A Guide to 15 Beautiful Large Dog Breeds
Are you looking to add a new friend to your family? Large dog breeds are some of the best family-friendly pets you could ask for!
Making sure you find the right fit for your family is important. Some breeds are higher maintenance, require more exercise or have specific needs.
So what should you know before you bring home a big dog?
The Best Large Dog Breeds
There are a few things to consider when choosing your new pet.
- Do you prefer an active dog or one that prefers to nap?
- What kind of grooming and other maintenance is required?
- Do you have time to give the proper training for a working type dog?
- Are there any quirks of the breed (like drooling) that you should be aware of?
Read below to see our top 15 picks!
1. Great Dane
Great Danes are one of the best large breed family dogs you can find. While one of the biggest breeds, they make terrific apartment and small house dogs due to their calm nature. They spend a good deal of the time lying around and sleeping and don't require constant exercise to be happy.
They also don't shed much and require little grooming.
On the flip side, Great Danes can be droolers and quite messy when it comes to water and food. Their long tails mean you won't want anything breakable at waist height.
Like most large breeds, they also don't have a long life expectancy—eight years is average.
Mastiffs are even larger than Great Danes, sometimes weighing up to 200 pounds! These gentle giants are natural couch potatoes, but stay healthier with regular exercise.
Training is a must when it comes to an animal this large. These dogs were bred as protectors; they are fiercely loyal to their family, but if not trained properly, this can become an issue with visitors.
They tend not to bark and don't shed, but potential owners should know they are droolers, tend to snore loudly and can clear a room with flatulence!
3. St. Bernard
The movie Beethoven accurately summed up this giant breed!
These are some of the best family dogs around as they're especially gentle with small children. They are calm and patient and require little exercise to stay happy.
With their longer coat, the St. Bernard requires more maintenance in the way of grooming and shedding. Like other large breeds, they may have hip and joint issues. They also lead relatively short lives, averaging 8-10 years.
4. Alaskan Malamute
Originally bred as a working sled dog, Malamutes do best with an active family.
Because they are pack animals, firm training is needed from a young age to ensure they know you're the leader. Trained well, these dogs are loving, loyal and fun.
Their thicker coats mean higher maintenance, and once or twice a year, you'll have a coat blowout to clean up. Like Huskies, Malamutes can also be quite vocal, not only barking but "talking" to you about their problems!
5. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees was bred to watch over sheep on snow covered mountain tops. Mellow and steadfast, they make excellent family dogs and guardians.
Its beautiful heavy coat will require some maintenance, and they need a home that can offer moderate exercise to stay healthy and happy.
Since they were bred to work independently and are highly intelligent, they may get bored with training quickly. However, with consistent training, you'll find a well-behaved and loving companion.
6. Bernese Mountain Dog
Big and beautiful, the Bernese is another working dog that does well as a family pet. This large breed loves a good romp and play, but is mostly calm.
They have medium length coats that don't require as much grooming as some of the longer-haired breeds.
Because of their even temperament, they score high on large breed family dog lists.
7. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is intelligent and adaptable.
Many hold jobs alongside police officers for good reason—they are easy to train and listen well.
They are considered an extremely family friendly dog, although they can be wary of strangers and other dogs.
German Shepherd's are also sensitive, so low key environments are best. Folks who have never owned a dog will probably want a more laid back first pet.
Newfies, as they're called, are affectionate and warm. Like many on our list, they were originally bred as working dogs for fishermen to haul loads.
Powerfully built and big, they have many of the same health issues you can expect in other large breeds. They don't adapt well to apartment living and don't like being left alone for long periods.
With their long hair, they also require frequent grooming.
However, they're one of the friendliest choices on our list and a frequent choice for families wanting a big companion.
9. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is an imposing dog with a bodyguard presence.
This breed should not be on your list if you are not an experienced dog owner. Early socialization and good training are essential; without it, this is a dog that will end up owning an owner!
You'll also want to make sure the Cane gets plenty of exercise to keep him happy. This is a dog that needs a job!
On the plus side, they make loyal companions and their short coats mean little grooming.
10. Dogue De Bordeaux
This breed has French origins and hails from the Mastiff family.
Although they look large and lumbering, the Dogue is fairly agile and less prone to joint issues than some on this list.
They have a short fawn coat that requires very little grooming, and they make excellent family pets.
The drawback to this breed is in personality. Dogues can be undeniably stubborn and need an experienced owner.
The males of this breed sport a lion-like mane of fur around their necks. Big and powerful with lush long coats, they are indeed a beautiful dog.
Leonbergers are also friendly and playful, but require room to roam. As another working dog, they seem to need a purpose.
Grooming is similar to other long-haired breeds on this list.
While large, they are athletic and enjoy exercise.
12. Irish Wolfhound
The tallest of the dog breeds, this gentle giant was once bred to take down wolves.
Today, however, Wolfhounds are better known for being family dogs with unique personalities. They have a reputation for being good with small kids.
You'll have a job grooming this breed, however, with it's long, coarse coat.
13. Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolians were bred to work outdoors in harsh conditions, and their thick coats attest to it. While not terrible to groom, they will shed their undercoat twice a year, which can cause quite a mess!
This breed needs regular exercise. As they can be wary of other dogs, they must be socialized early to avoid problems later on.
This breed is very family friendly, however, and a good choice for children.
14. Tibetan Mastiff
Out of all the dogs on our list, this one has the most maintenance woes. Its heavy double coat includes a thick undercoat and a course, long-haired top coat. Once a year, this wooly giant "blows" its coat, shedding massive piles of fur!
The Tibetan Mastiff, however, makes a wonderful pet. Life expectancy is longer than many others on this list, and they are easy going.
As a mix of lazy and active, they are a good choice for almost any household.
15. Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is another popular working dog. Malinois generally forge a specific bond with one person and will be absolutely loyal to that person.
This breed not only needs regular exercise, but it also needs plenty of mental stimulation too. They are smart and eager to please.
The smallest dog on this list, it also has the longest lifespan at around 14-16 years. While the Malinois will choose its person, they are a good choice for an active family. This blog has a few more tips about this special breed.
Do Your Homework
There are so many choices when it comes to large dog breeds. Take time to find a reputable breeder who knows the breed and can answer your questions.
Do your research to make sure you're choosing a breed that works well with your lifestyle and the amount of time you have to give. With a little knowledge, you'll be bringing home your new friend in no time!
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