10 Best Large Dog Breeds For First Time Owners

best large dog breeds for beginners

Big dogs bring a special kind of happiness to a home. They’re not just pets; they’re like gentle giants that watch over you. Imagine the calm presence of a Mastiff or the friendly face of a Leonberger—these big pals can be quite impressive, and, let’s be honest, who would dare to bother you with such a loyal friend by your side?

But it’s not just about size; these large breeds have big hearts, too. They tend to be more chilled out, and they’re usually great with kids, which makes them wonderful family dogs.

If you’re someone who loves long walks, a large dog could be your perfect match. They thrive on being outside and playing, which fills them with joy and love for life—and that joy is contagious!

A study from the University of Sao Paulo, which looked at over 600 dogs from 57 different breeds, found that bigger dogs are often better behaved and less aggressive than their smaller counterparts. It’s their friendly nature and desire to please that often make them easier to train.

That’s why big dogs can be so great for first-time dog owners. So, let’s dive into the world of ten big dogs that are ideal for newbies like you and discover why they’re just the companions you’re looking for.

Best Large Dog Breeds for Beginners

1. Great Dane

best big dogs for first time owners

Great Danes are huge dogs with sweet and gentle personalities, making them great dogs for first-timers. They’re smart, which means they learn things quickly, especially with the right training. They love to play and spend time with their families. Even though they used to be hunters and then guard dogs, their kindness has made them loved as pets.

PDSA warns Great Danes might not be the best choice if you have small kids because of their big size and strength.

If you have a big house and yard, a Great Dane will fit right in. They need space to play and move. They’re pretty easy to take care of because they have short fur. You’ll only need to brush them once a week to keep their shedding under control. But, be ready for a bit of drool; Great Danes are known for it, so having a cloth handy when you’re out is a good idea.

When it comes to house training, Great Danes are on the easier side. They’re smart, they can hold longer because they’re big, and they really want to make you happy, so they learn to go potty outside pretty fast.

2. Portuguese Water Dog

best big dog breeds for first time owners

Portuguese Water Dogs were once helpers for fishermen, but today they’re a top pick for families. Their calm and loving nature, paired with a keenness to please, makes them a great match for first-time dog owners. They’re the type of dog that adores kids, gets along with other pets, and loves cuddling. Adaptable and eager to please, these dogs stay happy and attentive as long as they’re with their favorite humans.

At first, a Portuguese Water Dog might be a bit reserved, but they’ll soon get friendly with new people. They’re alert too, so they’ll let you know if someone’s coming to your house. They’re easy to train because they love to make their owners happy. Since they’re a working breed, they’ve got plenty of energy and need lots of exercise—remember, they’re bred for active days at sea!

These intelligent pups also need their minds kept busy, or they’ll find their own (sometimes naughty) fun. WebMD suggests that they’re one of the better breeds for people with allergies, with less shedding and dander. Their thick coats are great for swimming but do need regular brushing to stay smooth and tangle-free.

3. Boxer

big dogs for first time owners

A Boxer dog will keep things lively at home! They love to join in on walks and play outside. Don’t let their serious faces fool you; they’re actually full of fun and always ready to explore.

These dogs have lots of energy. They need good, long walks and plenty of play to stay happy and out of trouble. They might start chewing or digging, so it’s important to keep them active.


Explore the energetic and affectionate world of the Boxer! Known for their playful ‘boxing’ and strong protective instincts, these dogs are more than just pets – they’re loyal family members. Ever owned a Boxer or considering getting one? Share your experiences and tell us why you love this incredible breed! #thebullyview #bullyview #boxerdog #boxerdogs #boxerpuppy #boxerdoglovers

♬ original sound – The Bully View

They are perfect for newbies as they are smart and love to learn new things. They do get bored doing the same tricks over and over, so it’s best to teach them a lot when they’re puppies. Keep their training fun, and you’ll both enjoy it!

Boxers are easy when it comes to grooming and are really good at keeping an eye on the home. They’re smart and always on the lookout, which makes them good protectors. Boxers are great with kids and get along with other pets too. They only get tough when they think their family is in danger.

Orvis notes that Boxers are indoor dogs that love to play and cuddle with their families. When it gets cold, they might need a dog coat to stay warm because their fur is short. They like being with people a lot, so if you’re not home often because of work, a Boxer might miss you too much.

4. Labrador Retriever

best large dog breeds for first time owners

Labradors are fun, smart, and super friendly, perfect for people getting their first dog. They’re great buddies and also do well as assistance dogs because they’re kind and caring.

They’re good for just one person or a whole family, and they’re nice to kids and other animals. Labradors have lots of energy, but they’re also pretty calm and can handle busy life well.

These dogs are smart and love to learn new things. They learn commands fast and like it when you’re happy with them. Labs need to be around other dogs to play and stay sharp.

Labradors love to chew, so it’s a good idea to have some chew toys for them. They also love swimming, which is a fun way for them to get exercise.

Petplan reports that they have short, easy-to-care-for coats, but they do lose some hair. It’s important to keep an eye on their weight because they can get a little chubby.

5. Greyhound

large dog breeds for first time owners

Greyhounds are kind and sweet dogs that are great for people who’ve never had a dog before. They have a special look with their slim and sporty shape. They are born to run, so they need two walks every day—a short one in the morning and a longer walk later in the day.

When you take a greyhound for a walk, you have to be careful because they like to chase things, which might make them run off or get hurt if they’re not careful. It’s good to teach greyhounds to come back when you call them. They’re smart and pick up on training fast if you’re patient and kind. They can be a bit shy, so gentle training works best. After they’ve had their exercise, they really love to cuddle.

Greyhounds don’t need much grooming. Just a quick brush once a week keeps their short coat looking good. Greyhounds are calm and gentle, which means they’re wonderful friends for kids. If a child is too rough, a greyhound will usually just walk away instead of getting upset. They don’t bark much, so they’re good for living in places with neighbors close by. Plus, they’re as nice to people they don’t know as they are to their own family.

6. Golden Retriever

easiest big dogs to own

Golden Retrievers are a top choice for people getting their first dog. They are friendly, fun-loving, and really loyal, making them dependable friends. They’re smart and like to make their owners happy, so training them is usually pretty smooth. They’re also great with kids and fit right into family life.

These dogs need to stay active, with about two hours of exercise each day. Their fluffy coats also need regular brushing to keep them looking nice and healthy.

Golden Retrievers learn quickly and are good at living inside the house. According to GRRMF, they can be a bit messy when they drink water, leaving puddles behind. They love food and might wait beside you for a bite, especially when you’re eating something tasty and relaxing at home. As they grow older, they may face some health issues common in the breed, like problems with their eyes, joints, and teeth, which can be expensive to treat.

7. Newfoundland

easiest large dog breeds

Newfoundlands are known for being big, sweet, and calm, making them perfect for first-time dog owners. They’re so gentle and patient that people often call them “nanny dogs,” especially because they’re so good with kids. But don’t let their friendliness fool you; they’re also good at keeping an eye on the house and will let you know if someone is at the door.

Newfies are trustful, really smart, and easy to train if you’re kind and positive with them. They love water and are made for swimming with their thick fur and webbed feet.

Even though they’re large, Newfoundlands don’t need too much exercise—just a nice walk every day. They really like being with their families and might get lonely or a bit naughty if they’re left alone too much. Their thick, fluffy fur needs regular brushing, at least once a week, and a bit more during their shedding seasons. Training a Newfoundland is usually not too hard because they’re very smart and enjoy making their owners happy. It’s a good idea to start teaching them to walk on a leash while they’re still young.

8. German Shepherd

good big dogs for first time owners

German Shepherds are among the most majestic large dogs, and they’re incredibly cute as puppies. If you’re thinking of getting one as your first dog, it’s important to have the time to spend with them and to learn a bit about what they need.

These dogs create a strong bond with their owners and can become very protective. They really want to please and love making their owners happy. German Shepherds are super smart and pick up commands quickly, so they’re good for first-time owners who are looking for an active and well-behaved giant dog.

They need a good amount of exercise to keep them fit and to keep their minds sharp. Regular walks and playtime are important. Their thick fur doesn’t need a lot of care, just a brush a couple of times each week.

German Shepherds are wonderful with families and are naturally protective, especially with kids. They’re good at letting you know if something’s not right around your home, and they’re big and strong, which can help keep your house safe. Like all dogs, they can have some health issues, with things like hip problems, bloating, and arthritis being the most common for this breed.

9. Irish Wolfhound

big dog breeds for first time owners

Irish Wolfhounds are the towering, gentle giants among dogs and are some of the tallest around. Even though they’re big, they’re usually so calm that even people who are a bit scared of dogs find them friendly.

They’re smart and like to make their owners happy, which makes them good for people who have never had a dog before. Irish Wolfhounds are careful around new people, but they’re quiet and not known for drooling a lot.

They love being around their families and are so in tune with people’s feelings that they can be great therapy dogs.

The American Kennel Club says that Irish Wolfhounds have two layers of fur: a rough top coat and a soft one underneath. They lose some hair all year round, but it’s not too much. Brushing them well once a week can help get rid of dirt and loose hair and keep them looking neat. These dogs need to keep moving their whole lives. Since they have a natural urge to chase, it’s important to keep them in a secure area or on a leash when they’re out for walks.

10. Bernese Mountain Dog

large dog breeds for first-time owners

Owning a Bernese Mountain Dog comes with many perks, especially their kind and loving personality. They’re great with kids, truly devoted to their owners, and always ready to make you happy. Their calm nature makes them a perfect match for families, even those with other pets.

For those new to dog ownership, Bernese Mountain Dogs are a smart choice because they’re smart and willing to learn, as long as you’re up for the task of teaching and getting them used to new people and places.

However, it’s important to know about their health risks, which include joint issues, stomach problems, and cancer, and these can be costly to manage.

A few things to think about: these big dogs need lots of room to move and play, and they shed a lot, which might not be ideal for everyone. They can also have a mind of their own, sometimes making training a bit tricky. You’ll need to be patient and consistent to guide them right.

Caring for Your Gentle Giant

easy large dog breeds

While large dogs bring big love, they also come with specific needs. This quick chart outlines what to consider when caring for your large breed dog to ensure a happy, healthy life together.

Essential Tips for New Large Dog Breed Owners

best large dogs for first time owners

Embarking on the journey of owning a dog for the first time? This chart provides crucial steps to ensure you and your large breed dog start off on the right paw. From understanding your dog’s unique traits to establishing a nurturing environment, these points will help you create a loving and healthy bond with your new big buddy.

Final Thought

For any first-time dog owner, choosing the right large breed can be a game-changer. Among the giant breeds, Labrador Retrievers stand out as both the largest dog you might consider and one of the most loyal dogs, perfect for those new to pet ownership. This dog breed, alongside other large breed dogs, offers a mix of guard dog abilities and a friendly demeanor, making them excellent companions.

Large breeds like Labradors are known for their trainability and patience, qualities that make them ideal for those who have never had a dog before. When selecting your first large dog breed, consider the balance between size, loyalty, and ease of training to find the perfect giant companion.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

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