I love large dogs. Large dogs offer a sense of security, most love to play fetch, and they enjoy being outdoors. This suits me and my family well.

If you enjoy large dog breeds as well, then you understand that big dogs can be just as cute and cuddly as small dog breeds. I find large dogs easy to maintain, robust and great companions.

While everyone has their favorite breed of dog, among large dog breeds (dogs that are generally over 50 pounds) there are ten that stand out from among the others. Some of these are found among the top dogs in the United States according to the AKC, others are just personal favorites.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Chocolate Labrador, Golden Labrador, Black Labrador

Labs are among my top ten best dog breeds because they are friendly, great with kids, docile, and love to play. Labs are an all around good large dog breed for companionship and outdoor play. They love to play fetch and carry things in their mouths and have an affinity for water.

Lab’s short hair makes them easy to maintain and keep clean.

One of the biggest things to keep in consideration should you consider owning a lab is their big appetite. Generally, a lab’s diet must be monitored very closely.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Golden Retriever

I own a Golden Retriever, so this is my most favorite large dog breed. Golden Retrievers are recognized among the smartest of dogs. They are companionable, eager to please, and socialize well with adults and children. They are easy to train and love to perform tricks that please their master and earn them a treat.

Like Labradors Golden Retrievers will carry most anything in their mouth. They also share the Labrador’s affinity for water.

Golden Retriever’s are traditionally known for their golden color, but can range in color from light gold, to tan, or even reddish-golden tones. They are beautiful dogs.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Boxer

Boxers have long been popular pets, but it seems their popularity has grown lately. Boxers are full of energy, but make gentle, loving companions. They tend to remain energetic throughout their lifespan. Therefore, they need lots of outdoor playtime and a healthy diet to help sustain their energy.

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Boxers have shiny short coats and are often accented with tufts of white fur known as “flashing.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Schnauzers

Schnauzers come in three sizes: giant, medium, and miniature. While some families prefer cute cuddly medium or tiny Schnauzers, giant Schnauzers offer the same cute, distinctive look and make great family pets. Large Schnauzers need access to outdoors, as they need plenty of room to exercise, run, and play.

The Schnauzer is a spirited and intelligent dog. He tends to maintain a keen sense of his surroundings, making them ideal watchdogs.

Schnauzers are very social and like to be around the family. They do not do well if kept outdoors. Another distinct characteristic of Schnauzers is that they were bred to be working dogs; therefore, they like to stay busy. Even if their job is helping watch and play with the kids in the yard, they will be happier than if they do not have a job.

Schnauzers need to be brushed regularly to avoid matted fur and trimmed a couple of times a year.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is well known as a guard dog, often used by the police and military. It is also a great large dog breed for families. According to the AKC, the German Shepherd consistently ranks as one of the United States most popular breeds.

German Shepherds are strong and energetic. Although they are regarded by some as aggressive, they are very apt to form bonds with children and other family members. This makes them ideal guard dogs for a family. They are gentle and loving with their families.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Hounds

You may not think of a Coonhound or a Hound Dog as a particularly lively pet, but their impression of lethargy, unless they are involved in a hunt, can fool you. Hound Dogs are gentle with kids and will impress you with their stamina in playing with kids or playing outdoors with you.

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All breeds of Hound Dogs have a good sense of smell and will not hesitate to warn you when a stranger or strange animal is nearby.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Mastiff

When I think of a Mastiff, I immediately think of a gentle giant. Mastiff’s can grow to be extremely large, but size doesn’t make them anymore than the most docile of dogs when with their families.

Like most large dogs, a Mastiff is best suited when she has plenty of room outdoors to run and play. Because of this breed’s size, it is not fair to them to be cooped up in a cage or even in the house all day. They need exercise and love to get their owners outside to play.

Top Ten Large Breeds: Sheepdog

Your impression of a the Sheepdog may come from the Disney movie “The Shaggy D.A.” or even date back to Looney Toons cartoons which sometimes pitted a wily coyote against a wise sheepdog. Both of these dogs represent the large wooly dog we often envision as a sheepdog. This is actually the Old English Sheepdog. There are a variety of large Sheepdog breeds in existence.

A Sheepdog’s coat is rarely straight or curly, but shaggy. This look contributes to the Old English Sheepdog’s look of cute, clumsiness. In reality, the Sheepdog is very much aware of its surroundings, despite its playful attitude. A Sheepdog can be a fun family pet as they do not tend to be overly aggressive toward children or nervous.

Like the other favorite large breeds, Sheepdogs like to play.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Collie

Lassie” may have made the Collie one of the most popular family dogs of all times. Friendly, alert, and protective of their masters Collies do make great large breed pets. Collies are gentle and sweet dogs. It is easy for them to become attached to your family, and you will find a Collie is easy to love.

Collies are very smart and generally easy to train. They do require firm consistent training and discipline or they will exert their own will.

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Originally, Collies were bred as herding dogs. This may be one of the instincts that prompt them to keep an eye on their family, making sure everyone is safe.

Top Ten Large Dog Breeds: Akita

I have to admit, choosing the tenth dog for this list of “top ten large dog breeds” was difficult. There are so many wonderful large dog breeds that could have made the list, but of dogs that are popular with families, docile, and growing in popularity the Akita won out over the others.

A little bit like German Shepherds, Akitas are very intelligent and loyal pets. They do not interact well with other dogs. It is a courageous dog and can become ferocious with other animals. Also, because of their high intelligence level Akitas may become bored very easily, this can turn into problem behavior if your Akita is not properly trained.

Obedience training is a must for Akita owners. These dogs can be wonderful, docile, family pets that are very loyal, companionable, and loving, but they must learn who the “alpha” dog is and who is in charge in order to find their rightful place in the family structure.

What’s Your Favorite Large Breed Dog?

If you have a favorite large dog breed not included in the list you are invited to share information with our readers about your favorite large breed dog, why you like that dog, and why you feel it is among the top large dog breeds.

American Kennel Club: Breeds; akc.org
AKC Dog Registration Statistics, akc.org
AKC Meet the Breeds: The German Shepherd Dog; akc.org
Dog Breeds: Schnauzer Information; seefido.com
Information about Giant Schnauzers; vsgiantschnauzerrescue.org
Top Dog Breeds for Families; Petplace.com
Top Ten Rated Dog Breeds based on 30 ratings, rightpet.com