Best Family Dogs And Dogs For Kids

Read our research on the 37 best dog breeds for families and the best dogs for kids
best dogs for kids
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Dog owners around the world will tell you that there is no better companion to have around than a friendly dog in your home. If you have a family or you are starting a family then you should seriously consider getting a furry friend to keep you company. But what are the best dogs to have as pets?

Getting a dog is not always as simple as it sounds. Choosing a new member for your family requires some good research before a decision can be made. If you have kids in the house then the decision to find child friendly dog breeds becomes even more important because some breeds are great with kids while others can be problematic.

It’s best to choose a dog ideally suited to your lifestyle and needs and even within the same breed there can be a lot of variation. Each dog will have its own personality but generally speaking most breeds will display distinctive characteristics. Also don’t forget mixed breed dogs, affectionately known as mutts or street dogs – they often have unique characters which make them wonderful pets.

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So it’s best to go for breeds that bond well with children and to stay away from dogs that are known to be aggressive. You have most likely read many posts about the top 10 dog breeds but here is a long list of the 37 best dog breeds for families that you could consider when choosing a new pet and you might find some interesting surprises:


collie dogOne of the smartest dog breeds out there are Collies – we all remember Lassie right? These dogs are highly intelligent their loyalty is unmatched and they simply love children. If you don’t like grooming your dog then don’t worry because both smooth and rough fur varieties are available. Collies are tireless runners, have amazing stamina, superior intelligence, agility and hunting instincts that allow them to run all day long.

Border Collies

Border Collies are a special breed of Collie that Border Collieare ideally suited for outdoor adventures like herding sheep and  can run around all day without tiring. Called the worlds most intelligent dog breed by many dog owners, they can bond with families that have older children but families with younger kids will also adore these dogs.

These dogs require plenty of mental stimulation and outdoor exercise in the great wide open spaces and they don’t do well when cooped up in a backyard suburban environment without exercise. This can result in excessive barking, destructive behavior, digging and trying to escape the confines of the yard.

Golden Retrievers

Golden RetrieverThis all time favorite breed of dog are well known and loved for their friendliness, loyalty and for being trustworthy. The gentle and patient nature of these animals makes them ideal companions for children of any age. These dogs love water and lots of physical activity, so just a good romp on the beach, a quick mountain hike or just chasing the ball in the garden will keep them very happy. These gorgeous dogs make good friends and very contented companions.


Labradors are a dog breed which is very similar to golden retrievers – they have the same kind ofThree black Labradorstemperament, sense of loyalty and affectionate nature. These two breeds have been firm favorites with families and children for many years. They are easy to train and intelligent, so they learn new commands very easily – especially if there is a tasty tit-bit or snack to entice them.

No matter what age group your children fall into the calmness and laid back nature of these dogs will make them ideal companions. Mostly they display loads of stamina and energy but sometimes they also have a tendency to become couch potatoes. Calmness and consistency combined with a high level of intelligence makes the Labrador an ideal service dog (similar to the Golden Retriever).

Airedale Terrier

Airedale TerrierIf you are looking for a good watchdog with excellent alertness and loyalty then getting an Airedale Terrier would be a good idea for you. When you first encounter this breed you might be taken aback by their seemingly hard exterior but these are lovely family dogs who love nothing more than running or playing with kids and friends.

These dogs are known to be the largest terrier breed and weights can vary from 40 to 65 pounds. This makes the Airedale a good protective dog due to its size and, being a good terrier, it likes to give a good bark and protect the family, especially smaller children. They are good watch dogs because they have loads of energy and are very intelligent too. Their wiry coats are ideally suited to the outdoors but they require a fair amount of grooming and exercise.


These are dogs that orientate themselves very well to people and they will happily play all day long with Boxer dogchildren and friends. Boxers can be loving and caring dogs that love cuddling at night but they need regular exercise otherwise they become frustrated and out of control. They are medium size dogs with a muscular build and can sometimes get a bit boisterous around smaller children.


BulldogCenturies ago bulldogs originated in the United Kingdom and they are still considered an icon of that country. The somewhat strange features and thick set muscular build of these dogs can be very deceiving. You might think that they are not an ideal family dog but nothing could be further from the truth. They are well socialized and friendly dogs with a submissive nature, and their affinity for cuddles and love make them an ideal family pet.


With it’s funny name the Labradoodle has Labradoodleinherited many of the best qualities of both the poodle and the labrador. With the superior intelligence of a poodle combined with the loving playfulness of a labrador this breed will make a great family companion. They are ideally suited for folks with allergies because they are low shedding dogs and although they still need to get rid of their excess energy, they are ideally suited for smaller living spaces.

Brittany Spaniels

Brittany Spaniel dogThis breed would be ideal for you if you are looking for a family dog that is both good with kids and other pets. They love playing and training comes naturally to them because they are very intelligent dogs. But be prepared to take them for long walks because to remain healthy they need to get rid of their excess energy. If taken proper care of they can easily live to 12 years or older.


If you love a dog with a big heart then this Schnauzerbreed is for you. Schnauzers crave the attention of their owners all day long but they will pay your love back in spades, and will play and explore with you all day long. They are also intelligent quick learners which makes them easy to train.


VizslaThese physically active dogs have high levels of energy which makes them great companions for children that want to play all day long. Vizslas are ideal family dogs because of their affectionate nature and intelligence. They are tall dogs that can weigh up to 60 pounds and can easily keep up with all family activities outdoors like camping, biking or hiking.

Rat Terrier

These interesting dogs are smallish in size and don’t grow more than a foot tall and weigh under 25 pounds – Rat Terrierexcept the Miniature Rat Terrier which weighs less than 10 pounds. These friendly dogs love people and socialize well with cats and other dogs and children. They are happy and very sensitive animals but are easy to train and are very tuned into their owners.


PoodlesPoodles are considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds by dog owners. These dogs are smart and highly active and are also loved for their decorative curly coats. They are also very quick learners and if you want your dog to perform tricks then this is the breed for you.


Although these dogs are not a genuine breed they deserve a Muttsspecial mention in this article. If your heart is not set on a pure bred dog then one of these guys could fill your life with joy and laughter. You can pick up one of these mutts or street dogs at your nearest rescue shelter and your mixed breed puppy could become your best friend in next to no time. You need to get him checked out by the vet first though before you take him home to your family.


MalamutesThese beautiful dogs are part of the Husky family and they can exhibit the same strength and intelligence level. They are gorgeous dogs with beautiful eyes and coats and they love to run. They have independent characters and love to exercise and are good working dogs as well.

Australian Shepherd

If courageous and intelligent are features thatAustralian Shepherd you want when choosing a dog then look no further than the Australian Shepherd. They are very active and need lots of attention but they will repay you with devotion and fun-filled days for the whole family. These dogs love to have a romp, especially by playing with the kids and their loyalty and devotion makes a good pet for any home.

Great Dane

great dane with girlContrary to what most folks believe Great Danes make great dogs for kids. They don’t display the same energy levels as Golden Retrievers and Labradors but they like to interact with humans and to romp around. These large dogs are very docile and patient and they love to be around kids. Due to their size they are best suited for larger homes and dog kennels are not for them.

Cocker Spaniel

These long haired medium size dogs require regular grooming Cocker Spanielbut make great family pets. They love to play outside with children and display much affection to all members of the family. Regular snuggles on the couch is all your Cocker Spaniel needs to keep him happy!

Miniature Poodles

Miniature PoodlesThese low shedding dogs require very little grooming and are hypoallergenic. They are highly intelligent and socialize very well with other dogs and cats and kids. Their intelligence makes them very easy to train and and extremely loyal to their owners.

Saint Bernards

They look big and cuddly but looks can be deceptive and Saint Bernardthese huge dogs are great working dogs. They are famous for rescuing many travelers from the snow in freezing ice storms or after avalanches and they have good natural protective instincts. Typically weighing up to 180 pounds they are very friendly dogs with a high level of intelligence and will fit well into a large family. Because they were bred originally to help people they have a built in love for humans, are well behaved, friendly and very relaxed. They are legendary for their huge size and weight and can be a little clumsy sometimes but they are never aggressive.


BeaglesThese fun loving medium size dogs have loads of energy and their friendly nature and playfulness makes them ideal family pets for children. They have cute coats and colors and love running around outdoors where they can utilize their great sense of smell. Rated by the American Kennel Club as being one of the best dogs to have around kids these fun loving dogs have all the best qualities for a great family companion. Plenty of exercise and lots of running around should be part of their daily routine.


The term ‘gentle giants’ is the best way to describe these Newfoundlandsweet large dogs. They are even tempered and very easy to train and and do very well with kids in the home. Due to their fondness for kids and their natural protective instincts they can sometimes be seen as large furry nannies taking care of the young ones. If you shower them with love and affection they will repay you with ample quantities of devotion and reliability. Their large size and strength makes them great playmates for kids who love to have them pull buggies around all day long.


WeimaranerThis dog has a strange name but is rated by the AKC as a great dog to have in the home with kids. They are friendly and very alert and protective and their are obedience is excellent. Weimaraners have high levels of energy and love to go for a jog with you or to play outside with the kids all day long.

Shih Tzu

These dogs have an even stranger name but they make lovable Shih Tzuand playful family pets. They love to be the center of attention in a large family where they can provide endless days filled with fun and laughter. If you are looking for a herding or hunting dog then this is not the breed for you as they were specifically bred to be great companions.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain DogThe Bernese Mountain Dog has a history going back many centuries – some historians say that traces of these dogs have been found in Germany and near Berne, Switzerland dating back as far as 800 BC. These easy going animals make great family dogs. They love to spend time with children and they socialize well with other animals. The relaxed nature of Berners makes them ideal to have around the home and while some of them can get as large as 120 pounds many are much smaller.

Brussels Griffon

This interesting little dog breed also can be found on the AKC’s list of best family pets probably because Brussels Griffonit is a very alert, loyal and intelligent breed of dog. A Brussels Griffon loves to go on long ambling walks but does not require as much exercise as the average larger dog would. These dogs have a friendly nature but still make good watch dogs and they are hypoallergenic so shedding is not a problem with this breed. They do great in one-on-one relationships with their owners but also do well in large families with kids.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire TerrierThe Yorkshire Terrier or “Yorkie” as it is affectionately known is a very interesting dog named after an English city where it originated from. These dogs are hugely popular and this is probably because they are easy to train. They love their daily play time and are very loyal and loving to their owners, but they can also be protective when strangers come to visit the family. If you are looking for a loving doggy to curl up on your lap then this is probably the breed for you but if you want a more active dog then you should look further down the list.


Another dog with a strange name this breed is ideally suited to work in all climates. Appenzellers are Appenzellershort coated Swiss mountain dogs with high levels of energy that make them ideal working dogs. To this day this breed works outdoors daily herding and guarding sheep. These dogs are great with kids too and love training sessions that are filled with fun. They are very intelligent and easy to train and as Swiss mountain dogs go this breed is on the smaller side with an average weight of about 66 pounds.

Bichon Frise

Bichon FriseAlthough these cute dogs look like stuffed animals they are affectionate and adorable to their human owners. If you need a pet dog that is good with kids then this is probably not the right choice for you. On the positive side these dogs are not barkers and will stay close to you without wandering. The average age a Bichon Frise lives to is around 13 years.


Another unique dog is the Puli which falls into the group of Pulismaller dog breeds, never weighing more than 21 to 35 pounds. They are great family dogs that form close bonds with their owners and are adaptable so they can live in a city or a country environment. These dogs can be high maintenance though because their long, thick coats need a lot of grooming.


DachshundThis is an interesting dog breed that dates back to the royalties of ancient Egypt. Some folks find the Dachshund an odd looking dog with its long body and short legs but they can be funny, laid back, loyal and playful. They are intelligent animals with a strong will and don’t like to be ignored. This can make training a bit of a challenge but they will reward you with their love and affection. Be mindful though that with their long bodies they may be prone to back trouble and should not be physically overworked.


Here is another cute dog breed but this breed requires frequent Havanesegrooming and brushing to to prevent excessive shedding in your home. Best to take it to your local doggy parlor for a regular monthly teddy bear cut from your favorite groomer to make this dog look cute its entire life.

French Bulldog

French BulldogThis interesting dog makes a great pet for families but if you are looking for an athletic breed then this is not the dog for you. French Bulldogs prefer short walks and are somewhat difficult to train but they are loyal and affectionate to their owners. If you prefer a quiet dog that does not bark a lot then this breed is for you especially if you live in a quiet neighborhood.

Irish Setter

These amazing looking dogs with their reddish brown coats can also be found on the AKC’s list when Irish Settersearching for best family dogs. They have a lovely outgoing nature and very sweet characters and are easy to train. Lots of exercise is good for these dogs so they love to run in open spaces with other dogs and kids. If you are looking for an active beautiful dog that loves to run around and have fun then this is the dog for you.


CorgiKnown as the favorite pet of Queen Elizabeth of England, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a beautiful and cute dog. With it’s short stature and light coat it is an attractive dog to look at and they make great pets for folks that live in confined spaces. Regular walks are essential though but they will reward you with their loyalty and sweet and loving personalities. In Welsh mythology the Corgi was known to be the transportation of choice for fairies!

Bucovine Shepherd

Romanian shepherds have for centuries made use of the Bucovine Shepherd dog to protect their sheep Bucovine Shepherdfrom thieves and wild animals. These dogs have roamed the Carpathian Mountains for centuries but they are such even tempered animals and great with kids so many dog lovers now buy these dogs as house pets both in cities and rural areas. They need lots of space to run around in but if you give them ample space then they make great family dogs.


KeeshondThis somewhat funny looking dog breed with a strange name is also a firm favorite with many dog enthusiasts. They are very friendly but crave attention and are slightly smaller than a Husky. They quickly form close bonds within a family environment and love to play with kids while never showing any signs of aggression.

Our Final Thoughts On The Best Family Dogs

We have considered many dog breeds in this article but there are many more top breeds of dogs to consider and these days dog lovers are spoilt for choice. Many think that small dogs are always the best choice for kids but this is not always true – in fact, often it is quite the opposite. Many medium size dogs like the Irish Setter, Boxer, Labrador, Golden Retriever and others are great pets for kids. They are often gentle giants with loving personalities and are great for romping with kids without ever showing any signs of aggression.

best family dogsThere are so many loyal, gentle and patient dog breeds around these days which makes finding the best family dogs an easy task especially if you have kids in the home. But it is always important to assess the temperament of a breed before deciding which furry friend will be best for you and your family. A happy active dog that does not mind being touched and handled, is not over sensitive, can be trained and is obedient will make the best choice for your family if you have kids.

But humans need to be trained too so it is important to teach your kids to respect their pets. They should be aware that puppies do not always want to play or be handled so it is important for them to learn that their favorite doggie also needs some peace and space every now and then.

Keeping your dogs happy and healthy also means that you should pay close attention to their grooming as well as giving them regular flea treatment and wormers like Milbemax and Advantage Multi (Advocate).

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