Best Family Dog Breeds

Top 10 Family Dog Breeds

A family dog needs to have an even temper and be sturdy enough to play with kids. Here are just 10 of the best family dog breeds to choose from.

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If finding a family friendly dog breed is important to you, then there are a number of qualities you need to look for. These dogs need to be gentle with children, sturdy and tolerant enough to withstand the exuberant hugs and roughhousing, and protective of those they love most. The best family dog breeds come in all shapes and sizes. Not all breeds will make a great fit for your needs.

Looking for a particular breed of dog? The first thing you will need to do is sit down and evaluate what you are looking for and what you can accommodate. Large dogs like Great Danes and Newfoundlands are well known for being gentle with children, but are not well suited to apartment living or small homes.

On the other hand, small dogs like Chihuahuas and Mini Pinschers are perfect for smaller houses, but not so much for little children who could accidentally fall on them. You can see, choosing a family friendly dog may not prove as easy as you thought. To make the right decision there are a lot of circumstances and breeds you should consider.

Some other things you will want to think about when choosing from top family dog breeds are the exercise requirements, diets, temperaments, and trainability for each breed. You will also want to know the breeds most common illnesses or behavioral problems. There are many breeds that were originally bred to work side by side with humans, like the sporting and watchdog breeds.

As such, many of these dogs make excellent companions for families because they are not as aggressive. You will also want to assess the needs of other family members, like allergies or very young children.

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Questions to Answer Before Choosing from Family Dog Breeds

  • Does the breed have certain health problems to watch for?
  • Does the energy levels of your family match the energy levels of the breed?
  • Do you have the right amount of space for the breed you prefer?
  • Do you have other pets at home? How will the newcomer fit in?
  • What pet supplies will you need for your new dog?
  • What are the specific dietary needs for your breed of choice?


Adopting or purchasing a dog is not something you should do off the cuff. It takes time and consideration, making sure you and your family are at the right stage in life.

Sadly, one of the biggest tragedies for many dogs happens when a family is unprepared to take them home. When this happens, dogs usually end up being abandoned.

[su_highlight]Don’t let this happen.[/su_highlight]

Instead, prepare yourself and your family, do a little research, and find the family dog breeds best suited to your circumstances. Here are just a few breeds to consider, once you feel certain about purchasing or adopting.

Top Family Dog Breeds

English Bulldog


These dogs are so sturdily built and make great family pets because they can handle almost anything.

They are not very energetic and are not easily provoked. As such, these dogs will put up with a lot from children who want to play. They are also adaptable to almost any household or climate. They do not bark much, so they will not make exceptional watchdogs. However, they are usually good dogs if you have other pets and can be surprisingly sensitive.

Generally Bulldogs weigh between 40 and 50 pounds with an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years. Some common health issues for this breed include hip dysplasia, Entropion, cherry eye, and patellar luxation.

These dogs will not require a lot of exercise, but will need to be on a monitored diet and at least taken for a walk once a day to keep them from gaining too much weight.

English Beagle


Another very popular family dog breed is the beagle. These dogs might take a little more care in way of hygiene and grooming, but are a great way to give children responsibility over their pet.

These dogs are known for being friendly and energetic, wearing children out long before the dogs themselves do. These dogs are smart, happy, and friendly. Families also love them because they are medium sized and good with children. However, these dogs are scent hounds. This means they are not good to play with off lead and have a single-mindedness making them more difficult to train.

Generally Beagles weigh between 18 and 30 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Some common health problems associated with this breed include epilepsy, heart disease, and back problems.

Beagles will need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Without it they are prone to separation anxiety and will resort to destructive behaviors.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

These dogs are tolerant, patient, and fairly laid back.

They are also athletic and strong when the occasion calls for it. Golden Retrievers are known to be everybody’s friend, which is why they are excellent family dogs. They also love to play catch, are excellent swimmers, and extremely intelligent. This is why they are often used as service dogs. If you are looking for a lovable, well-mannered pet and don’t mind a little shedding, the Golden Retrievers may be the perfect fit.

Generally Golden Retrievers weigh between 55 and 80 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Unfortunately these dogs are prone to heart problems, skin allergies, cancer, and congenital eye defects.

These dogs are built for recreation. They will need to be walked and played with, exercised at least twice a day. Otherwise they will be a little boisterous inside the house, usually knocking things and people over.



Though these dogs look tough, they are known to be especially good with children.

As they age, they do become more dignified and calm, but will need adequate exercise to keep them happy. However, these dogs do not do well in climates that are too hot because they are so susceptible to heatstroke. To make Boxers great family pets they will need to be socialized and trained early. They also require strong leadership, knowing exactly their ranking in the family pack. Boxers can be stubborn and proud, so they must be handled consistently. This can be tricky though, because they do not respond well to being bossed around too harshly. Successful training must also be fun.

Generally Boxers weigh between 60 and 70 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Some health issues these dogs are prone to include hypothyroidism, corneal dystrophy, mange, and hip dysplasia.

These dogs are not well suited to living outdoors, so they will spend most of their time in your living space, which may be something to get used to.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Another family friendly dog breed is the Yorkshire Terrier, because these dogs were bred to be companions.

First of all, they are small. These dogs are well suited to apartment living or farm living. They are easy travelers too. However, their size also means they are not the best pets for smaller children who could unintentionally hurt them. Also these dogs are loving and devoted. They prove to be most affectionate towards their owners, and make excellent pets for older couples. Their coat is considered hypoallergenic because it does not have an undercoat and hardly sheds.

Generally Yorkshire Terriers weigh between 4 and 6 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Some common health problems for these dogs include hypoglycemia, collapsed trachea, reverse sneezing, and progressive retinal atrophy.

Yorkies will need a lot of human attention. Also, they might snap if they are frightened, teased, or surprised.

Rough Collie


These dogs come in two types: Rough Collie and Smooth Collie.

The Rough Collies were made even more popular with the ever famous, “Lassie,” and no wonder when you learn about this family friendly dog breed. These dogs are gentle and trainable. They are rarely aggressive, get along with everyone, and are a predictable breed. If you are a first time dog owner, then Collies might be the exact dogs for you. They might have a slight streak of stubbornness, and will become skittish or confused if you become too harsh and jerk them around during training.

Smooth Collies have kept many of their herding qualities, while the Rough Collies have become bit more mild and reserved.

Generally Collies weigh between 50 and 70 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years. Some common health problems for Collies include eye defects, hip problems, arthritis, and dermatomyositis.

Though these dogs were bred to herd sheep, they do not require as much exercise as you might think, and will be comfortable in both the city and the country.

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

These affectionate and active dogs became even more popular once President Obama received one for his family.

They are fun-loving animals that are lively. They will need a lot of exercise and play if you hope to keep them happy. These dogs never seem to tire, so if you are an active and adventurous family, the Portuguese Water Dogs are a good breed to consider. These dogs, though fine watchdogs, do not make a reliable protectors as they often treat strangers as friends.

These dogs are also particularly mouthy, liking to carry things around with them and chew on things. Be sure to provide plenty of chew toys to satisfy this natural retriever.

Generally Portuguese Water Dogs weigh between 35 and 60 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years. These are usually healthy dogs, but some common problems for this breed include progressive retinal atrophy, juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy, and hip dysplasia.

Because many of their health issues are genetic, you will need to find a reliable breeder with health clearances for their dogs.



These dogs are especially well suited for active families and older children.

They are lively and athletic, will need regular exercise, but are not known to be stubborn. They are a little dependant. These companionable dogs like to physically attach themselves to their owners, following them from room to room. As such, they will not do well if left alone for hours on end. Because these dogs are so energetic though, they need about an hour of exercise every day. They are also known to be chewers and will like plenty of their own things to mouth on.

Generally Vizslas weigh between 45 and 65 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years.

Though Vizslas are usually healthy, some common health problems for the breed include epilepsy, lymphosarcoma, hypothyroidism, and canine hip dysplasia.

Irish Setter

Irish Setter

These are beautiful and energetic dogs that absolutely love being around people.

Though they do need a big yard, these dogs are trainable and will make the perfect companion for active families. They are happy, sometimes clownish, and a little flighty. Yet these good natured dogs can develop good manners if properly trained and socialized.

They need strong and consistent leadership from a calm but firm individual. However, these dogs will not respond well to harsh discipline. Irish Setters are known to get along with everyone, animal and humans alike. They love companionship. They have no guarding instincts.

Generally Irish Setters weigh between 50 and 70 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years. Some common health risks of the breed include bloating, skin allergies, elbow and hip dysplasia, and autoimmune disease.

They will also need regular grooming to keep their beautiful coat in immaculate condition.



These dogs are an old breed, bred to be companions and guardians for ship-owners who traveled on barges and boats on the rivers of Holland.

They are keen, active, and intelligent. They are also a great dog for children, compact but sturdily built. With consistent leadership, these dogs are quick to learn and quick to please. They also make excellent watchdogs, but will need to be trained to stop after the initial warning bark.

Generally Keeshonds weigh between 35 and 45 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Some common health issues for this breed include skin problems, heart disease, and hip dysplasia.

They will prefer cooler climates and larger yards.


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