10 Family-Friendly Large Dog Breeds

Yellow labrador retriever laying next to baby

Although there are many huge, sociable dogs in the world, several breeds are well renowned for their devoted, loving, and gentle personalities despite their larger size. Everyone enjoys a nice snuggle from a big dog that believes it's a lap dog, so if you have small kids, you need to be calm and patient.

Here are 10 large, family-friendly dogs to consider if you are looking to round out your family pack.


No matter the breed, every dog is an individual, and to guarantee that any dog you bring into your household retains a consistent, moderate temperament and demeanor, thorough training and socialization are essential. Every youngster should learn how to treat the family dog with respect and give them the room they require. An overactive or rough toddler can test the patience and tolerance of even the most patient canine.

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    Labrador Retriever

    A chocolate Labrador Retriever outdoors

    There is plenty to appreciate about Labrador retrievers, from their lovely, caring dispositions to their boundless excitement. They routinely rank as the nation's most cherished breed each year. The intellect and pleasant temperament of labs are well recognized. They were bred as hunting dogs, and because they make great friends and are easier to train than other breeds, they are often used in search and rescue, therapy, and service dogs for the blind.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 21.5 to 24 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 55 to 80 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, dense double coat in black, chocolate, yellow, or silvery gray

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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    In Germany, German shepherds have a long history of being used as herding and hunting dogs. Because of their intelligence and dedication, they are frequently trained as service dogs and serve with the police, search and rescue teams, and the military. This breed is highly devoted and affectionate, which makes them the ideal choice for a busy household when choosing a dog.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

    Coat and Color: Coarse, medium-length double coat in a variety of colors, including brown, black, fawn, and tan

    Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years

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    Golden retrievers are portrayed as the ideal family pet in films and television, including the "Full House" comedy from the 1990s and the "Air Bud" film series. Goldens are renowned for their incredibly kind, patient, and intelligent dispositions. Another popular breed for use as therapy, comfort, or search and rescue dogs is the golden retriever.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 21.5 to 24 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 55 to 75 pounds

    Coat and Color: Silky, medium-length, double coat in yellow, golden, white, cream, and copper

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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    Whatever name you give them—Berners, Bernies, or Bernese mountain dogs—this Swiss breed would sacrifice life and limb to assist in the rescue of hikers who had been lost in the Alps. It's highly protective of humans, yet not aggressive. Despite their size, they like participating in family activities and are quite gentle (particularly with younger children).

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 79 to 110 pounds

    Coat and Color: Thick double coat with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat in black, rust, and white

    Life Expectancy: 6 to 8 years

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    Contrary to their intimidating name, boxers are actually wonderfully affectionate and lovable canines. Boxers might be a little hyperactive but respond very well to positive attention, so if you have small children or if your boxer frequently jumps on people, you might want to think about training. Boxers frequently get along well with kids and have a natural drive to defend the family.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 25 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 50 to 80 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short coat in brindle, fawn, and white with a black mask or white markings

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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    Alaskan Malamute


    Today's Alaskan Malamutes are totally tamed, gentle giants that would be a wonderful addition to an active family, despite the fact that they were originally trained to kill formidable prey like bears and seals. This breed's innate friendliness causes them to meet the majority of newcomers as allies rather than enemies; as a result, they do not make good guard dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 75 to 100 or more pounds

    Coat and Color: Thick, double coat in many color variations

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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    Consider bringing home a goldendoodle if you or a member of your household has allergies but you must have a dog. No dog is entirely hypoallergenic, but due to their poodle ancestry, goldendoodles come close. This breed gets along well with kids and other animals, is very intelligent, athletic, and affectionate.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hybrid

    Height: 13 to 26 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 45 to 100 pounds

    Coat and Color: Shaggy, curly coat in yellow, gold, cream, red, black, brown, white, or gray

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

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    Basset Hound


    Although a basset hound may not first appear to be a huge breed, their average weight puts them on par with Siberian huskies, golden retrievers, and goldendoodles, to mention a few. Despite their tendency to be quite independent, basset hounds are renowned for their unwavering attachment to their families. With kids and even other animals, they are kind and patient (as long as the dog has been appropriately socialized). Just be ready for some instruction as these dogs have independent minds.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound (AKC)

    Height: Less than 15 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 40 to 65 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, coarse coat in combinations of black, white, brown, tan, and lemon

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 13 years

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    The Great Dane is the gentle giant of the canine world. He weighs 200 pounds when fully mature, is calm, and is a devoted companion. But don't be fooled by their enormous size; after they grow out of the puppy stage, these king-sized pups are peaceful and just need a few daily walks. Despite the fact that they may easily knock a youngster over by merely bumping into them, Great Danes love kids.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 28 to 34 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 100 to 200 pounds

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

    Life Expectancy: 6 to 8 years

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    There is a lively and loving aspect to this breed. Although they occasionally have a bad name, rottweilers make wonderful family pets if you have older children—younger children may not like them as much. The original purpose of the Rottweiler breed, like that of many others, was to herd cattle. Rotties used their sturdy and heavy bodies to prod calves in the proper direction. They do, however, have a tendency to crowd the kids and prod them, which might topple a little one. A Rottweiler may also be too protective of the children in its household and step in to stop any physical altercations between them and other children. The dog could become prey-driven and start chasing youngsters who are running.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 80 to 130 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short double coat in black with tan, rust, or mahogany coloring

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years

Breeds to Avoid

It's important to teach kids how to behave around dogs. Akitas, chow chows, and huskies are breeds to rule out if your kids are more difficult to train than dogs, though. These dogs probably won't put up with kids who rush about on top of them, tug their hair, stare them down, or walk all over them. These spitz breeds tend to be more aloof and self-reliant. Additionally, Chihuahuas, Pekingese, and shih tzus are little dogs with large personalities that would not want to be dragged on by small people and challenged by them.