The best dog for your family depends on your home and lifestyle. If you’re thinking of adding a dog to your family, ask yourself a few questions first:
- How old are your children, and how will they adapt to a new pet?
- Does anyone in your family have allergies?
- How much exercise do you get? How active is your family?
- Is your family willing to invest in training, exercising, and caring for a new dog?
Every situation is different. But generally speaking, good family dogs are adaptable and easy to train. They should be socialized, patient, and get along with both children and other pets. Children may also prefer playful dogs. Dogs that don’t shed a lot may be better suited for households with allergies. Families living in apartments or townhomes may want a quieter dog that won’t bark at every passing neighbor.
Remember: Dogs are a long-term commitment, and families should be prepared to care for their pup for 16 years or more, depending on the breed’s lifespan.
Here are 15 of the best family dog breeds that could be a good fit for your home.
1. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. Frenchies make one of the best small family dogs because of their cheerful and easygoing natures—not to mention their adorable flat faces. While they can have a lot of health issues, these fun-loving pups are highly affectionate and love playing with children and other pets.
2. Labrador Retriever
Whether black, chocolate, or yellow, a Labrador Retriever makes a great family dog. Labs are naturally affectionate toward family and strangers alike, and their high intelligence means they love learning new tricks. Labs especially enjoy swimming and are ideal pets for families that enjoy spending time around water.
3. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is another of the best family dogs and most popular breeds. This happy, beautiful breed is known for their eagerness to please and loving nature. Goldens also don’t tend to bark much, meaning they won’t annoy your neighbors every time the mail is delivered.
4. Irish Setter
Irish Setters are energetic and playful dogs that do best in active families where they can play, swim, and hike alongside their humans. With a sweet and intelligent temperament, Irish Setters are good companions for children who want a cheerful and rambunctious friend.
Behind the Pug’s smooshed face is a friendly and excitable family dog. While this small pup can be prone to bouts of high energy, they’re mostly lazy couch potatoes that want nothing more than to lie on the couch with their humans. Just make sure your family doesn’t mind the ever-present sound of dog snoring before bringing this breed home.
Rambunctious Beagles are high-energy pups that need lots of exercise (both for their body and their brain). They also need lots of supervision, as the Beagle’s keen sense of smell can lead them into mischief. But these happy dogs thrive under the care of an active and doting family.
Newfoundlands are big dogs with big hearts to match. Loving, friendly, and exceptionally patient with small children, the gentle Newfie does well in families who have the space for a 100-pound pooch.
8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Loyal, affectionate, and patient, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are one of the best dogs for families. Their smarts and eagerness to please their people make Cavs easy to train with positive reinforcement.
The Collie comes in two coat types: smooth and rough. No matter which fur type you choose, Collies are one of the best family dog breeds. They’re loyal, gentle, and patient with children, and one of the smartest dog breeds. Though not overly hyper, but they’re energetic dogs that do best with a family that loves being outside.
10. English Bulldog
The English Bulldog is a great family dog, but like their French Bulldog relatives, they don’t do well in heat and may have breathing difficulties thanks to their flat face. Though they need daily exercise to stay healthy, Bulldogs tend to be lazy house dogs and are content to spend the day snoozing.
Boxers are playful, outgoing, and friendly—all traits of a good family dog. But their energetic and people-loving nature means they’ll jump up for attention. Pet parents will need to patiently train their dog not to jump up.
12. Cocker Spaniel
With their luxurious coat and soft eyes, Cocker Spaniels are a popular choice for a pet, and their gentle-yet-cheeky personalities make them one of the best dogs for families. Cocker Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs and are always ready for a good time, whether that’s running through the backyard with the kids or fetching a ball. They are also easy to train and friendly when meeting new people.
13. Brussels Griffon
Small but spunky, Brussels Griffons make great pets because of their playful characters. They are affectionate and get along with children and other pets. Brussels Griffons are also known as “Velcro dogs” because they love being around their family, so be sure to give them plenty of attention and don’t leave them alone for too long.
14. Standard Poodle
The largest of the three poodle sizes, the Standard Poodle is one of the best house dogs for many reasons. They are intelligent, friendly, and they don’t shed much. Though there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, a Standard Poodle could be a good fit if someone at home is allergic to dogs.
15. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants with playful personalities. “Berners,” as they’re lovingly called, tend to be patient with children and other dogs, and their adaptable natures mean they can fit right into your home—temperamentally speaking, that is. These dogs can grow to be over 27 inches tall and weigh more than 100 pounds, so make sure you have the space to bring one home.
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