As the popularity of dogs being family members eternally grows, curiosity is bound to as well. In order to live a leading, fulfilling, and happy life with a dog in the picture, it is crucial to fully understand which breed is best suited to your individual lifestyle.
Whether you’re looking for a farmhand to aid in active work or an urban cuddle bug that loves nothing more than your attention, there is always a handful of breeds that fit what you’re looking for!
Large dog breeds can seem intimidating at first given the abundance of energy and strength they appear to have, but what if I told you that there are large breeds out there with only moderate energy levels, too? Well, there are, but what are they?
Twelve large dog breeds that have medium energy levels are the American Bulldog, Anatolian Shepherd, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Chow Chow, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Komondor, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, and Tibetan mastiff. Each one is generally laidback, loving, and calm, though also may be protective, independent, and stubborn at times.
The size of the dog doesn’t guarantee a certain energy level, as plenty of large breeds are more laidback than their feisty, smaller counterparts. There are many considerations to look at when deciding which size dog will best suit your lifestyle, one of those considerations being the energy level and consequential exercise requirements!
Keep reading to learn more about the 12 different large dog breeds known to have less energy and more loyalty and what makes each of them so unique!
1. American Bulldog
Let’s start off this list with a true powerhouse: the American bulldog! Growing around 25 inches tall and up to 100 pounds, this bully breed will live a fulfilling 10-12 years by your side. And being such a versatile and hard worker, you’d be surprised to hear that this breed isn’t chaotic or high energy!
These pups are suggested to be descendants of the English bulldog, first brought over to the United States with settlers in the 17th century. Immediately praised for their strong, agile, and hard-working nature, these bulldogs were utilized as true working dogs for a wide array of tasks. Protecting property and livestock, catching and handing cattle, and even baiting bulls, farmers had an all-around rockstar in their families!
While this history may lead you to believe this breed is high energy that requires plenty of exercise, it’s actually quite the opposite! The American bulldog only has medium energy levels, granted it is on the higher end of that scale. Given adequate exercise each day (around one hour), you can keep these pups loving, happy, and healthy (and away from destructive behaviors).
And the American bulldog’s work ethic isn’t the only impressive thing about them, either. Pups in this breed are intelligent, resilient, goofy, loving, and courageous! Be aware though, a bulldog is called a bulldog for a reason. They are tough, imposing, and stubborn, so a steady hand is best to keep this friendly pooch in line!
2. Anatolian Shepherd
A mastiff-type breed, the Anatolian shepherd is a formidable, powerful, and tough dog, and not one for a family desiring cuddles. Barely larger than the American bulldog, this shepherd can be expected to grow up to 29 inches tall, weigh between 80-150 pounds, and live around 13 years!
This independent and brave breed is truly ancient, originating from a few of the oldest known domestic-canine bloodlines across the world, yet only arriving in the United States from Turkey in the 1950s. So what did they do, you ask?
Well, these pooches are proven to be excellent farm dogs invaluable to their owners, guarding sheep from various (equally daunting) predators with no hesitation.
It is important to provide Anatolian shepherds with a space to run around just as much as it is to provide them with brain puzzles and toys. Looks will truly fool you, though, as this breed doesn’t have energy levels through the roof!
Instead, they will suffice with an hour of play to wear them out for the day. Pups of this breed will appreciate a variety of physical activities to do to keep them mentally stimulated, which also wears them out physically. This is not much energy considering their size, which is a surprise to you and me both!
If you’re looking for a reserved, adaptable, patient yet fierce guardian, Anatolian shepherds may be your perfect match! And though these dogs are devoted to their families, they aren’t ones to give affection or be velcro dogs, so keep this in mind. They will, however, require a strong-willed owner due to the shepherd’s impressive intelligence, strength, and dominant attitude.
But if you can manage their territorial and alpha mentality, you’ll have a stoic and responsive (literally and figuratively) friend by your side for years to come!
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
Beautiful, silky, and majestic, the Bernese Mountain Dog is another large breed that doesn’t have high energy, especially when considering their past. And if you’re looking for a doggy shadow that only wants to please you on top of only moderate exercise requirements, read on about this mighty breed!
Berners, as many admirers refer to this breed, are of a hefty stature; beneath their thick coats, these pups stand around 27 inches tall and pack up to 115 pounds. These versatile dogs were built for working on farms in cold weather and excelled in herding, droving, drafting, cart-pulling, and protecting the property.
And with an average lifespan between 7 and 10 years, you’ll have an entire decade to make lifelong memories!
If you’re concerned about life with a Berner and kids under one roof, don’t be! This could actually make for the perfect situation as these pups are very gentle and tolerant with children and the hyper antics of your kids will likely tire out your pooch. They have just enough gas in their tank to keep up with a kid’s playtime, but also enough affection to go around for the whole family!
Bernese Mountain Dogs would suffice with just around 30 minutes of exercise each day, whether it be in the form of farm work, swimming, running, playing, or even dog sports! And descending from their hard-working ancestors in Switzerland, you can trust these pups will put their best effort into anything they do (that is, while they still have the energy to).
The best part about a Berner’s low-medium energy level is that after they’ve tired themselves out, they want nothing more than to lay with you on your lap- well, at least try to. You can get an enthusiastic athlete and cuddle bug in one fluffy companion!
Generally even-tempered, intelligent, and friendly, this noble pooch is sure to light up any person’s day with its sweet and welcoming disposition, and you’ll have a hoot training them! And who couldn’t resist their adorable little eyebrows?
Plausibly a rather scary dog at first glance, don’t let the Bullmastiff’s appearance (or name) fool you. Pleasantly affectionate and vigilant, you can expect this breed to protect your family and property just as often as it will give you kisses and cuddles!
Originally created in the 19th century by breeding a Mastiff and an English bulldog together, the reliable Bullmastiff was popular amongst British gamekeepers to protect their estates from poachers. And being 27 inches tall and 100-130 pounds of pure muscle, these dogs found this job simple.
Bullmastiffs typically live between 7 and 9 years, which isn’t great news for someone who wants their dog to be around for a while (compare this to a chihuahua that can live on average 15 years). However, bullmastiffs are sure to leave a lifelong, lasting impression on you nonetheless!
Looking beyond the excessive drool you’ll find trailing on your floors, you’ll see a loyal, loving, and surprisingly docile breed that tolerates children and dogs well. They’d also make excellent guard dogs thanks to their working history, intimidating looks, and instinctive traits to protect their loved ones.
It should be noted that with this nature to protect also comes the risk of defensive actions around strangers and even male dogs. Early training and socialization can help you get a grip on this wariness early on and redirect their courageous behavior to not be as standoffish and more friendly!
And of course, what you came here for: Bullmastiffs do indeed have low to medium energy levels! These pooches would be content after only a few short walks or rounds of fetch each day, totaling less than 30 minutes! More mellow than active, you can expect this breed to lounge, snore, and cuddle more often than they will romp around the yard.
5. Chow Chow
Better off in a single-person household, the Chow Chow reminds me of a giant Pomeranian mixed with a bear. I mean, just look at all that gorgeous floof!
One of the smaller dogs on this list, Chow Chows stands just under 2 feet tall, amassing a size of up to 70 pounds. They can live between 8 and 12 years, giving you plenty of time to practice training and overall just enjoy this fluffball’s presence!
This breed hails from central China from an indigenous Chinese dog as long as 8,300 years ago! Once a hunting and driving dog, Chow Chows have even made their beds in royal families, as Queen Elizabeth was even gifted one in 1865. They are truly unlike any other breed in the world, from their distinctive blue tongue to their noble stance, even to their cat-like nature.
And when I say cat-like nature, I mean it. These pups are apparently as meticulous of groomers as cats are, so while you do have to regularly groom them, they’ll still do their part! We have to give them props though, especially considering their thick, lengthy, majestic manes.
A Chow Chow’s majestic mane isn’t the only appealing thing about them, either! Loyal to their owners, dignified, bright, and an effective watchdog, you’re more likely to have a serious conversation with this dog than a serious game of fetch. They are mostly calm and serene creatures, making them excellent for households in both the city and the country!
You could get by with short walks or some toys around the home, but don’t be taken aback if you see this pooch more interested in sleep than playtime. But don’t think they’ll sleep next to you, as these independent souls really aren’t a fan of constant cuddling or excessive touching.
This may be the biggest reason why Chow Chows are not recommended for homes with children or other pets. Combined with their serious, dominant, and independent traits, they just aren’t comfortable with touchy children invading their personal space. They have boundaries and aren’t afraid to make that known with some nipping!
Aloof around strangers and of a powerful build, it is vital to socialize this dog early and often. An experienced owner is best suited for this breed so they can tackle the low trainability and reserved tendencies that may arise within this breed.
Regardless, if you want a medium to large dog whose energy levels don’t drive you up a wall, then the Chow Chow is worth considering!
6. Great Dane
A true gentle giant, the Great Dane is one of my personal favorites. Taller than most people while standing on their hind legs, these German behemoths stand on all fours reaching 32 inches tall, and they weigh up to 175 pounds which them big even amongst other breeds that regularly top the scales over 100 pounds. Wow!
If you can handle a dog of this size for 6-8 years, then it is well worth the investment. And every owner of this breed I have met can attest to their sweet temperament! I mean, who doesn’t want a loving dog that reminds them of Scooby-Doo?
Classified as a working dog by the AKC and a guardian dog by the UKC, this breed has historical ties to Germany where they hunted wild boar but also protected estates and carriages carrying nobility. Great Danes are not scared to defend their family, so you can relax knowing you aren’t the only protector anymore.
They love their family deeply and will do whatever is necessary to keep them from harm! This is partly why you see these giants behave so well around kids and even small animals like cats because once they recognize the familial ties, Great Danes will act with care, loyalty, and kindness.
Two more bonuses about Danes are their friendliness with everyone and their people-pleasing mentality. Not being the most intelligent breed and sometimes a bit stubborn, this openness works wonders for training sessions! With a bit of reassurance and praise from you, you’ll eventually see that your Dane is obedient, reliable, and manageable!
Despite their space requirements, Great Danes aren’t a very energetic breed at all. With enough area to release their zoomies and daily walks, your pup is sure to remain happy and healthy! After a quick walk, it’s likely you’ll see this pup occupy the entirety of the couch for a rather lengthy nap! It also helps that this big pup has a short coat too which means there’s even less for you to worry about!
More so laidback and lazy, Great Danes make the perfect couch potato companion for your weekly movie night, just keep an eye on your popcorn!
7. Great Pyrenees
White, fluffy, and hefty, the Great Pyrenees is another wonderful, medium-energy breed to add to your family unit! Bred and established in the Pyrenees mountains, these dogs have proved to be immensely helpful both in the home and for the home.
Standing at an average of 29 inches tall, weighing 85-100+ pounds, and living up to 12 years, these powerhouses are watchful, intelligent, and fierce protectors thanks to their long history of deterring predators such as wolves, bears, and other scary animals inhabiting the snowy mountains. They were outstanding as sheep flock guardians, and we can still see this nurture, obedience, and loyalty in these pups today!
As vigilant as this breed is, they still make for amazing and mellow family pets. Though appreciating outdoor space, a Pyrenees isn’t one to run around like a maniac, ripping your grass to shreds. Instead, they reserve their energy for when threats come along, but you can still push them to exercise with short walks.
Mental exercise is better suited for these pups than physical exercise, though don’t think this will be easy. Great Pyrenees are stubborn as they are intelligent, so training can pose a headache.
Overall, you have a patient, easy-going, well-mannered, and affectionate companion if you decide to adopt a Great Pyrenees. You don’t have to worry about an excess of energy to accommodate for and can live a placid life with an equally mild pup. Prepare yourself for plenty of barking, though!
8. Irish Wolfhound
Comparable in size to a Great Dane (yet slightly larger even), Irish Wolfhounds grow to be 32 inches tall, weighing 100-180 pounds, but have poor longevity between 6 to 8 years. This massive creature was once used for hunting wolves and other big game to protect the farm’s livestock in Ireland, but nowadays it is seen more as an agreeable and warmhearted family pet.
Graceful yet athletic, wolfhounds run in a sort of gallop thanks to their long legs, reaching impressive speeds in short bursts! Don’t think this breed has a lot of energy though, because they are not a fan of endurance exercise. Around 30 minutes of daily exercise will do the trick for these pups!
With this said, it is still recommended to have sufficient space for your wolfhound to play around on. They are not a fan of stairs and are not suitable for apartment living due to their sheer size. However, Irish Wolfhounds are very calm when inside and will usually lounge the day away, dreaming about exercise instead of actually doing it!
Sensitive, amiable, and more of a pacifist than a fighter, you can expect an Irish wolfhound to get along splendidly with children, strangers, and other pets just the same!
Dismissive to training and a huge commitment, ensure you do plenty of research on this breed before bringing one home. With a dog of such massive stature and strength, you want to start training as a puppy, especially walking on a lead, so as to avoid problems later on with controlling this pooch as they tend to enjoy chasing anything that seems to be running away!
It’s a rug, it’s a mop, it’s a Komondor!
Another large, white, shaggy, long-haired breed with medium energy, the Komondor is a Hungarian sheepdog filled to the brim with agility, bravery, and a whole lot of smarts! Standing proud at 28 inches high, tipping the scales at 80-100+ pounds, and living a decent lifespan of 10-12 years, this unique-looking dog is sure to turn your head in disbelief.
Komondoroks’ hair is arguably one of the biggest distinctions this pooch has from others, as a well-kept Komondor has beautiful white, wooly chords that really back up their nickname, “mop dog”.
A profound livestock guardian in its past, the Komondor still carries these instinctive traits to protect its human flock today, for better or for worse. On the one hand, you have a superb guard dog to keep you and your home safe. On the other, you can have an overprotective and stubborn pup that may turn to dangerous actions to keep others at bay.
It’s imperative to push consistent obedience training and socialization with this breed so they can learn that not everything is out to destroy what they love!
Now, every individual is different, but a plethora of owners and behaviorists alike have expressed caution when it comes to these dogs around other pets, small children, and strangers. Pooches of this breed are fierce in their actions and aren’t always open to new things running around their space if they didn’t invite them.
This doesn’t always mean they wouldn’t do well in these circumstances and socialization aids in this immensely, but it is something to consider further. An owner with prior dog experience is highly recommended for Komondoroks to ensure these dogs learn a safer alternative to expressing their emotions.
While it may surprise you given what I mentioned above, Komondors are actually very gentle, attentive, loyal, even-tempered, and caring family members! And lucky for us, this breed is highly trainable, but not overly active!
A short walk or two each day will suffice for physical exercise, as it is mostly mental exercise you want to prioritize. Their willful and curious nature can be satisfied with a variety of puzzle toys and learning new skills, otherwise, your shoes may be the target of total annihilation out of boredom.
I feel lucky enough to have met a Komondor in the past given how rare they are, and if you’re ever graced by one’s presence (or imposing bark), you’ll never forget it either!
Originating in the cold, rugged landscape of Newfoundland, Canada, this water dog is a rockstar when it comes to family life and exercise needs!
The exact history of the Newfoundland breed is a hot topic of debate, though their use in work is certain: this breed was utilized for pulling carts, hauling fishing nets out of the water, and even as efficient and reliable rescue dogs. These mundane chores required a patient, intelligent, and obedient personality to do, and Newfoundlands had no issue with this!
Nowadays, while Newfies still enjoy some daily exercise and tasks that involve helping humans, they much prefer to maintain the “couch potato” title. Regular walks, a romp in the yard, and especially swimming are all adequate forms of exercise to keep this pooch feeling its best. They are more docile than energetic, so they will gladly tuck themselves in for the evening after a decent play session!
And if you have kids or other pets, you can rest assured knowing this dog breed will assimilate well into family life. They’ll even greet any stranger with a wagging tail, wanting belly rubs from anybody with a smiling face! Most Newfoundland owners will gush about how great their pup is (and how even better of a cuddler they are), and it’s understandable why the more you learn about them!
Ultimately, if you can look past the copious amounts of drool, you’ll see a devoted, watchful, adaptable, trainable, affectionate, and kind heart which is that of a Newf! Seriously, what aren’t they good at?
11. Saint Bernard
Have you ever seen the Beethoven movie series? A staple of my childhood, these movies are how I was introduced to this accurate depiction of a lovable and charming dog: the Saint Bernard!
Assuming a colossal body, Saints grow close to 30 inches tall and weigh easily 120-180 pounds. Now that is a lot of dog. And for 8-10 years, you’ll have a cheerful companion that can’t help but adore you!
Believed to have originated in the Swiss Alps, these pups made quite the name for themselves amongst monasteries and hospices. They are known as the original rescue dogs of the Italian-Swiss border, as they proved wildly successful in rescue missions thanks to their steadfast nature and superb sniffer!
You can still experience the Saint Bernard in all of the glory of its ancestral days as these modest beasts are just as caring, inquisitive, and dependable as ever before! This dog seems to have an affinity towards children too, taking them under their wing as its confidantes. Though given this pooch’s lax attitude, they may not be able to keep up with younger, more active children.
Saint Bernards can also be protective of their family, though not enough to be entirely defensive around other dogs and strangers, just a bit wary. A quick learner and needy for attention, this pup can be trained with ease once it understands the difference between desirable and undesirable behavior.
The trend for this article is large dogs with medium energy, and the Saint Bernard fits the bill perfectly! A moderate to lengthy walk (or around 30 minutes of exercise) each day is more than enough to keep dogs of this breed happy. Obedience training and even dog agility sports are other excellent ways to engage your Saint and keep him well-mannered around your home.
However, don’t be surprised if most of the time your Saint Bernard would rather remain on the couch giving you that “I want pets” look. You may even have to convince him to exercise!
One big fluffball of compassion, Saint Bernards will do anything to feel included in familial activities, receive attention and praise from their owner, and even be the center of attention. You may even have wild and exciting adventures together, just like in the movies!
12. Tibetan Mastiff
One of the oldest mastiff breeds in the world, the Tibetan Mastiff is well, from Tibet! Standing a little over two feet tall and weighing over 100 pounds (up to 150), these fierce and substantial dogs are not to be messed with!
I work with all kinds of dogs almost every day, and nothing makes me more cautious than the sight of a Tibetan Mastiff (and a Jack Russell Terrier, I can’t lie). But it’s not because these dogs are innately aggressive. In fact, Tibetan Mastiffs are revered for their calm, sweet, and even goofy nature when comfortable with their family!
However, even with this gentle disposition at home, Tibetan Mastiffs are undoubtedly imposing, threatening, and a bit territorial. This is partly due to the ginormous, muscular body of the dog and its thick double coat framing its face like that of a lion’s mane. The other part is due to this dog’s background as the ultimate guardian pooch.
The title of “guard dog” is taken seriously by this breed, as they have long protected livestock, properties, and even entire villages! Naturally possessive, independent, and strong-willed, these pups typically make their own decisions and will ward off anything they perceive as a potential threat.
So, you’ll never have to worry about an intruder coming to your home because I think we all know who would win that fight.
Despite their soft and affectionate qualities, Tibetan Mastiffs are not ideal for first-time dog owners or families with young children or pets (especially dogs of the same sex). Their loyalty is intense and mixed with their reserved nature, can even mistake the welcoming arms of a friend for a full-scale attack. And let’s not mention the frustration that training sessions will bring you.
Given all of this, you can still expect this pooch to be calm and lazy inside your home, enjoy time spent outdoors surveying their surroundings, and best of all: only require medium amounts of exercise!
You can get by with taking your Tibetan Mastiff on moderate to long daily walks and providing them with plenty of options to keep their brains busy. They typically have more energy for mental exercise than they do the physical counterpart, and being well-behaved inside the home means your personal belongings are safe from their wide chompers!
If you want to take on a 10-year commitment as big as this dog is and your lifestyle blends well with their needs, then it may be worth checking out the Tibetan Mastiff breed!
Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes, and with each breed will come different energy levels too!
There are plenty of large dog breeds out there with moderate exercise requirements to pick from, it’s just a matter of deciding which one would go best with your specific lifestyle.
As most of these dogs are from a working, guardian background, it is imperative that you do your research before choosing one in particular. Most of these breeds carry territorial, protective, stubborn, and independent traits that may be unappealing for some, despite the sweet, gentle, and loyal traits that coincide.
Some breeds aren’t suited for first-time owners, some aren’t suited for children, strangers, or other pets, and some on the other hand are just all-around excellent and adaptable dogs regardless of the situation!
Certain breeds may have medium to low energy, but there are other traits to consider as well to ultimately assure that you and your new pooch are thriving and satisfied with life together!