There are multiple factors to consider when selecting a dog for your family. Not all dog breeds are suitable for homes with children, while some may do better with older children only. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into before bringing a dog home to your family. This will not only keep your family safe and comfortable but also keep your dog happy and stress-free. Here are some of the most popular dog breeds that often do well in family settings.
Top 21 Most Popular Family Dog Breeds
1. Labrador Retriever
|Temperament:||Outgoing, friendly, playful|
The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog in America for around 30 years now, and for good reasons! This breed can be bombastic, but they are excellent family dogs. Labs are friendly and outgoing dogs that typically get along well with people of all ages. Although energetic and active, they are often happy to be couch potatoes as well, making them suitable for homes with a variety of activity levels. They are often welcoming of strangers and visitors, but they’re loyal dogs that adore their people.
2. Golden Retriever
|Temperament:||Gentle, loyal, intelligent|
The Golden Retriever is another breed that consistently ranks among the most popular dog breeds in America. Goldens are loyal and loving dogs that are known for their gentleness. They are often quite tolerant of children, even children they aren’t familiar with. They tend to be active dogs that are happy to participate in just about anything their people are participating in, making them a great addition to active families. Their intelligence and desire to please make them highly trainable dogs.
|Height:||Up to 15 inches|
|Weight:||Up to 30 pounds|
|Temperament:||Genial, curious, excitable|
The Beagle is consistently ranked among the most popular dog breeds for homes with children. These friendly and outgoing dogs are known for their exuberance, often having a zest for life that they tell the world about through their joyful baying. They aren’t a great breed for homes that would prefer a quiet dog, but they are often playful but gentle with children. Well-socialized Beagles are typically good with children of all ages, including children they don’t know well. They can make excellent companions that will show loyalty and love for their people.
|Temperament:||Calm, funny, brave|
The Bulldog may not seem like a good breed for families to the uninformed, but Bulldogs can be excellent family dogs in the right family. These dogs tend to be calm and not overly active, making them great in busy homes where people are frequently gone. However, they do need to be encouraged to be active every day to keep them healthy and prevent boredom. Bulldogs may have an air of royalty about them but they can also be quite amusing dogs that are generally quite gentle and patient with children.
|Temperament:||Charming, loyal, mischievous|
The Pug may seem like an unlikely breed for families, but Pugs have long been known for their love of children. These dogs may be small and goofy looking, but they are brave dogs (until it’s time for a nail trim) that show intense loyalty, especially toward children. Pugs are charming, which often allows them to get away with all manner of mischief, so it’s important to work on training to keep your Pug in line to keep them safe. Make sure that children that may walk the dog understand the low tolerance that Pugs and other flat-faced breeds have to heat.
6. Irish Setter
|Temperament:||Trainable, active, sweet|
The Irish Setter is a lovely dog breed that is often intelligent and trainable. They tend to be loyal and patient dogs, making them good companions for children. They are highly active dogs, making them a good fit for homes with family members that spend a lot of time outdoors and generally being active. Irish Setters that aren’t provided with enough activity may become bored, and in some cases, may show signs of stress and aggression, so providing daily activity is a must with this breed.
7. Brussels Griffon
|Temperament:||Intelligent, interactive, curious|
The Brussels Griffon is a small dog breed that is sturdier and much tougher than it may appear. This breed tends to love children, and they overall enjoy spending time with people of just about any age, although they may attempt to play too rough with small children. The Brussels Griffon is curious and mischievous, so be prepared for a handful with these small dogs. Like other flat-faced breeds, they have a poor heat tolerance, but they are a somewhat active breed, so finding ways to have daily activity is a must.
8. French Bulldog
|Weight:||Up to 28 pounds|
|Temperament:||Playful, adaptable, intelligent|
The French Bulldog has rapidly increased in popularity over the last decade, and it’s easy to see why. These charming dogs are playful but intelligent. They are adaptable to a variety of environments, and they tend to be a “go with the flow” type of dog. Their playfulness and sturdy build often make them suitable companions for children, although their flat faces can make them poorly suited to hot environments. They will appreciate daily activity, but this is not an overly active breed.
|Temperament:||Patient, loyal, gentle|
The Newfoundland is the quintessential gentle giant type of dog breed. These big dogs are known for their patience and gentleness, as well as their loyalty and bravery. Newfies are often used as life saving dogs, and this quality makes them great companions for children. They are big, sturdy, and patient enough to tolerate children, and they tend to be good with strangers. This breed isn’t overly active, but they do appreciate space to move and play every day, so make sure you’re ready to provide this.
|Temperament:||Devoted, gentle, graceful|
The Collie became most well known when Lassie came onto the scene, and this beautiful breed has continued to prove itself for the decades since. Collies are known for their devotion to their people. They tend to be gentle and patient dogs, although they may not be particularly outgoing with strangers. This intelligent breed does best with some type of job, so you may have to get creative to keep your Collie’s brain and body exercised and active.
|Height:||Up to 22 inches|
|Temperament:||Intelligent, alert, active|
The Poodle comes in multiple sizes, allowing you to select a dog that is best suited to your home. Overall, though, Poodles are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. They tend to be outgoing and active dogs that need daily activity. Their alert and intelligent nature makes them good dogs for homes with children. This is especially true of standard Poodles, while toy and miniature Poodles may be less tolerant of children. Poodles are highly prized for how easy they can be to train, but they do have moderate to high grooming needs, so a commitment to providing proper coat care is necessary.
12. German Shepherd
|Temperament:||Loyal, brave, intelligent|
The German Shepherd is one of the most recognizable dog breeds, and they are extremely popular. This can be a challenging dog breed, especially for first-time dog owners, so make sure to thoroughly research this breed before bringing it home. Properly socialized German Shepherds can make loyal and patient companions for children. They are a high activity breed, so be prepared to take time every day to exercise and entertain your German Shepherd. These dogs are brave and protective dogs that will keep individuals and your property well guarded.
13. Boston Terrier
|Weight:||Up to 25 pounds|
|Temperament:||Comical, friendly, intelligent|
The Boston Terrier is a lively dog breed that is known for its distinct appearance and often comical personality. These dogs are intelligent, although they do sometimes exhibit typical terrier stubbornness. They tend to be gentle dogs, though, and are often patient with children. They are typically good with strangers, although they may be wary of strange animals. This is a flat-faced dog breed that has a poor heat tolerance, but they do benefit from daily activity.
|Temperament:||Goofy, brave, bright|
The Boxer is a goofy and playful dog breed that is often well suited to family homes. These brave and loyal dogs are intelligent and trainable. They are active dogs that do best with daily activity, so they’re best suited to active households. They are a flat-faced breed, though, so their heat tolerance may be low. Boxers are strong dogs that can be excitable, so training and exercise are the best ways to make your Boxer best suited to a home with children.
|Weight:||Up to 32 pounds|
|Temperament:||Stubborn, courageous, playful|
The Dachshund typically has the right temperament for family homes, although they may not be particularly tolerant of small, loud children. The biggest concern with Dachshunds in homes with children is their risk of back injury, especially with rough handling, so it’s necessary to ensure safe handling of this breed by children. They are playful dogs that tend to be active, and they enjoy a variety of activities, from puzzles and games to daily walks. They can be stubborn, making them difficult to train, but their intelligence does make them trainable.
|Temperament:||Outgoing, playful, friendly|
The Pomeranian is an outgoing and lively dog that often has an ideal temperament for homes with children. They are quite small, though, and their bodies can be delicate due to their size, so proper handling is necessary to keep your Pomeranian safe. This breed tends to be good with strangers and visitors, although they can be noisy, so don’t be surprised if your Pom barks at visitors to the home, including children. They usually warm up quickly, though, and love the attention that people give to them.
17. Australian Shepherd
|Temperament:||Active, loving, friendly|
The Australian Shepherd is an active dog breed that loves having a job, making them a good fit for active households with plenty of outdoor activities. They’re especially suitable for participating in canine sports, like agility and obedience. Aussies are loving and friendly dogs, although they are also known to be protective of their people when they sense a threat. They’re an intelligent breed that tends to be easy to train due to their eagerness to please.
18. Shih Tzu
|Temperament:||Regal, affectionate, intelligent|
The Shih Tzu may surprise you by showing up on this list because they’re often thought of as high-maintenance, frou-frou dogs. However, the Shih Tzu is an intelligent and trainable dog that tends to show a great deal of affection toward its people, including children. They’re often friendly dogs that get along well with strangers, although they may be aloof or uncomfortable with new or loud children and animals. This breed does have high grooming needs, so a commitment to coat care is necessary.
|Temperament:||Protective, brave, calm|
The Rottweiler acquired a bad reputation as an aggressive dog breed in the 1990s, but this breed is actually exceptionally well suited to homes with children. Rottweilers are extremely loyal, brave, and protective dogs, and many people who keep them report them showing an intense bond and protectiveness toward their children. They may be aloof with strangers, including children, so be prepared to put the dog away when visitors come by if your Rottweiler is overly protective. This breed is trainable and tends to be calm and gentle.
20. German Shorthair Pointer
|Temperament:||Bold, trainable, excitable||
The German Shorthair Pointer is an excitable and exuberant dog breed that can be suitable to homes with active children, especially older children. These dogs tend to be bold and outgoing, even with strangers. They’re typically highly trainable dogs, and their loyal nature makes them committed companions. This is a breed with strong instincts toward hunting, and it can be difficult to train around the prey drive associated with this, so the GSP may not be a good option in homes with small animals, like rodents and reptiles.
21. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
|Temperament:||Gentle, sweet, social|
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful and graceful dog breed. This breed is well-loved for its gentle, sweet nature, which typically extends to children and adults alike. They are often good with strangers, and many people consider this breed to be sociable, even with other animals. They can benefit from daily activity, although this is not a high-energy dog breed. This breed can benefit from games and puzzles for entertainment, as well as daily walks.
There are a lot of fantastic dog breeds to bring into a family household, but it’s important to keep in mind that dogs are as individual as humans are. Temperament and personality can vary between dogs, but selecting a dog from a responsible breeder who breeds for health and temperament can give you the best shot at ending up with a dog that will have a temperament that meets its breed standard. You must also remember that children must be taught to respect dogs, and no matter how patient you think your dog is, they may bite or snap if stressed or hurt.
Featured Image Credit: bunthaweekan anpunya, Shutterstock