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13 Amazing Large Dog Breeds for First-Time Dog Owners (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

close up of westclose up of western german shepherdern german shepherd

13 Amazing Large Dog Breeds for First-Time Dog Owners (With Pictures)

Just because you’re looking to become a first-time dog owner doesn’t mean you need to settle for some super tiny dog. In fact, if you’re looking for a seamless transition into dog ownership, sometimes a larger breed is the better option!

But not just any larger dog breed will do. If you’re looking for an easier time of things, some dog breeds certainly make it easier than others. Below, we’ve highlighted 13 outstanding large (and medium-large) dog choices for a first-time dog owner.

The 13 Large Dog Breeds for First-Time Dog Owners

1. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever in a park
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock
Height: 20 to 24 inches
Weight: 55 to 75 pounds
Activity Level: Moderate
Intelligence Level: High

There’s a reason so many people have fond memories of a Golden Retriever. They’re loyal dogs that get along great with kids and other dogs, and they’re one of the easiest breeds out there to train. They want to love up on their owner, and compared to many other large dog breeds, they don’t have the highest energy levels.

The only real ding on a Golden Retriever is that they shed a lot. Have your broom, vacuum, and brush ready if you’re bringing home a Golden Retriever.

Pros
  • Intelligent
  • Extremely loyal
  • Great with kids and other dogs
  • Extremely affectionate
  • Don’t have the highest energy level
Cons
  • They shed a lot

2. Labrador Retriever

black labrador retriever dog bowing ready to play
Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock
Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches
Weight: 55 to 80 pounds
Activity Level: Very high
Intelligence Level: High

Another type of Retriever that’s great for first-time dog owners is the Labrador Retriever. It’s another dog breed that gets along great with kids and other dogs, but they do have a higher energy level compared to many other large dog breeds.

Still, they’re eager to please, smart, and get along with just about everyone, which are all perks for first-time dog owners. But just like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers shed a ton.

Pros
  • Great with kids and other dogs
  • Very smart
  • Extremely affectionate
  • Great with strangers
  • Easy to train
Cons
  • High energy level
  • Shed a lot

3. Newfoundland

black newfoundland dog
Image Credit: Maxim Blinkov, Shutterstock
Height: 26 to 28 inches
Weight: 100 to 150 pounds
Activity Level: Moderate
Intelligence Level: Moderate

Retrievers are great dogs and all, but if you’re looking for a truly large dog, the Newfoundland is a great choice. These dogs start at 100 pounds, and the largest males can push about 150 pounds. They get along great with kids and other dogs, and they love just about everyone they can meet.

They don’t bark much, though, but at times, they can be a bit stubborn when you’re trying to train them. Additionally, these dogs are notorious for how much they drool.

Pros
  • Great with kids and other dogs
  • Affectionate
  • Adaptable
  • Don’t bark very much
Cons
  • Can be a bit stubborn
  • Drool a lot

4. Boxer

female boxer dog on sand
Image Credit: Photobac, Shutterstock
Height: 21.5 to 25 inches
Weight: 50 to 80 pounds
Activity Level: High
Intelligence Level: High

The Boxer is an outstanding dog for first-time owners as long as you don’t have any other dogs in the home. They do great with kids, though, and since they don’t shed a ton, it’s not quite as much effort to keep up with them.

They’re excellent watchdogs that love their family, and they’re easy to train. Just keep in mind that they are higher-energy dogs, and they thrive with plenty of mental stimulation.

Pros
  • Great with kids
  • Don’t shed too much
  • Excellent watchdogs
  • Easy to train
Cons
  • Not always the best with other dogs
  • Have a higher energy level
  • Need lots of mental stimulation

5. Portuguese Water Dog

portuguese water dog near lake
Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock
Height: 17 to 23 inches
Weight: 35 to 60 pounds
Activity Level: Very high
Intelligence Level:  High

So, the Portuguese Water Dog isn’t the largest dog on our list, but they can get up to 60 pounds, so they’re not exactly small, either. They get along great with just about everyone, including kids and other dogs.

They also don’t shed much, and they love trying to please their owner. Just keep in mind that if you’re getting a Portuguese Water Dog, they have tons of energy and need lots of mental stimulation.

Pros
  • Great with kids and other dogs
  • Very smart and easy to train
  • Don’t shed much
  • Very playful and friendly breed
Cons
  • Not the largest dog
  • Very high energy
  • Need lots of mental stimulation

6. Great Dane

a mantle great dane at a garden
Image Credit: mkzdillon, Shutterstock
Height: 28 to 32 inches
Weight: 110 to 175 pounds
Activity Level: High
Intelligence Level: Moderate

You said you wanted a large dog, right? The Great Dane is the tallest dog breed in the world, so they certainly fit the bill. They also don’t shed much; they’re easy to train, and despite their larger size, they’re actually pretty easy to care for.

However, if you have kids or other dogs in the home, a Great Dane probably isn’t the best choice for a first-time dog owner. They also have a shorter lifespan than many other dog breeds, so you’ll want to keep that in mind before getting one.

Pros
  • Don’t shed much
  • Easy to care for
  • Easy to train
  • Don’t bark a lot
  • Very loyal and loving
Cons
  • Very large dog
  • Not always the best with kids or other dogs
  • Shorter lifespan

7. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dog
Image Credit: david muscroft, Shutterstock
Height: 23 to 27.5 inches
Weight: 70 to 115 pounds
Activity Level: High
Intelligence Level: High

Few dogs have quite the majestic coat that a Bernese Mountain Dog has. They have long coats with multiple colors, and they get along great with kids and other dogs. They’re easy to train, loyal, and laid back, and they’ll typically get along with strangers just fine, too.

But while their coat looks beautiful, it also sheds a ton, so get ready for a lot of cleaning and brushing if you get one.

Pros
  • Great with kids and other dogs
  • Adaptable
  • Easy to train
Cons
  • Lots of shedding

8. Irish Wolfhound

Gray Irish Wolfhound dog in a spring garden
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shuterstock
Height: 30 to 32 inches
Weight: 105 to 120 pounds
Activity Level: Moderate
Intelligence Level: Moderate

The Irish Wolfhound is another large dog breed that is extremely affectionate with their owners. However, these dogs don’t always do the best with kids or other dogs, so if either applies to you, they’re not the best for a first-time owner.

They’re an excellent watchdog, though, and compared to other large dogs, they have a lower overall energy level. Finally, while they’re sweet and affectionate, sometimes the Irish Wolfhound can be a bit stubborn, making them a little more challenging to train.

Pros
  • Great with other dogs
  • Good watchdogs
  • Don’t bark a ton
  • Laidback
Cons
  • Not always the best with kids
  • Don’t always do the best with strangers
  • Stubborn

9. Greyhound

greyhound puppy dog lying outdoors
Image Credit: Kate Grishakova, Shutterstock
Height: 27 to 30 inches
Weight: 60 to 70 pounds
Activity Level: High
Intelligence Level: Moderate

Greyhounds are well-known for their sprinting ability, and as such, they’re some of the fastest dogs on the planet. Not only are they lightning fast, but they are extremely loyal and affectionate, and they’ll typically get along fine with other dogs.

These pups are pretty easy to care for overall, but they do have a higher energy level and don’t always get along the best with kids. They can also be a bit stubborn, so consistency is critical when you’re training them.

Pros
  • Great with other dogs
  • Don’t shed much
  • Easy to care for
  • Very adaptable
Cons
  • Not always the best with kids
  • Not friendly toward strangers
  • Stubborn

10. Mastiff

brindle mastiff dog standing in the middle of the park
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Height: 27.5 to 30 inches
Weight: 120 to 230 pounds
Activity Level: Moderate
Intelligence Level: Moderate

While the Great Dane is the tallest dog breed on our list, if you’re looking for the heaviest, that falls to the Mastiff. They can weigh up to 230 pounds, so ensure you’re budgeting for food before getting one!

Overall, they’re extraordinarily affectionate and get along great with kids, although you should be careful with them if you’re planning on bringing additional dogs home. They also drool a ton, and they don’t always respond the best with strangers.

Pros
  • Very affectionate
  • Great with children
  • Outstanding watchdog
Cons
  • Extremely large
  • Requires a lot of socialization
  • Drool a lot

11. German Shepherd

female german shepherd
Image Credit: Emer_Iglesias, Pixabay
Height: 24 to 26 inches
Weight: 50 to 90 pounds
Activity Level: Very high
Intelligence Level: Very high

The German Shepherd is one of the most loyal and affectionate dog breeds out there, so it makes sense that they made our list as one of the best for first-time dog owners. They’re eager to please, intelligent, and great watchdogs, too.

However, while they get along great with kids, they don’t always do well with other dog breeds, and they have a ton of energy. They don’t always do great with strangers either, and you’ll need to find ways to mentally stimulate them to avoid problems from boredom.

Pros
  • Great with children
  • Easy to train
  • Outstanding watchdog
Cons
  • Not the best around other dogs or strangers
  • Require lots of mental stimulation
  • Very high-energy breed

12. Weimaraner

weimaraner dog standing in the grass
Image Credit: VKarlov, Shutterstock
Height: 23 to 27 inches
Weight: 55 to 90 pounds
Activity Level: Very high
Intelligence Level: Very high

The Weimaraner might not be the most common dog breed out there, but if you’re a first-time dog owner, it’s one you’ll want to consider. They’re eager to please, loving, and loyal, and if you have kids in the home, they do great with them, too.

But if you’re a first-time dog owner, it’s best to keep the Weimaraner as an only dog since they don’t always do the best with other breeds. Also, keep in mind that they have tons of energy and need lots of mental stimulation, so ensure you can dedicate enough time to them before bringing one home.

Pros
  • Great with kids
  • Very loyal and loving
  • Outstanding watchdog
  • Easy to train
Cons
  • Not always the best with other dogs
  • Very high energy
  • Require lots of mental stimulation

13. Poodle

black standard poodle
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay
Height: 23 to 27 inches
Weight: 55 to 90 pounds
Activity Level: Very high
Intelligence Level: Very high

The Poodle comes in three different sizes, and because we’re focused on large dog breeds here, we’re talking about the standard Poodle. These are larger Poodles that are among the smartest dogs in the world. Plus, they’re hypoallergenic, loyal, and loving.

They do great with people of all ages, including children, but you need to be careful with them around other dogs. And because of their high intelligence, you need to ensure you have plenty of ways to mentally stimulate them to avoid destructive boredom behavior.

Pros
  • Intelligent
  • Great with kids
  • Don’t shed much
  • Outstanding watchdog
Cons
  • Require lots of mental stimulation
  • Not always the best with other dogs

Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little more about which large dog breeds are best for first-time dog owners, all that’s left is for you to pick a breed and then track down the dog! Take your time finding a reputable breeder and ensure you do your homework to ensure you have both the time and the money to take care of your new pup after you get them and bring them home!

See also:


Featured Image Credit: dendoktoor, Pixabay

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