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Giant dogs aren't uncommon in works of fantasy. Sif from Dark Souls comes to mind.

enter image description here

What I want to know is: what's the largest a canine could realistically get, what differences would they need compared to regular dogs in order to function, and what evolutionary pressures would lead a group of canids to evolve to such large sizes?

Note: Magic does not exist in my story.

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    $\begingroup$ An animal the size of Paraceratherium cannot run or jump. It makes sense for an herbivore, it makes no sense for a carnivore who is supposed to run after its lunch. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Apr 1, 2020 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ wasn't T-rex also that large but still a carnivore? $\endgroup$
    – icewar1908
    Apr 1, 2020 at 10:23
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    $\begingroup$ it wasn't a mammal, and wasn't chasing other mammals. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Apr 1, 2020 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ I think the dog's size is fine but the proportion needs fine adjustment, neck could be a bit thicker and need more practices on it's swordmanship too predictable and I could solo it colorblinded anytime. ;p $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Apr 1, 2020 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ Is your story intended for a visual medium? Film, animation, comics? Because in a written story I don't see why you would need anything other than "humongous wolf". $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Apr 1, 2020 at 10:52

1 Answer 1

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The largest terrestrial mammalian predator by weight was Andrewsarchus:

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You can get a little more height using a slighter build like Daeodon here:

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But that is about your limit. Mammals are really poorly designed for large size, our bones, skeletal structure and respiratory system are just garbage if you are trying to be big. Dinosaurs get huge because they have hollow bones, a massively reinforced pelvic girdle, and no lumbar region.

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