Written by Ella White
Is there anything better than settling down on the sofa for a cuddle with your pup? We don’t think so. And while smaller pets might be better designed as lap dogs, there are plenty of larger breeds that love to snuggle as much as the next dog. Though some might find them intimidating or scary, not all big dogs are aloof and independent.
In fact, these 10 are big balls of softness. Read on to learn more about our favorite big, cuddly dog breeds.
The affectionate and devoted Bernese Mountain Dog ticks all the boxes for large, cuddly dog breeds. Though originally bred as a working dog that would pull sleds and herd cattle in the Swiss mountains, the Bernie is a sensitive and gentle breed that loves their family and gets on well with children.
Like most large dogs, the Bernese needs plenty of exercise and is best suited to active families. They’re intelligent and thrive off pleasing their owners, which makes them fairly easy to train although their sensitive nature does not respond well to negative reinforcement or being told off.
Got plenty of space, an active lifestyle, and can dedicate plenty of time to being at home or taking your dog out with you? The Bernese Mountain dog could be the big, cuddly breed for you.
The most popular dog breed in the USA for more than 20 years, the Golden Retriever loves to share affection with their family. Loyal, friendly, and good-natured, they make excellent pets for children and active families that can dedicate time to spend outside with their dog.
Originally bred to work with hunters, Retrievers – as their name implies – will happily play ball, pick up the morning paper from your yard, and are known to be stealers of socks and slippers. The breed is often used as a working animal, for example as a guide dog or an emotional support dog, due to their sweet personality and intelligence.
If you love cuddles, don’t mind a bit of shedding, and have the time to indulge in this active dog’s lifestyle, then the Golden Retriever might be the best breed for you.
Don’t be mistaken by the Great Dane’s gigantic size: this huge dog is actually one of the most affectionate you can find. Friendly and loving, this breed gets on with just about anyone, from children to strangers to other animals. Their size means they need a lot of room and a good amount of exercise, but by nature they are gentle and sweet.
They’re intelligent and take to house training easily, but they do shed and drool more than other breeds. Though they were once bred for hunting, the modern Great Dane is very rarely aggressive although they are prone to anxiety when left alone for any length of time.
Looking for a big, cuddly dog that’s always happy to see you – but takes up a lot of space in the home? A Great Dane could be your perfect match.
Traditionally bred to hunt and go to battle with their leaders, Irish Wolfhounds are large and lean and usually grow taller than 30 inches in height. They have retained some of the working instincts, and can be protective of their pack and prone to giving chase when out on walks.
But at home, the Irish Wolfhound is more than happy to relax and cuddle with their owners. Gentle by nature, they get on well with families but due to their size they require a larger home and are not suited to apartment living.
Looking for a big dog that loves to exercise as much as it loves to cuddle? Meet the Irish Wolfhound.
The Leonberger is a fluffy mischief maker that can make friends with just about anyone. They love children, strangers, other animals, and are loving and affectionate members of the family. But if you prefer to stay home and watch TV than get outside and be active, you might not be well matched. The Leonberger loves long walks and exercising outdoors.
Their long, thick coat is one of the most attractive aspects of the Leonberger – particularly if it’s great cuddles that you’re after. But it comes with a price: their fur sheds heavily twice a year and needs to be brushed at least weekly to maintain good condition.
Want a friendly dog that needs plenty of exercise as well as cuddles? The Leonberger could be a good fit for your family.
When it comes to big, cuddly dogs, the Newfoundland is one of the best breeds. Huge and fluffy, this gentle giant loves attention and affection, and will often forget its own size as it tries to lie on your lap like it's a toy breed.
Protective of their owners, the Newfie loves children and is prone to anxiety if they become lonely or bored. Their gentle and intelligent nature makes them easy to train, but their size means they won’t do well in apartments or small homes without plenty of outdoor space.
Don’t mind shedding fur and a bit of slobber in return for an affectionate ball of cuddles? You might make a good companion for a Newfoundland.
The Pyrenees Mountain Dog is impressive on a number of counts, not just its size. Dating back as far as 300 BC, this guard dog has incredible hearing and is able to detect people and animals from far away… And will let you know about it with their large, loud bark.
Their guarding instincts mean that socialization is important with this breed – especially if you have frequent visitors. Though friendly and affectionate, the Pyrenees Mountain Dog is used to guarding their home and family and can be known to bark until they feel the ‘intruder’ has retreated.
Looking for a massive but friendly dog that needs plenty of space and exercise, and will give you loyalty and devotion in return? A Pyrenees Mountain Dog could be a good match for you.
Saint Bernards are famous as rescue dogs, a quality which comes not just from their impressive size but also from their loyal and affectionate heart. Lovers of people, Saint Bernards get on well with children and fit easily into families that have the space to look after a dog of this size – though they themselves often forget just how big they are.
Because of this, it’s important to rigorously train and socialize your Saint Bernard to ensure they are kept under control. Though gentle and not aggressive, they can be boisterous and need plenty of exercise to prevent them from becoming bored.
Got the space and time for a big dog that needs lots of training and activity? The love and affection of a Saint Bernard is well worth the work.
Though smaller than some, the Samoyed still firmly fits within the category of big, cuddly dogs – in large part thanks to their amazingly fluffy coats. The Samoyed is known for two things: it’s snow-white fur and its big, happy smile that’s known as a ‘Sammy smile’. This adorable dog is as friendly as it looks, and will greet you with that awesome grin as long as you love them in return.
The one downside to this perfectly cuddly pup is all that fur is bound to shed. Twice a year during shedding season, you can expect your home to be covered in so much white fur you’ll be wondering how your Sammy has any left on their body. But with dedicated daily brushing – and a good vacuum cleaner – you’ll be able to keep it under control.
Want a happy, smiley dog that will treat you to the softest cuddles – in return for plenty of brushing and shedding? You won’t be able to resist the Samoyed’s smile.
The huge, fluffy Tibetan Mastiff has an impressive mane and long, thick coat that’s perfect for cuddles – just be prepared to brush it regularly and hoover up after them. As a fairly rare breed, they are also one of the most expensive with one being sold in China for almost $2 million in 2014, becoming the most expensive dog in the world at that time. The size and coat also makes them one of the most expensive breeds to maintain.
Though they are loyal and loving to their family, they can be stubborn and have guarding instincts, so require thorough training and socialization as puppies. But with plenty of attention and affection (and brushing to keep that impressive coat under control) they can be one of the best cuddly dog breeds to own – if you have the budget.