The 10 Best Large Dog Breeds for Families with Kids

Written by Niccoy Walker
Published: September 10, 2023
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Big dogs are known for their bravery, confidence, and protective personalities. But many are also giant teddy bears that think they are lap dogs. If you are looking for a bigger dog with a loving and calm demeanor, check out these ten best large dog breeds for families with kids.

1. Golden Retriever

Golden retriever

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the country


Famous for its lustrous gold coat and sweet, friendly face, the golden retriever is one of the most popular large family breeds in the country. It’s super affectionate with all members of the family, including small children and other pets. It lives to be everyone’s best friend, which includes strangers. 

Golden retrievers are super playful and highly adaptable, meaning they can easily handle change, such as adding new family members and moving. They have moderate energy needs and have no problem being active or lounging on the couch, which can be helpful for families with different day-to-day demands. And finally, golden retrievers are very eager to please and train easily. They are also quiet dogs that only bark to alert.

2. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dog cuddling

Bernese mountain dogs make for great companion dogs.


Big and powerful but also sweet and affectionate, the Bernese Mountain dog is an excellent family and house dog that thrives on human companionship.  This breed is calm, good-natured, and very loving with its family. Bernese Mountain dogs also do well with young children and other dogs. They are generally open to strangers and are moderately protective of their owners. While they look imposing, they are not threatening. 

These giant teddy bears tend to attach themselves to one person in the family while still loving on everyone else. And they live to please their owners, making them very easy to train. However, this breed is a moderate barker and high maintenance in terms of grooming.

3. Saint Bernard

Types of Big Dogs

The St. Bernard is a massive dog, with a huge head, extremely muscular neck, and a deep chest.


Despite their enormous size, Saint Bernards are excellent family dogs. They are playful, charming, and super affectionate. This beloved breed is known for its watchful and protective behavior, including its fondness for children. Because they are vigilant watchdogs, Saint Bernards are more reserved around strangers and other dogs. They should be socialized from a young age and trained properly so they don’t drag you on a leash. 

This breed is a mix of wanting to please but also doing what they want, making training moderately challenging. And they have moderate energy levels, meaning they are fine with chilling at home or being active. Saint Bernards do not bark a lot, but they are constant droolers and shed frequently.

4. Labrador Retriever

Show Labradors

Labs are one of the best large dog breeds for families with kids

©Anna Goroshnikova/

These lovable, sweet-faced dogs are the perfect family pets. In fact, labrador retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the United States. These dogs have kind eyes and gentle personalities and are some of the most affectionate breeds out there. Labrador retrievers easily bond with the whole family, including strangers and unfamiliar dogs. Plus, they are excellent with children of all ages.

Labs are very playful and always ready for an adventure. Because they are athletic dogs, labrador retrievers have high energy needs and require lots of mental stimulation. They do best in active families who spend lots of time outdoors. While they are some of the most energetic dogs around, they train very easily and are eager to please their owners. These dogs are moderate barkers and heavy shedders.  

5. German Shepherd

German shepherd dog

German shepherds are vigilant and courageous watchdogs

©Bigandt_Photography/ via Getty Images

The German shepherd is known for its fierce protective nature, which may turn families off from this breed. But with early socialization and proper training, German shepherds make excellent additions to any home. They may be vigilant and courageous watchdogs, but they are also endlessly loyal and gentle to their family, including children. However, they are somewhat aloof and reserved around strangers and dogs they are not familiar with. 

German shepherds adapt easily to new situations, and they love to play nonstop. They do best in active families that have the time and capabilities to meet their high energy levels. They also need constant mental stimulation so they don’t become destructive. This breed is a moderate barker and frequent shedder. 

6. Siberian Husky

Husky dog ​​walks in winter. Dog walks in the snow. Siberian Husky with different eyes. Heterochromia in the Siberian Husky. Husky in winter. Dog on a leash.

Huskies are charming and outgoing


Are you looking for a smart, outgoing, and charming family dog? Siberian Huskies are friendly and lovable companions with a mischievous side. They are social creatures that adore the company of their family and other dogs, and they also do great with children and strangers.

While these dogs are loyal to their families, they do not have a watchdog nature. Instead, they prefer to be best friends with everyone. Siberian Huskies are wildly playful and energetic and need lots of playtime and exercise. They also require constant mental stimulation to keep them from being destructive. This breed is very vocal and requires regular grooming.  

7. Old English Sheepdog


Old English sheepdogs are very loving toward children

©Svetlana Valoueva/

This large fluffball makes an excellent companion and friendly family dog. Old English sheepdogs are smart, gentle, and loving with their family. They get along well with younger children and have a protective nature. Because of their vigilant and alert behavior, this breed can be somewhat reserved around strangers and dogs it’s not familiar with. However, they warm up quickly if they see their family members being friendly.

Old English sheepdogs are enthusiastic and playful, but they have well-balanced energy needs, meaning they are fine lounging around or going outside. This breed is moderately vocal and is known for its loud, ringing barks meant to alert. Sheepdogs are moderate shedders and droolers and need frequent grooming.  

8. Newfoundland

Single large black Newfoundland dog massive broad snout. Young Newfoundland dog playing on a green field. Water rescue dog.

Newfoundlands are gentle giants


The Newfoundland dog is one of the largest breeds in the world. While these dogs can reach well over 150 pounds, they are sweet, gentle giants who are devoted to their owners. They are also notable for their patience, making them excellent for families with children. Newfoundlands get along well with other dogs and pets. And even though they are very protective, this breed is still open to strangers and highly adaptable. 

Newfoundlands have no problem playing with their family members, but they also know when to relax and hang out on the couch. They can be somewhat stubborn during the training process but do not have high energy or mental stimulation needs. This breed also only barks to alert their owners of possible trouble. Newfoundland dogs are heavy droolers and moderate shedders.  

9. Leonberger

Strongest Dog Breed Bite - Leonberger

Leonbergers are bred as companion dogs and enjoy being in the company of their owners

©Kaca Skokanova/

As a cross between a Newfoundland and St. Bernard and a backcross with a Pyrenean Mountain dog, Leonberger dogs are huge pets notable for their friendly and affectionate behavior. This breed is super gentle and playful and gets along splendidly with children and strangers. However, they can be somewhat reserved around dogs they don’t know. 

Leonbergers have balanced energy levels and are fine with staying home or being active. But they do need lots of mental stimulation in the form of jobs or activities. These dogs are easy to train, as they are eager to please. Leonberger dogs are moderate barkers and droolers and require regular grooming due to their heavy shedding. 

10. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The athletic Rhodesian ridgeback requires moderate levels of exercise, though they adapt well to various living environments


This dignified and even-tempered breed is known for its loving personality with its family members, including small children, especially those it’s raised with. However, they need early socialization and training, as they can be standoffish around strangers and other dogs. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very protective and alert hound dogs

This breed is moderately playful and has well-balanced energy needs. But they do need lots of mental stimulation. Thankfully, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is easy to train and not very vocal.

A Recap of the 10 Best Large Dog Breeds For Families With Kids

NumberBest Large Dog Breeds For Families With Kids
#1Golden retriever
#2Bernese Mountain dog
#3Saint Bernard
#4Labrador retriever
#5German shepherd
#6Siberian Husky
#7Old English sheepdog
#10Rhodesian Ridgeback

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Joop Snijder Photography/

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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