20 Best Family Dog Breeds

Dogs teach kids responsibility, compassion, and cooperation. Not to forget they are the best playmates any individual can ask for. Before bringing or adopting a pup, one needs to always research and zero on options to decide on the best pooch that will not only suit your lifestyle but also goes well with the family and kids. Dogs are compassionate members; some pooches are seen to go well with older kids while others are more patient with little ones.  This article lists the best family and friendly canine breeds recommended by the top kennel clubs of the world that first-time pet parents can bring home.

One needs to check three major criteria while choosing the right four-legged canine that includes:

1. Temperament  

This is the breed’s personality that one should primarily look or ask for. A puppy or dog with an agreeable temperament is the right choice, for example, a dog with a calmer calm characteristic is seen to not only can form strong bonds but are a great companion for the kids.

2.  Size

Secondly, the size should be looked at. This should mainly depend on relation to both temperament and energy level as many larger dogs are docile than the smaller or medium breeds.

3. Energy level

This is a personal choice as it depends on the individual or family preference. Bear in mind about the about the physical workout that one can provide to the dog or pup as failing to meet the dog’s needs that are its excess energy level, can lead to behavior problems in the future.

Top 20 Family Dog Breeds

This list enlightens about the most owned family dog breeds around the globe.

1. Labrador retriever

This breed has remained the most popular for decades as it is playful, patient, loving, protective, and reliable. Labs are not only highly intelligent but can be trained very easily. They require an optimal free space as they are very playful and ample exercises to drain their energy out.

The variant colors of this breed (black, chocolate, fawn, or white) are seen to share the same sense of stamina, strength, and obedience which is one of the reasons for this breeds popularity. The labs can grow up to 80 pounds and are seen to get along well with other animals and pretty much everyone they meet. They possess short coats means weekly once grooming will help them to maintain a tidy and healthy life.

2. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a confident, smart, adorable, and loyal dog. Its neither aggressive nor timid and is extremely patient, which makes it a perfect match for toddlers as well as kids.

This breed does need a lot of exercises but loves to play retrieving games. The goldens need grooming for their glorious golden coats twice weekly. Though this breed can survive outdoors that is in the lawn, garden, or balcony they prefer to be indoors, with their humans, most of the time.

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3. Bulldog

For people who enjoy more of a laidback lifestyle, a loyal less energetic bulldog is the best fit. This breed is a devoted, patient pup that is seen to be very affectionate towards the kids. The sturdy build of this dog makes it perfect for kids who like to rough play with their pet pals. The bulldog is a docile, friendly, and loyal dog, that gets along well with other pets and dogs. This breed is comfortable living in large houses as well as small apartments hence is one of the sought dog breeds by the urban people.  The Bulldogs are pleasant with outside visitors and this is one of the pivotal reasons that makes them the perfect companion and fit for a busy as well as a social family.

The possible areas of special care for this stout breed due to the compressed nature of their jaw that needs a little extra care is in dental hygiene, wheezing, snoring and some drooling. On the other hand, their coat is seen to need minimal care, but the folds around their tail and facial wrinkles need to be cleaned frequently to prevent the build-up of dirt.

4. Poodle

This breed is widely recognized for its distinctive haircuts. But in the intelligence ranking of dog breeds, the Poodle stands second. This breed is available in both miniature and standard sizes, which means an individual can choose the specific Poodle size that best matches his or her living environment. This breed is an excellent choice for kids with allergies, as they shed minimal hair.

Each Poodle breed comes with different perks. The Standard breed is excessively obedient, smart, playful and adventurous. Although the pooch tends to shy with strangers, they are seen to get along great with familiar people and kids. Miniatures, on the other hand, is a one-man dog. But these tiny creatures are great with other pets and kids and are smart, responsive, obedient and playful, making them a great companion for kids. All poodle breeds coats require scheduled grooming. In total, this is a proud and elegant pooch that is not only caring but loyal too and is seldom annoyed or bored.

5. Beagle

This breeds small size and calm temperament make it a great choice for families. The Beagles are outdoor pooches, that love to not only explore outdoors and but also prefer to take trails. Originally bred as hunting dogs these sturdy canines do not get tired playing.

The Beagle is smart, friendly, happy and gets along with other pets too (but these dogs like to chase other dogs as well as kids for play). However, they require frequent brushing and bathing as they shed excessively.

6. Pug

If people are looking for couch partners to snuggle up and watch movies with then a pug is their best bet. Just like humans, this breed loves eating and sleeping. One needs to strictly watch their diets and activity levels. For a longer life span of the beloved pet, one needs to refrain from feeding it table scraps. At just 15 pounds and below, the pug doesn’t need a huge backyard but would always appreciate playing with kids.

7. Irish Setter

Popularly known for its red coat, the Irish Setter is playful, energetic, kid-friendly and loves being around people. This breed hates being alone and prefers to be surrounded by its family that means one can see its best behavior when surrounded by its loved ones. This canine breed needs loads of exercises and are an ideal match for energetic kids. The Irish setter is a smart and trainable companion, that is the perfect choice for people with a yard. This breed is seen to be wonderful in welcoming as well as greeting new people into the home.

8. Newfoundland

Commonly also called “Nature’s Babysitter,” this breed belongs to one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. They love children and can do anything to protect them. Gentle, kind, and patient, hence also called as the Mother Teresa of dogs. People of all generation tend to quickly fall in love with this wonderfully sweet and large doggie.

The Newfoundland suits for a family that have large open spaces in their home. They are known to drool and shed excessively. It is generally not recommended to leave these large pooches outdoors in the yard as they are seen to develop behavior issues if left alone. A natural swimmer that is widely known to save lives in emergency situations hence one needs to only simulate the pooch to swim right from the puppy stage.

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9. Collie

Collies are a gentle and predictable breed that rarely misbehave and can be trained without any hassles. This is the reason why this breed is recommended for the first-time pet owners. The Collies are great with children and love to please not only its owner but also protects its family.

This breed was originally bred as herding dogs hence the pooch may try and herd the children which might be amusing at first, but it’s recommended to discourage the child-herding no matter how handy one may think it could be. The Collie’s possesses a long hair, hence are seen to require regular grooming to maintain the hair shape. A sensitive and intelligent breed that is available in wide variants. Collies are both gentle and stubborn, hence it is best to train them right from the puppy stage.

10. Bull Terrier

This breed is unfairly branded as an aggressive animal, but the Bull Terrier was originally bred to be a companion dog. They are friendly and loving towards all people without age difference. The pooch is well-framed to tolerate a high threshold of pain; hence it is an apt choice for rough play kids who are learning to treat dogs.

This breed requires continuous physical and mental activities or else it may often have mischief on its mind, especially when it comes to other small animals and dogs. The bull terrier has a short and flat coat that is easy to care for. The breed is known to be the best housedog with easy access to a yard for play.

11. Vizsla

While this pooch breed is not a common household name, because of its regular exercise need. But this dog breed is the best choice for active and energetic families with older kids. The Vizsla is a sensitive, gentle and an active canine that is both loyal and affectionate. The breed is seen to be obedient, confident, smart, forms close bonds with family, and can learn new tricks very quickly.

12. Boxer

Boxers are great family dogs but need to be provided with enough training and exercise as they are very active in the puppy and younger age. A great way to keep them healthy and entertained is by mixing long daily walks with more vigorous and dynamic plays.  This breed is not the right choice for hot weathers as they are more prone to heat stroke than other dog breeds. The boxers go well with all age groups, but it is always a better option to keep a watch on them as they are seen to accidentally knock down the kids with their weight and height.

13. Mutts

Mutts are mixed dog breeds of unknown descendants. Therefore, they are seen in variable sizes, shapes, and colors making it hard to distinguish between them. However, this pooch breed is generally known as the ultimate family dog as their loyalty, affection and their pleasing desire give them a high spot among many households. They do great with kids of all age groups.

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14. Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are great family pets that have a good and playful attitude towards kids. This breed enjoys living indoors with easy access to backyards to fulfill their instinctive job: sniffing. Their short-legged body structure makes them dependent on their noses that’s why these dogs enjoy smelling and chasing small games around the backyard. Their long ears are great to cuddle, and it even holds a world record for the largest dog ears.

15. Bernese Mountain Dog

This huge size dog is a kid at heart. This breeds body mass is seen to grow long before it reaches mental maturity this provides for an extremely lovable and sweet interaction between the pooch and its family that includes children too. These huge dogs are seen to do their best when are included in all family activities. Their only drawback is their long-hair coat, that requires frequent grooming and their intolerance to hot climates.

16. Brittany

Brittany’s are most appropriate for families with an athletic lifestyle, that include biking, running, and hiking. This breed enjoys ball playing and is a great companion for children for endless hours. However, Brittany’s are very sensitive and soft pooches that do not enjoy spending long periods of time alone as they are seen to develop destructive behavior. These breeds do best in a calm and gentle household.

17. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavaliers are dog breeds that require good amounts of workout, long daily walks, and a fenced backyard to release their excessive energy. They are very attached to their families and are seen to play with children of all ages, hence are seen to stressed out if left alone. If a person has a busy daily schedule, the experts recommend getting another dog to keep the Cavalier company as if left alone are seen to develop whining, barking and destructive chewing.

18. Weimaraner

The Weimaraner’s also called the “Gray Ghost” has a distinctive appearance that sets it apart. These sporting pooches love kiddos and always strive to become an integral part of the family with quick learning throughout their life. If a person wants to face many mental and physical challenges on a regular basis then a Weimaraner is the right choice for them. This active dog breed does best with more than just a walk.

19. Bichon Fries

This dog breed is the friendliest dog of all dog breeds. This playful fluffball is perfect for a fun-loving household not only for its friendly nature but also for its low-shedding coat.

20. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The modern, well-bred Staffie is a Clever and tenacious dog that is most comfortable to live in a family. This breed is valued as a sweet-natured companion and is very patient with children. A manageable 24 to 38 pounds dog coupled with steadfast loyalty makes the Staffies a favorite house and family pooch. One should socialize this pup with other dogs at a very early stage so that it will be able to live to its true potential.

Final thoughts

This list of kid- and family-friendly pooches will provide a clear picture for first-time pet owners in bringing a new dog home. Choose one that suits an individual’s lifestyle, happy parenting!


  1. https://www.petmd.com/dog/top_tens/evr_dg_top_10_for_kids
  2. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/pets/g5138/best-family-dogs/?slide=19
  3. https://www.insidedogsworld.com/top-20-family-dogs/

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Yeshwanthi Kamalraj
Yeshwanthi Kamalraj is a freelance copy editor, Pet sitter, and content writer who mainly focuses on scientific journals and health-related web pages. Before becoming a freelance content writer Yeshwanthi worked for Cenveo publishers as document analyst for various science journals published by Taylor and Francis Journals and later continued as a freelance copyeditor for the same publishers. Post marriage in 2009 Yeshwanthi developed a keen interest in pets after her husband and she brought a labrador puppy home. This interest helped her to explore a new niche of the pet sitting world whose journey is still on. Yeshwanthi is a dog lover who in her freetime enjoys listening to music, cooking, and meeting new people.


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