Hundreds of millions of people around the world have dogs as pets. Since you’re reading this article, chances are you’re one of them. And if that is the case, do you ever look at your dog and think to yourself: “I wonder who were the biggest dogs in history”? Well, this Largest Canine in History of Dogs article is going to explain just that.
First things first, like with most animals, the largest canine is extinct. The name of this canid is epicyon and it’s essentially an extinct prehistoric dog. Fun fact – epicyon actually means “more than a dog” in greek.
History and Location
The first fossils of epicyons were found in mid 19th century and was named by Joseph Leidy in 1858.
These huge canines lived in North America about 15 to 5 million years ago, from the Middle through Late Miocene periods. They lived in areas that are currently in modern United States of America, spanning from Florida to California and Oregon.
Alright, just how big were they?
Pretty damn big. They were actually almost the size of modern grizzly bears. And we’re talking about canines, mind you.
They were about as long as a modern lioness and weighed about as much as a modern lion. It is estimated, that an average epicyon was about 1.5 meters or 5 feet long and weighed about 225 kilograms or 500 pounds. That’s a big puppy.
Analysis of their skulls shows that epicyon heads were shaped more like those of modern felines – cats, rather than canines.
They had pretty long limbs and incredibly powerful jaws that could crush bones and extract marrow from them, which supports the theory that they were carnivorous predators.
It is estimated, although none of these claims are 100% guaranteed to be true, that epicyons were carnivores, but they also could have been scavenging omnivores. It’s also thought that they hunted in packs – like wolves, but it’s also possible that they hunted alone – like hyenas.
Although not that much is known about this dog predecessor who lived 15 to 5 million years ago in terms of behavioral patterns and diets, what we can be sure of, is that epicyons are the largest, currently-known-to-have-existed canines in Earth’s history. Hopefully you guys learned something new. And this concludes the Largest Canine in History of Dogs article.