5 best large dog breeds for families

One of the best large dog breeds for families, a Bernese Mountain Dog sitting in yard
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Famous for their patient personalities and being incredibly gentle giants, the best large dog breeds for families will fit beautifully into your home, providing you with years of loving companionship. 

Despite their bigger size, many of these larger than life breeds think they’re actually lap dogs and love nothing more than cozying up to you on the couch - even if they perhaps don’t fit as well as they think they do!

Regardless of the breed you choose, it’s important to remember that each individual will require the correct training and socialization to guarantee that they are suitable for family life and settle in well. Likewise, children will need to be reminded to show respect when around the family’s new addition and know when to give them the space that they need.

Let’s take a look at five of the best large dog breeds that make ideal family pets.

PetsRadar's pick of the best large dog breeds for families 

1. German Shepherd

German Shepherd running across the grass

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This breed has long been associated with careers in service, traditionally working as police dogs, search and rescue hounds, and military canines. This is as a result of the German Shepherd’s high level of intelligence, obedience, and hard working ethos.

That’s why, when it comes to choosing the perfect family dog, German Shepherds make the most loyal breeds, forming strong emotional bonds with their owners.

German Shepherds commonly possess energy in abundance and are most suited to active families who will take them out for regular walks throughout the day - it’s recommended that they receive more than two hours of exercise every single day.

2. Newfoundland

Close up, side on shot of Newfoundland dog with tongue out

(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the biggest, fluffiest dog breeds around, Newfoundlands are incredibly calm, sweet, and loyal in nature. Protective of their families, this breed will often form a natural bond with any young children they live with. Lovingly nicknamed Newfies, this breed was originally used as working dogs, assisting fishermen with moving their nets and helping loggers to haul wood from the forest. 

Even though some Newfoundlands can come across as being more aloof and independent, the majority of these dogs will shower their entire family with affection. Their size and strong build helps them to remain sturdy around any heavy-handed or overly excitable children that may be running (and screaming) around them.

3. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever running across the grass

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Portrayed as being the ideal family dog in multiple movies and television shows, the Golden Retriever is famous for its patience and fun-loving personality - two of the best traits you could wish for! This, in addition to being natural goofballs, is perhaps why they are commonly employed as therapy or comfort dogs as well as search and rescue canines.

Golden Retrievers also possess a high level of intelligence as well as the ability to be laser focussed in busy situations, which is why they are frequently trained as assistance dogs to help humans lead as much of an independent life as possible. 

4. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd puppy standing outside with soft toy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Australian Shepherd dog is a tireless and eager to please breed, which is why they have a long and successful history in herding. Also known as Aussies - despite the fact that they actually originate from the western United States and not Australia - they love to work hard and enjoy being rewarded for it with stimulating play time. Incredibly intelligent and loyal, this breed can be extremely receptive to commands and training. 

Weighing up to 70 pounds, Australian Shepherds require an hour or more of exercise every day, so be sure to invest in some comfy walking boots and a map as walking around the local neighborhood block just won’t cut it!

5. Bernese Mountain Dog 

Bernese Mountain dog outside

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This large, loveable breed would quite literally risk life and limb to protect humans. After all, they’ve been rescuing them for years up in the Swiss Alps! 

Bernese Mountain Dogs are incredibly protective of their families but not in an aggressive or possessive way. Despite weighing as much as 110 pounds, they’re very gentle around young children and love to be included in any family fun. 

You’ll also find that this breed is incredibly eager to please their owners, which can make training far easier than some of the other large breeds you may be considering. 

Chloe Petrylak

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.  

Her website, www.chloemaywrites.com, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!