The 22 Best Dogs for Kids and Families

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It comes to no surprise that the prevailing number of dog parents already consider their dogs family members. But once a family starts growing and children come along, there are certain considerations which need to be made to choose the best type of dog to suit the family lifestyle, the living space and the age of the children in the house.

There are certain dog breeds which are very patient with small kids, while others get along better with older children.

Some dogs feel happy and content living in an apartment or an urban area, while others have higher energy levels and need more room, time for play and activities, and outdoor space.

If you are considering adding a dog to your family, you must make sure that it is a loving, sociable, affectionate and patient dog which can get along with all members of the family!

Of course, adopting a dog comes with a lot of responsibilities. It requires proper training and care, as well as a significant amount of time and money.

So, make sure you think through all of the details before taking the next step and accepting a dog in your family home!

Here is a list of the best family dogs, based on all the above-mentioned factors.

Whichever one or more you choose, you will be doing well for your children. Dogs can teach children to be more responsible, they can enhance their social skills and boost their self-esteem. Plus, your children will learn to collaborate and share more if you have a dog in your house.

Labrador retriever

Labs are the most popular family dog breed in the US, and there are a lot of reasons for this.

Labradors adore kids, adults, other animals and people in general. They have a very sweet demeanor and are very affectionate and loving pets. They are very intelligent and are easy to train, and their short black, golden or chocolate brown coat requires very little grooming.

Still, they are exuberant dogs which need daily exercise and a lot of play time too.

So, if you love spending time outdoors, and stay active, and want a loyal, loving and affectionate dog, the Labrador retriever is a perfect family dog for you.

Bulldog

If you loving spending more time at home with your family, a sweet and easy-going Bulldog will make the perfect pet. While it does require regular walks, the Bulldog also loves to relax and snooze on the couch for hours too.

Bulldogs have sturdy bodies which are perfect for children which love roughhousing. This is not the most energetic dog breed in the world, but if you don’t plan on going jogging or hiking with your doggie every day – the Bulldog is an excellent choice for you.

Overall, Bulldogs are very friendly and loyal pets. They can get along with all kinds of other pets and dogs as well as with outside people. They will feel well in small apartments as well as in a large house, so space is not such a decisive factor for adopting a Bulldog.

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are another all-American favorite dog breed. They too are among the best dogs for families. Goldens are loyal, smart, confident and fun dogs. They love swimming, running, playing fetch and are extremely patient with children.

They are very patient and gentle with kids, so you needn’t worry about their wellbeing. Actually, these beautiful sporting dogs can become the perfect play buddies for your kids and will keep them active and outdoors as much as possible.

The Golden retriever has a beautiful golden colored long coat which needs to be brushed twice a week. They prefer to live and sleep indoors with their people, even though they will feel quite happy spending most of the day outdoors in your backyard too.

Beagle

Who doesn’t want to have their own Snoopy at home as a loving and cute companion? Beagles are adorable, small, happy and friendly dogs which are perfect for family life. In fact, they are pack animals, so the more people – the merrier, if you ask them.

Even though they are relatively small, Beagles are quite sturdy, so they can handle all kinds of games at all times.

They love the outdoors, so be ready to take long walks and enjoy their fun company as they follow those invisible trails along the way.

Overall, Beagles are smart, playful and yet have a calm temperament which is a very suitable option for families with kids.

They do need regular bathing and shed quite a bit, but they are so loveable, that you won’t mind handling these tasks, right?

Pug

If you are a family of couch potatoes, you should definitely add a cute little Pug to your household. It will readily accept the idea of spending hours snoozing and eating.

Dogs from this breed are relatively small, but are prone to gaining too much weight, so you should be careful about those treats and snacks.

They are affectionate little pups which love to cuddle, but at the same time, they won’t mind spending some time playing with the kids as well.

These comic looking little dogs are great family pets, even if you don’t have a large backyard or a lot of living space.

Irish Setter

Irish Setters are not only strikingly beautiful and elegant dogs, but they are very gifted athletes that love leading active lifestyles.

Irish Setters feel great among people and children. They love being with their families so much, that some of them may suffer from serious separation anxiety if left alone for a long time.

They are highly trainable, smart and loyal dogs, which will feel perfect if you have a backyard where they can roam about when you don’t have time for them.

So, if you love spending time outdoors, cycling, jogging or walking, or if you want to get the kids away from those displays and out of the house more, you should get an Irish Setter! This wonderful dog will get the whole family moving.

Collie

If you’ve ever seen Lassie you will know why Collies are considered one of the smartest dog breeds of all. Collies can be rough or smooth coated, so you have a choice if you have worries about the grooming and the shedding.

As a whole, Collies are incredibly easy to train. They are kind and gentle dogs with a predictable nature, and thus you don’t need to worry about your dog misbehaving.

They get along perfectly with children, although being herding dogs, they may feel the need to herd them. However funny and handy this may seem, you should discourage this kind of behavior.

The Collie does require regular grooming, but in return, you will get the gentlest, smartest and most loving pet in the world!

Brussels Griffon

Brussel Griffons are incredibly cute furry little fellows, but being one of the smallest breeds, they won’t do well with roughhousing. They can manage gentler play with the kids happily though.

The Brussels Griffon has a big personality and is a funny, loyal and intelligent companion to have.

With its amazing expressive face, your pup will keep you and your family entertained at all times.

There are rough coated and smooth coated griffons, so you get to choose. Plus, they are easy to train and can easily learn tricks, so you and the children can have lots of fun with your Ewok-like little furry friend.

Newfoundland

An adult Newfoundland can reach up to 150 lbs. but this doesn’t stop this breed of being amazingly gentle and watchful. Actually, these are the reasons why this huge water-loving breed is referred to as “babysitter dogs.”

They truly care for the children in the family, and for all children, and can be quite protective of them. The obvious feature to consider before taking in a Newfoundland is its size. You will need quite a bit of space for this black fluffy friend.

They do best in homes which have big yards and will do even better if you have a lake nearby so that they can do what they do best – swim.

But even though they do shed quite a bit and drool, they shouldn’t be left outside permanently. They are loyal and very susceptible to training and make perfect family pets.

French Bulldog

If you live in an apartment  or small house with no outdoor space, don’t worry – you can still add a dog to your family. The Frenchie won’t mind living inside and take only brisk walks for some frolicking and playtime outdoors.

This amazingly cute small dog has a sturdy mini-bulldog body and bat-shaped ears, which make it absolutely adorable.

French Bulldogs are easy-going, merry little dogs, which can adapt to any homes – large or small, and any kind of lifestyle – active or not, pretty quickly.

They are charming, alert and very affectionate pups which can get along children and other pets.

Frenchies will keep you entertained, and will provide you with endless cuddles and kisses. They are definitely one of the best family dogs for urban areas.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

These small and soft terriers are known as one of the hypoallergenic breeds because of their low shedding silk-soft coats.

They are funny little guys which can become quite devoted pets, but as all other terriers need some active playtime and love chasing balls or anything that moves actually.

Their shaggy coats and sweet expression will make you want to rub their bellies and pet them all the time.

They are great with children and adults alike and are ever ready for some outdoor fun and games.

So, If you want a non-shedding family dog which will adore spending time with your family both indoors and outside – the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier could be the perfect pup for you.

Weimaraner

Weimaraners also known as the “Grey ghosts” are stunningly beautiful and elegant dogs. They will never go unnoticed wherever you go. Most importantly, they love kids and can quickly adapt to their family becoming an integral part of it.

They are active dogs, so if you are willing to spend time outdoors playing and don’t mind taking long walks, jogs or rides with your four-legged friend, the Weimaraner could be exactly the dog you are looking for to further expand your family.

It is a clever and trainable dog which expects you to train and challenge it mentally as well as physically, so make sure you have the time and dedication before adopting a Weimaraner.

Biewer Terrier

This toy terrier is a long-haired, tri-colored and elegant little dog, which makes the perfect family dog. It is incredibly merry, and you will often see it smile at you. The Biewer loves playing and carrying around toys, so be prepared to have a pet which has at least one toy in its mouth at all times.

It is a loyal and dedicated family pet and is friendly with strangers, which is great if you love having guests and lead an active social life.

Being a terrier, your Biewer will amaze you with its athletic skills, and with its hunting talent.

It is a good watchdog, but won’t bark too much, so if you are worried about having a noisy little toy dog, you can rest assured if you decide to add a Biewer Terrier to your family.

Bull Terrier

There are a lot of stereotypes about Bull Terriers, which often are described as vicious fighting dogs.

The truth is that the Bull Terrier was bred to be a great companion dog. And such it is!

It is muscular and sturdy, but will more likely take the role of the family clown rather than an aggressor. Bull Terriers are entertaining and mischievous animals, which if socialized early and trained properly will become obedient and loving pets.

Since Bull Terriers can endure serious levels of pain, they are perfect for young children who are still not sure how to treat dogs – as playthings or as living things.

Their short coats require little maintenance, but you will need to keep your Bull Terrier active mentally and physically every day so that both you and the dog are happy.

Boxer

Boxers are one of the top preferred dogs for family pets thanks to their fun-loving, upbeat character. They are truly charming and are very protective and patients with children. You must keep in mind that young Boxers are quite bouncy, and with their large size and energy can push over smaller kids.

You will need to train the puppy and must have the time and the will to provide your Boxer pet with long walks mixed with energetic games in order to keep it happy and healthy. This is a great way to get the whole family outside for some fun activities together!

Poodle

Poodles come in black, white and apricot color as well as in standard, miniature and toy sizes. So, you can choose the size and color and “customize” your pet.

Keep in mind, that Poodles are one of the most intelligent breeds in the canine world. They are not all just fluff and flamboyance. They are brainy animals which can become very loyal and devoted companions.

Also, they were originally hunting dogs, so don’t expect your poodle to want to spend all day long lounging on the couch. You will need to walk them, play with them and entertain them on a daily basis.

Poodles shed very little, which makes them excellent pets for families which have members suffering from dog allergies. But they do require grooming and clipping.

Standard poodles are smart, playful and obedient.  The miniatures tend to be one-person pets and will dedicate themselves to that one person from the household which they have chosen.

Nevertheless, all sizes are great with children and can become their perfect play buddies.

Bichon Frise

These low-shedding sparkling white fluff balls are possibly one of the friendliest dog breeds of them all.

They are very good companions for children of all ages and are very devoted pets. They also get along with other dogs and other pets pretty well, so if you already have a dog, you don’t need to worry about adding a Bichon Frise to the pack.

They are hypoallergenic, and will leave very little hair in the furniture and around the house, which means less cleaning and more time for play for you and for your cute little fluffy pet!

Vizsla

The Vizslas may not be as popular as Labs and Golden retrievers, but they are excellent sporting dogs for families. They are the best choice if you are an active family with grown-up kids, because they require extensive walks, exercising and challenges.

Vizslas are affectionate dogs which form a very close bond with their family. They are lively and yet loving and gentle dogs which when trained properly can become very obedient pets which perform numerous clever tricks.

They are smart, sensitive and confident dogs which are great family dogs – if you are ready to get off that couch and spend a lot of time outdoors keeping yourself and your four-legged family member active and happy.

Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is the smallest and the sweetest breed of the sporting group of dogs. Its silky soft long ears and that irresistible sweet face make this dog very lovable and huggable.

Cocker Spaniels love playing with other dogs and with kids and don’t really need a backyard to feel happy. They can do with regular walks and some playtime instead.

This makes them very suitable for apartment living.

When left unclipped, the long silky coat of the Cocker Spaniel looks stunningly beautiful. No wonder Lady managed to win over the heart of Tramp with her sweet elegance and beauty in one of our favorite Disney movies.

But then again, if you decide to clip the coat of your Cocker Spaniel it will look like a young cute pup, no matter how old it actually is.

Drever

This short-legged long-bodied Swedish breed is known to do very well in apartments with no backyard. Drevers are muscular and robust dogs with a very sweet and playful nature.

Bred to hunt deer in the deep snow of Sweden, the dogs from this breed are strong and resilient hounds. At the same time, they are calm, and will never show shyness, aggression or nervousness.

Their playful, energetic and affectionate nature makes them very suitable play friends and companions for children.

The Drever can easily adapt to any living environment and is a fun and loving companion which will quickly become the heart and soul of your family.

Broholmer

This is another Scandinavian breed but it is large in stature with a mastiff-type body. At the same time, dogs from this Danish breed are known to have hearts of gold and love to cuddle with their people. Sometimes, they can underestimate their size and prefer to get even closer and cuddle in your lap which is absolutely adorable.

They are very calm and good natured dogs and are great companions for all kinds of families. At the same time they will protect your home but only with their large stature.

They are kind dogs, but often times do not realize how large they are, so you need to supervise them with very small children.

As a large and strong dog, the Broholmer needs a lot of walking and playing. It will become your perfect companion if you enjoy hiking, camping or any other outdoor family activities

Mutts

Many people swear that mixed breed dogs are smarter, more loyal and even better family dogs and companions than the pure-bred ones. By adopting a dog from a local shelter, you will not only be changing that dog’s life forever, but you will be teaching your children about social responsibility and empathy as well.

Also, a rescue dog will always appreciate and be thankful to you for taking it out of the shelter or off the streets, so you will find that it will quickly become the most loving, affectionate and loving dog that you can have.

Always talk to the staff of the shelter to find out more about the dogs put up for adoption and to choose a sociable one which takes to your family.

Final words

The best family dog is the one which will suit your lifestyle, your home space, your daily regimen and the number and age of the kids you have.

The main features to look for when choosing the perfect four-legged pet for your family include:

  • The temperament – the personality of the dog should be agreeable and calm
  • The size – this along with the temperament is essential to determine the energy level of the dog
  • Energy level – this depends on the lifestyle and preferences of your family. Always make sure that you can meet the needs of the dog for walks, playtime and exercising before taking one in.
  • The grooming, special care and maintenance it requires
  • Whether it is hypoallergenic or not – if you have allergic family members
  • The sociability of the dog
  • Is it safe for the kids (and for the dog) to play together
  • How old a dog do you want? Puppies need training and are more energetic, while older dogs may be calmer but can be difficult to train if this is needed
  • How the dog gets along with other dogs or pets. This is essential if you already have other pets.

Whichever dog you choose to add to your family, it will bring a whole new experience for all family members. It is very likely that a new dog will change your lives by making you more active, helping you meet new friends, exploring new places around or away from your home, teaching your children to be responsible and sharing,  and by bringing all family members together for fun games and playtime!