The 10 Best Large Dog Breeds for Families

A Bernese Mountain dog laying on a patio.

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There are tons of large, family-friendly dogs in the world, but certain breeds are well-known for their loyal, loving, and gentle demeanors—despite their bigger size. Everyone loves a good cuddle with a giant dog who thinks he's a lap dog, but a calm, patient personality is extremely important if you have young children, too.

If you're looking for a new furry family member that can keep up with the pack, look no further than these large family dogs.

Don't forget that every dog is an individual and proper training and socialization make a huge difference in terms of temperament and behavior. Plus, every child should be taught to be respectful around their family dog, giving them the space they need. Even the most patient and tolerant dog can be pushed to their limits by an over-excitable or rough child.

  • 01 of 10

    Labrador Retriever

    A chocolate Labrador Retriever outdoors.

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    From their sweet, loving personalities, to their never-ending enthusiasm, there's a lot to love about Labrador Retrievers—and their consistent ranking as one of the United States' most beloved breeds proves it. The Labrador Retriever has been the number one dog breed in the United States for a whopping 29 years in a row.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 21.5 to 24 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 55 to 80 pounds

    Coat and color: A short, dense double coat that comes in black, chocolate, yellow, or silvery gray

  • 02 of 10

    German Shepherd

    A German Shepherd outdoors.

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    Originating in—you guessed it—Germany, German Shepherds have long been employed as hunting and herding dogs. Thanks to their intelligence and hardworking attitude, today, German Shepherds are often used as service, police, search and rescue, and military dogs. But if you don't need a working dog, German Shepherds are incredibly loyal and loving to their people, making them a perfect pick for an active family.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

    Coat and color: A coarse, medium-length double coat that comes in a variety of colors, including brown, black, fawn, and tan

  • 03 of 10

    Golden Retriever

    Two Golden Retrievers outdoors.

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    Golden Retrievers are depicted as the quintessential family dog in movies and television—from the 90s sitcom Full House to the Air Bud movie franchise. And for good reason! Goldens are known for their super sweet, loving personalities, patience, and intelligence. That's why Golden Retrievers are often employed as search and rescue, therapy, or comfort dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 21.5 to 24 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 55 to 75 pounds

    Coat and color: Silky, medium-length, double coats coming in yellow, golden, white, cream, and copper

  • 04 of 10

    Bernese Mountain Dog

    A Bernese Mountain dog laying on a patio.

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    Sometimes known as Berners or Bernies, Bernese Mountain dogs are extremely protective—but not aggressive—with their people. Despite their larger size, they're very gentle (especially with younger kids!) and love to be included in family activities.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 79 to 110 pounds

    Coat and color: A thick double coat with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat coming in black, rust, and white

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10


    A close-up of a Boxer.

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    Despite their tough guy name, Boxers are actually incredibly sweet, attention-loving dogs. Boxers respond extremely well to positive attention, but can be a bit excitable—so you might want to consider training if you have very young kids or your Boxer tends to jump on people.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 25 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 50 to 80 pounds

    Coat and color: A short coat coming in colors like brindle, fawn, and white with a black mask or white markings

  • 06 of 10

    Alaskan Malamute

    An Alaskan Malamute outdoors.

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    Although they were originally bred to hunt powerful prey, like bears and seals (seriously), today's Alaskan Malamutes are fully domesticated, gentle giants that would make an excellent addition to an active family.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 75 to 100 (or more) pounds

    Coat and color: A thick, double coat that comes in many color variations

  • 07 of 10


    A Goldendoodle outdoors.

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    If you or a family member suffers from allergies—but your family must have a dog, which we 100% get—consider bringing home a Goldendoodle. While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, Goldendoodles come pretty darn close, thanks to their Poodle ancestors.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 13 to 26 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 45 to 100 pounds

    Coat and color: Shaggy, curly coats coming in yellow, gold, cream, red, black, brown, white, or gray.

  • 08 of 10

    Basset Hound

    A Basset Hound outdoors.

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    A Bassett Hound may not seem to be a large breed at first glance, but their average weight range places them in the ranks of Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and Goldendoodles—just to name a few. Although Basset Hounds can be very stubborn, they're well-known for their devotion and unending loyalty to their family members. Just be prepared for a little bit of training—these pooches definitely have a mind of their own.

    Breed Overview

    Height: Less than 15 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 40 to 65 pounds

    Coat and color: A short, coarse coat coming in combinations of black, white, brown, tan, and lemon

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Great Dane

    A Great Dane outdoors.

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    Calm, loyal, and clocking in at 200 pounds fully grown, the Great Dane is the gentle giant of the canine world. But don't let their massive stature fool you—these king-sized pooches are usually pretty calm and only require a few walks per day once they're out of puppyhood.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 28 to 34 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 100 to 200 pounds

    Coat and Color: A short, smooth coat in yellow, fawn, blue, black, or brindle

  • 10 of 10


    Two Rottweilers outdoors.

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    Rottweilers sometimes get a bad rap, but they actually make excellent family dogs—if you have older children. Like many breeds, Rottweilers were originally bred to herd cattle, using their strong, bulky bodies to forcefully bump cattle in the right direction. Today's Rottweilers have retained this, um, charming habit, which is why they aren't totally recommended for families with very young kids.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 80 to 130 pounds

    Coat and color: A short double coat that comes in black with tan, rust, or mahogany coloring