Most people who have dogs consider them as a family and as their own children. But when the human children enter the picture as the family starts to go, things can get more complicated when it comes to having dogs.
Not that a dog and a child can’t grow up together as best buddies but rather because some dog breeds are not so suitable for life with kids, while others are excellent dogs for families with children of all ages.
Given the fact that the different dog breeds were developed for various purposes and reasons, it is obvious that some canines by nature are more gentle and affectionate companions than others. Some dogs are more patient with small children while others prefer to be the center of affection themselves, or do not stand loud or boisterous behavior.
Also, some pets adapt better to living in small apartments, homes, or urban settings than others.
If you want to add a four-legged friend to your family, you will need to consider its hereditary traits and instincts, its adaptability, its requirements for activities and energy levels, as well as how easy it is to socialize and train it, so that it is friendly with both humans and animals.
Also, you will need to keep in mind the responsibility involved in owning a dog, including the need for proper training, medical care, vaccinations, daily walks and exercise, and all other factors which will ensure that the dog is happy, healthy, and good with humans and other pets.
Having a pet is no doubt beneficial for the kids at home, which will learn to be more responsible, willing to share, collaborative, and will help them boost their self-esteem and definitely improve their social skills.
But choosing the right dog for a specific family is not an easy task, especially for first-time dog owners.
Thankfully, there are some dog breeds that by nature are more suitable for family dogs and for pets in households where there are children.
Here is a list of the best dogs for kids and families.
Labradors are no doubt the most popular dogs for kids and families in the USA and around the world. The breed is known to be very affectionate and to have sweet demeanors, which means that they will simply fall in love and adore both the adults and the children in the family.
Labs are smart dogs that are one of the easiest breeds to train and socialize. They are beautiful dogs that can be golden, chocolate or black, and do not require too much complicated or expensive grooming.
At the same time, Labradors are energetic dogs, which do require a lot of walks, exercise, and playtime.
This makes them perfect for families who love being active and spending time outdoors, and who are looking for a perfect furry playmate for their children, and a companion for themselves.
The Golden Retriever is another hugely popular family dog in the US. The breed is well known for its natural intelligence, loyalty, and confidence. Goldens adore swimming and playing and are one of the most patient breeds when it comes to interacting with children
They are patient and gentle pups, which you can easily let play with your children without any fear of incidents or problems.
Because Golden Retrievers are sporting dogs, if you adopt one, you can help ensure that your children spend more time outdoors, and playing with the dog, as they are perfect playmates.
The dogs from this beautiful breed have long golden-colored coats which need to be brushed once or twice weekly. They are indoor dogs, so don’t attempt to put your Golden in a kennel or crate outdoors. They do love spending time outside during the day, but make sure you let your Golden Retriever in to spend the night and resting hours with its humans!
Bulldogs are an excellent choice for those of you who prefer lounging and spending more time at home. These cute dogs do require daily walks, but during the rest of the day won’t mind cuddling up next to you and taking long nice naps.
Bulldogs are strong and sturdy animals that can withstand a lot of play and roughhouses. Even though they are not the most energetic canines in the world, they are superb playmates for children of all ages.
They are friendly, loving, and loyal pets that can easily adapt to any household and will get along with everyone, including other dogs and smaller pets.
They wouldn’t mind living in small apartments, or in city settings, so if you are in search of an urban dog, and don’t need a jogging or hiking companion, but prefer to snuggle up on the couch and relax with your four-legged friend beside you, then the Bulldog could be the perfect dog breed for you.
Also known as Snoopy Dogs, the Beagles are absolutely adorable, small-sized, happy pups that are perfect companions and pets for large or small families.
They are pack animals, so they will feel happier the more people and other pets there are in your household.
These sturdy dogs are quite playful and energetic, so they can be perfect playmates for children – young and old.
The Beagles love following tracks and spending time outdoors investigating the settings, so you can enjoy spending time outside walking, playing, and enjoying your free time with your four-legged companion.
The dogs from this breed are smart and have calm temperaments, which makes them a superb choice for families with children.
They are shedders and do require regular baths, but otherwise, the Beagles are easy to maintain and do not require elaborate grooming.
So, if you want a merry, charming and active little friend for yourself and your children and other pets, a Beagle may be the best breed to consider.
Pugs have almost human-like expressions and are so cute, that everybody will love having a dog from this breed in their home. They are not so energetic, so they are the perfect dog breed for families who love spending time indoors relaxing and lounging.
These small-sized dogs are affectionate and are a lot of fun to be around. They don’t mind spending time playing with and entertaining children but do love their long snoozes too.
The dogs from this breed are prone to eating too much and thus becoming overweight, so you will need to be careful about their diets and daily exercise, but otherwise, these comic little fellas are superb as lapdogs for couch potatoes, playmates for children and companions for the entire family.
Best of all, Pugs will feel happy even in the smallest apartments without backyards, so you can easily adopt one even if you live in a condo in the middle of a busy city.
Collies are one of the most intelligent dog breeds of all. They come in smooth and rough-coated versions, so you can choose just how much grooming you are ready to do when picking the best dog breed for your family.
Collies are very easy to train, which makes them a suitable dog breed even for inexperienced or first-time dog owners.
They are gentle and kind and have a very predictable nature, so you don’t need to worry about your dog getting into trouble or misbehaving.
The dogs from this beautiful breed are excellent companions for children and will take care of your kids at all times. In some cases, their instincts will prompt the dogs to try to herd the children which is a type of behavior you may find cute but should discourage.
Collies require regular grooming, daily walks, and playtime, but in return, you will receive endless loyalty, love, and a gentle and smart companion for yourself and for the young ones at home.
These elegant hunting dogs are natural athletes and are an exceptional choice for family dogs for people who lead active lifestyles.
The dogs from this beautiful breed actually feel at their best when they are among the human company. Unfortunately, this love of their families can lead to the development of separation anxiety if you are out for long or travel often.
The Irish Setter dogs are very trainable, intelligent and loyal, and will feel perfect in a home with a large backyard or in a household where the members love staying active and spending time outdoors.
Your Irish Setter will be the best running, cycling or hiking buddy you have ever had, and also the best playmate for your children. With a dog like this at home, you can be pretty sure that your kids will be spending less time playing video games or staring at their screens at home, and enjoying a lot of fun and games outdoors with their new friend instead.
So, for active families, the Irish Setter is the perfect dog breed to have if you want to keep moving and stay active at all times!
The Brussels Griffon is not only the cutest dog breed of all, but it is also a very smart, loyal, and fun companion to have. These small-sized dogs with human-like faces and expressions actually have big personalities.
Although they are gentle and loving with children, the Brussels Griffons are not fond of roughhousing, so they will get along with gentler and calmer kids.
Thanks to their cute Ewok-like looks and their expressive little faces and eyes, your entire family will be entertained by a dog from this breed on a daily basis.
The Brussels Griffons can be rough or smooth coated. They are generally pretty easy to train, and you can easily teach your dog a bunch of tricks to keep it and your family and friends entertained.
So, for families with kids who are not too rough when playing, this small-sized adorable dog breed could be the perfect addition to the household.
Even though Newfoundlands are among the largest dog breeds, and their weight can reach up to 150 lbs. they are incredibly careful and gentle dogs. These water-loving giant dogs are often called “babysitter dogs” because of their affection and care for the children in the household.
Be warned that Newfoundland can become pretty protective of your children, which is something you will need to curb in time and handle with care. Also, given their huge size, you should keep the interactions between your dog and small children closely supervised.
Because Newfoundlands love to swim, and since they are so large, you should consider the space you have at home, as well as a potential swimming place nearby if you plan on adopting a Newfie.
Dogs from this breed will feel superb in larger homes, preferably with backyards, as well as nearby lakes or beaches, where they can go exercise what they love the most and do the best – swimming.
Despite their large size, the fact that they shed and can drool quite a lot you should not leave your Newfoundland outdoors permanently, because they are not adapted to live outdoors, and prefer spending most of their time with their humans rather than alone.
Just like their cousins – the Bulldogs, Frenchies too are highly suited for living in small-sized homes. They do require brisk walks and some playtime and frolicking outdoors, but overall won’t mind spending most of their time napping in their beds or on your lap.
The dogs from this small-sized breed are so cute that they are irresistible with those cute little faces and large bat-shaped ears.
Overall, Frenchies are very easy-going and happy pups that can easily adapt to all kinds of homes and families – large or small.
They are charming, affectionate and alert pets that can get along with children of all ages and pets of all types very well.
With a Frenchie at home, you can be sure that you will always be entertained, and covered with love, cuddles and kisses.
This dog breed is one of the top preferred breeds for people who live in the city and in small-sized homes.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
These small-sized, soft-coated terriers are one of the few terrier breeds which are suitable for living in the same home with children because they are easy-going by nature.
They are considered a hypoallergenic breed because even though their silky soft coats are quite impressive, they are a low-shedding breed which makes them perfect for households where there are people with dog allergies.
They are fun little pups which as other terriers do require some playtime and action outside, but are very devoted pets that will also love spending time with their humans and especially with the little ones at home or outdoors.
As a whole, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a superb option if you want a low shedding hypoallergenic dog that will both enjoy spending time outdoors as well as indoors with you and your family equally.
These stunning Grey Ghost dogs are very elegant dogs, which will make a huge impression on everybody no matter where you happen to go.
Weimaraners love children and are easy to adapt to living at home with a family and becoming an inseparable part of it.
These dogs are naturally athletic and pretty active, so they are more suitable for pets for families who enjoy spending more time outdoors playing, walking, jogging, cycling or hiking.
They are extremely smart dogs that are easy to train and which will appreciate being challenged physically and mentally in order to stay happy.
Weimaraners are a great option for a dog breed if you want a pet that will enjoy spending time with you as you exercise and enjoy the outdoors, and which is capable of and willing to play with your children outside all day long.
The Biewer Terrier is a toy dog that is a born athlete and hunter but is also a loving and playful animal that will love spending time with you, your children and with all of your guests.
You will enjoy this fun little pup and its urge to always carry its favorite toys around the house.
Biewer Terriers are one of the best choices for families who lead active social lives because they are merry dogs that will be friendly with all of your guests and the people that you meet.
At the same time, as a true terrier, the Biewer is a superb and reliable watchdog but isn’t loud or boisterous, so you won’t need to deal with annoying barking and behavior with this toy-sized pup.
The Bull Terrier is a breed that unfortunately is plagued with a lot of bad reputation and stereotypes due to separate cases in which dogs from this breed have been used as fighting dogs.
But, the actual truth is that Bull Terriers are bred to be companion dogs, which makes them perfect for living in families with or without children.
They are strong, muscular and robust pups that will keep you entertained with their clownish behavior rather than scaring away everyone or showing aggressive behavior.
These mischievous canines can become impeccable pets for even the largest families, given that they are trained and socialized properly from an early age.
A well-trained Bull Terrier is an obedient, loving and playful pet that can endure serious roughhousing and not so gentle treatment by small children.
These dogs do not require too much maintenance when it comes to grooming, but they will feel completely satisfied and thankful only if you keep them mentally and physically engaged.
These medium-sized upbeat dogs are another very popular choice among families with children. The only potential problem to keep in mind is that when they are young, Boxers are particularly bouncy and energetic, so if you have toddlers, you should be careful about accidents when they are enjoying their playtime with the children.
Boxers do require long daily walks, as well as a lot of games and exercise, so they are suitable for those of you who love or would love to spend more time outdoors playing games, walking and having fun together with your family and your four-legged companion.
The Poodle is widely recognized as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Poodles can be standard, miniature, or toy-sized, and come in various colors including black, white, or apricot. So, there is the right-sized and colored poodle for just about any taste and preference.
They may look flamboyant and fluffy, but they are smart, devoted and very loyal dogs.
One of the main reasons why Poodles are used to create some of the most popular cross-breeds such as the Labradoodles, the Cockapoos, the Maltipoos, Goldendoodles and many other Doodles is the fact that they shed very little and are considered one of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds for people with allergies.
Keep in mind that the Poodle does require daily walks and exercise and will be completely happy if you or your children spend time playing with it and entertaining it.
Overall, the standard-sized poodles are better options for families because they are obedient, smart, and playful, while the toy-sized members of the breed prefer being one-person dogs and will get attached to a single person at home rather than to all members of the family equally.
But all in all, if you choose to add a Poodle to your household you will end up with a very loyal and loving companion which will enjoy spending its time with you and with your children and will keep you smiling and entertained at all times.
The Bichon Frise is possibly one of the friendliest dog breeds out there. These cute white little fluffy dogs can easily get used to all kinds of families, as well as with other dogs and pets at home.
They too are considered to be hypoallergenic and shed very little, so you won’t have problems with hairs stuck on your furniture or with sneezing and coughing allergic people at home with a Bichon Frise.
Playful, loving and friendly, these small-sized pups are suitable for all kinds of households and families and will quickly get adapted to the situation at your home no matter how many other dogs or pets you have and no matter how old your children are.
The Vizsla originates from Hungary, and even though the breed is not as common as Goldens and Labs, they are still superb sporting dogs that are very suitable for families, especially for active ones.
These elegant and athletic dogs will love joining you for your family hikes, runs and walks, which is why they are more suitable for families who have older children and like to be active as much as possible.
The Vizslas are affectionate pups that will bond to all family members quickly and if trained properly will be perfect, obedient pets that will enjoy entertaining you with tricks and will love you forever.
Smart, confident and sensitive, these dogs are definitely not couch potatoes, so if your goal is to start leading a more physically active life and exercise more, they are the perfect stimulus that will get you going.
The sweetest and smallest of all sporting breeds, Cocker Spaniels are absolute charmers. You will find it hard to resist cuddling and loving your Cocker Spaniel with its large beautiful eyes and silky soft long ears.
The dogs from this breed are all about playing and spending time with their people, so if you want a playmate for your children, a Cocker Spaniel could be the perfect option for you.
They can easily get accustomed to living in the city and in small apartments.
With their gorgeous long silky coats, these dogs do require regular brushing and grooming, and will remind you of the irresistible Lady from the Disney classic “The Lady and the Tramp.”
On the other hand, if you decide that you want to clip your Cocker’s coat you will end up with a dog that looks like a cute little puppy no matter how old it gets.
These dogs with wonderful long bodies and short legs are superb even for small apartments without any outdoor space available. They are muscular and sturdy little dogs that are naturally playful and sweet to all members of the family.
Even though they were bred as deer hunters in Sweden, they are not aggressive, nervous or shy dogs. In fact, the Drevers are known to be calm animals that will make perfect play companions of children of all ages and of all energy levels.
Thanks to their adaptability, these Swedish dogs can become excellent pets for families who live in all kinds of households and with children of all ages.
The Broholmer originates from Scandinavia and has a mastiff-like body but a tender heart. These gentle giants love cuddling almost like lapdogs. Originally bred in Denmark, the Broholmer dogs are good-natured and love their families, and are very good watchdogs that will look over you and all family members
Being large and energetic dogs, Broholmers do require a lot of walking, playing and exercise, and due to their cuddly nature it is a good idea to keep an eye on them if they are interacting with the kids because they often forget that they are large dogs rather than small-sized pups.
Related: The Full List of Mastiff Dog Breeds
The Labradoodle is one of the most popular cross-breeds in the US. A perfect mix between a friendly Labrador and an intelligent and non-shedding Poodle, a Labradoodle is becoming one of the most preferred designer breeds for families.
Labradoodles are one of the best dogs if you want playmates for your children. They are friendly animals that require very little grooming and maintenance.
The Labradoodles are easy to train, affectionate pups which love interacting with children and adults, and are suitable even for households where there are people with dog allergies.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs that are always happy to learn new tricks, so you and your children will never be bored and will never run out of ideas when it comes to having fun with your dog.
In fact, they are ranked to be the third most intelligent dog breed after the Poodles and the Border Collies.
These medium to large dogs are natural herders and are also excellent watchdogs that will always keep an eye on your kids. They are active pups, so you can be sure that you will be spending a lot more time outdoors once you add one of these beautiful dogs to your family.
With their infinite eagerness to learn and to have a purpose, your German shepherd will be happy to be around you and your family and to engage in all sorts of games and activities both indoors and outdoors.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a gentle and affectionate soul. The dogs from this breed are patient and loving when it comes to children and won’t mind some roughhousing.
These beautiful tri-colored dogs originating from the Swiss Alps are easy to groom and maintain and get very attached to their humans.
They are not aggressive except if the owner needs protection from an attacker, and are incredibly patient animals, which will make excellent nannies and guardians for your kids.
More people are adopting mixed breed dogs from local shelters, from the street, or because they consider the so-called “Mutts” to be much smarter and more loyal than the purebred dogs.
You should seriously consider teaching your children to be empathic and socially responsible by going to your local shelter and adopting one of the dogs there.
Mutts can be absolutely adorable, smart, and charming dogs, but most importantly, if you choose a rescue dog, you can be certain that it will never forget your gesture and will remain loyal to you all life long.
The Maltese are another top choice if you want to add a small-sized dog to your family. Don’t let its small size and fluffy white coat fool you though because the dogs from this breed are vigorous and fearless. At the same time, the sweet little Maltese is a gentle dog that will be loving and affectionate with all family members, with your friends and with other people.
Maltese pups walk like tiny puffy clouds and get strongly attached to their humans. They are tiny and can adapt to living even in the smallest apartments and condos.
They can learn many tricks and are much fun to play with and be around with but keep in mind that they are prone to separation anxiety, so if you are out a lot, this dog breed may not be the most suitable one for you.
These tiny dogs originating from Cuba are among the top 25 most popular breeds in the US. They are cheerful and cute toy dogs with gorgeous silky white coats and are eager to please and learn, so you and your kids can have a lot of fun teaching your Havanese a number of neat and fun tricks.
They are reliable watchdogs as well, but without being too noisy or boisterous.
Keep in mind that in order to keep the coat of your Havanese so great looking, you will have to brush it and groom it daily. You can get its hair clipped if you want to save time for grooming and your pup will still look as cute and adorable.
There is a perfect dog for absolutely anyone and for any family. You need to consider the living space you have, as well as the type of lifestyle and schedule your family has before adding a dog into your household.
It is a good idea to pick a dog that has a temperament, energy level, and traits that suit your lifestyle best.
Here are the characteristics to look for when choosing the most appropriate dog breed for your family:
- The dog you should pick should be calm, gentle and agreeable, especially if you have children.
- Choose a dog that can live comfortably in your home and in your area. Large-sized dogs need a lot of space and often are happier with backyards, while smaller breeds can feel perfectly happy even in small apartments and condos.
- The pup’s energy level. Pick a dog from a breed that has the energy level that suits your lifestyle best. If you are an active family and love spending time outdoors and on the move, you should opt for a sporting or other athletic dog which will gladly follow you along, no matter whether you like running, cycling, hiking, or other activities. On the other hand, some dog breeds are excellent companions for couch potatoes and people who prefer to spend more time indoors too.
- Hypoallergenic qualities. Many of the dog breeds which we have listed are low shedding and hypoallergenic. Choosing such a dog is essential if you or somebody else in the family suffers from dog allergies.
- Grooming requirements. You need to check out what type of grooming the dog requires before you add it to your family, in order to be sure that you have the time and patience to deal with its grooming and maintenance.
- You will want your dog to be friendly to people aside from the members of your family if you don’t want to have problems when you are entertaining guests or meeting other people. Of course, all dogs need to be properly socialized from an early age in order to learn to get along with people and other animals.
- Patience and attitude towards children. All of the dogs from our list are gentle and patient with children which is essential if you want your kids to be safe and if you want both the children and the dog to be happy.
- Attitude towards other dogs and smaller pets. If you already have pets at home, it is vital to check out the tolerance level of the breed toward other dogs and smaller pets, in order to ensure peaceful and friendly interactions among all of your beloved animals at home.
Overall, whichever type and breed of dog you choose for your family, you can be sure that your life will change for the better once you introduce the new addition to your household.
A dog can help you start leading a more active lifestyle, help you meet more people when you go outside and interact with other dog owners, and can help build self-confidence and enhance the social skills and sense of responsibility of your children as well.
So, go ahead and add a dog to your family and get ready for a new chapter in your life!