The 8 Best Family Dog Breeds

best dog for family

Golden Retriever

You’re finally ready to get a dog and there are probably hundreds of questions floating around in your head, such as “can we afford this” or “do we have enough time to train a puppy?” Aside from these questions, the biggest difficulty when buying a new dog is figuring out which breed is right for your family. Finding the perfect family dog can be a challenge, which is why we’ve put together a list of the best family dog breeds to help in your quest to find the perfect dog for your clan!


While beagles are known for their loud howling, this breed is full of energy. They do require a bit of maintenance when it comes to brushing and bathing, but this is the ideal dog breed for families and children. The good news is that because of their high energy level, chances are they’ll last longer than your kids and tire them out easily. These dogs are gentle and sweet, but make sure you can provide them with exercise because they are prone to obesity.

Bull Terrier

Bull terriers are smart, full of energy and friendly dogs that can handle whatever your kids throw at them (figuratively or literally) while still staying calm. Very cute and petite, they’re suitable for large families and can help teach children how to relate to dogs. Another positive about the bull terrier is that while they’re very gentle, they’ll be protective of the ones they love.


Also known as the lassie dog, Collies are a gentle and very predictable breed, rarely having any issues with biting and even better news – they’re easily trainable! This is perfect for families who are looking for their very first dog and don’t have experience with more complicated breeds. The only real downfall of the Collie is that because of their long hair, they require regular grooming.


These gentle giants are extremely lovable dogs, with a great deal of patience. Requiring a lot of wide open spaces in a home, this breed best suits a large family who is willing to give this dog the attention it deserves. Newfoundlands are great swimmers and can even save a life in emergency situations. Whether you have a young family or older, this breed will be sure to keep a smile on your faces on a daily basis.

Irish Setter

Most recognized by it’s red coat, this breed is playful, full of energy and simply just loves to be around people and children! Best suited for a family with an active lifestyle, this dog needs lots of exercise. The good news is, they’re smart and easily trainable, perfect for first timers!


When you first think of poodle, you think of prissy and proper dogs with rather interesting hair cuts. Once you get past that general appearance, you’ll learn that poodles are smart and extremely gentle, especially with children. It’s also a great breed for a family with allergies, as it sheds minimally. Because of their friendly demeanor and patience, they make an excellent partner in crime for any sized child.

Labrador Retriever

Among the most popular breeds for families, there’s good reason behind why so many people own this breed. Labs are protective, loving, playful, patient and always by your side when you need them. If there were a breed made for families, this would be it. Beautiful and sweet, the labrador retriever might be the perfect family dog.

Golden Retriever

Finishing off our list is America’s most well known dog breed. Not quite as big as the labrador retriever, the golden retriever is confident, smart and loyal. With a great deal of patience, the golden is perfect for a large family with lots of children. Needing a good deal of exercise, this breed will get you off the couch and make you move.

Regardless of what type of dog you choose for your family, make sure their temperament is good and they are loyal companions. Knowing your breed and their tendencies will help you throughout the training process and ensure that whichever dog you end up getting, they complete your family and your needs!

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Jessica McNeal is a freelance writer and dog lover. After adopting her 3 dogs, she’s learned how to choose the perfect dog based on a person’s needs. She makes sure all of her pets have proper pet ID tags and hopes others do as well. Click here to learn more.

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  1. We agree it is very important to get the right breed. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Definitely important to match the breed to your family dynamic. Labs are one of my favourites along with Poodles. Cheers!

  3. Wonderful list! Bull terrier was one I was surprised to see, as they aren’t as common here I think. But that doesn’t make them any less friendly!

  4. pound puppies are the greatest. I’ve had my lab mix since he was 9 weeks and 8 lbs. He is now 8 yrs. old, still chasing squirrels balls and loving Sundays at the beach.

  5. sorry … that was supposed to read chasing squirrels and balls, not squirrels balls and sundays on the beach. oops!

  6. Just about the perfect list of family dogs, not sure about the Bull terrier, maybe once the children get a bit older. I know this is a bit of a sore point for owners sometimes. But anyway great list, spot on. I recently read an article on Google from Newswire about the Labrador and the Golden retriever being voted the best family dogs. This was a survey run in Australia. It went into selecting the right dog for your family, and the reasons why.

    There were some good quotes from the President of the Veterinary association and the head animal management officer for animal services. Here is a link to the actual article if you want to have a read. Anyway good selection of family dogs.. Cheers.

    • Hi Bill,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing this great article, and I am glad you liked the post. After Beagles, I’d say labs are my favorite dogs.

  7. My Labrador Maya is a great member of our family. I love how she loves everybody, how good she is with small children, and how she gets along well with other dogs. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body so the only protection she provides is with her size and the deep sound of her bark. The only thing about Maya which can be a turn-off for some is her exuberance. She can be very difficult to handle when she gets excited. I think this is the case with the American version of the Lab. I’ve heard the English version is more laid back.

    • The British labs that Maggie plays with I would describe a big lovable blokes! I think I can agree that they do seem to be more laid back.