Best Family Dog Breeds for Kids

Best Family Dog Breeds for Kids

The best family dog breeds are loyal, patient, and kind. They are also gentle around children, friendly and easy to train. Finding the right breed is tricky, there are so many factors to consider. Your chosen dog breed needs to suit your family, lifestyle, and home. Below we’ve listed the top 10 family dogs to help you find one that ticks all the boxes. 

What Makes A Good Family Dog? 

Finding a good family dog is all about finding a dog that suits your situation. It can be tricky as the best breed for one family isn’t necessarily the best breed for another. There are many variables that should be considered but this guide will give you the best starting point. 

All of the breeds we have listed are excellent family dogs but it is important to consider their temperament, size, and lifestyle suitability to help you figure out which breed is best for your family. 

Temperament

The dog’s character is important, look for a calmer dog that is affectionate and good with children. A good family dog should be trainable, affectionate, and friendly.

Each dog has a different personality so try to find one that suits your family, for example, if your family is very social then it is best to choose a dog that has an outgoing personality.

Size

A good family dog can be any size but consider your family’s circumstances as well as the dog’s energy level and temperament.

For example, large, high-energy dogs may be more likely to accidentally knock children over so a more relaxed breed is often better around youngsters. Equally, very small dogs can be fragile and might be better suited to homes with older children who are more gentle and understand how to behave around dogs. 

Lifestyle Suitability 

The dog needs to suit your lifestyle, if you choose an energetic dog but don’t have enough time to walk them then the dog may become frustrated and have behavioural problems. Some dogs love to snuggle on the sofa all day while others need long walks and lots of active play. Find a breed that will fit in with your family’s lifestyle. 

Location/Space 

It’s important to choose a breed that will suit your home and location. Some breeds are best suited to homes with large, secure gardens while others can happily live in an apartment. Keep this in mind when comparing the breeds below. 

1. Golden Retriever

 

Golden Retrievers are without doubt one of the best large dog breeds for families, they are devoted, highly adaptable and are a great choice for first-time owners. Golden Retrievers are social dogs that remain puppy-like for several years. Golden Retrievers are versatile, eager to please and are known to get along well with children and other dogs too.

  • Height: 50-60cm

  • Size: Large

  • Character: Friendly, devoted, intelligent

  • Energy Level: High energy

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

  • Shedding: Yes, seasonal

2. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the world. These dogs are known for being dependable, family-friendly, and easy to train. Labradors are very social, they love to be around children and are great with other dogs. Labradors best suit active families as they are energetic and need lots of play and exercise each day.

  • Height: 56-61cm

  • Size: Large

  • Character: Active, outgoing, friendly 

  • Energy Level: High energy

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

  • Shedding: Yes, high 

3. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants, they are calm, intelligent, and friendly. This is one of the best dog breeds for families who want a large dog as Bernese Mountain Dogs are very relaxed and are especially good around children of all ages. This breed is easy to recognise thanks to its tricoloured coat and large size.

  • Height: 58-70cm

  • Size: Large

  • Character: Calm, good-natured, loyal

  • Energy Level: High energy 

  • Life Expectancy: 6-10 years

  • Shedding: Yes, seasonal 

4. English Bulldog

The English Bulldog is a grumpy-looking dog with a gentle nature. These dogs are courageous, loyal, and a bit stubborn. Bulldogs are renowned for being very friendly and great around children. They are also quiet and rarely bark, although due to their flatter faces, English Bulldogs are known for snoring.

  • Height: 30-40cm

  • Size: Medium

  • Character: Calm, friendly, courageous 

  • Energy Level: Medium 

  • Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

  • Shedding: Yes, moderate

5. Beagle

Beagles are fantastic pets for first-time owners, they are loving, affectionate, and very adaptable. Beagles have a happy nature that makes them great to be around, they are also eager to please and love to be involved with whatever is happening at home. As hounds, Beagles do have strong hunting instincts and love to follow scents so early training will help to keep them close by.

  • Height: 33-40cm

  • Size: Medium

  • Character: Friendly, curious, versatile

  • Energy Level: High energy

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

  • Shedding: Yes, moderate

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are affectionate dogs that are friendly, reliable and get along with everyone including elderly people and children. Their smaller size makes Cavaliers a great choice for living alongside younger children. They are also easy to train, very social, and not overly demanding. Cavaliers are very adaptable and suit many lifestyles and home environments.

  • Height: 30-33cm

  • Size: Small

  • Character: Friendly, intelligent, gentle

  • Energy Level: Low energy

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

  • Shedding: Yes, moderate

7. Irish Setter

Irish Setters are fun-loving, playful, and intelligent. This is a high-energy breed that needs lots of exercise and loves to be around people so is best suited to active families. Irish Setters are fantastic companions and make wonderful playmates for children. Their characteristic long red coat does need regular brushing to keep it free from matting.

  • Height: 54-67cm

  • Size: Large

  • Character: Courageous, athletic, fun-loving

  • Energy Level: High

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

  • Shedding: Yes, moderate 

8. French Bulldog

If you’re looking for a small dog that loves to be around people and only needs short walks, the French Bulldog may be the dog for you. French Bulldogs are fantastic companions, they love to entertain, are easy to train, and are very gentle around children. These small dogs tend to be quiet and are relatively low maintenance, French Bulldogs will happily relax and watch TV with you. 

  • Height: 27-30cm

  • Size: Small

  • Character: Playful, affectionate, adaptable

  • Energy Level: Low - medium

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

  • Shedding: Yes, low

9. Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is a unique-looking dog with short legs, long ears, and distinctive jowls. Although originally a hunting dog, the Basset Hound is a very calm breed that is known for being quiet, laid-back, and less energetic than most breeds. Basset Hounds are one of the best family dogs thanks to their kind nature, they are gentle around children and are dogs you can trust. 

  • Height: 28-38cm

  • Size: Medium

  • Character: Loyal, calm, gentle

  • Energy Level: Medium

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

  • Shedding: Yes, moderate

10. Pug

Pugs are one of the best dog breeds for kids because they are affectionate, trustworthy, and love to play. Pugs are excellent around children and they love to entertain with their cheeky personalities. These dogs are happiest when around people and they don’t require much exercise, they often prefer sprinting around the house making you laugh rather than going for a long walk so short walks and lots of indoor play will keep Pugs happy. 

  • Height: 25-36cm

  • Size: Small

  • Character: Playful, sweet, affectionate

  • Energy Level: Low-medium

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

  • Shedding: Yes, high

Tips On Choosing A Good Family Dog 

When it comes to choosing your family dog, there are five steps to consider.

1. Research the Breed

It’s always worth researching to find out what the breed was originally bred for. This will help you better understand the dog's character and activity level. 

For example, the Beagle is a scent hound that was bred for hunting rabbits which is why they love following scents and tend to have a lot of energy. In contrast, the Pug was bred to be a companion which is why they love to be with their family and don’t like to be left alone.

2. Consider Breed Health

Some dog breeds are more prone to serious medical conditions than others. This can mean high veterinary costs. Find out about the breed-related risks and make sure you get your dog from a reputable breeder that has health screened both parents before using them to breed. 

3. Talk To Dog Owners

One of the best ways to learn about different breeds is to talk to dog owners. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of breeds, speak to people who own that particular breed and find out what they like and dislike about the breed. This insight from other dog owners can be invaluable.

4. Meet The Dog Before Buying 

A meet and greet allows you and your family an opportunity to meet the dog before committing. You can also meet the parents, talk to the owners/breeders and get a good idea of the puppy’s temperament and energy level. This will help you decide if the dog is right for you. 

5. Take Your Time 

Don’t rush the process of finding your new dog, it can take time to find the right dog breed for your family. There are lots of factors to consider and every dog is different, remember your dog will be with your family for 10+ years so make sure you are confident before making the final decision. 

If you’re ready to introduce a dog to your family, use Puppies to find a healthy puppy from an ethical breeder.

Subscribe to our newsletter

If you continue to use the site you are agreeing to the privacy policy of this site.

Allow all