What are the 10 Best Family Dogs?

There is a dog that’s right for every family, no matter what their lifestyle, but there are some factors to consider. So what are the best family dogs and why?

IntroductionBest Family Dogs

When choosing a dog for your family, you need to think about how it will fit in with your lifestyle. As well as lifestyle, there are a number of factors you need to consider as the dog you choose can have a big impact on your family life. It is especially important if you have children or are thinking about having children. Not all dogs are good with children and some dogs that are good with children may not be good for a family with babies or toddlers. Here is a list of 10 dog breeds that generally considered kid-friendly dogs.

What personality traits or features are important to look for in a family dog?

Every family is different and there is a dog that will be a good addition to any family. When thinking about what breed of dog you want, there are a number of things that you need to consider. If there are any young kids or babies, you will need a calm and easygoing dog that can tolerate accidental rough handling. Older children will enjoy a playful dog that can join in their activities. You also need to consider the activity level of your family as a whole. Dogs with high energy can become destructive if they don’t get enough exercise. On the other hand, if you are an active family and you enjoy jogging and trekking, a high-energy dog could be the perfect companion.

There are a number of important questions that you will need to answer before you choose your dog. Of course, the first thing to consider is how much space you have. A large dog will need more space to run around than a small one. An energetic small dog may be quite happy in a flat with one walk a day, but a larger dog will soon get bored. Do you have a yard? If you do have a yard, do you mind if your dog digs it up? Will you have to leave your dog alone for part of the day? Are you going to bring your dog with you when you go out? Not all dogs love to be with people and other dogs. Do you have a cat, or any other pets? How will your other pets go with introducing a new dog into the family? Then, there is grooming. Many long-haired breeds require regular trips to the groomer to keep them healthy and looking good. This will require both time and money.

Are there allergies within the family? You may need to consider hypoallergenic dogs that either don’t shed or have low shedding such as poodles or poodle crosses.

So, when considering the best family dogs, we are really closely looking at the best dogs for kids and just general, good family dogs.


“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

Roger Caras

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What are the 10 best family dogs and why?

It is not possible to choose the best dog breeds for families since each family has different requirements. Here is a list of 10 great family dogs, in order of size from small to large.


1. Cavoodles (a mix of toy or miniature poodle and cavalier king charles spaniel) are high-energy dogs that are good with children. Because they are small, they might get enough exercise just playing. If they don’t, then they will need a walk of at least 30 minutes a day. Like poodles, the cavoodle is hypoallergenic, but their curly fur will need regular brushing and grooming to avoid matting. To find out more about small poodle mixes, see a detailed list at The Happy Puppy Site.

Maltese Terrier

2. Maltese terriers are good with children and love learning tricks. They do very well in small homes, but need mental stimulation to avoid getting bored. They are quite sensitive and don’t like to be left alone. Like other fluffy dogs, they need regular brushing and grooming. See Pet Helpful for information about grooming issues.

best family dogs, maltese terrier
The Maltese Terrier – play time at the park?


3. Beagles are good dogs for active families with active children, but they might not be suitable for small children. They are easy to train and quite social with people and other dogs. They might not be a good choice if you have a cat. They are easy to groom, but even though they have short hair, they tend to shed. Beagles can be quite noisy as not only do they like to bark but they may howl as well. If you still decide that a beagle is the dog for you, Dealing with Barking Dogs will give you some ideas about how to minimise a barking problem if it arises. Beagles also love to dig, so are not suitable for a family who likes to keep a neat and beautiful garden.

best family dogs, beagle
A beautiful Beagle enjoying a swim

Miniature Dachshund

4. Miniature Dachshunds are lively little dogs that are good with kids. Because of their longer than usual backs, they are prone to back problems and they can be easily injured. They definitely need supervision with smaller children. Because of their short legs, they don’t need a lot of exercise. Going up and down steps can also lead to injuries. They do love digging though.

Border Collie

5. Border collies are popular for good reason. They are highly intelligent and very high energy. They are a good family dog, but because they have a high prey drive they love to chase moving objects and that can include children. They need lots of exercise and mental stimulation and if they get bored they might become destructive. The American Kennel Club has some good advice for recognising the signs of boredom and what to do about it.

best family dogs, border collie
Border Collies are VERY active dogs, needing lots of exercise

English Bulldog

6. English bulldogs are said to be quite lazy; great for families who don’t want to be up at dawn walking the dog. They are good with children and cats, but they don’t always like other dogs. They don’t need grooming and they don’t shed so much. Because of their short snouts, they may be prone to breathing difficulties and they can overheat if they get too much exercise.

Cocker Spaniel

7. Cocker spaniels are gun dogs, so they are not usually sensitive to loud noises. However, they are very gentle dogs that are eager to please and can sometimes become aggressive if they are not treated kindly. It is important to supervise small children around them as the children may be too rough. Cocker spaniels can be energetic, but they are also happy to spend time sitting with the family. They are, for the most part, great family pets.

best family dogs, cocker spaniel
Cocker Spaniels have a beautiful, friendly nature


8. Labradors are high-energy dogs that are great with children. They are usually good with people and dogs. They are large dogs that need a long walk every day. They also love the water, so are perfect for the family who enjoys going to the beach. They are prone to hip dysplasia as they get older, so you should be prepared for medical expenses. Many families have pet insurance to help budget for these expenses. For more information about insurance, go to Choice.

best family dogs, labrador
Labradors are high energy dogs and love the water

Golden retriever

9. Golden retrievers are playful dogs that are good with children. They are very social and are easy to train because they are very intelligent. They need a lot of exercise. When they get older they are prone to dysplasia and cancer, and treatment can be quite expensive. They can also shed quite a lot, but they do have a lovely nature. There are of course options for a cross of a labrador and a golden retriever with a labrador retriever breed – another great option.


10. Poodles and poodle mixed breeds (labradoodle and goldendoodle) are popular pets as their fur is generally a hypoallergenic coat. However, not all of these mixed breed dogs are hypoallergenic. Gentle Dog Trainers has more details about dogs and allergies. Poodles and poodle mixes are energetic and playful and great companions for children. They are easy to train as they are very intelligent.

best family dogs, poodle
Poodles are very intelligent and therefore easy to train

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Bonus Round – other noteworthy dog breeds

Some other noteworthy dog breeds include:

Bernese Mountain Dog – a beautiful, gentle giant

Irish setters – affectionate and playful

Bichon Frise – playful and get along with other household pets

Boston Terriers – love their humans, low shedding and not big barkers

French bulldogs – quirky, playful and big personalities

“It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them”

John Grogan

ConclusionBest Family Dogs

When it comes to choosing a dog breed, you need to decide on a breed that all of the members of your family (including the cat) will be able to enjoy. Once you have a dog, it will be part of your family for many years, so if you think that your plans may change you will need to take that into account before getting a dog. You also need to make sure that you can give your dog what it needs to be happy. Your dog needs to be able to share in your lifestyle, so don’t get a border collie if your idea of fun is watching movies because neither of you will be happy. Choose the dog that is right for your lifestyle. There are many wonderful family dogs, so one of the 10 breeds listed here might be the perfect dog for your family.

You may also be interested in our articles on:

Pet Nutrition – How To Select The Correct Dog Food For Your Pet Dog, The Ultimate Guide

What Are The Worst Dog Treats?

How To Choose A Vet – What Do I Need To Consider?

Dog Muzzles; When and How to Use Them

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