Large Family Dogs: Big Furry Companions for a Happy Home

Large Family Dogs.

Large Family Dogs: King-Sized K9s That Adore Kids

If you've ever wondered what it's like to share your couch, your bed, and even your last slice of pizza with a giant, slobbery companion — you're in for a treat. Large family dogs are majestic creatures with a knack for knocking over furniture, stealing your socks, and making you question whether you live with a dog or a small horse.

The Advantages of Large Dog Breeds for Families

Large family dogs offer a myriad of advantages that can greatly enhance the lives of their human companions.

Sturdy Companions for Children and Adults

Big dog breeds for families are often known for their robust build, which makes them ideal playmates for energetic children. Their size and strength allow them to handle roughhousing and outdoor activities with ease, providing a sense of security for parents. 

Gentle and Patient Temperaments

Known for their inherently gentle and patient temperaments, many good big family dogs are suitable for families with young children or other pets. Their tolerant nature allows them to coexist peacefully with active households, reducing the risk of accidents or aggression.

Exercise Partners and Outdoor Companions

While there will be exceptions, large family dogs have higher energy levels and thrive on physical activity, enjoying spending time outdoors. They’re more than willing to accompany their human companions on long walks, runs, or outdoor adventures. This encourages family members to engage in a healthier and more active lifestyle. 

Guardians and Protectors

Large dogs often possess a natural protective instinct, making them excellent guardians for their families. Their size and presence alone can act as a deterrent to potential intruders, providing an added layer of security to the household.

Large Dogs Are Easier to Train and More Obedient

Perhaps it’s the way we treat them or the fact there is a greater incentive to train a larger animal — you can scoop up an unruly toy dog, but you can’t do that with a giant. Yet, big family dogs are generally more amenable than smaller breeds. 

In fact, experts report, small dogs can often be less obedient, harder to train, more excitable, and more prone to barking or growling unnecessarily when confronted with strangers or other dogs.

10 Large Dog Breeds Good for Families

There are several popular large dog breeds known for their family-friendly nature. Let's explore some of these breeds in more detail:

1. Great Dane

large family dog great dane.

Height: 28-32 inches

Weight: 110-175 pounds

Great Danes, the gentle giants of the dog world, are an excellent choice for families seeking a large and loving companion. Despite their imposing size, they possess a calm and friendly nature that makes them wonderful family dogs. 

Patient, never heavy-pawed, and slow-paced, the Great Danes’ demeanor makes them great with children, and they quickly become protective and loyal members of the household. Younger tots, however, should be supervised, as a Dane could knock a child over, by accident of course.

Compared to many of the other big dog breeds for families, after puppyhood, the Great Dane doesn’t demand too much exercise. A couple of quick daily walks and a playful romp should be enough to keep your Dane happy and healthy. 

With their elegant appearance and undeniable charm, Great Danes effortlessly steal hearts wherever they go. Just be prepared for some comical moments as they try to squeeze their colossal bodies on your couch — the Dane is the largest lap dog you’ll ever come across.

2. German Shepherd

large family dog german shepherd.

Height: 22-26 inches

Weight: 50-90 pounds

Known for their confidence, loyalty, and versatility, German Shepherds make excellent big family friendly dogs for active households. 

German Shepherds are devoted to their families. And, they’re particularly soft with children — making them fantastic playmates. However, they can be wary around unfamiliar faces, which is why they’re awesome guardians.

Training won’t be an issue with your German — they love to learn. Their high IQ and hard-working attitude are why they’re a go-to breed for service dogs. As a high-energy canine, they do require plenty of daily mental and physical exercise to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive. 

Their dense double coat does shed and will need regular grooming. However, with their striking appearance and unwavering devotion, the German will be a treasured addition to any family.

3. Newfoundland

large family dog newfoundland.

Height: 26-28 inches

Weight: 100-150 pounds

The Newfoundland is one of the best large family dogs renowned for their sweet nature and nurturing instincts. Friendly with the family and other people too, they even get on well with other dogs.

Enjoying a reputation as a “nanny dog,” Newfies love playing with younger kids but won’t get too rough with them. They do shed a little, so may leave fur around the home, but they’re generally quiet house dogs and only bark when necessary.

Although they relish curling up at home, Newfoundlands enjoy the great outdoors. They’re the perfect companions for a long walk or hike, with swimming in a nearby lake a bonus. Their massive size and webbed paws make them natural swimmers — they’re often referred to as K9 lifeguards. Their thick, water-resistant coats and droopy jowls add to their charm.

4. Weimaraner

large family dog weimaraner.

Height: 23-27 inches

Weight: 55-90 pounds

A sleek and elegant breed, the “Gray Ghost” from Germany, the Weimaraner is the perfect blend of brains and beauty. With their striking silver-gray coat and captivating blue eyes, they're practically canine supermodels.

But don't let their good looks fool you — Weimaraners are lively too. They'll keep the whole family on their toes with their boundless enthusiasm for play and exercise. Plus they’re clever canines, Weimaraners are quick learners, whether that's good or bad behavior. Be prepared for the occasional mischief — these dogs have a knack for finding trouble and turning it into laughter. 

When it comes to grooming, the biggest job is ensuring their nails are kept trimmed. Their short coat almost looks after itself — requiring little more than occasional brushing to remove dead hair.

Excellent with kids, the Weimaraner yearns to be a fully-fledged member of your family and make excellent pets — as long as you curb that mischievous side.

5. Saint Bernard

large family dog saint bernard.

Height: 26-30 inches

Weight: 120-180 pounds

The genial giant of the Swiss Alps, the Saint Bernard is one of the world’s favorite family friendly large dog breeds. With their iconic droopy jowls, that wrinkled brow, and dark eyes, they have a friendly expression that’s been a welcome sight to stranded Alpine climbers. (That and the barrel of brandy around their neck!)

Even though they’re often described as powerful, extraordinarily muscular, or imposing, these massive dogs can be extremely tolerant and fond of youngsters. They make famously watchful companions for the whole family, especially little ones.

Despite being such a large and powerful breed, this Alpine dog only needs a moderate level of exercise. One long walk or a half-hour play session daily will be enough to keep them content and healthy. Bernies are well-suited to colder climates and enjoy outdoor activities, but they’re equally content snuggling up with their loved ones indoors.

6. Old English Sheepdog

large family dog old english sheepdog.

Height: 21-22 inches & up

Weight: 60-100 pounds

Characterized by their profuse shaggy coat and charming smile, is the Old English Sheepdog. With a gentle and sociable nature, they soon become a well-loved member of the family.

These lovable clowns thrive on attention and make it their mission to keep everyone entertained with their playful antics. Their fluffy double coats require regular grooming, and don’t forget, they’re big dogs with a lot of hair, so be prepared for a lengthy weekly session.

Old English Sheepdogs are good-tempered and incredibly affectionate with children, making them the perfect BFF (best friends forever). An intelligent breed, they always try to please, which can make training a rewarding experience. 

Being a working dog, the Old English thrives on substantial physical activity. However, the good news is that they possess an "off switch" when it comes to unwinding indoors.

Whether it's a game of fetch in the yard or a cuddle session on the couch, the Old English Sheepdog's loving and joyful nature will bring smiles and laughter to the entire family.

7. Leonberger

large family dog leonberger.

Height: 25.5-31.5 inches

Weight: 90-170 pounds

The Leonberger, one of the biggest family dogs, has the look of a majestic yet tender-hearted lion. With their imposing size and striking appearance, this breed has a calm and tolerant nature, making them ideal for families, especially those with kids.

Leos have thick, water-resistant outer coats with a shorter, fluffier undercoat, and yes, they do shed a lot! Their placid nature makes grooming easier, which will take up some time — on a daily basis. 

They’re known for their loyalty and devotion, forming strong bonds with their humans. Their friendly and sociable temperament extends to children and other pets, making Leos excellent playmates. However, because of their size, training is even more essential. While good-tempered, this breed could easily outweigh their humans, and they’re strong too.

8. Giant Schnauzer

large family dog giant schnauzer.

Height: 23.5-27.5 inches

Weight: 55-85 pounds

The Giant Schnauzer is one of the few large family dogs that don't shed — this breed is considered hypoallergenic. Ideal if you or somebody in the house suffers from allergies.

A robust breed, the Giant can handle roughhousing with the kiddos. With their striking appearance and distinctive beard, they exude a sense of confidence and charm. 

These big dogs are big on protecting their humans and their territory — making them natural guardians for your family and your home. And, with their people-pleasing attitude, they’re fast learners. 

Despite their size, the Schnauzer is gentle and loving with children and needs that special companion in their life. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are also essential for this breed to thrive. A bored Giant will soon make their own entertainment — digging, chewing, or destroying your worldly possessions.

9. Golden Retriever

large family dog golden retriever.

Height: 21.5-24 inches

Weight: 55-75 pounds

The Golden Retriever is seen by many as the gold standard of large family dogs. They may not be the biggest family dogs in terms of height, but they can be stocky enough to be considered a large breed.

With their iconic golden coat, permanent smile, and constantly wagging tail, Goldens are big softies and adore children. They have a strong urge to please, which makes them very trainable and ideal for first-time dog-owning families. 

Bred as a working dog, your Retriever will need long walks, retrieving, and swimming — along with other family activities to expend that almost limitless energy. Yet, whether it's playing fetch in the backyard or snuggling on the couch, Goldens thrive on being an integral part of the family.

Their double coat needs regular grooming, brushing at least twice a week, and they can shed heavily, especially when the seasons change. You’ll also need to “de-fur” anybody or anything they may come into contact with.

10. Rottweiler

large family dog rottweiler.

Height: 22-27 inches

Weight: 80-135 pounds

Rottweilers have received a pretty bad rap over the years. Hence, you probably weren’t expecting to see them on a list of the best big dog breeds for families. 

A brawny breed that’s incredibly strong. However, someone seems to have forgotten to tell the Rottie they aren’t toy dogs — they won’t think twice to jump on your lap for a quick cuddle. But they are mellow playmates and natural-born protectors of their family.

Rotties are a good match for families with older children, but not so much for young toddlers. Although they aren’t overly aggressive, they may be too much for a little tot. They may also be overly defensive of the children in their family when they’re roughhousing with other kids.

Responsible ownership is essential to ensure they’re well-socialized and receive proper training. With the right guidance, Rottweilers can be the best big family dogs.

best large family dogs.


From the docile Great Dane, the Newfoundland ‘nanny dog’, to the allergy-friendly Giant Schnauzer — these breeds may share their large size as a common factor, yet other traits are by no means the same. 

Hence, temperament, energy levels, grooming requirements, as well as trainability, and your family’s lifestyle are all aspects to think about.

Large family dogs offer companionship for your entire pack while also acting as a home security system. Not to mention the physical and mental benefits of owning a dog — and, they can even teach your kids a thing or two. So, which breed would be your match?

Best Large Dog Breeds for Families FAQs

Do Large Family Dogs Require More Exercise?

In most cases, yes, the average large family dog will have higher energy/activity levels. Walkies, fun time in the yard, and games/jobs that promote mental stimulation are important to prevent boredom and promote overall well-being. 

However, exercise needs vary among breeds, so it's crucial to research and select a dog that aligns with your family's activity level and the time you have.

What Are the Most Gentle Large Dog Breeds for Families?

The phrase “gentle giant” seems to have been invented for breeds like the Great Dane or the Leonberger. These breeds can often stand taller than their owners — when standing on their hind legs. Huge in size, with huge hearts to match, they’re calm, patient, and, well, gentle — with just about everyone they meet, including children.

What Is The Best Big Dog for a Big Family?

Even the most patient of pooches can be pushed to the limit sometimes by over-exuberant children or too many family members. Try to choose a dog that’s known for its sociability, patience, and gentleness, like the Retriever, to cope better with larger crowds.

Are Large Family Dogs Suitable for Small Living Spaces or Apartments?

While it's generally recommended to have ample space for larger breeds to roam, some larger dog breeds with lower exercise requirements can adapt to apartment living. Breeds such as the Great Dane is one example. However, it's important to ensure that the dog's needs for space and exercise are met to ensure their well-being.

Why Are There Not Many Hypoallergenic Large Dog Breeds for Families?

Although there are large family dogs that don’t shed too much, you are limited in choice. This could be down to:

  • Their size — large dogs have a larger surface area, thus more fur to shed, which means more dander.
  • Not many large dogs have hair — like small dogs. Hair has a longer growth cycle, and hence sheds less often.
  • Larger breeds are more likely to drool, another cause of allergic reactions. 

Are Big Dogs Good With Children?

Many of the large family dogs are more forgiving of a child’s heavy handedness, unpredictable behavior and loud noises. Most big dogs take it all in their stride, so to speak. However, due to their larger size and strength, they can often inadvertently bump, or bowl over youngsters or toddlers.

What Is The Biggest Family Dog?

The Great Dane is generally accepted by most dog-loving experts to be one of the tallest breeds. Irish Wolfhounds would give the Dane a run for their money height wise. Yet, when it comes to a combination of height and weight, no other breed comes close to the Spanish Mastiff. Out of our family dog picks, our biggest top three would be the Great Dane, Saint Bernard and Leonberger.