The 10 Best Family-Friendly Large Dog Breeds

February 04, 2021

The 10 Best Family-Friendly Large Dog Breeds

Dogs are awesome. That’s no secret. So many of us grow up with dogs as children, and can't wait for the day we can have our own as adults. 63 million American households own dogs - maybe you've decided it’s time for you to get one for your family? It's a fabulous idea, and we're here to help you do your research about which type of dog will be best for your household. 

There are so many large dog breeds in the world and you'll need to find the right one for your family. Some breeds have lots of energy and are easy to train, which is awesome for families with young children. However, there are other breeds that are calmer and don’t need many hours of play that might be better for your older kids. 

If you’re looking to bring a larger dog into your family, look no further. Find out the 10 best large family dog breeds for people and children of all ages!

1. Labrador Retriever

These dogs are known for their sweet, loving personalities. Labs love their owners more than anything and love to be their side. They have an extremely chill temperament that makes them perfect for small children. They're patient, obedient, and extremely adaptable. 

Labs are also “pack animals” meaning that they love to be part of a group. When you bring a lab into your family, your family becomes their pack, and they will be at their happiest. 

The Labrador Retriever is the number one dog breed in America and has been for decades. If you need more proof than that to bring a lab home, then just remember they’re easy to groom, easy to train, and love children. 

2. German Shepherd

There are many reasons why German Shepherds make great family dogs. They have a naturally calm disposition and are nurturing. This breed of dog is also extremely intelligent. They can understand and follow commands very well, which is why they are so commonly used in law enforcement. 

However, they have extremely high energy levels - this is why this dog is recommended for families with smaller children. Your kids and German Shepherd will have hours of play, so they’ll both tire each other out every day! German Shepherds are also very loyal and love to protect their pack, so they'll be sure to look out for your kids in the park. 

3. Golden Retriever

You’ve seen them as “man's best friend” in every American movie, and there’s a reason for that. These dogs make for amazing companions, family members, and friends. They're known for the super sweet personalities, patience, and loyalty. 

This breed is extremely emotionally intelligent. They know to be gentle with babies, when to roughhouse with the older kids, and always respect their owners. 

Because they’re so thoughtful and comforting, retrievers often act as search and rescue animals and therapy dogs. Studies show that dogs can reduce loneliness and depression which is beneficial to the whole family.

4. Bernese Mountain Dog

Next on our list is a Bernese Mountain Dog. This breed of dog is known for being extremely protective - but never aggressive - with their people. In fact, they are often revered as being one of the least aggressive dogs toward humans. They are calm, sweet, and love children. 

Like the Golden Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a deep desire to please their owners, so if playing with your child for hours on end is what it takes then that’s exactly what they’ll do. Their life expectancy, however, is only seven to ten years, so you should consider that when deciding to adopt a puppy or adult. 

5. Boxer

Boxers are extremely cute, very affectionate, and love attention. They are fiercely loyal, smart, and have so many kisses to give. Boxers are gentle with babies and can even be known to cuddle them to sleep! However, they are also an extremely high-energy breed so this dog is best for older children or families with a lot of time for exercise.

This breed is always willing to play and need the attention of their owners to feel satisfied in life. Boxers are very emotional and get lonely if left alone too much. So, if your family is busy and isn’t home for most of the day, then this dog maybe isn’t the best fit for your family. 

6. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes were originally bred to hunt bears and seals like mighty wolves. However, today they are super cute, fully domesticated, and made to be a part of your family. They're extremely gentle and love to be active.

Alaskan Malamutes are large, so they could be too much of a playmate for kids younger than five. This breed loves to belong to pack, and needs to spend as much time as possible with their owners. They hate being alone, so they really will become your child’s most loyal friend. 

7. Goldendoodle

Besides being very, very cute, Goldendoodles are the perfect family pet. They're playful, loving, and gentle. They are sometimes known as ‘designer dogs’ because they are purposely bred between two pure breeds, but this gives them amazing qualities. For example, they don't shed much which makes them great for anyone in your household with allergies (and for people who hate vacuuming!). 

They make great therapy animals because they're in-tune with the emotions of humans. They know when their owners are sad or under lots of stress, and they will tend to act accordingly. Also, due to their cross-breeding with either small or larger Poodles, they come in many shapes and sizes - so the choice is yours. 

8. Basset Hound 

Basset Hounds may not seem like a large dog, but their weight is comparable to Siberian Huskies. They are sweet, adorable, and love to be around family. These hounds are known for their loyalty to their owners and their friendly temperament. They love meeting new people but will always be protective of your children. 

They don’t require much exercise which makes them easier to take care of, but they do need playtime before taking a very long nap. This dog is great for older kids as they are calm and nurturing. Basset Hounds are very, very stubborn, which makes training tough, but it’s well worth it. 

9. Great Dane 

Great Danes are large, majestic dogs that many would assume are aggressive and scary purely because of their size. However, Great Danes are actually very calm, very sweet, and love to love their owners. They've earned a reputation as the gentle giant of the canine world. 

They're a great family pet because they are good with children but don’t require much physical activity and aren’t the most active in adulthood. 

Unfortunately, they have short life spans and usually only live around 6-8 years. This is especially important to consider when looking for a companion to grow up with your children. 

10. Rottweiler 

Although Rottweilers are thought of as aggressive and dangerous, that’s not always the case. A dog who is aggressive or prone to attack is usually taught to be that way. By nature, Rottweilers are actually very affectionate and loving towards their families.

They are intense protectors, so they need time to warm up to strangers, but will always stand calmly at their owners' side if trained to do so. Allow your children to keep this dog entertained, and they will grow into wonderful companions. 


Dogs are incredibly loving, intelligent and want nothing more than to be by your side. Owning a dog is a decision you definitely won’t regret, but it's also not one you should go into lightly. If you decide that your children need a furry friend then any of the large family dog breeds on this list would be perfect for them! 

Join our mailing list today to learn more about all animals!

Also in News

10 Pawsitively Perfect Holiday Gifts for Dog Lovers
10 Pawsitively Perfect Holiday Gifts for Dog Lovers

October 16, 2023

Discover 10 perfect gifts for the dog lover in your life!

Read More

How to Keep Exploring After Dark
How to Keep Exploring After Dark

September 17, 2023

Hiking at night lets you experience the outdoors in a whole new way, lending a sense of adventure to even the most familiar terrain.

Read More

National Dog Day Giveaway
National Dog Day Giveaway

August 08, 2023

Celebrate National Dog Day with a tail-wagging giveaway! 🐾

Read More