So you’ve decided to get a dog – congratulations! Here at Paw CBD, we think pets make life better – especially for families with young kids!
We want to help you find your match in a canine companion, so we’ve rounded up the top 10 best dog breeds for families, along with some advice on how to choose the best dog breeds for your lifestyle.
How to Choose the Best Dog Breeds for You
This is a super exciting time – you’ve decided to get a new dog! Humans have been breeding dogs for centuries for several purposes. They say dogs are man’s best friend, and a dog’s ability to make a great pet is one of the primary qualities humans have tried to highlight in these once wild animals.
When choosing which of these breeds is right for you and yours, you’ll need to remember a few things:
- Dog breeds are not a guarantee for personality or behavior
- Your lifestyle and schedule will inform what breeds work for you
- Your space and environment will be an important factor in choosing the best dog breeds
- Stay open-minded!
Remember, Dog Breeds Aren’t a Guarantee
Even within a breed, dogs are all different. Each dog will have its quirks, behaviors, attitude, and personality. You can learn a lot from spending time around a specific breed or talking to friends and family members who have adopted that breed, but nothing is ever guaranteed. You are taking responsibility for a living creature, which means there are many unpredictable factors that you might encounter.
When you choose to introduce a new furry family member, remember that even the best dog breeds for families might come with some surprises. Breeds can be a great guideline for finding the best family dogs, but a lot of it will come down to their nature and your commitment to training them. Be prepared to love your new pet no matter what!
Consider Your Lifestyle and Schedule
Your lifestyle and schedule will be a very important consideration in helping you choose which dog breed is right for you. If your family is super busy and out of the house a lot, you might be better suited to a more relaxed breed than a family who is home often and has lots of daily time to devote to giving their pet play and exercise.
You’ll also want to consider your family’s activity level. Do you have a teenager on the track team who’d love a dog partner for his long-distance runs, or are your kids looking for someone to snuggle up next to on the couch for video games and movies? When vacation arrives, does your family go on a three-day backpacking trip or hang back at the house to relax and sleep? Few people fall into one category or the other exclusively, but be honest about your exercise and activity levels when choosing your favorite of the best dog breeds for kids. Some dogs will need lots of exercise and stimulation, while others will be happier to chill out.
How Much Space Do You Have?
Getting a new pet means there is one more living creature in the house, and they’re going to need space! One factor that will influence your choice of dog breed is how much room you have and your living environment. Apartment or house? Yard, farm, or city sidewalks?
All dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy and support their mobility, but some dogs need more daily activity than others. Some smaller pets will be great apartment buddies – they can be satisfied with a short walk around the block each day, especially if you keep their diet in check. Other, larger dogs need space to play and stretch their legs consistently throughout the day.
Don’t Limit Yourself!
While breeds can tell you a little about what to expect from a dog, they aren’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to choosing a pet. There is variation among breeds. Plus, if you’re going to a rescue or a shelter to get your new canine companion (which we highly recommend!), you’ll probably end up with a mutt who is a mix of several different breeds. Don’t limit yourself to one specific breed while searching for a new dog for you and your family. Keep an open mind and remember that adopting a pet is like any other relationship – a lot of it depends on chemistry!
How We Chose the Best Dog Breeds for Families
When you have children in the home, especially young ones, you have to be a little more careful about choosing the right dog for your family. Some dogs show aggression towards children for many reasons. Maybe they’ve had a negative experience with a child in the past or weren’t socialized to children when they were puppies. Children are generally more at risk for dog aggression because they are closer to the dog’s level and often are interested in the same items like toys and food.
No matter what, the deciding factor in whether your dog is a good family member is how well you train them. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. It’s your responsibility as a pet owner to teach your dog boundaries and show them how to interact with your children – and to teach your children how to safely and kindly interact with your new pet.
So when it comes to choosing the best family dog, here are a few characteristics to look for:
The Best Dog Breeds for Families Come in All Sizes
The size of dog your family needs will depend on some factors, including how much space you have and how active you are. Larger dogs can make great family dogs because they can be both big, snuggly pillows sometimes and guard dogs when the time is right. But smaller dogs can be more manageable for some families and easier to control and train.
We think size is a family-specific factor, so our list of the top 10 best dog breeds for families includes dogs of all sizes!
The Best Family Dogs Have a Fitting Temperament
Temperament is the nature of an animal that will affect its behavior. Temperament is often categorized as “good” or “bad,” but the topic is a little more complex than that. Some dogs will have a calm temperament, while others will be energetic and lively. Whether that is bad or good depends on the temperament of their owners!
The best dog breeds for families will have a temperament that is suited to their owners. They’ll be able to match their new family’s attitudes and behaviors easily. It’s rare we get to choose our family members – adopting a new pet is one of the only times we get to be intentional about finding the perfect fit. Choose wisely!
The Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Families
We think the 10 best dog breeds for families are:
- Golden Retrievers
- Irish Setters
- Basset Hounds
- Bull Terriers
- English Bulldogs
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
For each breed, we’ll talk about what makes them great for families, their typical size and habits, and what kind of care and environment they need.
There’s a reason that Golden Retrievers are so popular. They are widely known as one of the best family dogs in the canine kingdom. They are large, friendly, and relaxed. They are happy going for a long walk, but they don’t need one every single day. Golden Retrievers are known as the best family dogs because they tend to be non-aggressive. If a child pulls on their ears or tail, their response will probably be a big groan, or they’ll just get up and walk away.
But their size means they take up a good amount of space and should have at least a small yard to play in. A big dog means a bigger diet, too – and that can start to get expensive! They also shed and tend to have hip issues. Golden Retrievers typically live to about 10 or 12 years old.
Labradors are also another classic choice for family dogs. Chocolate, white, and black labs are known to be outgoing, active animals with goofy, playful personalities. They are also very patient and easy to train, making them the most popular dog breed in the US for almost 30 years running!
Labradors need a little more exercise and attention than the average Golden Retriever. They tend to be more jumpy and excited, making them best for families with children over 5. Labs don’t make great apartment dogs – they need plenty of space and activity to keep them entertained.
Collies are bred to herd animals, making them the best family dogs for active, outdoorsy families. They are gentle and sweet pets that can usually be trusted with children of all ages. They love to be trained and have jobs, so collies are especially great for families with older children looking for a new responsibility. These medium-sized dogs have long coats that need a good weekly brushing, and their high-energy herding habits mean they need plenty of outdoor time every day.
The beautiful Irish Setter is not just fun to look at – they’re a blast to play with, too! Like collies, these long-legged dogs need abundant space and exercise for their high-energy personalities. Despite their excitability, Irish Setters are great with children and other dogs. A large type of dog, Irish Setters generally reach about 70 pounds, require weekly grooming, and shed seasonally. They make a great dog for a family with some property and a family member who loves to go on long runs.
On the smaller end of the spectrum, the Beagle typically doesn’t weigh more than 30 pounds and can live up to 15 years. These playful hunting dogs are known for their curious, sweet disposition. Despite their small size, they need daily exercise to satisfy their mental and physical needs. It should also be noted that Beagles are very vocal dog breeds – not best for families with a sleeping baby!
Basset hounds have earned themselves an iconic spot among the best dog breeds for families because of their permanent “puppy dog eyes” look. To complement those long, floppy ears and sweet, droopy gaze, they have an awesome personality, too!
Basset Hounds are playful and relaxed – napping is their favorite activity, but they’ll wake up for a quick game of fetch, especially if you can get their hunting instincts going. These medium-sized dogs rarely weigh more than 60 pounds, and though they are short-haired, they tend to shed a lot, so regular brushing is important. Those floppy ears also need special care because Basset Hounds are prone to ear mites and ear infections. These low-maintenance pooches are known for being loving and calm, the perfect addition for a family with kids of any age.
Labradoodles are a hybrid of Labradors and Poodles, taking the best qualities from both breeds to create a perfect family-friendly canine companion. Labradoodles are hypoallergenic, making them the best family dogs to choose if a family member has a pet allergy. They tend to have the curly hair of a Poodle on a Labrador’s body – a cuteness combo that many find irresistible.
The size of a Labradoodle depends mainly on the size of the Poodle parent, but they are often much smaller than the standard Labrador, even weighing as little as 25 pounds! Labradoodles are very affectionate and loving with their family, though they are known to be a little stand-offish with new people until they have built up trust (a Poodle quality).
Bull Terriers are known by many as The Target Dog, referring to the department store’s Bull Terrier mascot, Bullseye. These sweet dogs are great for families with older kids because they are playful and funny, often getting into a little mischief that makes the whole family laugh. They also tend to be very protective. They need a family that can give them structure, training, and plenty of exercise. Standard Bull Terriers are squarely in the medium-sized dog category, rarely weighing more than 60 pounds, while Miniature Bull Terriers max out around 33 pounds for perpetual puppyhood.
English Bulldogs tend to have nurturing instincts that make them great with children of all ages, even very small ones. As a bonus, these dogs are one of the best dog breeds for busy families because they don’t need much daily exercise. In fact, a walk around the block often leaves an English Bulldog all tuckered out! They can be a perfect dog breed for a family that lives in an apartment.
English Bulldogs don’t need a lot of grooming because of their short hair, so they’re all-around low-maintenance dogs. That said, they tend to have health issues because of their bone structure and wrinkly skin and often live only to be 8 or 10 years old.
These furry, floppy-eared pooches are calm and gentle-natured, perfect for an only child or shy kiddo who needs a buddy. While Cavalier King Charles Spaniels aren’t too wild about games and play time, making them great for families with an urban lifestyle that don’t have a lot of time or space. They need very little exercise, and their compact size makes them well-suited to apartments and condos.
Head to Your Local Shelter to Find the Best Family Dogs
Your local animal rescue or shelter is filled to the brim with the best dog breeds for families. They might not always be purebred, but that doesn’t mean they don’t possess all the wonderful qualities of a great family dog. Rescue dogs are sometimes the best dog breeds for kids because they are already socialized with plenty of action from the shelter. Consider these breeds as a guideline, and you may find a perfect mutt made of all the best dog breeds for families!