The 20 Most Obedient Large Dog Breeds

Dogs provide us with companionship and entertain us with their antics, but sometimes, they can be too much for us to handle. Occasionally, no matter how hard you try, they just won't listen.

Whether a dog is well-behaved depends on how they have been trained, but it can also come down to their breed too. While you may be drawn to a certain type of dog, whether they listen to commands can depend on their genetics.

According to the American Kennel Club and the canine psychologist Stanley Coren, author of the book The Intelligence of Dogs, some dogs are biologically wired to be independent and do their own thing, while others aim to please. Therefore, it's important to do your research before adopting a new pet to make sure you have the time and energy to cater to their needs.

Here of 20 of the most obedient larger breeds of dog.


Working dogs are known for being highly trainable and listening to their owner's commands. The Malinois, which can reach up to 75 pounds, is a smart, highly trainable dog who is built for hard work. These dogs love to please their owners, according to the AKC, but require a lot of exercise.

Originally bred for herding, these dogs now work as police and military dogs ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images


The Standard Poodle is medium to large-sized dog and although they look haughty, they are clever and very trainable. According to Cohen, poodles understand new commands in less then five repetitions, putting them on a par with Border Collies.

02 Westminster Kennel Club dog show
Standard Poodles are smart dogs who love to learn and please their owners Sarah Stier/Getty Images

German Shepherd

These large dogs are intelligent and form close bonds with their families, making them wonderful pets. However, early socialisation and puppy training classes are key for a dog of this size to ensure they grow up with manners.

German Shepherd
German Shepherds are of keen intelligence and make excellent working dogs Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Golden Retriever

The epitome of the family pet, Golden Retrievers love to spend time with their owners. They are among the most obedient of all breeds and according to Cohen, tend to obey a first command at least 95 percent of the time.

Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers are loyal, obedient dogs if trained well Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Doberman Pinscher

According to the AKC, these dogs have a keen intelligence, learn easily, respond quickly, and make loving and fun companions. However, like German Shepherds, they are strong dogs and need good obedience training when young.

Doberman Pinscher
A doberman wears a baseball scarf in Seattle, Washington Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images/Getty

Labrador Retriever

The Lab is America's most popular dog breed and it is easy to see why. These loveable dogs are friendly, outgoing and love to learn and be active, especially if it involves swimming or fetch.

Labs are the most popular dogs in the U.S, according to the AKC Franck Prevel/Getty Images


These dogs love being around humans and make excellent guardians, reaching up to 135 pounds. Although they are highly trainable, they can be stubborn, so proper training is important.

Rottweilers learn quickly and make excellent working dogs, as well as pets Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images/Getty

Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retrievers are very intelligent, responsive, and eager to please, so they are generally easy to train, the AKC states. These are sporting dogs, so require plenty of outdoors exercise to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive.

Flat-Coated Retriever
Flat-Coated Retrievers were bred to retrieve downed waterfowl while hunting Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large breed who can stand over 27 inches at the shoulder. Although these dogs are obedient, they don't respond well to harsh training and prefer positive reinforcement, otherwise they can get upset.

Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants who enjoy positive reward training Matt Cardy/Getty Images/Getty

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are powerful gundogs who require good training from puppyhood. Once trained, they are smart and loyal, but still have an independent streak. These dogs are very high energy and require lots of exercise such a running and swimming.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers aren't lazy lap dogs - they require a lot of exercise Maddie Meyer/Getty Images


Easily recognisable by the long hair that falls over their faces, Briards are herding dogs and possess the same traits as others, including good trainability. These naturally intelligent dogs are more independent than other herding breeds, however, which means they can sometimes be difficult.

Briard dogs are known for their interesting haircuts Agency-Animal-Picture/ Getty Images

Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is a larger version of the Standard Schnauzer and they are extremely smart and territorial. These dogs make excellent guards but are happiest when they are active. The AKC warns the breed isn't suited for "casual" dog owners, as they can be a handful.

Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzers can be very obedient if trained well as puppies Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

Airedale Terrier

The largest of all terrier breeds, the Airedale's intelligence and the fact that they bond closely with owners can make training easy. However, these dogs can become bored easily so different training activities can be helpful.

The Airedale can be used as a working dog and also as a hunting dog Richard Stabler/Getty Images


Newfoundlands are gentle giants. In general, these dogs are eager to please and easy to train. They are also affectionate and respond well to gentle guidance and positive training, rather than harsher techniques.

Newfoundland dog show U.K. 2018
Newfoundlands are affectionate giants and strong working dogs Getty Images

Irish Setter

Irish Setters are happy and eager to please, but they are full of energy and need lots of exercise to stay content and fit. Fun training sessions are key for this breed to ensure they are obedient, but they learn quickly.

irish Setter
Irish Setters make good therapy dogs Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Irish Wolfhound

A male Irish Wolfhound can weigh up to 120 pounds and stand at three feet tall, but they are gentle dogs that make great pets in the right environment. According to Cohen, these hounds obey first commands around half of the time.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhounds are sighthounds that once hunted deer, boar and wolves Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Kuvasz dogs are very intelligent and are loyal to their families, which helps with obedience training. However, the breed matures slowly so training a Kuvasz can take time, effort and patience. Training classes are advised for this breed.

dog named hashtag
Kuvasz dogs are slower to develop than other breeds which can mean training takes longer Mark Makela/Getty Images/Getty


Saluki is among the oldest dog breeds and according to the AKC, the breed might go as far back as 7000 b.c. These dogs are tall and energetic, but good training and plenty of exercise keep them healthy, happy and obedient.

Saluki dogs can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia and the Middle East DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Great Dane

Great Danes are the tallest of all dog breeds and are very strong, but love to please their owners. It is important that Great Danes learn to walk well on a lead and that they have a good recall when out in public, especially as their size can intimidate other dogs.

Great Danes are the largest dogs in the world OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes are large dogs that were originally bred for their strength in order to pull heavy items via sled. Malamutes are highly intelligent but also independent and headstrong, so training can be a challenge. However, patience is important and it's possible to train these dogs well with time.

Alaskan Malamutes are strong sled dogs Ian Forsyth/Getty