Best Big Dog Breeds for Families with Kids?

Big dog breeds are a fantastic fit for many different households and scenarios, and one of those is when you have a family with kids. With high energy, great durability, and patience, there are a lot of things bigger dogs have going for them when it comes to being great with kids

But as pet company Innovetpet warns. “Big dog breeds make for some of the best family dogs, but unlike toy breeds and most smaller dogs, most big dogs were originally bred to be workers/hunters before family dogs, so it’s even more important to research them before bringing one into your home.”

So how about we help out with that?! 

The Labrador Retriever

It’s not a big surprise to see the Labrador Retriever at the top. There is a good reason why this breed has topped America’s Most Popular Dog list for several years. Fast learners but dorky, gentle and loving, Labs think all humans are just the best thing ever. The most common concern with these love bugs is their high energy and aloofness when playing, which can result in knockdowns that end in lots of face kisses. Lovely but not always the best for very young children, but that’s easily solved with training and supervision.

While there are a few minor differences, mainly in appearance, we are going to include the ever-popular Golden Retriever here due to all their similarities. The biggest difference is Golden Retrievers require more grooming, but they tend to be a little less rambunctious.

The Bernese Mountain Dog

Go big or go home, and with these gentle giants, you can do just that! Berners, Bernies, or Bernese Mountain dogs, they go by a whole lot of names and that is because they fit perfectly in a lot of different households. And despite their monolithic size, they are great with small children, as they are very mindful of their giganticness. As we saw with the Labrador Retriever, their size was a concern as their love for rambunctious plays can get the best of them.

The biggest negative here, as you’ll see with the biggest of the big boys, is that the Bernese Mountain dog experiences a fairly short lifespan compared to medium and smaller large dogs like Labrador Retrievers.


If your kids like to bounce, and most usually do, then why not get your kids a dog that will bounce around with them? The boxer is one incredible jumper; in fact, one of their most recognizable traits is their tendency to bounce and jump around in a very adorable and playful manner. Another one of their most recognizable traits is their well-behaved personalities. They will need proper training — the sooner, the better — as their intelligence can backfire and cause them to be stubborn.

The Standard Poodle

While both Toy and Miniature Poodles are great with kids, it’s the Standard Poodle that is perhaps the best due to their extremely patient attitude, which is in part due to their larger size.

While it’s a myth that poodles don’t shed, there is a good reason many believe this. Poodles are very mild non-seasonal shedders thanks to their single-layer coats. Most dogs have both an outer and undercoat and seasonal coat blowouts.

The Goldendoodle and Labradoodle

We mentioned both Poodles and Retrievers on our list, so we would be remiss if we left out their offspring, the Doodles. Like their parents, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are incredibly friendly and playful.

While not all have a complete hypoallergenic coat, most have some degree. And that’s great for those with mild allergies or those that see occasional flare-ups.

The Rottweiler

At first, you may be surprised to see the Rottie on our list, but you shouldn’t be. While incredibly powerful, they are extremely sensitive and obedient, making them great for families. In fact, it’s their protective nature over their family that has earned them some of that negative attention.

The Australian Shepherd

Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd, as we know them today, is 100% an American dog. These cattle and sheep herding dogs are equipped to handle the biggest, baddest, and most rambunctious livestock, making them a perfect match for a pack of kids who are full of sugar.

These dogs will have the energy to match your kids, if not more so, so make sure you are prepared for it. As well, they will need to be trained to not nip at the heels — an instinct they have that’s used for herding livestock. Because of their super intelligence and incredible ability to listen to commands at the drop of a dime, teaching out this behavior has a high success rate with proper training.

The Old English Sheepdog

This is a perfect dog for when you want to give your family a living blanket to cuddle with. An attention lover and floofnugget to the floofiest, the Old English Sheepdog is fantastic for families thanks to their loving, gentle, and patient nature when playing around with kids and others.

The Saint Bernard

Giving the Bernese Mountain Dog a run for the most gentle giant is the St. Bernard. While they have very different origins, these breeds are quite comparable, especially when it comes to their gentle personalities. The biggest difference, besides the color and pattern of their coats, will be their size. If the Bernese Mountain Dog isn’t big enough for you, then perhaps, the Saint Bernard will be, as they sit about 50 lbs heavier while also standing a few inches taller.

The German Shepherd

Another dog that you might be surprised to see on our list is the German Shepherd. But like Rottweilers, it’s their protective and highly trainable nature that earned them a somewhat negative connotation, but that makes them great for families. Proper socialization when young is key to unlocking their kid-friendly nature. But thanks to their patience and highly trainable nature, they are perfect for helping kids learn how to care for a dog.


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