They say bigger isn’t always better, but in the case of these large dog breeds, we beg to differ. From fluffy Newfoundlands to sleek Great Danes, these gentle giants make wonderful family pets and, despite their large size, not every breed needs a lot of space to run around in (Mastiffs, for example, have fairly low exercise requirements and are happy to relax at home for most of the day).

Before you adopt a giant dog breed, the American Kennel Club suggests new owners factor in the training time that’s essential for having a well-behaved pet as it’s essential for large dog breeds that will grow to weigh as much as an adult human. It’s also important to keep in mind that larger dogs often cost more to care for, so be sure to budget for extra food, larger beds, and nutritional supplements, which help keep bigger dogs’ joints healthy (they’re carrying around a lot of weight, after all).

Once you choose the large dog breed that’s right for you, you’ll want to pick the perfect name to give to the newest member of your family. You can also look into dog subscription boxes for treats for your pooch and, for yourself, browse fun gifts for dog lovers. Read on to see which big pooch is a fit for you, with info from the American Kennel Club.

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Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dogs are affectionate and good natured, making them especially ideal for families with young children. They were originally bred to work on farms in Switzerland, which means they do just fine in cold climates.

Height: 23-27.5 inches
Weight: 70-115 pounds
Life Expectancy: 7-10 years


Great Dane

Regal, dependable, and friendly, these gentle giants are taller than most full-grown people when they stand on their hind legs and can reach 32-inches at the shoulder on all fours. Their coat comes in a variety of hues including the black-and-white “harlequin” patchwork pattern.

Height: 28-32 inches
110-175 pounds
Life Expectancy:
7-10 years



Mastiffs may look imposing (males often weigh more than a full-grown man and are at least 30 inches at the shoulder) but they are kind-hearted, docile dogs at heart. They can even be a bit shy, so early socialization is especially important.

Height: 27.5 inches and up
120-230 pounds
Life Expectancy:
6-10 years



Newfoundlands are devoted, sweet, and patient. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed originated in Canada where they were working dogs aboard fishing ships, specializing in water rescues (so they’re brave, too!). They’re easy to train, and easy to love.

Height: 26-28 inches
100-150 pounds
Life Expectancy:
9-10 years


Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are loyal and intelligent, and are especially great choices for active owners as they require a good deal of daily exercise. They’re also extroverts, known for being extra gentle with kids and other dogs, too.

Height: 21.5-24 inches
55-75 pounds
Life expectancy:
10-12 years



Leonbergers, named for the city in Germany where they were first bred, were originally meant to be pets to members of royal families (King Umberto I of Italy, Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and England’s prince of Wales all owned “Leos”). Their stately appearance, playful, calm nature, and friendly demeanor makes them excellent companions for non-royal owners, too.

Height: 25.5-31.5 inches
90-170 pounds
Life Expectancy:
7 years


Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss mountain dogs, a.k.a “Swissies,” are sociable and sweet, and also make excellent watch dogs. Originally bred in the Swiss Alps, they’re sturdy and athletic, perfect companions for hiking and camping trips.

Height: 23.7-28.5 inches
85-140 pounds
Life Expectancy:
8-11 years


Labrador Retriever

Labradors are about as loyal and lovey-dovey as they come, which is why they top the list of most popular dog breeds in the U.S. Their coat comes in three colors—black, chocolate, and tan—and they’re ideal for people who love to be active outdoors as labs require lots of exercise.

Height: 21.5-24.5
55-80 pounds
Life expectancy:
10-12 years


Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards have big hearts to match their big bodies—they are playful, eager to please, and especially good with children. Though they can grow up to 30 inches, they don’t require a lot of exercise. Saint Bernards are social and happiest when they’re with their families.

Height: 26-30 inches
: 120-180 pounds
Life Expectancy:
8-10 years


Giant Schnauzer

These handsome dogs are known for their loyalty, affection toward their families, and for being easy to train. Owners should be sure to schedule weekly brushes of their dense coat, which comes in black or salt and pepper.

Height: 23.5-27.5 inches
Weight: 55-85 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years


Irish Setter

Outgoing and eager-to-please, Irish Setters make excellent family dogs. They’re easy to train, just know they’re especially active dogs who require regular exercise.

Height: 25-27 inches
Weight: 60-70 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years


German Shepherd

German Shepherds are handsome, athletic, and smart as a whip. First bred as a herding dog in Germany, today they’re one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S.

Height: 22-26 inches
Weight: 50-90 pounds
Life Expectancy: 7-10 years


Old English Sheep Dog

You may recognize the Old English Sheep Dog from The Little Mermaid (Prince Eric had one as a pet) and just like in the film, these dogs are playful, intelligent, and loyal. They’re social too, and are happiest hanging with their families. Just be prepared from extra grooming time to take care of their super shaggy coat.

Height: 21 inches and up
60-100 pounds
Life Expectancy:
10-12 years


Great Pyrenees

Originating in the Pyrenees Mountains as a guard dog for livestock, Great Pyrenees are especially calm, dignified dogs, and can even be a bit shy around strangers. Their thick white coat is actually fairly low-maintenance as its dirt and tangle resistant, and they’ll stay happy and healthy with moderate exercise.

Height: 25-32 inches
85 pounds and up
Life Expectancy:
10-12 years


Rhodesian Ridgeback

Regal and well-behaved, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are also very affectionate, so they need lots of together time with their owners. They do well with other animals, and their short, shiny coat requires little grooming.

Height: 24-27 inches
70-85 pounds
Life Expectancy:
12-15 years

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