Dogs are man's best friend for a reason. They are loyal, protective and right there when you need them. Once you're grown and have a family of your own, you might consider getting a family dog.
Dogs are great when you have kids in the picture as well. Not only can having a dog help teach your young ones responsibility, but they're also good for teaching cooperation and compassion – and there's nothing quite like a good bit of playtime with your pup.
When looking for a family dog you must be careful, though. Not all dogs are well suited to all kids. You really ought to do your research so that both your children and your pet are in the best situation for them.
Some dogs can handle the stress that comes with being around toddlers while others cannot. Your kids might be fine with a medium sized dog but terrified of a large one. You've got to do some research and make the best judgment call for your situation.
Today we'll be taking a look at the best family dogs, but first let's learn a bit more about a few breeds of dog that are especially good with kids around.
Best dogs for kids
Remember that just because a certain breed is on our list does not mean that it will be the best match for your family. Be mindful of that in order to avoid any unpleasant situations. Ok, let's get to it!
Technically called a Labrador Retriever, this breed of dog is the most popular breed out there and has been the favorite for decades. It also tops the list for best breed of dog for kids. There is good reason for this.
Labs absolutely love to play, and they come with a nearly insatiable amount of energy which is perfect for tykes who are also balls of energy. Labrador retrievers are easy to train, and they are fiercely loyal and loving.
Labradors can get to be a decent size, and they are one of the best big dogs for kids. When left to their own devices, Labradors are known for getting into some trouble. Be sure to keep them mentally and physically stimulated, or you might have some messes to clean up!
How can anyone look at a Beagle and not instantly fall in love with its cuteness?
Originally, beagles were bred to be hunting dogs, but they have found their way into many a child's loving arms. Beagles absolutely adore children, as well.
This nurturing, gentle and sweet-dispositioned pup loves to run and play, which should keep the kids entertained for years to come.
Beagles don't tend to grow very big, instead they are one of the best medium sized dogs for kids. Though they aren't large, they are not very suitable for apartment living. This is because Beagles have a tendency to get obsessed, so they need plenty of space to run and play.
When it comes to large dogs, the Newfoundland is certainly in its class. Weighing up to 150 pounds, this is one big pup. You generally shouldn't let that worry you around your children though, as Newfoundlands have earned a reputation as “nanny dogs”.
Newfoundlands have a gentle demeanor, and they are sweet and patient. They will watch over the kids while they play, and even love to get in on the playtime shenanigans on occasion.
If you live near the water, Newfoundlands will be exceptionally happy as they absolutely love to swim.
Watch carefully during playtime. Your Newfoundland might intentionally knock your kids over since it is so big!
When choosing a pup for your family, you'll want one that is smart and easy to train. When you've got kids, you'll also want your dog to have enough energy that it will enjoy playing with the kids for a prolonged period of time.
These are some of the very reasons a Vizsla is a great dog for families.
Originally bred to be hunting companions, Vizslas are highly energetic and will keep your kids on the run. They are smart and easily trainable. They need both physical and mental stimulation, so they are one of the best breeds to have around kids.
While generally good around all kids, Vizslas tend to prefer the company of older children.
5. Golden retriever
One of the best companions for kids is a Golden Retriever. Their gentle demeanor makes them well suited to being around little ones, and they are incredibly smart and patient as well.
Golden Retrievers also love to play and are full of energy. Having this breed of dog around kids is beneficial for both the kids and the dog. They will enjoy playing with one another and will wear each other out.
Golden Retrievers are also one of the best dogs for kids with autism. Be aware though that Golden Retrievers do have long coats, so they are not the best dogs for kids with allergies and you will definitely have to take time to groom them.
Other great dogs for families
The above are the best dogs for kids, but the rest of the dogs on our list are also generally good around kids. Please remember though, that not just any dog is the right fit for your family no matter what is suggested. You must take into consideration the needs of your family as well as the needs of the specific dog.
Pugs are one of the best small dogs, and one of the best small dogs for kids too.
They have an adorable face and big puppy eyes, and any family is sure to fall in love with them. Pugs are great with kids of almost all sizes and they are a great choice when you live in a smaller home like an apartment. Pugs are definitely near the top of the list for best indoor dog too.
Don't let their small size deter you, pugs can be very protective, especially of children. They will follow you and the kids wherever you go and will bring endless joy and fun.
2. Basset hound
A Basset Hound might have been originally bred to be a hunting dog, but you'll be surprised at just how seemingly lazy this pup can be.
If you want a dog that is not extremely active, then the Basset Hound should be near the top of your list. Basset Hounds love to snuggle up and nap, so your child will have an instant cuddle buddy.
Basset Hounds prefer to belong to a pack, but it doesn't have to be a pack of dogs. If they are the right fit for your family, that could be all the pack they ever need.
Children absolutely love the curly haired fun appearance of Poodles. Bred in a variety of sizes, you can likely find a Poodle that will suit your family just fine.
Poodles are extremely intelligent which makes them easy to train. They also love to play and have fun, making them a great pet for a family with children in the home. If you want your kids and your pet to be active, a Poodle can be a great choice for that.
Poodles are very loyal to their families and they are incredibly patient and gentle with kids. Additionally, Poodles are easier on kids who suffer from allergies.
4. Bernese mountain dog
If you have the space for it, a Bernese Mountain Dog can be a great choice for a family. One of the best outside dogs, and best dog for protection and kids, this pup is a winner for your family.
They can grow to be quite large long before their mental maturity catches up. They are giant kids and will absolutely love getting to be kids with your children. They love to run and play, and they are incredibly smart.
They do have long hair which makes then unsuitable for kids with allergies, and their long coat also makes them intolerant of areas that are hot.
5. Boston terrier
Perhaps you live in a small home where there isn't much space to run around, or in a home with a small yard. Your kids don't mind that though, they just want a pet dog to call their own.
If this is your situation, you will want a dog that is suitable to these conditions. Look no further than a Boston Terrier. They are a breed of small size dogs, but they have big personalities.
They love to play, but don't need a lot of space to do so. Playing fetch is one of their favorite games, so your kids will be happily entertained.
Immediately recognizable if you have ever seen “Lassie”, Collies are well known as great pets for families, especially families with children.
No, they won't likely tell you if your little one fell in a well, but they will still be extremely protective and fiercely loyal to you and your children.
They love making their families happy and will keep you entertained for hours with their playfulness.
They are also smart and easy to train. They were originally bred as herding dogs, and that instinct remains strong. They might try to herd your children for you, which is not a bad thing is you have several!
7. Irish setter
The perfect breed of dog for energetic children, the Irish Setter loves to run and play and enjoys going on walks as often as possible.
This is an active breed that needs lots of room to run and play, so be sure that you have a big backyard for lots of games of fetch and chase with the kids.
Irish Setters are smart, and they are easy to train as well. You will also enjoy their coat, which tends to be a gorgeous shade of reddish brown. Just be sure to groom them often so that they stay looking tidy.
8. Bichon frise
This little pup is surprisingly full of energy and has the sweetest disposition.
A Bichon Frise is a great choice for families with kids who have allergies because this breed of dog almost never sheds. The pure white coat of this dog does require regular grooming though, otherwise it will become a tangled mess.
This playful pup also needs regular attention and plenty of playtime as well. Don't leave your pup home alone for long though, because Bichon Frise dogs are sensitive and will get lonely easily.
Be sure to take time to train your dog as well. This breed is smart and should learn quickly.
9. Bull terrier
Though they might look as though they are aggressive animals, Bull Terriers are actually incredibly friendly and loving. They are gentle and sweet towards adults as well as children.
Bull Terriers can be great around little kids too, because they can have a high tolerance to pain. Of course, you should never let your child intentionally hurt your pup, but if an accident happens it shouldn't be too big of a deal with this breed.
Bull Terriers are great for kids to learn how to interact with dogs too, and they love to play and will carefully guard your children.
Another breed of dog that looks like they would be fierce is the Bulldog. Looks can be deceiving though, as Bulldogs are actually gentle dogs.
A Bulldog is a fantastic choice for an older couple or for a family that is just not that energetic or active. Bulldogs would rather just be lazy around than house than run around and play. That's not to say that they are not playful at all – because they certainly can be. Their playtime just won't last very long, and tit won't happen very often.
Bulldogs are generally great around other dogs, too. They are loyal and friendly and can be happy in small homes or apartments too.
11. American boxer
If they get enough exercise, Boxers can be especially great family pets.
This breed is highly energetic, especially while they are still puppies. They must be sufficiently worn out if you want any peace. Best for families that have a home big enough for the Boxer to run and play in, and a large enough yard for the Boxer to expend all its energy before being brought in for the night.
Boxers are especially prone to heatstroke, so if you live in an area that tends to be hot, look at another breed of dog.
12. German shepherd
Well known for assisting police, the German Shepherd breed is extremely intelligent and is a very fast learner. German Shepherds love to learn, and there is virtually no shortage of things you and your children can train this pup to do.
This breed of dog also loves to play. It doesn't matter if they are simply playing fetch or if you are playing something that is mentally stimulating – your German Shepherd will be eager to play and eager to please.
Great for families especially those with older kids, a German Shepherd is a loyal and very protective dog.
13. Golden doodle
Bred from two types of dogs that do exceptionally well in families, the Golden Doodle is a mix of a Golden Retriever and a Poodle.
This type of dog has great traits from both breeds and is a fantastic choice for active families with lots of kids to play with.
When it comes to grooming, Golden Doodles are low maintenance. They rarely shed but can be easily groomed when necessary. The fact that they shed so little makes them an excellent choice for children with allergies.
The intelligence of both breeds is compounded in the Golden Doodle, and this dog is extremely smart and keen to please.
One of the oldest known breeds of dog is the Mastiff, and there is good reason this dog has been around so long.
They love children, even the ornery ones, and make quick friendships with them. They are fiercely loyal and will protect those they love, making them the best dog for protection and kids.
Don't let their large size intimidate you though, Mastiffs love to cuddle and think that they are suitable to be lap dogs. They love to spend time lazing about indoors just as much as they love to run and play outside.
15. King charles spaniel
Don't let their small stature fool you, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a breed of dog that needs constant fulfillment in the form of exercise and play.
They thrive when there is a large year to run and release energy in, and they also love going on frequent walks.
This breed of dog becomes quickly attached to their family and hates to be left alone for longer periods of time. They are fans of children of all ages but are especially content with younger children who have more energy to run and play.
Be sure your Cavalier gets plenty of socialization with other dogs as well as people.
The Maltese is a small breed of dog which makes them somewhat suitable to small home and apartment living.
They do love to run and play, but don't necessarily require a large yard in which to do so. Because they are small, they are well suited to playing indoors.
They are an energetic breed, and they love children. Kids love them as well, so it is a beneficial relationship for both the dog and the family.
Maltese dogs are affectionate, they are cute, and they are gentle. When they are not running around and playing, they love to just curl up in your lap and relax.
17. French bulldog
A distant cousin to the American Bulldog, this French Bulldog is characterized by its adorable bat like ears and stereotypical large puppy dog eyes.
French Bulldogs, also known as “Frenchies” are playful and alert, but they easily adapt to any situation. They are a smaller breed of dog and are well suited to living in the city where there are no back yards to run and play in.
This breed of dog is very low-maintenance and is fairly quiet – you likely won't hear any complaints about their barking or tearing things up. They do like to play, if the mood is right but they are otherwise content to just hand out with your family.
Originally bred to be a sporting dog, the Weimaraner is well suited to family life – especially if there are kids involved.
This is a very active breed and the Weimaraner is not content to sit around the house doing nothing. They also need far more physical activity than just the occasional walk. If you have a large back yard where your children and this type of dog can run and play, you are in luck.
Weimaraner's are intelligent and they learn quickly. They also love to feel like they are a part of the pack and will work hard to become a favorite family member.
19. Cocker spaniel
Though Cocker Spaniels were intended as sporting dogs, their diminutive stature lends well to family life too.
They are adorable, especially with their soft and curly hair on their floppy ears. They are truly one of the sweetest breeds of dogs that are out there, and they love to be part of a family.
They are happy to sit at home and relax, but they do love to be active as well. They don't need excessive stimulation as they tend to be content with regular walks. Playtime is important though, but Cocker Spaniels don't need a large yard to run and play in.
Don't be surprised to see a Mutt on our list! Mutts can almost always make the best breed of dog for families.
They have been bred from many different types of dog whether intentional or not and they can bring a wide variety of traits to the table. They can be all different sizes, shapes and colors, and they have fantastic personalities. All of this works together to make them a unique family dog.
They are also typically the most friendly and loyal dogs out there, and they are more than eager to please their owners. This makes them great family pets for nearly everyone.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of dog breeds to choose from when it comes to picking the best family dogs.
As we have repeated, make sure that the dog you bring home is well suited to your family and your lifestyle. If you are not an active family, don't get a Labrador who needs a lot of playtime. This wouldn't be fair to the pup, plus you would likely be frustrated by their antics.
No matter what breed you choose, one thing is absolutely certain: a home is better with a dog in it!