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20 Big Dog Breeds That Are Perfect for Any Family

They may look beastly, but these pups are as gentle as they come.

Common logic dictates that, the larger the animal, the scarier it is. When that comes to dogs, however, that sentiment couldn't possibly be further from the truth. Yes, big dog breeds tend to also be gentle dog breeds—lovable fuzz balls that want nothing more than to play fetch with your family (and maybe chase a squirrel or two). Despite their intimidating features, they tend to be less loud and more playful than their chihuahua-sized counterparts. As far as new family members go, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than a big dog. Here, as recognized by the by the American Kennel Club (AKC), are the best big dog breeds you can adopt today.

1. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute

Look up "playful" in the dictionary and you'll see a photo of an Alaskan Malamute. These jolly grey giants essentially just 80 pounds of fur and friendliness, and are great with kids. Plus, look at that face!

3. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog fluffiest dog breeds

Bernese Mountain Dogs thrive on human companionship and are happiest as house dogs. Though they strike a formidable appearance—at 27 inches tall, they're one of the largest big dog breeds around—make no mistake: Bernese Mountain Dogs are totally harmless. Even the AKC describes these fur balls as "aloof."

5. Boerboel


Boerboels aren't any taller than other large dog breeds, but they sure are more compact: They can weigh anywhere from 150 to 200 (!!) pounds, and it's mostly muscle. Though they're fantastic natural predators—given their bodybuilder physique—Boerboels are generally calm and not prone to aggression.

7. Doberman Pinscher

doberman pinscher

Yes, with their athletic physiques and fierce facial structures, Doberman Pinschers can look intimidating—but they're actually some of the friendliest dogs on the planet, and love being around people. Raise one around your children, and it'll be even sweeter (and your kids will have a worthy guardian angel, too).

9. Golden Retriever

sleeping golden retrievers photos of snoozing dogs

Golden Retrievers are the poster children for all-American, nuclear family dogs. Around two feet tall, they're explicitly bred to be family-friendly, so they're even-tempered and highly intelligent. What's more, like their feline brethren, they're fairly self-sufficient. So, if and when you schedule gets jam-packed, you can rest easy knowing they're fine while home alone.

11. Irish Wolfhound

irish wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is a temperamentally calm breed that gets along well with humans (despite the fact that, at three feet tall, most humans could, hypothetically, ride one like a horse). But what's best about these shaggy canines is how agreeable they are: If your family has other pets—yes, cats included—Irish Wolfhounds are bound to get along well them.

13. Neapolitan Mastiff

nepolitan mastiff

Though its appearance might be the stuff of nightmares, few dogs are more naturally sweet than the Neapolitan Mastiff. With more wrinkles than a well-worn linen suit, they stand nearly three feet tall and clock in at 150 pounds. Talk about a gentle giant!

15. Redbone Coonhound

Redbone Coonhound

Dating back to the history of America, Redbone Coonhound were originally bred to be even-tempered hunters, providing frontiersmen with a steady supply of meat during expeditions. That caring nature persists to this day—and, though they do indeed require a lot of exercise, if you're an active family, it's a match made in heaven.

17. Slovensky Cuvac

slovensky cuvac

As white as snow and as naturally happy as a clam, the Slovensky Cuvac is a large pup with, compared to other large dogs, a relatively long lifespan: They'll live for up to 13 years.

19. Tosa

adult tosa

During the Second World War, the Tosa nearly went extinct. Good thing that didn't happen, because few large dog breeds are more docile than these fellas. They're also, at 200 pounds (of pure muscle, mind you), one of the largest domesticated breeds on the planet. Don't get on a Tosa's bad side!

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