Large Dog Breeds That Are Great With Kids

Updated on: Dec 16, 2022
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Large Dog Breeds That Are Great With Kids

Large dog breeds make excellent companions for children. They can be patient and gentle and affectionate. These dogs naturally know how to behave around children and can be trusted. In this article, we will review the 9 large dog breeds that are good for children.

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the world for over 30 years. The breed’s history starts in Newfoundland, and it is a descendant of the now-extinct St. John’s water dog.

Today, Labrador Retrievers are used for many tasks - from service dogs to therapy dogs to emotional support dogs. Members of the breed are extremely loving and make great family dogs. They are also gentle and patient with small children.

Personality Traits: Outgoing, Friendly, Active

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 11-13 years

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a majestic dog with a sharp mind and elegant coat. It hails from Scotland and is the brainchild of Lord Tweedmouth. Today, it is ranked as the fourth smartest breed (behind Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds).

Golden Retrievers are extremely attached to their humans and do not handle being alone. They are also very protective of their owners and even other pets in the house. Plus, Goldens are particularly fond of children.

Personality Traits: Friendly, Intelligent, Devoted

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 10-12 years

3. Boxer

Boxer Dog

The Boxer is an interesting breed hailing from Germany. Originally it was used for hunting, but then it became a popular performer in circus acts. Female members of the breed are more spirited and active compared to males.

The Boxer is called the Peter Pan of the canine world. This is because the breed refuses to get old and remains playful throughout its entire life. Boxers are loving and gentle, hence making great dogs for children.

Personality Traits: Bright, Fun-Loving, Active

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 10-12 years

4. Newfoundland


The Newfoundland is a giant dog with a sweet temper and laid-back attitude. It was developed in Canada to assist in search and rescue missions on water. As a result, the dog is an excellent swimmer and tolerates cold.

Newfies are extremely loyal and protective. They are known to be the “ride or die” type of dog and would literally place themselves in front of danger just to protect the owner. Newfoundlands are also called “nanny dogs” because they love children.

Personality Traits: Sweet, Devoted, Patient

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 9-10 years

5. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a versatile and majestic breed. Best known for its tri-colored (black, white, and rust) coat, this dog is gentle and even-tempered. It was developed in Switzerland and is well-adapted to cold weather.

The Bernese Mountain Dog was originally used as an all-purpose working dog. Following industrialization, the breed almost got extinct, as people no longer needed dogs to do heavy jobs. Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog is an excellent babysitter with strong guarding instincts.

Personality Traits: Good-Natured, Calm, Strong

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 7-10 years

6. German Shepherd

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is one of the best-known dog breeds in the world - if not for something else than for featuring police and action movies. It is also among the top all-purpose work dogs. Plus, German Shepherds are particularly smart. In fact, they rank third on the list of smartest breeds in the dogdom.

The breed was developed thanks to the efforts of Captain Max von Stephanitz - a German cavalry officer, in an attempt to create the perfect herding dog. Today, German Shepherds are used as work dogs and as companions to children and people of all ages.

Personality Traits: Confident, Courageous, Smart

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 7-10 years

7. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Known as the all-purpose Renaissance hound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a unique-looking dog. The hallmark of the breed is the thick stripe on the dog’s back featuring backward-growing hair. The dog comes in a wheaten color and is noticeable for its muscular, athletic build.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was developed in Africa, where it was used for baying and tracking lions and hunting large game. Because of its original job, this dog was named the African Lion Hound.

Personality Traits: Affectionate, Dignified, Even-Tempered

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 10-12 years

8. Leonberger


The Leonberger is a German dog with an aristocratic physical appearance and an elegant, lush coat. One of the main features of the breed is the lion-like mane on the neck of male breed members. It is believed that the breed’s ancestry line includes powerful dogs such as Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands.

Throughout their history, Leonbergers have been used as work dogs and as companions to royalty. Today, they make excellent family dogs. Despite the massive proportions and intimidating size, the Leonberger is a true gentle giant, especially around its family members.

Personality Traits: Playful, Gentle, Friendly

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 7 years

9. Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a synonym for a shaggy and spirited dog. As the name suggests, the breed was developed in England with the main task of managing sheep flocks and serving as a drover’s dog. The shaggy coat and bear-like gait are the main hallmarks of the breed.

Old English Sheepdogs are extremely patient and loving, hence making excellent dogs for children. They are also protective and loyal. In Disney’s Little Mermaid, Prince Eric’s lovely dog is portrayed as an Old English Sheepdog.

Personality Traits: Gentle, Smart, Adaptable

Kid-Friendliness: 5 out of 5

Average Lifespan: 10-12 years


All of these large breeds are gentle giants with a special fondness for children. They are affectionate and protective. Also, they are patient and tolerate childish behavior.

However, because of their size, playtime should be monitored. These dogs can accidentally knock down small kids. Also, we should note that it is paramount to teach children how to behave around dogs and not to be torturous.

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