Big dogs are a ton of fun. And you might be surprised to learn that many need less space and exercise than you think.

But sadly, due to stereotypes and myths about the space and care that they require, these lovable goof-balls are at higher risk than some other pets of losing their lives in shelters.

What exactly defines a big dog? In addition to being our favorite cuddle buddies, our premier walking and running partners, and our loyal best friends, big dogs are generally identified as pups who weigh more than 50 pounds.

You can help ensure that they wind up in the loving homes they deserve by adopting or fostering a big dog, or simply spread the word about how amazing they are.

Silhouettes of three big dogs playing

The truth about big dogs

Think big dogs can't live in apartments or are never good with kids? Think again!

There are a lot of misconceptions about big dogs, their behavior, their temperaments and what they need to thrive in a home. But big dogs, like all pets, are individuals, each with a unique personality and preferences.

Some are giant couch potatoes, others thrive on a lot of exercise. Some are independent, while others choose to cuddle every chance they get.  

Help save lives: adopt a big dog today

Big dogs of all shapes, personality types and energy levels can be found in shelters around the country.

Welcoming a big dog into your life means not only love, fun, companionship and adventure, it helps save the lives of other big dogs. 

Nothing could be more rewarding: While you and your new pup are both benefitting from having a best friend to cuddle, play, exercise or simply hang out with, you’re freeing up space in shelters for other dogs to get the lifesaving chance they deserve.  


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Adopt a big dog from a Best Friends location near you:

Foster a big dog and help save a life

Fostering a big dog in your home, even for just a few nights, is one of the most impactful ways to help save the lives of big dogs around the country.

By temporarily welcoming a big dog or two into your home, you’re giving them a chance to get valuable life experiences, like meeting new people and learning how to play, while also freeing up space in a shelter to save the lives of more dogs.

Plus, many shelters provide pet food, supplies and medical care for the dogs while they’re being fostered.

Woman hugging big dog in grassy field


Have you adopted or fostered a big dog?


Share your story.




Spread the word about how fun and rewarding big dogs are by sharing your story on Facebook and Instagram. And don’t forget to use #BigDogs on your post.

You can also help raise awareness about big dogs in shelters and the joy of bringing one home by adding one of these special frames to your profile picture on social media:

Big Dog Social Frame 1   Big Dog Social Frame 2   Big Dog Social Frame 3   Big Dog Social Frame 4

Two smiling people sitting with a happy dog outside on a front step

Find your big dog match 

Looking for a fabulous big dog to add to your family? Take our quiz to find out what kind of big-dog person you are. Be sure to share your results on social media.
Smiling person kneeling down next to a happy leashed dog on a sidewalk

Did you recently adopt a big dog?

Congrats! Watch our expert-led webinar for training tips, behavior advice and other information about welcoming a big dog into your home.

Take action for big dogs

No matter where you live, you can help save the lives of big dogs around the country. 

Whether you want to join a local action team, sign a petition, find pet-inclusive housing or receive action alerts, every action you take can make a big difference in the lives of big dogs.

True tales of lifesaving, love and resilience

Meet some of the amazing big dogs who’ve found healing and happiness at the Sanctuary, through our lifesaving centers and with our network partners.
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Who we are

Best Friends  Animal Society  works  alongside thousands of animal shelters, rescue groups and other animal  welfare organizations to save the lives of cats and dogs  across the country and to make the entire country no-kill by 2025.  

The Best Friends Network comprises thousands of animal welfare groups from every single state, all working to save the lives of pets in their own communities.

Ranging from animal shelters and rescue groups to spay/neuter and trap-neuter-return (TNR) organizations, they collaborate with Best Friends to save even more lives in every corner of the country.

Best Friends provides marketing help, fundraising events, webinars, grants and other resources so that, together, we can Save Them All.