Labrador Retrievers are great for families
Labs are hands down the most popular breed in the U.S. and have been for many years. In many respects they are the quintessential family dog; loyal, good with kids, friendly but big enough to make a burglar think twice, and long-lived. They do need room to play so a yard or frequent trips to the dog park are ideal. They also love water! They do shed seasonally, so regular brushing is necessary. As they age, labs are prone to hip dysplasia and arthritis, and frequently suffer knee ligament injuries in middle age. For a large breed dog, labs have a fairly long life-span, some living upwards of 12 to 13 years, so geriatric issues, urinary incontinence, cognitive dysfunction (dementia), hearing loss, and heart problems are not uncommon. Still put off by their size? You might reconsider because of these reasons you should consider a large dog.
German Shepherds are loyal
German Shepherd dogs, or GSD for short, are a perennial top dog on the AKC most popular breed list. Loyal and intelligent, these guard dogs are great for families and do well with children. Their large size and exuberant nature may mean you want to keep a close eye if you have small children, just to avoid any tumbles, and their sweeping tail can clear a coffee table in the blink of an eye. Because the breed standard for GSDs states that they should have sloping hindquarters, they are prone to hip dysplasia, and like any large breed dog, frequently suffer knee ligament injuries. As they age, German Shepherds are also predisposed to heart disease.