6 large, lovely lapdogs

Person sitting on a bench while Bear the dog lies in her lap
If they fit, they sit.
By Sarah Thornton

When you imagine a lapdog, you probably picture a pooch like a Pomeranian or a pug, a cuddly canine companion about the size of a cat. There is a myth that big dogs don’t make good lapdogs, but don’t discount the joy of a nice oversized snuggle. When you’re feeling down, there’s nothing better than the squeeze of a big bear hug. (After all, weighted blankets have taken off in popularity because of their ability to soothe symptoms of anxiety.) So just imagine the goofy grin of your best furry friend on top of all that.

It’s also pretty funny to watch a big dog trying to daintily fit as much of herself as possible onto your lap.

Unfortunately, big dogs tend to have a longer length of stay in shelters. Big dogs are more likely than smaller dogs to be overlooked by adopters, and they are more challenging to place in foster homes, all because of their size and the misconceptions surrounding them. That’s why, this month we’re focusing on de-stigmatizing large dogs, debunking myths about them, and saving lives by getting more of these gentle giants into both foster and adoptive homes.

Right now, though, let’s get these big dogs into some laps.


Akita can be nervous around new people (some of us can relate). Once she’s warmed up with the help of a few walks and some treats, however, she really loves her friends. She’s always up for an adventure, whether it’s a car ride or a hike, but when it’s time to settle down and relax, that’s her cue to start the cuddles. Akita will do a full-body flop right onto her favorite people, stretching out to make sure they can reach all the good scratching spots along her side.

Holy Moly

If you ask Holy Moly, snuggles are an essential part of life. He probably wouldn’t be able to tell you what personal space is, but that’s one of the many things we love about this big sweetheart. He is a sleepover superstar who loves curling up with volunteers on the couch or in bed, and while some may call him a bed hog, it’s always said with a big smile and lots of love.


As a Great Pyrenees, Bear is probably one of the largest dogs at the Sanctuary right now. In fact, he’s as big as some of his caregivers. But Bear is truly a gentle giant, careful when playing with his human friends and not ashamed to bury his face against them to hide if he’s nervous. The closer he can get to his people, the more comforted he is, so it’s inevitable that he sometimes ends up right on top of them. And we have to say, it’s pretty dang cute.


At 11 years old, gray-faced Mario knows what he likes, and what he likes is attention. If you have the time to give him a belly rub or a back scratch, Mario will be your friend forever, and if you sit down with him, he will happily stay in your lap for just as long. All the while, he will definitely be making sure that he’s getting all the attention he deserves. (There are rumors that he can be a bit of a drama queen about it.)


Lucci has a big personality and a lot of energy to go with it, but he’s also the kind of dog who just wants to keep the good times rolling. Is it training time? Then Lucci puts on his thinking cap and becomes the top student. Adventure time? Perfect — he’ll enjoy every step of the way. And, of course, when it comes to snuggle time, he’s all for it, rolling over in his friends’ laps for prime “belly-rub-ability.”


CB is 12 years old, but you can hardly tell with all that energy she has. She is exuberant and always happy to get up and go, go, go. She still likes to wrestle with her dog friends and has plenty of energy to keep up with pups a quarter of her age — with enough left over for hikes and grand adventures. But when it’s time to take a break, CB won’t say no to a good cuddle. For her, life is all about enjoying every minute, and lap time is happy time.

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