Large breed dogs are powerful, protective, high energy, and love to play and take up the entire family bed. If you’re looking for the best large dog breeds, my list of the top twenty-seven large dog breeds will help you choose a pet that will be the perfect addition to your home, based on space needs, personality, energy type, and exercise needs.
Finding the Right Large Breed for Your Family
A large breed dog can easily weigh over 100 pounds. These dogs have higher exercise and space needs compared to a small or medium-sized canine. Their sheer size can make them look very intimidating; however, they can be the perfect pet if you’re looking for a canine that’s devoted, loyal, and eager to please.
Many large dog breeds were bred for protection or work purposes. This includes shepherds and mastiffs.
Before you bring a new pet home, make sure you can provide for them. Owning a large canine can mean a higher food bill, may require regular grooming, and a lot more exercise compared to smaller breeds.
It’s important to do your research on large dog breeds to find a pup that will fit in nicely with your other pets, and the amount of time you have to dedicate to quality time, walking, and training.
Some large dog breeds can be a handful and can be difficult to train, which is why it’s essential to choose a breed carefully. In this guide, I’ll go over what personality traits to look for, how to determine which type of pet will work for you and your home, and I’ll cover the top twenty-seven large dog breeds that will be perfect for you and the kids.
Most large dog breeds exhibit many traits detailed below, which makes them great for families and children.
Animals that are good with kids and easy to train make great pets. If you plan on taking your canine with you to the local park or for walks around the neighborhood, then you’ll want a canine that can get along with people in the park and any other animals that you may encounter when you go on a walk. You also want an animal that will be welcoming when you have people visiting.
Animals that are very affectionate make great pets and often follow their owner everywhere and enjoy spending time with them. They also enjoy a good lap, despite their larger size.
A canine that’s treated well by members of the family will be loyal to his or her pack members. However, there are some large dog breeds that are more loyal than others. A canine that’s super loyal will be much easier to train. Keep in mind, some breeds tend to be loyal to a single person in the home, more than others, while other breeds with a reputation for loyalty will treat every member of the family equally.
Some of the best large dog breeds are total couch potatoes and enjoy lounging around the house all day, while others have major exercise needs because of their high energy. It’s crucial that you choose a pet that offers the type of energy level that suits your lifestyle. Do you want a canine that loves long walks or jogs? Do you want a canine you can take hiking with you? If so, you’ll benefit more from the best large dog breeds that are high energy. If you’re looking for a canine that loves to cuddle and hang around the house, a low energy pet will be a better choice. Keep in mind, all large dog breeds should be walked daily, but some breeds will require more frequent, longer walks, in order to burn up all that extra energy.
A smart canine can be easier to train and usually provides more rewarding interactions with people compared to breeds of lower intelligence. A smart canine will also cause fewer problems around the house, such as destructive behavior and pet accidents. However, some breeds of highly intelligent dogs can also be incredibly stubborn. Dogs that are smart and have a dominating personality will require extensive and consistent training. Some breeds with a higher intelligence can also be more prone to separation anxiety and may participate in destructive behavior when left alone, out of anxiety or sheer boredom.
These bigger breeds are eager to go for a swim, run, hike, and play a game of fetch in the backyard with the kids. If you’re looking for family dogs that love to spend time outdoors and staying active, choose a pup with a reputation for their playful behavior.
A large breed dog can inflict serious injuries, accidentally. It doesn’t take much to knock over a small child. Large breeds that are good with children are often incredibly gentle and will not get carried away when they’re excited. A canine that’s sweet will be most important for families with very small children.
Other Factors to Consider When Searching for the Best Large Dog Breeds
Owning a large breed dog is much different than owning small or toy pets. Large pets require careful training, are very active and require more space to move around, and often need more exercise. They can be the bringer of chaos or a good addition to your home, depending on how much time you devote to coaching them. While some breeds have the potential to be animal, dog, or human aggressive, most are very gentle and need your help and guidance to learn how to behave in the house.
As a pet owner of a giant dog breed, it’s your responsibility to ensure your pets remain healthy and happy. Some animals are susceptible to certain health and joint conditions due to their larger frame. Hip dysplasia is a big concern for large breeds because of the stress placed on their joints. For potential owners, it’s important to do some research on each specific large breed dog they’re interested in to learn what supplements they require that can minimize or prevent health problems as they age.
The best large dog breeds have very different nutritional needs compared to a small dog. A puppy can grow too quickly if they’re overfed, which can result in joint problems later in life. Make sure you switch to an adult food early in life and speak with your vet concerning how much food to feed your canine to ensure you don’t cause health problems as they grow.
Training Large Dog Breeds
The best large dog breeds should be trained. It’s also crucial that you establish you’re in charge early on, especially if you have a canine with a reputation for a dominating personality. Some dogs are easier to train than others. Look for a canine that’s easy to train yourself, or if you have the budget, research trainers in your area and have your pet trained as soon as possible.
Finding the Best Big Dog Breeds
Below, I’ll start off my list of the best large dog breeds with the Irish wolfhound, a beautiful breed that’s very affectionate and loyal and will make a great new family member.
This is one of the tallest animals on my list. This canine also has an average weight of a hundred and eighty pounds. These dogs make wonderful companions. These dogs are also very gentle with people, especially children and get along with other animals. However, they are prone to weight gain, so daily walks are essential.
This ancient canine is very loyal and incredibly intelligent. They will need an owner that’s able to handle a dominating, strong personality. On average, these dogs have a weight range of one hundred up to a hundred and fifty pounds.
The Alaskan malamute has an average weight range of 75 up to 100 pounds. The Alaskan malamute is powerful, high energy, and has a sturdy body that’s designed for stamina. These dogs are also very intelligent and need physical and mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored. When bored, these dogs can be challenging to handle.
Many people are familiar with this bigger breed. These giant dogs are large, charming, and playful. They are also very patient, which makes them a great choice if you have children. This breed was initially used for rescue missions in the Swiss Alps to locate and aid missing travelers, due to their massive frame and impressive strength. These dogs have an average weight of anywhere from a hundred pounds up to a hundred and eighty pounds. These dogs are very sensitive to heat, so they may not be the best choice if you live in a hotter climate.
The Newfoundland has beautiful fur that’s black, brown, or gray, with an average weight of a hundred pounds up to over a hundred and twenty pounds. This canine has a reputation for being powerful, loyal, active, and sweet. These dogs are born swimmers and are among the world’s largest dog breeds These powerful dogs have a very compassionate, protective nature, so they’re a good choice in homes with children of all ages.
A mastiff can easily stand up to thirty inches at the shoulder, weighing more than an adult human, with an average weight that ranges from a hundred and twenty up to a hundred and seventy pounds. These breeds are very recognizable with their fawn and black colored faces and their brindle striped- or apricot-colored coats. This is another ancient breed that was used in medieval England as war dogs and big game hunters. They also make the perfect pet and are very sweet and loyal.
The great Dane comes in a wide range of colors, including, merle, mantle, black, harlequin, brindle, fawn, and blue. Great Danes are very tall, measuring in at an average of thirty-two inches tall. They can tower over most other breeds and some owners. These dogs are very powerful and friendly. They’re also known to be very protective of their owner but can be very warm to strangers. Because of their massive size, this canine would definitely benefit from obedience training, otherwise you may find that the pup is walking you, instead of the other way around.
The great Pyrenees has a beautiful double coat that’s long, thick, and waterproof. This makes them well-suited to colder climates. They’re known for their extremely gentle nature and can weigh up to a hundred pounds when fully grown.
The cane corso makes a wonderful dog for families with small children. They’re sweet, loving, and always remain on alert. They also enjoy spending time with their owners and thrive on attention. These dogs usually weigh around a hundred pounds when fully grown, most of which is pure muscle.
Bernese Mountain Dogs
The Bernese mountain dog is beautiful, affectionate, and sweet. This canine has a silky, thick fur that’s rust, white, and black. These mountain dogs have extremely thick fur, which do an excellent job of keeping them warm in colder climates. The bernese mountain dog is a popular large dog breed because it loves being around their owner as much as possible.
Black Russian Terrier
These large dogs were created by the Russian military decades ago. The breed is a mix of some of the best large dog breeds including Newfoundland, Airedale terrier, and giant schnauzer. These dogs typically weigh over a hundred pounds and are very intelligent and dominating, with beautiful fur that can handle cold weather. This means they would do best with an experienced, strong owner.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Considered to be among the best large dog breeds for kids, this canine has a reputation for being an incredible guardian and can require an experienced owner who knows how to deal with a canine that can be extremely dominating and very stubborn at times. These large dogs were originally bred to hunt bears in the Russian mountains. With an average weight of a hundred and ten pounds up to two hundred and twenty pounds, this massive breed requires plenty of space.
This canine features a coat that consists of white dreadlocks that are designed to protect them in extreme weather conditions. Originally used as guardians of sheep, the dog’s coat worked to keep them well-hidden among the sheep, which helped them to surprise any unwanted visitors. Males have an average weight of over a hundred pounds and are surprisingly fast. Loyal and affectionate, these large dogs can make a nice addition to any home, however, they do require an owner who is firm and consistent with their care.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
These pets were bred to serve as watchdogs and herd cattle. To this day, the breed has maintained their instinct to watch over their flock. These pets require a lot of space, so they would be a poor choice for apartment dwellers. They have a very loud, bass-heavy bark, but have a loving and gentle nature that makes them a good choice for homes with small children. This breed has an average weight of a hundred and thirty pounds up to a hundred and fifty pounds and is slow to mature and will require plenty of exercise and may need to be professionally trained.
Akitas have an ancient Japanese lineage. This breed is extremely affectionate and loyal when it comes to their owner but tends to be wary of strangers. Socialization at an early age will be crucial to keep their stubbornness and canine aggression under control.
The golden retriever is a lovable gentle giant that is extremely friendly, which is what makes them such a popular pup. If you’re looking for a dog that’s intelligent, very easy to train, and lovable, you can’t go wrong with choosing a golden retriever.
Labs are considered by many to be the best large canine in the country. They have a short coat and are high energy, goofy, love to play, and very loyal. These large dogs are also very intelligent and easy to train. They’re known for their gentle nature and often get along with most other breeds of dogs.
Most people picture a small fluffy pup when they think of a poodle, but standard poodles are actually rather large compared to toy and miniature poodle breeds. The standard poodle measures in at twenty-two inches tall and can weigh anywhere from fifty up to seventy-five pounds. Poodles are easy to train and are incredibly intelligent. They’re also very loyal and loving and gentle dogs, so they can be the best choice for families with small children. Additionally, they have a hypoallergenic coat, so they would be a good choice for allergy sufferers.
The German shepherd can weigh up to 100 pounds and is incredibly intelligent, loyal, and very loving. They are very loyal and enjoy playing with children. However, without proper instruction and socialization these gentle giants can become aggressive with other animals, so coaching and socialization will be essential during their first year of life.
The Doberman is a very intimidating-looking canine, but in reality, they’re big softies and adore their owner. They’re also very sensitive and require a gentle, yet firm approach when it comes to instructing them. Gentle, protective, and playful, this canine can be the best choice if you’re looking for a family pet that thrives on love and affection and an active living situation.
The boxer is a friendly, sensitive, fun-loving pup. They’re also very easy to train, affectionate and love spending time with their owner. Many do not like being left alone for long periods of time and want to spend as much time with their pack as possible. So, if you and the rest of the family are not around much, this breed might not be the best choice for you. On average, the boxer measures in at twenty-one to twenty-five inches tall and can weigh anywhere from sixty-five up to eighty-five pounds.
Old English Sheep Dog
This canine is known for its peekaboo hairdo and fluffy coat. These dogs are good with children, very playful, loyal, and patient. These dogs can be prone to weight gain and require a healthy diet that consists of a high-quality pet food. Their calorie consumption must be carefully monitored to prevent obesity.
German Shorthaired Pointer
The German shorthaired pointer stands around twenty-two up to twenty-five inches and can weigh anywhere from fifty-five up to seventy pounds. Used as work dogs in the past, these dogs are loyal, friendly, and eager to please. They’re also known for their endurance, agility, and speed. If you’re looking for large breed dogs that enjoy outings that include walks, hiking, and camping, then the German shorthaired pointer will fit in nicely with your active lifestyle.
American Staffordshire Terrier
The well known American Staffordshire terrier is a medium to large sized breed that’s graceful, powerful, and agile. These dogs can make the best pets and are very friendly and known for their lovable personalities. These dogs require plenty of exercise, otherwise, they can become destructive if they become bored. Additionally, they must be socialized well at an early age as this breed is prone to canine and animal aggression. This canine enjoys both physical and mental challenges and is considered highly trainable.
The Afghan hound has an average weight of sixty pounds and is a very elegant breed, with a silky coat and a body that’s designed for speed. This large dog breed is very adaptable and affectionate and can do well in homes of all sizes. This canine is very high energy, which means he or she will require plenty of exercise. Additionally, their silky coat is pretty high maintenance, so the pup will benefit from regular brushing and professional grooming.
The Belgian tervuren was created in the late 19th century in Belgium and is very athletic, intelligent, and sensitive, with an average weight of fifty-five up to sixty-six pounds. The Belgian tervuren will do well with plenty of physical exercise, otherwise, they might become destructive. Affectionate, playful, and good with kids, this elegant breed loves to be surrounded by loved ones and will really thrive with plenty of attention.
The Australian shepherd has an average weight of fifty-five to sixty pounds and is smart, athletic, agile, and high energy. They’re also hardworking and love to please their owner. While bred to herd flocks of sheep, these dogs actually make good pets, thanks to their loyal, playful, and affectionate nature.
As you can see, choosing the right pup can take some research on your part.
The best dog breeds for your family can depend on many factors, including maintenance, energy level, exercise needs, behavior, and trainability. You will also want a pup that’s loving, loyal, and kind, if you have small children. The breeds I’ve included here can be a great fit in the right home, depending on your specific living situation and whether you want a pet who loves to lounge around the house or a canine that loves exploring the outdoors with their owner.