Top 10 Dog Breeds for Families with Children

Looking for a new dog?  Each of the dogs listed below would be a surefire hit with the family.  We’ve listed each of their strengths and weaknesses to help you pick the best dog possible for your family.  Happy reading!

1. Labrador Retriever (Loyal Friendly, They Shed a Ton Though)

Why They’re a Great Family Dog

  1. Friendly and Sociable: Labradors are known for their friendly and outgoing nature, making them great companions for both children and adults.
  2. Intelligent and Trainable: Labradors are highly intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. This is beneficial for families looking for a well-behaved pet.
  3. Active and Playful: They have a playful and energetic demeanor, making them excellent playmates for active children and those who enjoy outdoor activities.
  4. Gentle and Patient: Labradors are known for their patience and gentleness, which is crucial when interacting with young children.
  5. Loyal and Protective: They are loyal dogs that can be protective of their family members, providing a sense of security.

Why a Lab May Not Be Right For Your Family

  1. High Energy Levels: Labradors are very energetic and require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Without it, they can become restless and destructive, which can be challenging for busy families.
  2. Shedding and Grooming: Labradors shed throughout the year, with heavier shedding during certain seasons. This can be a concern for those with allergies or who prefer a low-maintenance pet in terms of grooming.
  3. Potential Health Issues: Like many purebred dogs, Labradors are prone to certain health problems, such as hip dysplasia and obesity. Potential owners should be prepared for the responsibility and cost of managing these health issues.

2. Golden Retriever (Smart, Gentle, Love Kids,)

Why a Golden Retriever Would Be a Great Family Dog:

  1. Friendly and Affectionate: Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly nature, making them wonderful companions for children and adults alike.
  2. Highly Trainable: Their intelligence and eagerness to please make Golden Retrievers easy to train, which is ideal for families looking for an obedient pet.
  3. Gentle Temperament: They are renowned for their gentle and patient demeanor, particularly important for families with young children.
  4. Loyal and Protective: Golden Retrievers are loyal to their families and can be protective, offering a sense of security and companionship.
  5. Active and Playful: They have a playful and energetic personality, making them great playmates for active children and families who enjoy outdoor activities.

Avoid a Golden Retriever If You Can’t Handle:

  1. High Exercise Needs: Golden Retrievers are active dogs requiring regular exercise. Without adequate physical and mental stimulation, they may exhibit unwanted behaviors.
  2. Shedding and Grooming Needs: They shed quite a bit, especially during seasonal changes, which requires regular grooming. This can be a challenge for those with allergies or who prefer low-maintenance pets.
  3. Prone to Certain Health Issues: Golden Retrievers can be susceptible to health problems like hip dysplasia, heart issues, and certain cancers. Prospective owners should be aware of the potential for higher veterinary costs and the need for ongoing health management.

3. Beagle (Good Size, Good Temperament)

5 Reasons Why a Beagle Would Be a Great Family Dog:

  1. Friendly and Sociable: Beagles are known for their friendly and amiable nature, making them great companions for both children and adults.
  2. Size and Manageability: Their small to medium size makes Beagles a manageable breed for most families, including those living in smaller spaces.
  3. Energetic and Playful: Beagles are energetic and playful, which makes them excellent playmates for active children and families who enjoy outdoor activities.
  4. Curious and Adventurous: Their curious and adventurous spirit can be a lot of fun for families, encouraging outdoor play and exploration.
  5. Good-Natured and Even-Tempered: Beagles generally have a good-natured and even-tempered disposition, important for a harmonious family environment.

Three Reasons to Avoid Getting a Beagle as a Family Dog:

  1. Stubborn and Independent: Beagles can be quite stubborn and independent, which might make training more challenging compared to some other breeds.
  2. Vocal and Loud: Known for their baying and howling, Beagles can be quite vocal, which might not be ideal for families living in close proximity to neighbors, such as in apartments.
  3. Strong Scent Drive: Due to their hunting background, Beagles have a strong scent drive and may wander off following a scent. This requires diligent supervision and secure fencing, especially in outdoor spaces.

4. Bulldog: (Chill, Good With Kids, Don’t Live Long)

Why a Bulldog is Right for Your Children

  1. Gentle and Affectionate: Bulldogs are known for their gentle disposition, making them affectionate and patient companions, especially with children.
  2. Low Exercise Needs: Unlike more active breeds, Bulldogs have relatively low exercise needs, which can be beneficial for less active families or those with limited space.
  3. Good-Natured Temperament: Bulldogs generally have a calm and good-natured temperament, making them well-suited for family life and interactions with children.
  4. Loyal and Protective: They are loyal to their families and can be protective, providing a sense of security and companionship.
  5. Adaptable to Various Living Conditions: Bulldogs can adapt well to different living environments, including apartments, due to their size and moderate energy levels.

Why you May Want to Avoid the Bulldog

  1. Health Issues: Bulldogs are prone to a variety of health problems, including respiratory issues, skin allergies, and joint problems, which can require frequent vet visits and potentially high medical costs.
  2. Heat Sensitivity: Due to their brachycephalic (flat-faced) nature, Bulldogs are particularly sensitive to heat and can quickly overheat, limiting outdoor activities in warmer climates.
  3. Grooming Requirements: Bulldogs require regular grooming due to their skin folds, which need cleaning to prevent infections. This breed might not be ideal for those looking for a low-maintenance pet in terms of grooming.

5. Newfoundland (Family First, Good All Around Pick)

There’s a Lot to Love About the Newfoundland

  1. Gentle and Patient: Newfoundlands are renowned for their gentle nature and patience, especially with children, often earning them the nickname “gentle giant.”
  2. Protective and Loyal: They are naturally protective and loyal to their family members, making them excellent guard dogs and companions.
  3. Good Swimmers and Rescuers: Newfoundlands are exceptional swimmers and have a history of being used as rescue dogs, which can be an added layer of safety for families who spend time near water.
  4. Intelligent and Trainable: Known for their intelligence, Newfoundlands are relatively easy to train, responding well to gentle, positive reinforcement methods.
  5. Calm and Affectionate: Despite their size, Newfoundlands are known for their calm demeanor and affectionate nature, making them great cuddle companions.

Why You May Want to Avoid Them

  1. Size and Space Requirements: Newfoundlands are a very large breed, requiring ample space in the home and potentially making them unsuitable for small living environments.
  2. Grooming and Shedding: They have a thick, heavy coat that requires regular grooming. Newfoundlands also shed quite a bit, especially seasonally, which can be a concern for cleanliness and allergies.
  3. Potential Health Issues: Like many large breeds, Newfoundlands are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia and heart conditions, which can lead to significant veterinary expenses.

6. Collie (Protective and Loyal)

Collies are Cool.  Here’s Why

  1. Intelligent and Trainable: Collies are highly intelligent and known for their ease of training. This makes them a good fit for families who want an obedient and responsive pet.
  2. Gentle and Good-Natured: They have a gentle and friendly temperament, making them great with children and other pets.
  3. Loyal and Protective: Collies are naturally protective and loyal to their family, often forming strong bonds with family members.
  4. Active and Energetic: This breed is energetic and enjoys being active, making them ideal companions for families who love outdoor activities.
  5. Alert and Responsive: Collies are alert and can be good watchdogs, quickly responding to unfamiliar situations, which adds an element of security for families.

They May Herd You Into Insanity (Why to Avoid Them)

  1. Grooming Needs: Collies have a dense coat that requires regular grooming. Without proper care, their coat can become matted and cause skin issues.
  2. Herding Instinct: Their natural herding instincts might lead to herding behavior, including chasing and nipping, especially around young children.
  3. Exercise Requirements: Collies are an active breed and need regular exercise to stay healthy and prevent boredom, which can be a challenge for less active families or those with limited space.

7. Poodle (Super Smart, Don’t Shed, With a Size for All)

Why a Poodle May fit Your Family

  1. Highly Intelligent: Poodles are known for their exceptional intelligence, making them very responsive to training and great for families who enjoy teaching tricks and commands.
  2. Hypoallergenic Coat: Their curly, low-shedding coat is often considered hypoallergenic, making them a suitable choice for families with allergies.
  3. Friendly and Sociable: Poodles are generally friendly and sociable dogs, enjoying the company of both adults and children, and they tend to get along well with other pets.
  4. Active and Playful: They are an active breed, enjoying playtime and exercise, which makes them great companions for active families and children.
  5. Versatile Size Options: Poodles come in three size varieties (standard, miniature, and toy), offering flexibility to match different family needs and living environments.

When to Avoid a Poodle

  1. Grooming Requirements: Poodles require regular grooming to maintain their coat and prevent matting, which can be time-consuming and potentially costly.
  2. Prone to Certain Health Issues: Like many purebred dogs, Poodles can be prone to specific health problems, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and eye disorders, which might require special care and veterinary attention.
  3. Sensitive Nature: Poodles can be quite sensitive and may not respond well to harsh training methods or environments. They thrive in stable, peaceful settings and might be easily stressed in chaotic or loud households.

8. Irish Setter (Love Kids, Super Trainable, Don’t Do Well Alone)

Strengths of This Breed

  1. Friendly and Sociable: Irish Setters are known for their friendly and sociable nature, making them excellent companions for both children and adults.
  2. Energetic and Playful: They are highly energetic and playful, which makes them ideal for active families and those who enjoy outdoor activities.
  3. Good-Looking and Graceful: Irish Setters are admired for their beautiful red coat and elegant appearance, adding a touch of grace to any family.
  4. Intelligent and Trainable: They are intelligent dogs and can be trained relatively easily, which is great for families looking to engage their pet in activities and training.
  5. Affectionate and Loyal: Irish Setters are known for their affectionate nature and loyalty to their families, often forming strong bonds with their human companions.

When to Avoid an Irish Setter

  1. High Exercise Needs: Due to their energetic nature, Irish Setters require a lot of exercise. They might not be suitable for families with a more sedentary lifestyle or limited space.
  2. Grooming Requirements: Their long, silky coat requires regular grooming to keep it free of mats and tangles, which can be time-consuming and potentially costly.
  3. Prone to Separation Anxiety: Irish Setters can become anxious when left alone for extended periods, which can lead to destructive behaviors. This breed might not be ideal for families that are away from home frequently.

9. Vizsla (Gentle, Great With Kids, High Energy, Clingy)

Why We Love Them

  1. Affectionate and Loving: Vizslas are known for their affectionate nature, often referred to as “Velcro dogs” because they like to stay close to their human family members.
  2. Highly Intelligent and Trainable: They are smart dogs, which makes them highly trainable and good for families who enjoy activities that stimulate their pet’s mind.
  3. Energetic and Playful: Vizslas are very energetic and love to play, making them great companions for active families and children who enjoy outdoor activities.
  4. Good with Children and Other Pets: They are generally good with children and can get along well with other pets if properly socialized.
  5. Loyal and Protective: Vizslas are loyal to their families and can be protective, which can provide a sense of security.

Deal Breakers

  1. Needs Lots of Exercise: Vizslas require a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation. They are not a good fit for sedentary families or those who cannot commit to daily, vigorous exercise.
  2. Prone to Separation Anxiety: They can develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long, leading to destructive behavior and excessive barking.
  3. Requires Consistent Training: Due to their intelligence and energy, Vizslas need consistent training and socialization from an early age to prevent behavioral issues.

10. Boxer (Patient, Always Playful, Full of Energy)

Your Family May Love a Boxer:

  1. Playful and Energetic: Boxers are known for their playful and energetic nature, making them great companions for active families and children who love to play.
  2. Loyal and Protective: They are extremely loyal to their families and can be protective, which offers a sense of security and companionship.
  3. Friendly and Affectionate: Boxers are generally friendly and affectionate dogs, known for their love of human interaction and forming strong bonds with family members.
  4. Good with Children: With proper training and socialization, Boxers can be excellent with children, often showing a gentle and patient side.
  5. Intelligent and Trainable: They are intelligent dogs and can be trained relatively easily, responding well to positive reinforcement techniques.

Three Reasons to Avoid Getting a Boxer as a Family Dog:

  1. High Exercise Needs: Boxers are high-energy dogs that require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They might not be suitable for less active families or those with limited space.
  2. Prone to Health Issues: Boxers can be prone to certain health issues, including heart conditions and hip dysplasia, which can lead to significant veterinary expenses and care requirements.
  3. Can Be Boisterous: Their playful and energetic nature can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for young children or elderly family members, and they may inadvertently knock over small children during play.