Have you ever wondered if one of the large dog breeds might be the right fit for you?
We’re here to answer all your questions and find the best furry friend for your needs. From breeds good with kids to large puppers appropriate for apartment living, we’ve compiled all the necessary info you’ll need as an owner.
Let’s jump right in.
Everything You Should Know about Large Dog Breeds
While larger dogs take up a lot more space, they’re fantastic for owners who know how to handle them.
Most Affectionate Large Dog Breeds
These breeds have a whole lot of love to go around.
1. Labrador Retriever
Labs are among the most popular large dog breeds, particularly when it comes to finding a big ball of fluff that’s ready to show you all the love in the world. Plus, their goofy smiles make everything better.
The Labrador Retriever’s main life goal is to make its owners happy. So if you’re looking for a pup that will follow direction, with the right amount of training, that’s the breed for you.
Fetch is a favorite pastime of these pooches. Besides, labs’ friendly nature makes them perfect for a park visit. They stand at 21.5–24.5 inches, so keep their size in mind when playing.
2. Irish Wolfhound
These pups between 30–34 inches are the tallest of all the AKC (American Kennel Club) breeds. That’s a pretty huge feat, considering they’re 197.
But don’t let their size fool you; this pup is one of the calm large dog breeds. They’re incredibly lovable and have easy-going personalities.
Irish Wolfhounds are the true definition of a gentle giant. They get on well with everyone, including small kids and other pooches.
If you’re looking for a breed that might not necessarily fit in a small space but will fit right into your life, then this is the one for you.
Okay, their name isn’t great but don’t let that put you off. This breed’s loyalty comes naturally, and they’ll trust you implicitly if you care for them correctly.
The droopy eyes and ears get me, so if you ask me, they’re one of the best large dog breeds. I’m sold on any breed with these characteristics.
The Bloodhound is a sniffer breed, so a leash is quite necessary. Plus, with a height of 23–27 inches, you need to train these pups as early as possible to fight their urge to run after things.
Keeping these puppers on your property is crucial, so a wireless dog fence might come in handy for this breed.
Key Takeouts: These dogs have a heart of gold. Their affectionate nature makes the Labrador, Irish Wolfhound, and Bloodhoud the ultimate pets for those in need of attention, warmth, and love.
Large Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed
Many people with allergies struggle to accept that they won’t feel the love of a pupper. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some perfect breeds for allergy-prone humans.
It’s the most giant breed of the terrier family. They stand at an impressive 23 inches and are incredibly versatile.
Airedale Terriers are protectors and will stand up for their home and family when it’s necessary. These pups have a soft undercoat with a hard, wiry topcoat, meaning they’re the largest dog breed that doesn’t shed very much.
But you should research good groomers in your area because their coats require quite a bit of care to stay healthy and prevent unwanted matting.
The Airedale is an active breed that needs lots of exercise and regular walks.
5. Peruvian Inca Orchid
It’s the perfect fit for dog lovers worried about shedding. This breed might be entirely hairless.
Another great news is you can find these pups in small, medium, and even large sizes. But we’re focusing on the large dog breeds here, and the Peruvian Inca Orchid can stand between 19.75–25.75 inches tall.
They’re very alert and love a good cuddle, especially the ones without hair, as they get cold in winter. A pup house heater is a great option to keep them warm.
6. Belgian Malinois
Known as one of the longest living large dog breeds, the Belgian Malinois is outgoing and bonds with its owner instantly.
These dogs thrive on family relationships, so be prepared for a partner in crime that will have your back.
They’re about 24–26 inches and look very similar to the German Shepherd. The Belgian Malinois has a short and straight coat that doesn’t shed much. To make their coat shiny smooth, keep a brush handy.
Like many of the pups on our list of large dog breeds, this breed is very active. They need exercise and training from a young age to get them out of bad habits like nipping.
Key Takeouts: It’s so relieving to see hypoallergenic big doggos — not only they will relieve your allergy symptoms, but they’ll protect you and love you like no other.
Best Large Dog Breeds for a Family
Having a furry friend around while growing up makes for some fantastic and unforgettable memories. Pups can genuinely fill a childhood with love and laughter. Here are a few family-friendly breeds to consider.
7. Saint Bernard
This is the ultimate kid-friendly pooch. If you love Peter Pan as much as I do, you know Nana was the best nanny. This isn’t even an exaggeration. Saint Bernards guard and protect the children in their homes while still remaining one of the calmest dog breeds.
This pup is incredibly patient for its size. Also, it’s one of the most recognizable large fluffy dog breeds, with a height of 28–30 inches.
Saint Bernards have an exaggerated head, and their dopy expression makes them very welcoming and non-threatening. The large head may be due to how brilliant these pups are. What’s more, they’re easily trainable and love to please their families.
8. German Shepherd
Many people are surprised to hear that this breed is family-friendly because these dogs have a reputation for being aggressive. And since these pups train for public service, they need to be aggressive to catch the baddies. But that doesn’t mean they were born this way.
The German Shepherd is one of the healthiest large dog breeds that’s also very interested in learning and pleasing their owners. Their reward is the happiness of those they love.
Growing up, my pup Lucky was the most giant bundle of love you could ever imagine. On his hind legs, he was taller than anyone that came knocking on the door. Generally, a German Shepherd stands at 24–26 inches.
These pups can be great with kids, but just like any other breed, they need training.
9. Golden Retriever
You know there’s no way Golden Retrievers aren’t making the list. They’re often portrayed in movies as the ultimate family pet, and for a good reason.
These pups can be goofy. Plus, they’re sweet, caring, patient, and very protective.
Out of the large dog breeds, they’re in the mid-range with a height between 23–24 inches.
These puppies love to play, and fetch is one of their all-time favorites, so grab the ball, and you’ll be in for a world of laughs.
Key Takeouts: Meet the nannies — Saint Bernard, German Shepherd, and Golden Retriever. These three are the ultimate family dogs, intelligent, gentle, and obedient.
Best Large Dog Breeds for Apartments
You’ll be shocked to find some of the larger breeds on our list in this category. After all, the smallest pups can turn your house upside down in five minutes, and so can a bigger pooch. Let’s dive right in.
10. The Greyhound
This breed is incredibly laid back and relaxed, making them perfect for smaller homes and apartments. But they do need exercise, so prepare to walk your dog every day if your living space isn’t big.
Greyhounds are gentle and adapt quickly to different situations. Besides, they’re one of the few large dog breeds that are good with cats. Still, like with children, you need to monitor your animals, especially in the beginning.
These pups are between 28–30 inches tall and have a lean build. They’re natural sprinters, so be careful when going on your daily walk.
They may look terrifying, but they’re gentle giants. Plus, Bullmastiffs don’t require much exercise and are the perfect fit for someone who enjoys strolling.
They’re pretty large with a height between 25–27 inches and have so much love to give.
Bullmastiffs are docile and will fit right in with the family, but they can be protective when needed. This gentle breed is excellent for apartment living because of its calm temperament.
Since they’re close to the largest dog breed, they need a daily walk, but it doesn’t have to be a marathon.
12. Bernese Mountain Dog
Descendants of the Mastiff, these pups have an instinct to protect the ones they love. So if you’re looking for your own personal alarm system for an apartment, this might be the best solution for you.
This breed is quite large at 25–27.5 inches, but their beautiful coat and friendly smile make them look like a giant teddy bear. The Bernese Mountain Dog has a calm temperament, but it enjoys rough and tumble play with its owner, with lots of indestructible dog toys around them.
I would personally classify this breed as one of the medium to large dog breeds because their size can vary depending on their fitness, food, and overall lifestyle. This pup needs about 30 minutes of daily exercise.
Key Takeouts: Greyhounds, Bullmastiffs, and Bernese Mountain Dogs are ideal for apartment dwellers. But the apartment life comes with obligations, so consider frequent walks in the park to keep their fuel going.
Large Dog Breeds for First Time Owners
If you’re a first-time owner, know that you can’t learn everything in five minutes. But one of the vital parts of dog care is getting special dog food for large breeds to ensure a long and healthy life. Here are some dogs suitable for first-time owners you’ll fall in love with.
One of the more popular large dog breeds, Boxers, stands at 23–25 inches. This might sound a bit scary to a first-time pup owner, but don’t panic.
The Boxer is brilliant and adaptable to new situations and owners. If you find yourself standing in the garden with your hands on your head and no idea how to handle things, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. In such situations, this pup will stay by your side, showing you exactly what it wants to do.
These dogs love a good game of fetch, so be sure to get some balls during your first pup shopping trip. I’ve known a few Boxers in my life, and they’re all insanely lovable and protective.
14. Presa Canario
While not one of the extra large dog breeds, they can still be highly intimidating. But as a pup, they’re lovable, fun, and very attentive.
The Presa Canario may look scary, but they’re patient and docile with their owners. This makes them a perfect pup for first-time dog parents who need an understanding pet.
This 22–26 inches tall pupper loves the indoors and outdoors, so it’s great for those that can’t necessarily go hiking every weekend. They do need exercise, but if your yard is big enough for a good rough and tumble play, they should be fine.
Still, all dogs should get out for a walk each day, which is good for pup health and yours, too.
Here’s one of the most beautiful large dog breeds. These pups have a silky coat that could make even the most soft-skinned human jealous.
They’re lean, and between 25–27 inches, so they’re pretty big. Weimaraners are active, energetic, and fearless, perfect for outdoorsy people that enjoy a good walk.
These pups are incredibly obedient, making them an excellent choice for a first-time pup owner. They want to learn and require mental exercise just as much as physical.
It’s a breed that loves its owners without fault and will take over your entire sofa, so be ready for a lot of puppy love.
Key Takeouts: Patience, obedience, and adaptability to new surroundings are key points for first-time parenting — and the Boxer, Presa Canario, and Weimaraner check all of those boxes.
Giant Dog Breeds
Are you ready for extra-large cuddles? Let’s see what these huge breeds have to give.
16. Great Dane
Known as one of the large and friendly dog breeds, the Great Dane is reliable and patient with its owners.
With a height of 30–32 inches, this pup is no joke. Walking is its favorite activity, but they shouldn’t go on hikes or long, strenuous walks before the age of two to avoid any joint damage.
The Great Dane gets along well with everyone, except for intruders. That’s when the sweetness disappears, and a full-blown attack is on the way.
But don’t let that put you off. If trained properly, this pup is terrific, even around children.
17. English Mastiff
This is the largest dog breed in the world. Its lowest height is 30 inches, and it only goes up from there.
These pups are goofballs at heart, and you can see it on their faces. They love their families and will lick you half to death just to prove it.
The English Mastiff is exceptionally patient and gentle. They’re cuddle machines that pride themselves on the loyal bond between them and their owner.
What’s more, these pups are instinctively protective so training them from a young age is essential. You don’t want them walking you rather than the other way round.
Fluffy, sweet, and very much like Saint Bernards, this breed is also a perfect nanny pup.
Known as one of the smartest large dog breeds, they love to learn. Their intelligence is often overlooked, but take it from us — they’re smarter than some humans.
Newfoundlands are around 28 inches in height. Unfortunately, their size means some joint issues. They have some of the highest cases of cruciate ligament disease.
Joint supplements can help pups that are more prone to these types of health issues, and we suggest speaking to your vet about all the preventative measures you can take.
Key Takeouts: Don’t let the size fool you because Great Danes, English Mastiffs, and Newfoundlands have a heart of gold. Their affectionate nature stops with strangers, so expect them to want to protect you.
Final Thoughts: Have You Found Your Big Softie?
Large dog breeds come in different sizes, colors, traits, and characteristics.
In terms of showing you their love, the Labrador Retriever, Irish Wolfhound, and Bloodhound are all great choices.
Suppose you’re allergy-prone but want a big pup. In that case, the Airedale, Peruvian Inca Orchid, or Belgian Malinois might be the one for you.
Finding a big pup that’s good around kids might be important to you. In this case, the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Saint Bernard will be amazing with your little ones.
If you live in an apartment, don’t panic. You, too, can have a big pup like the Greyhound, Bullmastiff, or Bernese Mountain Dog.
Now, if you’ve never been a pup owner, look into the Boxer, Presa Canario, and Weimaraner. They’ll show you the ropes. Lastly, we explored the large dog breeds that lead in size — the Great Dane, English Mastiff, and Newfoundland. They’re all massive pups with lots of love to give.