Who wouldn’t want a gentle giant for snuggles and companionship? Some of the largest dog breeds happen to have calm temperaments that make them easy to be around and trustworthy with children.
The knowledgeable pet counselors at Petland Kansas City have rounded up our 10 favorite calm, large purebred dogs. These breeds are patient, gentle, and not easily excitable or aggressive with family and friends they know. Unless provoked, these breeds do well in social settings.
If you’re looking for a calm family dog, you don’t necessarily have to get a small or medium sized breed. Check out these large dogs to see if they’re right for you, your family, and your household environment.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog breed is a strikingly large, tri-colored dog. He is sturdy and balanced. He is also intelligent, strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which he was used in the mountainous regions of his origin. The temperament is self-confident, alert and good-natured, never sharp or shy. The Bernese Mountain Dog should stand steady, though may remain aloof to the attentions of strangers.
A “gentle giant,” the Great Dane is nothing short of majestic. Sometimes referred to as the “king of dogs,” this extremely large dog breed is known for being strong yet elegant with a friendly, energetic personality. Striking in the show ring, the Great Dane is also popular as a family pet. Great Dane puppies have gentle and loving dispositions, making them excellent family companions, but as with all dogs, they should be supervised around young children.
One of the biggest dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club, the massive Mastiff loves being around people and is known to bond closely with his ‘family.’ A combination of grandeur and good nature as well as courage and docility, they were bred in England and used as a watchdog for more than two thousand years. The English Mastiff’s short coat can be fawn, apricot or brindle.
The Weimaraner is a sleek and classy dog that is very athletic and a pleaser at heart. These dogs were specifically designed for intelligence, speed, courage, and an excellent smelling nose. Weimaraner puppies are the perfect breed for those hunting or athletic souls looking for a companion who can keep up without a problem. This puppy is eager to please and will happily do anything for you.
Newfoundland puppies will grow up to become a large, heavily coated, well balanced dog that is deep-bodied, heavily boned, muscular, and strong. Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland large dog breed. This is the most important single characteristic of the breed. They have deep barks, are easy to train, are fine guardians and watchdogs, and are extremely good with children.
The German Shepherd is a strong, rugged, athletic breed with an aloof, noble demeanor. It is rectangular in proportion with a long neck, a bushy tail that is long enough to reach the hock, and a powerful, ground-covering gait. German Shepherd puppies have heads that feature a moderately arched forehead, a long, wedge-shaped muzzle, and strong jaws. Their eyes are dark, almond-shaped, and set obliquely. Their moderately pointed ears are carried erect, while their overall expressions are usually calm and intelligent.
The Saint Bernard dog breed is an outgoing, friendly dog, who is amazing with children, showing outstanding patience and tolerance. These puppies love being with their family and do better when they are in the house with their people. The Saint Bernard has a sound temperament, and although they take longer to mature mentally and remain like a puppy for longer, they do make wonderful pets.
Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog is a gentle giant. They can be a bit of a handful when training because they are so intelligent and headstrong. Old English Sheepdog puppies are cheerful and fun with an easy disposition although they make good watchdogs. As puppies, Old English Sheepdogs are strong but gentle, and they are very intelligent and can learn how to do just about anything you want. They are cute, playful, cheerful and fun pups to have around. This pup loves to bark because of its mighty strong bark.
Carrying himself proudly, very active, intelligent, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself. Though often equated to the beauty with no brains, the Poodle is exceptionally smart, active and excels in obedience training. He is also the only breed that comes in three size varieties. This size choice may be why the Poodle is one of the most popular breeds, according to AKC Registration Statistics.
The Rottweiler has a sweet and loyal nature that has helped him gain the reputation as an excellent companion, while his territorial instincts make him a wonderful guard dog. Early training can help harness a Rottweiler puppy’s territorial instincts in a positive way. The Rottweiler’s expression is noble, alert and confident. The Rottweiler’s personality ranges from very affectionate to reserved, but overall, it is calm, confident, courageous, self-assured, and extremely loyal. It has strong protective and territorial instincts. This puppy is intelligent, adaptable, quiet, well-behaved with the necessary training, and is good with other pets.
BONUS TIPS FOR LARGE DOGS
Though the dog breeds on our list have calm temperaments, it’s still very important to provide the right amount of daily exercise, mental stimulation, and attention to your dog if you want to ensure he remains calm.
Large dog breeds that don’t receive adequate time, attention, and exercise from their owners could become destructive. The purebred dog breeds on our list were originally bred to work on farms. The type of work they performed included herding livestock, pulling carts, hunting and retrieving game, and even saving people! Think about how much energy it would take to accomplish any of these tasks, and then consider that these dogs exerted energy doing those tasks for 8 – 12 hours a day!
That’s a lot of energy output! If you take home a large dog breed, you’ll need to make sure that your dog is exerting a great deal of energy each day in a healthy manner. This will guarantee that your dog always remains in a calm manner while in your company in the house.
Here are three bonus tips to help you keep your large dog breed calm and happy.
Since the large purebred dog breeds on our list were originally bred as working dogs, as we mentioned, a great way to get your dog to exert additional energy is to take him on “backpack hikes.”
There are a number of affordable, high-quality backpack brands that are specifically designed to fit large breed dogs. The idea is that by filling your dog’s backpack with necessary (and heavy) items for your hike outdoors (or even your walk around the block), your dog will exert more energy during the hike because he’s carrying a heavy pack on his back.
You can fill the backpack with water, dog food and treats, extra clothing for yourself like a sweater, a picnic basket, and anything else you can think of. This is a great bonding experience for your dog, too. Every time you stop and get your water bottle out of your dog’s backpack to have a drink, he will feel happy and proud that he is lugging your water for you.
Prior to selecting and buying the large dog breed of your choice, it’s important to research how much daily exercise the breed will need as a puppy, as an adolescent, and as an adult. Some calm, large dog breeds will need more hours of strenuous outdoor exercise, like the German Shepherd; while other calm, large dog breeds will only need minimal time walking outdoors, like the Great Dane.
As long as you provide the adequate, recommended daily exercise for your breed, you will be able to prevent your dog from becoming frustrated and destructive within the home.
Mentally Stimulating Games
Just because your dog is hanging out in the house at the moment doesn’t mean he has to be a couch potato… unless, of course, it’s snuggle time and he wants to!
You can actually help ensure that your large breed dog remains calm indoors by providing him with a mentally stimulating game, such as a Kong or dog puzzle. Dog puzzles provide mental stimulation and promote cognitive function while being an engaging form of entertainment for dogs of all ages, including puppies.
Unlike people puzzles that place an emphasis on the picture or image that the puzzle is forming as you play, puzzles for dogs place an emphasis on figuring out how to “open” or “unlock” the puzzle in order to get the doggy treat inside.
As different as dog puzzles are from people puzzles, they still provide the same valuable mental stimulation. Best of all, your large dog will be engaged for a fun little while as he works to release the treat. This is a great source of entertainment that will train your large breed puppy to enjoy his alone time and help him develop into a calm, confident adult dog.
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, what large dog breed are you going to take home and care for? Still not sure? Let the pet counselors at Petland Kansas City help you decide! We welcome you to stop in any of our Florida locations to meet the breeds we talked about in this blog.