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10 Best Big Dog Breeds For Families

By Danielle Sullivan |

10 Best Big Dog Breeds For Families, big dogs, dog breeds, best dogs kids, best large dogs children

With proper training, big dogs can be wonderful family pets.

Deciding to bring a dog into your home is one decision that should not be taken lightly and never is it truer than when you have kids.

Bringing a pet into your life will require dedication and training for both you and your children. While some dogs are better suited for life with families, all dogs need to be trained and given limits, plus a whole lot of love. Any dog can become aggressive, big or small, so it is vital that young children are never left alone with them even for a second. It is also important that children are taught how to treat their pets.

One of the first things people should consider when looking for a pet pooch is if they want a big or a small pup. Large dogs are not for everyone. They naturally require more exercise on the whole, not to mention ample space and food. But rest assured because many of these gentle giants make fabulous additions to family life.

If you are fond of big dogs and are looking to bring into your family, check out these 10 large dog breeds that make great pets for families:

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10 Best Big Dog Breeds For Families

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog are good natured, self-assured, placid towards strangers, and docile. They can do very well in homes but require a large outdoor space since they are outdoor dogs at heart. For such a large size dog, they are very fast. They are affectionate, loyal, faithful, stable, intelligent, and sometimes shy. The majority of Bernese are friendly to people, and other dogs. Eager to please, they also get along well with other household pets.
Image: WikiCommons

Image: Flickr

Source: American Kennel Club

Do you love small dogs instead? Click here for the 10 Best Small Dog Breeds For Families

Follow Danielle on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest (where she maintains an ‘Adorable Pups’ board), or find her at her blog, Just Write Mom and Babble’s Strollerderby.


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About Danielle Sullivan


Danielle Sullivan

Danielle Sullivan writes for Babble Pets. She is also an award-winning parenting writer, who authors a monthly column for NY Parenting and ASPCA Parents blog. You can read more of her work at her blog,Some Puppy To Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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34 thoughts on “10 Best Big Dog Breeds For Families

  1. Kelli says:

    I love my Lab! But…. if you can’t stand hair everywhere don’t get a lab! He is great with kids and very loving. It took some time to calm him down too. He still inhales his food as if he hasn’t eaten in weeks. The constant hair everywhere drives me crazy. I can’t keep up with it. It’s even on the clean clothes that I take out of the dryer.

    1. Rachael Sutherland says:

      I agree with the article I have had English bulldogs never a problem with kids but lots of work! I’ve had smaller dogs also that have been good and had them turn on me

  2. Holly says:

    We have a Bernese Mountain Dog & a Lab. Both are amazing family dogs. The Berner does shed a lot (but so does the lab), but it’s totally worth how wonderful they both are. The Bernese temperament is even better suited for a family with loud, unpredictable toddlers than our lab- he is docile, eager to please, sensitive, wants to be with us all the time, alerts me to my daughter crying if even for a second and allows her to climb on him, grab his food, read books to him, etc. the only part I’d disagree with in the description above, is that our particular Bernese doesn’t need much of a yard at all- he would much rather hangout with us than roam the yard (but we live in a warmer climate). Amazing dogs!!

  3. Danielle Sullivan says:

    @Holly Interesting about your Bernese- and so cute! My Lab would also rather be my shadow than do anything else, too.

  4. Charlotte says:

    I would like to add the Afgahn Hound, to the list. I had a male, and female that mated. gave birth to 8 beautiful pups. I kept 1 male and 1 female puppys, along with the parents. I’ve never in my life seen a more loving family, not even in humans. All that love was given to me and my boyfriend just like they were are children. They love being loved, very intellegent, and if kept indoors the up keep is just a quick brush everyother day or so. They love to play and run, and they run fast, so if you have a runner be careful they run as fast as 30 35 miles an hour. but for the most part there happy just to lay on the couch with the family. I will never have any other dog except an Afghan, they don’t shed, don’t smell there neat they drink and very gracefully. There nothing but WONDERFUL. MARGIE REST IN PEACE !!!

  5. CeliaSue Hecht says:

    You left off the Nanny Dog… American Pit Bull Terrier… The one dog breed that achieved a rock solid reputation with children for 150 years, it was known as America’s “Nanny Dog”. they were known to b simply the safest, most tolerant breed to have around children.

    Rich, poor, and everything in between, until recently Americans agreed that there were only a CERTAIN TYPE of people who would own a Pit Bull…


    Temperament evaluations by the American Temperament Test Society have given pit bull terriers a very high passing rate of 90.6 percent. The average passing rate for the other 121 breeds of dogs in the tests was only a low 77 percent.

    1. forrest erickson says:

      Pitbulls are confirmed child killers and have never been known to be the “nanny dog”….this is a myth perpetuated by pitbull apologists everywhere, primarily women with severe head problems….

      1. your a jerk says:

        she is right. pit are known as nanny dogs. its the abuse that people have given them that has changed them. still amazing dogs. this is at forwest ericson. also why bring gender into it? you have rthat little of an argument you need to reffer to her gender and so called head problems. she posted true facts and her opinion. you were just being a dick. come up with a real argument.

  6. Kathy Dale says:

    The best dog I have ever owned, and was the best with young chilcren, was a rust and tan Doberman. She was purchased as the runt and we paid a whopping $35 for her. She came from a very long line of registered rust and tan’s and her father was a show dog. We had her eight and a half years before the cancer that they all get, took her life. I would do it again in a heart beat. She would “babysit” my rabbits as well as my grand children. She loved babies of any kind.

    The dog I would never buy, steal, receive as a gift or go out of my way to look at is the Cocker Spaniel. As a nurse the only unprovoked dog bites we had in the ER was the Cocker. No thank you. Dobies every time.

    I have met a lot of really nice pit bulls too.

  7. Michele Adum says:

    I have owned and had dogs a part of my life since I was little. When I finished college, was married, my family was financially able, we got a boxer. She was the most beautiful puppy. When we took her to the vet to have her ears done, she had an allergic reaction and died. We adopted her sister and within a month opened our home and heart to a male boxer pup. Rosie and Bully were amazing with my children and all their friends. Boxer puppies were a part of our family life for over 10 years. They were the best descion I made.

  8. Ken M says:

    I am dissapinted that one of the best breeds for families has been left out. I have heard more recommendations for the Great Pyrenese than I have for any other breed. Bred to be guardians and to work alone around flocks with baby animals they are the only breed I have heard veterinarians say that it is safe to leave the young of any species with them ince introduced as family. I have seen pics of a male Pyr looking back at a lamb trying to suckle from him and the expression id priceless. I have seen baby monkeys crawling all over them, kittens and ferrets curled up with them. They are the gentlest protectice breed that adapts to low activity levels and in town liveing as well as wide open spaces.

  9. Reece says:

    Ohhh-what about the Saint Bernard?! I have owned many in the past and currently have one now along with an English Mastiff (another sweetie) and the Saints seem to have an innate gentle quality about them, especially when around children. While I have never had children, my Saints have always known for some reason to be extra gentle around the young ones.

    Even the children in Peter Pan had one as their nanny!

  10. Carol says:

    It is great to see that you included the Rottweiler, as I have always had big dogs and was introduced to Rotties 15 years ago as a result of the children’s book re: Carl.
    Often they are not included in these type of pet articles and I believe they are phenominal dogs in the right environment.
    I now have my third Rottie and all have been absolute delightful companions.
    So willing to please, smart, intuitive and loyal. They are a member of the family.
    Thanks for recognizing this wonderful breed! Carol

  11. Vanessa says:

    Bernese Mountain dogs are the best ! Our guy will be turning 10 in November. He has been an absolute joy from day one. Adores me and my children and even our cat. Good not ask for a better family pet.

  12. zoritsa says:

    Aww,wonder what they consider boxers? For my home,they’re rather on the large size and they are awesome for families.We’ve had our old man for 13 years now,and we adopted a female boxer 3 years ago when she was 5,so she’s 8 now.I miss the puppy days,and I will miss the old man when he’s gone,but I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

  13. Karen Smith says:

    I just lost my beloved Rottweiller, Dudley. Am interested in Mastiffs, Bernise mt. Breed, St Bernard and other moderate Exercise dogs. Does any one know any breeders? Thnks

    1. Heather says:

      Try Paragon Dogue de Bordeaux. I got a dogue..aka french mastiff. She is the BEST dog I ever had and I raised Rotties for 12 years. it was a great transition from Rottie to mastiff, and I wouldnt trade her for anything

  14. Kayla says:

    Those dogs are all great I am sure, but growing up all my family had was Staffordshire Bull Terriers (“Pit Bull” I hate that term). They are such wonderful dogs. I am currently an Army Wife and if it were so many places having such ignorant breed restrictions I would have one now. The American Staffordshire and Staffordshire Bull Terriers should definitely make your list.

  15. winnie says:

    I’m collie folk, have had several over my lifetime. They’re loving beautiful dogs. Despite that, I’m considering a berner as a next pup. All these dogs above and those discussed can be lovely and loving. But that said there can be concerns with health or breeding. Get to know your breeder if possible (sometimes that’s tough – they don’t all live in easy driving distance), socialize your pup well once it has its immunizations, and give them good food, fresh water, exercise, vet care, and lots of love! The love they’ll give back multiplied.

  16. eileen says:

    what about the grat prynes mountain dog not only are thry loving and gentle ther gourgeous

  17. lizzyk says:

    the best big dog for families is the greyhound. they are the kindest, most loving pets because they are so grateful to taken into a loving home, they give back the love tenfold. they’re gentle, sometimes timid, sometimes playful, but are always up for a good nap. Greyhounds are the most easygoing dogs in the world and they do not deserve the horrible life on the track. Rescue a grey and you will never regret it!

  18. Keith says:

    I thought this email was about “BIG” dogs…. The Irish Wolfhound would have to be up there… Although I have only come across 1 in my 35 years and was trembling when I first met him but his the the gentlest dog I have ever met… Plus he is BIG and small children can ride on his back.

  19. Villa20 says:

    The boxer is the best dog family dog i’ve ever had. They love to play but are gentle with little kids. I’ve had quite a few different dogs over the years but when me and my wife decided to start a family I had to go with a boxer because of all my great memories as a kid. Our 6 yearr old boxer is my 3 year olds best friend.

  20. RachaelRevty says:

    Thank you for including the German Shepherd! I have owned multiple and LOVE them. We had one (Shady) that always slept right next to my baby girl and she made the best jogging partner. She was my best friend and I have never met a Shepherd (well trained that is) that I didnt like.

  21. Melissa says:

    Our Dobie is the best. Doberman puppies are adorable, and if you train them correctly, they grow into dogs who are super intelligent, loyal, brave, and fun. Ours carefully checks out anyone who comes in the house, and if she doesn’t approve, that person does not come in. She’s never been wrong.

  22. Elaine Covard says:

    Retired racing greyhounds are the worlds best kept secret as far as big breed family pets. They are great apartment dogs, gentle, kind and low key. If you love big dogs and want a lovable family pet that doesn’t require a farm and miles to run (just a couple nice long walks every other day!) do some research on these greyt hounds!! We have two…they are amazing!

  23. Emily says:

    I can’t believe boxers didn’t make the list. Anyone who has seen boxers around kids knows that they are great. My boxer who died in 2011 once taught a little girl to walk by hanging onto his collar. He’d stop whenever she lost her balance and he was paying attention to where she wanted to go and letting her take him there hanging onto his collar. Every boxer I’ve ever owned was great with kids.

  24. Debbie Oconnell says:

    Love malteses they do not shed and are very loving.

  25. Dawn Sneathen says:

    We have a Husky that has turned into a great family pet!!

  26. Ian says:

    We have an Irish Wolfhound / Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff) cross. Our younger daughter has a Great Dane, the two being the best of friends. She has also just got another Great Dane puppy. These big dogs are among the most gentle and affectionate I have ever come across, as were out two Labradors we had had previously. However, I think it is important that big dogs are brought up from puupy hood with young children. Our moment of truth came when our two year old grandaughter lept from a great height onto Thor (the Irish Wolfhound cross. It must have hurt and my heart stopped. All he did was to look at her as if to say “Why did you do that?” and the matter was closed, A great dog!

  27. Mike says:

    One breed that should have made the list is the Akita.

    This breed, originally from Japan, was used to guard the emperors children and was also brave enough to hunt bears, now has two distinct families, the American and Japanese Akita. As stated on the AKC page for Akitas, “the Akita has strong guarding instincts and will sound the alarm if an intruder breaks into their house.” They are naturally quiter, so if their alert and barking, you better take notice. Mine were big couch potatoes. All dogs, like humans, have a wide range of personalities, and need time to be acclamated to their family, While I was quite suprised by some of the dogs on the list, as were others, the people creating the list had their reasons for including some dogs and not others. The Akita is a wonderful, kind, and majestic breed, I hope you will get to know the breed better.

    No matter what dog breed you bring into your home, please consider adopting one first. There are many loving dogs, and cats, that need good homes, and you will feel great that you saved their life.

  28. Linda says:

    We’ve had 3 Old English Sheepdogs and would have another. They are wonderful pets and companions. They are great with children too. As a watchdog, they will notify you when someone is coming onto your property. I guess that the only negative is that the must be combed to keep them from getting matted.

  29. Cathy says:

    I have a 1 year old Beautiful Collie and a 4 year old Beautiful Sheltie. They are the best to have around children. They are so smart I love them to pieces.

  30. sagor says:

    If you have a hard time with understanding the list of dog breeds, then you can talk to your veterinarian as they can help you in deciding when the time is right for your dog to breed. Vets know everything about your animal, and know how to perform and interpret all the necessary tests and physical exams need for your dog. So, if you don’t know when the right time to breed your dog is, it’s best to wait until your vet says that she is ready to breed.

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