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Domestic Dog Maximum Skull Size

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by nuclearjunky, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. nuclearjunky

    nuclearjunky Member

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    Hi

    Does anyone know how big a domestic dog skull can get?. How big was the largest skull ever found? I am also Interested in the respective breed.
    I am asking because I just got a great dane skull for a study that measures 31 cms (12/4/10") Long and 16 cms (6/4/10") wide whicht seems to be huge to me. I am still looking at that skull in disbelief as it even dwarfs a large alsatian dog skull and a black bear.
     
  2. Well Great Danes ARE very large breeds, so naturally it would dwarf a German Shepherd (even a large GSD)...

    Not too sure about Black Bears though, not in US. :p
     

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If you have ever had a dane stand and look you in the eye you would realize how big their head really is. Do you get to keep the skull or is it only on loan to you? Would love to see a picture next to a reference like a soda can.
     
  4. nuclearjunky

    nuclearjunky Member

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    Do you know record skull size of great dane or any other large dog breed? Would be very interesting to me.

    Photo upload is not possible for me at the moment due to some technical restrictions.
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You don't need to upload a photo here. Put a copy of it on Photobucket for free and put the link to it here.
     
  6. Orkman-X

    Orkman-X New Member

    these two are the largest dog skulls I have.

    first is a Napolitan Mastiff Male that weighed around 150 pounds. skull length is 10.3 inch/26.2cm, max zygo arc width is 5.8inch/14.8 cm

    [​IMG]

    second is Great Dane female. skull length 10.37inch/26.33cm, max zygo width 5.56inch/14.1 cm

    [​IMG]

    but none of these come close to 31cm in length/16 cm wide. must be a beast male GD. please post pic
     
  7. 31 cm is about 12 3/16" and 16 cm is about 6 5/16" which gives you a total score of 18 8/16" the largest grey wolf in SCI for reference scores 18 9/16" http://member.scifirstforhunters.org/members/RB/view_minimums.cfm

    No idea how that compares to domestic dogs though...
     
  8. Are you sure what you got is a great dane and not a wolf? Honestly, I have never seen any domestic dog exceed the size of the largest wolf skull I have, and I've got lots of dog skulls. The biggest wolf I have is about 11 3/4 X 5 3/4" (which is not even record book, just a large male wolf @ 17.5"). The longest domestic dog I have is a massive German Shepherd that measures about 11 1/4" long X 5 1/4" wide. The widest skulls I have all belong to various mastiff breeds - bull mastiff, St. Bernhard, English mastiff, Bernese Mountain dog, etc. None exceeds more than about 6 1/8" wide, and the longest is about 10 1/4". So all fall short of the wolf.

    The thing about domestic dogs is you can have a dog that weighs a couple hundred pounds, and yet, because dogs have proportionately smaller heads than wolves, still have a smaller skull than a wolf that weighs only 130 or so. Danes are not even the largest (heaviest) recorded breed (nor are they always the tallest - often Irish wolf hounds are a bit taller and occasionally appear in world records) - that distinction normally (based on the Guinness Book of records) is divided between the English mastiff and the St. Bernhard. I remember years ago reading about an English mastiff that tipped the scales at close to 300lbs and stood almost 8 feet tall when it stood on its hind legs. Now a dog like that would be likely to produce a skull the size of a large wolf's; but not from your average or even large male mastiff breeds. And I'd still bet that no dog, not even a record holder like that, would be able to best the SCI top record for a wolf skull.

    There is one almost fool proof way you can tell wolf from dog (and also other wild canids, like coyotes) - wild canids almost always have much larger, more robust (as well as straight and evenly spaced) teeth. Other ways include having a flat forehead (most domestic dogs have a pronounced bump, or stop, where the snout transitions into the cranium) and whether or not the skull rocks freely when sitting on a flat surface. I have seen more than a few coyote skulls that sport canines and carnassial molars that make the teeth in my two Doberman Pinscher skulls look puny. Almost all of the really large breeds I have exhibit large gaps between the incisors (where on a wolf or other wild canid the incisors all touch each other) and often times the canines flare outward (especially the uppers) almost like tusks. So it isn't hard at all to tell a large dog from a wolf skull. I'd post pics of comparisons I've done, but unfortunately my photo hosting site that has all those pics is offline tonight. I can try to post some of the pics later on.

    Either way, it would be quite interesting to see pics of the OP's skull, especially if it is indeed a domestic dog.
     
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    For comparison, here is one of my larger wolf skulls.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. My photo host is working again - here is a coyote compared with a male Doberman (yote is on the left):
    [​IMG]
    yote is on the right in this top view:
    [​IMG]

    wolf vs St. Bernhard upper canines and incisors:
    (wolf is on the lower left)
    [​IMG]
    Wolf and SB skull (SB on left):
    [​IMG]
    Wolf and SB (SB on bottom):
    [​IMG]



    English mastiff (on right, small spotted hyena is on left):
    [​IMG]

    Large coyote (top) vs american pit bull (note canine and carnassial size):
    [​IMG]

    Wolf vs huge German Shepherd (shepherd is on top):
    [​IMG]
     
  11. BTW, even if the OP's skull is indeed a wolf, that would still be a nice record book addition to their collection.
     
  12. nuclearjunky

    nuclearjunky Member

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    The idea that it could be a wolf because of the size is interesting. However, the skull has dog typical features like high frontals and relatively small teeth.

    Tried to make pictures now. But the camera did not cooperate as the battery seems not to be the newest. I will post pictures when all technical Problems are solved