12 Best Large Dog Breeds for Kids and Families

Best Large Dog Breeds for Kids
Photo by Nathalie SPEHNER

There are many family-friendly dog breeds globally, and some are a whole lot bigger than others.

Despite the large size of these dog breeds, they are not only famous for their loyal, affectionate and gentle demeanor; they are also very good with kids.

Everyone loves cuddling the big, easy-going pup that fancies itself a lap dog. 

However, despite the many advantages of choosing a big dog, specific problems may arise when you don’t choose the right dog for your family, and this may lead to feelings of frustration and regret. 

Big dogs can be a lot to handle. It is therefore essential to carefully select the best large dog breed for your kids.

In this guide, we will recommend some of the best large dog breeds for kids and what to look for when considering a big dog for your family. 

Table of Contents

  1. Best Large Dog Breeds for Kids
    1. Golden Retriever
    2. Labrador Retriever
    3. 3. Standard Poodle
    4. German Shepherd
    5. Doberman Pinscher
    6. Siberian Husky
    7. Newfoundland
    8. Alaskan Malamute
    9. Saint Bernard 
    10. Collie
    11. Bernese Mountain Dog
    12. Great Dane

Best Large Dog Breeds for Kids

Checkout our selection of the best large dog breeds for kids and the entire family at large.

Golden Retriever

This dog breed is a strong contender on the list of the best large dog breeds for kids. Golden Retrievers are happy and lovable dogs that are eager to please and make excellent companions with children of any age.

They are also very intelligent and are capable of thriving in any household. These dogs are also very energetic and require lots of exercises to keep them from being bored and in good shape.

Exercise may include intense activities like running, hiking, and playing fetch. Training a Golden is essential but not difficult; they are very eager to learn and can do many things.

Golden Retrievers have long coats that require regular grooming. They weigh around 55-75 pounds and stand at 21-24 inches. 

Labrador Retriever

Like its cousin above, the Labrador Retriever is playful, intelligent, active, and obedient. This is one of the large dog breeds for kids; it is perfect for homes that give lots of attention, exercise, and training.

The Labrador retriever is a loyal, well-behaved dog that is happy relaxing in the home as they are running in the park with its human parent.

Labs are famous for their love for food and would happily eat anything edible within their line of sight, so they tend to become overweight.

This can be managed by regular exercise and limiting dog treats. They are very easy to train and have an easy-going temperament, making them a dog breed for first-time owners.

Labs have a short, dense double coat that comes in chocolate, black and yellow colors. They stand at 21-25 inches and weigh 55 to 80 pounds. Labrador Retrievers have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. 

3. Standard Poodle

Poodles are well-known for their distinctive haircuts and graceful demeanor, they are also one of the large dog breeds for kids.

They also happen to be very gentle and intelligent dogs loyal to their human parents and are very rarely agitated or bored.

Poodles come in both standards and miniature sizes, which means you can choose one suitable for your living environment.

These dogs do exceptionally well with kids and are a good breed for people with allergies as they shed very little. The Standard Poodle breed is intelligent, playful, curious, and obedient.

It can be shy around strangers but get along splendidly with adults and kids it knows. On the other hand, Miniature Poodles are very delicate and tend to devote themselves to one person in particular, but they are good with children and other pets. Both poodle breeds require adequate training and grooming. 

German Shepherd

As the name implies, the German Shepherd was initially bred in Germany. They were bred as herd dogs and are used for protection against wolves, coyotes, and human intruders when on the farm.

Over time, this dog breed was used in the military and police work in Germany. They are very intelligent and loyal, making them a natural at herding and protecting, so they excelled at the job.

German shepherds can be described as fast, agile, loyal, and incredibly smart dogs; they can also be very goofy around family and affectionate towards them.

They can be pretty protective of their families when visitors come by, but German shepherds will quickly make friends once they approve of the situation.

They are rowdy dogs that require a firm hand and proper training, but once trained, they will not balk at any command given and will follow it to the letter.

German shepherds weigh 27 to 40 kg and stand between 24 – 26 inches tall, and come in several colors, some of which include black, sable, black and tan, grey, black and silver, and black & red.

They are very energetic dogs who love playing with children, but they can occasionally be aggressive with other pets. These dogs require about 30-50 minutes of exercise daily and have a lifespan of 7 – 10 years. 

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher is an intimidating-looking dog with a muscular and compact body and one of the best large dog breeds for kids.

It has a long head that looks like a blunt wedge. This breed looks like an aristocrat with his athletic build, streamlined coat featuring cropped ears, and docked tail.

Although all these traits can look intimidating for a first-time owner, Dobbies are really big softies. The Doberman pinscher is a very sharp, intelligent, and energetic dog suited for canine sports, military & police work, and as a family dog and an overall great companion. They require regular exercise as they are very active dogs. 

Dobbies are sensitive dogs and respond to the mood of their environment. They are generally reserved with strangers or unknown people.

A dobbie also makes a very good guard dog. They are known as the most intelligent dog breed in the world and are described as alert, fearless, and very loyal to owners.  

They don’t shed very much, making them a pretty good choice for those with allergies, and they’re generally healthy dogs, which is suitable for owners who’d like to spend as little time, energy, and money in the vet’s office as possible.

Dobermans are also quite sensitive to cold weather and require sufficient protection during winter. They have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.

This dog breed comes in grayish brown, black, red, white, or blue colors. They weigh about 27 to 45 kg and stand at 12 to 14 inches tall. They are also very clingy and do not like to be left alone. 

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is another breed that barely fits into the large dog breeds for kids category – they weigh 45 to 60 pounds on average. It is a beautiful dog breed originating from Siberia.

These huskies have thick coats that come in several colors and markings. They have blue or multi-colored eyes and iconic facial masks.

Huskies are high-energy, clever, playful, and happy dogs that are very friendly in nature. Many people are drawn to this pup because of its wolf-like resemblance, but fair warning, this dog breed is very stubborn and acts independently, which can be a challenge for first-time owners.

They also have a ridiculous amount of energy, are famous for being escape artists, and would look for any opportunity to run away. Therefore, they require enough exercise to reduce boredom.

An average male Siberian husky stands between 21 and 23.5 inches high, while the female averages 20 to 22 inches. The male weighs between 45 and 60 pounds and the female 35 to 50 pounds. Siberian huskies are also heavy shedders and are not suitable for families with dog allergies. 


The Newfoundland is a working dog from Newfoundland, Canada, and is known to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.

Although it was initially bred to help fishermen, this dog breed has become a family favorite over the years. They love children and are very protective of them.

Both younger and older children would fall in love with this dog’s sweet nature. Aside from being an incredible family dog, Newfoundland is also an exceptional water dog and a strong swimmer.

There have been many people who have been rescued at sea by these gentle giants. Newfoundland typically stands between 27-30 inches tall and weighs as much as 150 pounds.

They are best suited for families in large, open spaces. Their long coats require regular cleaning and maintenance. Their coat also sheds heavily, which means they are not a very good choice for families with allergies. 

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is another large dog breeds for kids making this list. Like its cousin, the Siberian Husky, the Malamute is a large dog breed with wolf-like facial markings and a large, fluffy tail that was initially bred to hunt powerful prey like seals and bears as well as pull sleds over long distances.  

This dog breed possesses enormous strength, intelligence, energy, endurance, and independence. When fully domesticated, the Malamute makes a wonderful addition to an active family. 

Malamutes have a friendly disposition and would get along with both family and strangers. This means they don’t do very well as guard dogs. They do best in large, open spaces and homes that offer lots of love, exercise, and attention. 

Saint Bernard

Although this dog is said to be named for its angelic temperament, Saint Benard was bred by a Swiss Monastery.

They are large dogs ranging between 28-30 inches and weigh 120 to 180 pounds. They also make excellent search and rescue dogs, especially in the Swiss Alps, where people can get lost during accidents and snowstorms; their kind faces and soft eyes were a welcome sight to lost travelers.

These dogs are still used in search and rescue operations all over the world today. These gentle giants also make incredible family companions thanks to their loving and docile temperament.


Collies are one of the best large dog breeds for kids and are a variety of breeds, some of which include Border Collie and Bearded Collie.

This family-friendly puppy is a gentle and predictable breed that is trainable and rarely causes a nuisance-a perfect fit for families not familiar with dogs.

Collies are very affectionate with children and are eager to please their owners and their family. Collies were originally bred as herding dogs and have not lost that instinct, so your Collie may try to herd your kids.

It may be funny at first, but it’s best not to encourage such behavior no matter how useful you think it could be. Collies require regular grooming because of their long hair.

They are a very sensitive and gentle breed but can be stubborn too. So it is crucial to keep obedience training in mind when getting a Collie.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dogs can be described as gentle, loving, playful, and intelligent. They don’t exactly qualify as a “large” dog breed – many exceed 100 pounds in weight.

However, because plenty of female Bernese Mountain dogs remain below the 90-pound mark, they have been included on our list.

Originally from Switzerland, Bernese Mountain dogs are farm dogs bred to perform several tasks on the farm. This required them to be intelligent and have a strong work ethic – characters that make them excellent family dogs. 

Bernese are very easy to train and eager to please. They spend most of their lives trying to figure out ways to please their families.

They also drool a lot and shed heavily, and they don’t have a very long lifespan – they live only about 6 to 10 years.

And although they tend to bond strongly with their families, they are also susceptible to separation anxiety, so they aren’t a good choice for families that aren’t home for long periods.

Great Dane

The Great Dane is one of the most famous dog breeds in terms of height and one of the best large dog breeds for kids. The Great Dane is a breed of German origin, and its German name Deutsche Dogge means German mastiff.

This dog breed is a crossbreed between English mastiff and Irish wolfhounds before settling in Germany.

Great Danes are giant dogs, reaching around 100-200 pounds, and they are among the tallest. On average, a Great Dane stands approximately 28-30 inches tall, but often they can be taller.

They are calm and loyal dogs and are often referred to as the gentle giant of the canine world. They have a quiet demeanor and only require a few walks per day once they are out of puppyhood.

Great Danes are very affectionate towards children, but with fair warning, they can knock over a child simply by walking past them.

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