Planning to welcome a new dog into your home? As you begin your search and decide which breed is the best fit for your family, here are a few things to consider:
First: Do you have kids? If so, how old are they? Some dog breeds are known to be calmer and more tolerant, making them a better fit for children. Some are not as patient. Also, if you have very young children, you may want to hold off on bringing home a more fragile toy dog. Young children mean well, but big hugs and tight squeezes can unintentionally hurt little Fido or FeFe.
Next: What’s your lifestyle like? Is your family active and outdoorsy or more couch potato-types? While some dog breeds require a lot of exercise, others would prefer to snooze on your lap all day.
I fully believe there’s a dog out there for every loving family! Check out the list below, which contains 15 family-friendly dog breeds. *The list is in alphabetical order, not which breed would be a better choice.
1. Basset Hound
The Basset Hound reaches heights up to 15″ at the shoulder and weighs between 40 – 65 pounds. Life expectancy is 12 – 13 years.
Loving, loyal, and laid-back, the basset hound is a great choice for families with kiddos. In general, this breed loves their humans and is good-natured with children. They don’t like being left alone, so they tend to have separation anxiety when you leave them. These guys just want to be with their family. They often drool when nervous or excited and can tend to be a bit willful, but they are smart. So, early consistent training and teaching your little one from the beginning who’s the boss will go a long way!
The AKC classifies beagles in 2 size categories. Under 13″ to the shoulder, weighing approximately 20 pounds. And 13 – 15″ to the shoulder, weighing 20 – 30 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 – 15 years.
Playful, lively, and energetic, the beagle usually does well in families with kids. But this is not a dog who is going to be content just hanging around on the couch. Originally bred as a hunting dog, this breed needs to release energy in a positive manner or can become destructive in the house when too bored.
Get this: Known for their keen sense of smell, a beagle can distinguish and remember up to 50 scents. So giving him access to long walks (on a leash) will allow him to sniff a smorgasbord of scents that nature had intended for him. A fenced yard is great, but the beagle should not be left unattended. The desire to track a transient critter or animal can be enough temptation for your pooch to attempt the great escape!
Beagles can be on the stubborn side, so it’s important to start training early. This way he’ll know just what’s expected of him and who’s in charge. Grooming maintenance for the beagle is minimal.
3. Bichon Frise
The Bichon reaches heights between 9.5 – 11.5″ to the shoulder and weighs between 12 – 18 pounds. Life expectancy is 14 – 15 years.
Bichons bond well with their humans and crave to be around them. They don’t like to be left alone for long periods, though, and may tend to get mischevious if they are. While these dogs are the perfect dog for a family with older children, due to their small size, younger children can accidentally hurt them.
The Bichon is loving, extremely smart, easily trained, hypoallergenic, and struts an elegant white coat that resembles cotton. As the saying goes, there is a price for beauty … so expect to make monthly trips to the groomer to keep your Bichon looking his/her best.
4. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog reaches heights between 23 – 27.5″ to the shoulder and weighs between 70 – 115 pounds. Life expectancy is 7 – 10 years.
If you’re looking to go big — and this dog is BIG — you may want to consider the Bernese Mountain Dog. They’re affectionate gentle giants, and according to the AKC:
“Berners get along with the entire family and are particularly gentle with children, but they will often become more attached to one lucky human. Berners are imposing but not threatening, and they maintain an aloof dignity with strangers.”
Brushing him weekly will keep his coat looking in tiptop condition, with additional daily brushing during the shedding season.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier reaches heights between 12 – 13″ at the shoulder and weighs between 13 – 18 pounds. Life expectancy is 12 – 15 years.
If you’re looking for a best-buddy to chill out with, consider the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This breed was bred to be a royal companion lap dog and his greatest pleasure in life is to be with his human. This dog loves everyone!
With big round adoring eyes, one look can make you melt. They have a beautiful silky coat, which comes in four color varieties. To keep it looking its finest they’ll need frequent brushing. Regular visits to the groomer will keep the Cavalier looking like royalty.
6. Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel ranges in height from 13.5 – 15.5″ to the shoulder and weighs between 20 – 30 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 – 14 years.
Cocker spaniels are another great option for families with kids. This breed will want to be right by your side. In fact, they love their humans so much they often suffer from separation anxiety when the house is empty.
One thing to consider with this dog: Grooming needs are high. It is best to brush them daily to help prevent tangles and mats. The Cocker’s long floppy ears should be kept clean and dry to prevent infections.
The Collie ranges in height from 22 – 26″ to the shoulder and weighs between 50 – 75 pounds. Life expectancy is 12 – 14 years.
Affectionate, playful, intelligent, loyal, and protective – the Collie bonds well with children, making them a top choice for families. After all, who wouldn’t want to bring Lassie home?! Collies are active dogs who love to walk, hike, and play. They adore their humans and strive to please them. They’re super smart and take to training easily.
Grooming needs are moderate. To keep their coat in good shape and avoid mats you should brush them 2 – 3 times per week.
8. French Bulldog
The Frenchie reaches heights between 11 – 13″ to the shoulder and weighs up to 28 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 – 12 years.
Bred to be companions, the French Bulldog yearns to be with his family. Affectionate, dedicated, and laid-back sums him up perfectly. If you’re more of a couch potato kind of family, the Frenchie will fit right in. An athlete… this dog is not! He does enjoy playing and a good walk, but his ideal sport is hanging around with his humans and snuggling.
His appearance is very similar to his cousin the bulldog (who’s also a great family dog) in a smaller package and is known for his conspicuous erect bat ears. Frenchie’s aren’t big barkers, but not to worry because they are very alert in their surroundings making them good watchdogs. Weekly brushing should keep his coat looking good and his facial wrinkles and folds should always be kept clean and dry.
9. Golden Retriever
The Golden reaches heights between 21.5 – 24″ at the shoulder and weighs between 55 – 75 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 – 12 years.
According to the AKC, the Golden ranks #3 in breed popularity … and for good reason. They’re affectionate, patient, loyal, intelligent, easy to train, full of energy, and love to play. They’ll require at least an hour of exercise a day, so get your leash out and your walking shoes on!
Like the Labrador, they make good workers and partners. So, it may not come as a surprise that they’re often used in service. They can be found assisting the disabled and working in law enforcement.
As far as grooming needs go – they are low maintenance.
The Havanese is a small dog. They reach heights between 8.5 – 11.5 ” to the shoulder and weighs between 7 – 13 pounds. Life expectancy is 14 – 16 years.
These companion dogs adore their humans and are a great choice for families with kids, even though they are part of the toy group. That’s because, while they may be small, they are known to be hardier than many other toy breeds. Still, if you have small children, take extra care to caution them on being gentle.
The little cutie comes to us from Cuba. They’re intelligent, easy to train, have big brown eyes, and gorgeous silky hair which will need brushing several times a week. Plan to visit your groomer for maintenance. To decrease trips to the groomer, the Havanese can be kept in a shorter haircut. This low to no shedding breed is considered hypoallergenic.
11. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador reach heights between 21.5 – 24.5 ” to the shoulder and weighs between 55 – 80 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 – 12 years.
Reported by the AKC in March of 2019, the Labrador has held the #1 spot for the most popular dog breed 28 years in a row.
Labs are known to be loyal, loving, easy-going, protective, and super intelligent. If you’re looking for a family-kid friendly dog who’s easy to train, the Lab might be the dog for you! According to animalplanet.com,
“They are the breed of choice for search and rescue work, guide dogs, assisted living dogs, and contraband detection work.”
Grooming needs are minimal. They do shed so the more you frequently you brush him, the less hair will be on the floor.
The Newfoundland is a huge dog. They can reach heights between 26 – 28″ at the shoulder and weighs between 100 -150 pounds. Life expectancy is 9 – 10 years.
This gentle giant is sweet, affectionate, loyal, and protective. They love their families, so much so they’ve been known to stand between their humans and a stranger. According to the AKC’s Official Standard of the Newfoundland:
“The Newfoundland is a sweet-dispositioned dog that acts neither dull nor ill-tempered. He is a devoted companion.”
” Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland; this is the most important single characteristic of the breed.”
Newfs are an intelligent breed that does well with training. Their grooming needs are not excessive. They have a thick coat of hair which should be brushed a few times a week. A couple of times a year you’ll notice they have a heavier shed where they’ll need daily brushing. As far as activity, the Newf doesn’t require a lot of exercise, but he does enjoy it. Long walks, hikes, and swimming are some of his favorites.
If you find the poodle is for you, you have some choices. Poodles come in 3 sizes:
- Toy Poodle height is up to 10 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 4 – 6 pounds. Life expectancy 14 – 16 years. (*Not recommended for families with small children who could unintentionally hurt this fragile pooch)
- Miniatures are up to 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 15 – 18 pounds. Life expectancy 14 – 16 years.
- Standards are greater than 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 40 – 70 pounds. Life expectancy is 12-15 years.
In general, poodles make wonderful family dogs and are great with children. (As I mentioned above, the only exception would be for the Toy Poodle, which isn’t a good fit for young kids).
Some quick facts:
- They have lots of energy and are always eager to play.
- All three sizes are extremely smart and easily trained.
- Poodles are a good choice for families with allergies, as they are considered a hypoallergenic breed.
This is a high-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. Plan on going to the groomer every 4 – 6 weeks. Daily brushing in between is your best insurance to decrease the possibility of matted hair. Like many other dogs that grow hair, the upkeep can be lessened if they are kept in a short haircut. Other than the obvious necessary haircut (including shaving their face, feet, and tail), the poodles require ear care. They have long, floppy ears with hair growing on the inner flap and into the canal. That hair must be picked and cleaned out. Your groomer should know to take care of this.
The Pug reaches heights between 10 – 13″ to the shoulder and weighs between 14 – 18 pounds. Life expectancy is 13 – 15 years.
One look into a pug’s eyes and I bet you’ll smile. Plus, their cute little wrinkled faces are too precious for words. But it’s not just their appearance that makes families say, “awwww”!
The Pug is known to be playful, gentle, intelligent, and mild-mannered. They crave companionship and are big sleepyheads. So, if you’re all about that #nap life then the pug may just be your canine soulmate! According to the AKC,
“Pug owners say their breed is the ideal house dog. Pugs are happy in the city or country, with kids or old folks, as an only pet or in a pack.”
A few things to consider:
- They are small, so you’ll want to be careful with very young kiddos.
- This breed likes to eat, so it’s important to watch his nutritional intake so he doesn’t become overweight.
- Grooming needs are minimal, but due to all the folds and wrinkles this breed has, make sure they are clean and dry daily.
15. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu reaches heights between 9 – 10.5 ” to the shoulder and weighs between 9 – 16 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 – 18 years.
These dogs make great companions. They are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a flat head, short nose, and are prone to respiratory difficulties. This dog is not athletic, should not be heavily exercised, and should be kept from getting overheated in the hotter months.
Considered a hypoallergenic breed, they are a good choice if your kids suffer from pet allergies. Shih Tzu’s have long silky flowing hair and need daily brushing to prevent matting. Plan on making trips to the groomer to keep this beauty in tip-top condition. It’s easy to minimize grooming needs by having your groomer give your pooch a short haircut.