-sized dog can be found in Malta but originates from ancient Egypt — their striking coat comes with long snouts and skinny bodies. They were once the favorite pet of kings and were used to hunt through the Sahara desert of North Africa while in Malta they are used to traverse the rocky terrain for rabbits. These affectionate, energetic, and playful dogs will need daily exercise and are a good fit for families that love adventure and activities.
These intelligent dogs come from Central Africa and don’t bark; instead, they make a sound known as “barroo” due to their oddly shaped larynx. They can be recognized through their sleek coats, curly tails, and almond eyes — they’re also highly active and are great for hunting due to their speed and strong sense of smell. This small dog can’t compete with large dog breeds in terms of size, but it still deserves a spot among skinny dog breeds with long legs and is nevertheless a great dog to have.
The Kanni breed is unique to South India and isn’t well-known outside of its region but those who know them raise these dogs for their hunting skills and loyalty. Traditionally used to hunt animals of a small size throughout rocky areas, these dogs have lean bodies that have been built for speed which makes them great runners. Kanni dogs only need an occasional bath so they’re easy to care for — they may be the right dog for your family if you’re looking for a pooch with a rich history and are loyal.
17. Irish Setter
The Irish setter is a playful and sociable dog that comes with high energy levels — while they can protect their human, they aren’t generally considered to be guard dogs. Instead, they are categorized as watchdogs since they tend to bark whenever they see intruders. They’re said to mature slower than other dogs, so you’ll be able to enjoy their puppy years for longer.
Also known as the Arabian greyhound, the Sloughi is an ancient type of dog used for hunting in the deserts of North Africa, where hunters depend on its speed. They have athletic bodies with dense coats that come in fawn, sandy, and black colors that won’t shed, so a weekly brush is all they need to keep a clean look. While they can be stubborn now and then, they are affectionate dogs that can become great companions when trained properly.
Known as the fastest dog breed in the world, the Greyhound is an intelligent and muscular breed that comes with long legs, a narrow chest, and a lean body that helps them maneuver during races. They are also among the skinniest dogs around, and their short coats help to streamline them during Greyhound racing, where they can reach speeds of up to 45 miles an hour. According to the American Kennel Club, they have high intelligence and won’t bark much, so they can be good inside homes apart from chasing.
20. German Shorthaired Pointer
These dogs aren’t just tall and skinny but are also obedient and well-known for their “pointing” stance — they are one of the most versatile breeds for running at high speeds, making them skilled hunters. When they’re not out looking for game, these intelligent and loyal dogs love to please their humans and will also do well in homes with children and other animals. However, they can be wary of strangers, so proper training and early socialization is important for them.
Common Health Issues in Tall and Skinny Breeds
While it would be nice to choose between the tallest dogs for your next pet, there are a few health concerns you should consider before deciding on a particular dog.
1. Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia in canines is a condition that starts in growing dogs and may result in the instability of the hip joint. This problem usually occurs in big dogs such as the Neapolitan Mastiff and may eventually result in joint degeneration, arthritis, and pain.
2. Elbow Dysplasia
Many owners of giant breed dogs are aware of the consequences that come with elbow dysplasia, which can cause their pet’s lameness. This occurs when the wear and tear of the elbow leads to osteoarthritis and joint inflammation.
3. Wobbler Syndrome
Also known as Cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM), this disease of the spine and neck is commonly seen in taller dog breeds such as the Irish Wolfhound. This condition can affect how the vertebrae are lined up and may result in neck pain or spinal cord compression.
4. Dilated Cardiomyopathy
This is a heart disease that’s commonly seen in giant and large-breed dogs like the Scottish Deerhound. When this happens, the heart is too weak to pump blood around the body and can lead to symptoms such as intolerance to exercise, weakness, breathing difficulties, and coughing.
While not all dogs in this list are among the tallest dog breeds, many of them can become great companions at home, both for families and active individuals. Each breed is unique in its own right and they all possess a touch of elegance that you can’t resist — from hunting to racing, you can be sure to find a dog that will suit your home. Just remember that no matter which breed you choose, be sure to train them using positive reinforcement to help them become well-balanced dogs.