17 of the Best Large Dog Breeds for Families To Consider

Last Updated on April 24, 2023

Are you thinking about adding a new furry friend to your family? If you have the room, a large dog breed might be a good choice. Despite their size, many massive pups look more intimidating than they are.

Most large dog breeds are sensitive, gentle, and kind.

Golden retriever dog running outdoor

If you want to learn more about some of the best large dogs for families, then keep reading.

What are the Best Large Dogs for Families?

There are many large dog breeds in the world, too many to count. Some of these dog breeds are better suited for families than others, though. So let’s take a look at some of the best large dogs for families.

1. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dog portrait
Source: @kira_und_zenzi_bernersennen / IG

This giant dog is loving, playful, and intelligent. Bernese Mountain Dogs will make a great family pet since they love to cuddle and are gentle with kids.

This pooch is easy to train and eager to learn. Their fluffy coat is the cutest but will require plenty of grooming maintenance. 

2. Boxer

Boxer sitting on the road
Source: @callumtheboxer / IG

Boxers are fun-loving, sensitive, and friendly with others. While this dog may get separation anxiety, they are gentle, smart, affectionate, and easy to train.

They’ll do better with a family that is home most of the time. While they’ll get along with anyone, they’re alert and will make a great guard dog.

3. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever sitting on the garden
Source: @mimiu____1123 / IG

Labrador Retrievers are all-around good pups. They were bred as hunting dogs to go after ducks, but they are good-natured, gentle, and friendly.

They are often used as therapy dogs since they are good with children, easy to train (they love to learn), and intelligent. They’ll make great companions for active families.

They are often used as therapy dogs since they are good with children, easy to train (they love to learn), and intelligent. They’ll make great companions for active families plus they support a positive and educational experience for young children.

4. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever chilling near the lake
Source: @bartho_goldenretriever / IG

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds. This breed is one of the best family dogs as they are great with young children, get along with anyone, and are gentle.

This pooch is smart, easy to train, and playful. They’ll keep an eye on the kids and love playing and running with them in a fenced-in yard.

5. Basset Hound

Basset Hound on top of the wooden bench
Source: @barneyjosethebasset / IG

The Basset Hound doesn’t look big, but they can weigh up to 60 pounds, classifying them as a large dog breed. This breed is a loyal companion that’s gentle, friendly, and great with small children.

However, this fun-loving pup will shed and drool a lot.

6. German Shepherd

Black German Shepherd sitting on the bushes
Source: @negra_black_dog / IG

German Shepherds are loving, loyal, intelligent, and affectionate with their families. These herders used to herd sheep, and they’ll be gentle furry friends to all, including kids.

However, this pooch might be a little wary around other dogs. But they’re quick to learn and eager to please, so early socialization and proper training will nip that in the bud.

7. Newfoundland

Newfoundland waiting for a treat
Source: @kismetthenewf / IG

Did you know that Newfoundland can grow to be as large as 150 pounds? Also known as the nanny dog, this massive dog is super friendly and gentle, despite its size.

First recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1886, this working dog is patient and devoted to family. They are vigilant, making them excellent watchdogs.

8. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute sitting on the sofa
Source: @sulomuutti / IG

Not to be confused with the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamutes were initially bred as hunting dogs but are now classified by the AKC as working dogs.

These gentle giants are fully domesticated, even though they resemble wolves. They’ll do well with active families. However, they may be too friendly for their good and won’t make great guard dogs.

9. Great Dane

Great Dane standing under the sun
A Great Dane dog standing under the sun

Great Danes are another large dog breed that’s massive. They are super gentle and great with small children, even though they might accidentally knock them over due to their large size.

However, this doggo is calm and friendly. They’ll need daily exercise with a couple of walks per day to stretch their legs.

10. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman sitting under the sun
Source: @rex.the.dobie / IG

Don’t let the size and looks intimidate you. Doberman Pinschers are big softies and can be sensitive. However, they are alert and will make excellent guard dogs.

They are protective of their family members but are playful and gentle, especially with kids. The good news is that dog owners won’t have to worry about shedding.

11. Australian Shepherd

Blue-eyed Australian Shepherd portrait

Australian Shepherds are loyal companions who are intelligent and easy to train. These herding dogs will be a great addition to any family.

They love to work and play, so they’ll do well with an active family that can give them daily exercise and mental stimulation. 

12. Collie

Rough Collie chilling on the patio
Source: @lifeasazarina / IG

You may recognize the Collie from the hit movie Lassie. This dog breed is similar to the fictional dog in which they are loyal, gentle, and intelligent.

The best part about this breed is that they’re hardworking and easy to train. However, they may bark a lot.

13. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer hiding under the blanket
Source: @fiadhthegsp / IG

The intelligent German Shorthaired Pointer will make a great addition to any home.

They’ll make an excellent family dog since they’re great with small children, affectionate, and will love to cuddle with you at the end of the night.

14. American Staffordshire Terrier

Gorgeous American Staffordshire Terrier wearing dog harness

The American Staffordshire Terrier is intelligent, playful, and goofy. They will fit right in with the rest of the family.

While they have strong personalities, they’ll enjoy going on walks and playing in a fenced-in yard with the kids.

15. Dalmatian

Dalmatian dog exploring in the woods
Source: @holmes_the_dalmatian / IG

Dalmatians aren’t the most friendly dog breeds when it comes to strangers. However, they are loyal and protective of their family members, so you can count on this doggo to be a great watchdog.

This pooch will do well with an active family and enjoy working out with you or going for long walks or hikes.

16. Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog chilling on the backyard
Source: @shep_thesheepdog / IG

These herders are known for their work on farms. Without work, this pooch is playful and affectionate but is content couch potatoes.

Old English Sheepdogs do need some physical and mental stimulation each day, but they’ll also be happy to cuddle with you.

17. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees dog strolling on the rice field
Source: @nobipower / IG

The Great Pyrenees is gentle, docile, and kind. They are devoted to their family and will be great with young kids. In other words, this beloved pooch will make a great guard dog.

They’ll alert you if they feel like something is off, but they won’t be aggressive toward others. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Alaskan Malamute portrait
Source: @gembul.alpha.alaskan / IG

What should you look for in big dog breeds for families?

When it comes to bringing home a big dog to your family, there are a few things to consider to help you choose the right one.

First, if you have young kids, you’ll want to make sure that the large dog breed is gentle and friendly around children.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure that all of your family members are on board with having a large dog at home.

You’ll also want to be sure that you have enough room in your house for a big dog. Even gentle giants might accidentally knock something over and be unaware of how large they are.

Finally, there are certain traits to look out for when choosing a new family dog.

These traits are affection, hypoallergenic quality, loyalty, appropriate energy levels, intelligence, playfulness, gentleness, and self-awareness.

Friendliness is another trait. Some of the most friendly large dog breeds are the Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever. These doggos will be kind and get along with everyone.

Another consideration is maintenance requirements. For example, you may not want to keep up with a large dog’s drooling, coat grooming, or high energy levels as much.

A low-maintenance pup to consider may be the Dalmatian or Standard Poodle since they’re hypoallergenic.

What are the preparations to add a big dog to your family?

Adding a furry friend to your home, whether it’s a small dog, medium in size, or a large dog breed, things are going to change.

You need to prepare for these changes, and it may uproot your family as you all adjust to the new family member.

Before bringing your new pup home, you’ll want to find a veterinarian. This way, you can give the puppy a check-up right away and determine any health issues they may have. They can also get the dog’s shots updated if needed.

In addition, the vet can help you choose the right meal plan for your dog’s diet so that you can select high-quality dog food.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the supplies you need to properly welcome your pooch into your home. This includes a high-quality crate, an orthopedic mattress, and good toys.

A crate will help with housebreaking your furry friend, training them, and will also provide them a safe space to go to in the house. They can retreat to their crate when home alone or need to rest after a long day of playing.

An orthopedic bed will provide comfort in their crate. Also, it will help soothe your dog’s joints, bones, and muscles in the long run.

Whether it’s for teething or daily exercise and playing, all dogs need good toys. You can buy chews, ropes, balls, and plushies for your dog to play with alone, chew on, or play fetch with you.

Finally, upon meeting your new pup, try to have a dog name already picked out. This will especially be fun for your family, especially if you have young children.

Are Any of These Best Large Dog Breeds Right For Your Family?

Portrait of a wet German Shepherd
Source: @thor_dogofthunder_gsd / IG

There are many things to consider when it comes to bringing home a large dog breed. First, you’ll want to make sure that they fit well into your family’s lifestyle.

If you’re an active family, then you’ll want to get an active dog. Otherwise, there are plenty of pups that will enjoy cuddling on the couch with you.

Despite their massive size, most large dog breeds are gentle giants and will enjoy being part of your family. Just be sure that you can maintain a big dog, depending on their needs.

Do you have a large dog breed at home? Let us know in the comments below!

Further reading: more best dog breeds to bring home

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