Top Rated National® Puppy Finder


21 Best Dog Breeds for Kids and Families

Profile picture of the author - Anna Lengacherby Anna Lengacher

Congrats!  You’ve decided to take the leap and add a family dog to your tribe.

For a family with children, bringing home a dog is a fantastic way of instilling important life lessons.

For one, dogs are quick to teach a child responsibility.  Because like it or not, Fido needs fed daily and exercised regularly.  There is no, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ when your puppy is needing food.

Puppies also teach compassion as children learn to love and care for favorite four-legged friends.

In addition, children frequently experience improved social skills and increased self-esteem when doing life alongside a growing dog.  

Puppy greeting boy and mother at the park.

Still, not every dog is a match made in heaven for families with children.

Like people, dogs can arrive home with a variety of temperaments, personalities, and preferences.  There’s friendly and affectionate and stubborn and cold.

So before you bring home your new pupper friend, you’ll want to make sure you are getting a puppy that is great for the whole family.

In today’s post, we are sharing twenty-one dogs that have proven themselves as excellent family dogs.  These beauties are quick to love and great with kids.

So if you are looking to make your crew just a bit bigger, this space is for you.


What to Consider Before Choosing a Family Dog


  • Your Lifestyle

What is your current lifestyle like?  Are you home often or do you enjoy frequent travel?  Do you spend your evenings watching Netflix?  Are you active and looking for adventure?  Do you prefer being indoors or out in nature?

  • Your Home

That’s right.  How large is your current home?  Do you call a tiny city flat your home or will your dog be coming home to a mansion?  Will you have space for a towering giant canine?  Think about what your current space can realistically handle right now.

  • Your children’s age and activity level

Cute baby laying on the floor with a cute dog.

What will best match your children’s stage of life?  If your children are still small, you may wish to avoid athletic sporting dogs who simply want to run and jump and play all day.  On the other hand, if you have a house full of energetic teenagers, a sporting dog may be your perfect match.

  • Size

Don’t be fooled by size.  Large dogs can be docile and small dogs can be hyper, and vice versa.  There are tiny little pals with big personalities and giant canines who live at ease.  So before diving in, stop and think about what you are actually hoping for from your pupper?  Are you looking for a lap buddy, a hiking partner, an adventure seeker, a guard dog, or something totally different?

  • Temperament

When searching for a family dog, look for a dog who is great with kids.  He or she should be friendly, sociable and quick to love.  In addition, notice if the dog prefers a specific age or gender in children.

  • Energy Level

A tired girl and puppy sleeping together on a couch.

How much exercise will your new dog require?  A daily walk?  A regular run?  Find out if the dog is high or low energy.

If you are looking for a running buddy to get you out of bed in the morning, then go ahead and say a hearty yes to dogs with lots of energy.

However, if you’re looking for a favorite couch potato to unwind with after a long day, you’ll be looking for a different breed of dog entirely.

However much energy you opt for, keep in mind that a bored dog will quickly become destructive.  Make certain you’ll be able to meet your new dog’s exercise requirements.

  • Grooming

What type of ongoing care will your new puppy need?  Is frequent grooming required?  How often will you need to bathe your new friend, and how frequently are hair cuts expected?

  • Age

No dog should ever go home before eight weeks of age.  Beyond that, it is completely up to you whether you choose a small little pupper or a full grown adult dog.

If you choose a fun little pup, you’ll get the joy of training him well right from the start.

Conversely, an adult dog will arrive home trained but could present other challenges along the way.

  • Hypoallergenic

This is especially important if someone in your family is allergic to dogs.  If you have a family member who won’t stop sneezing when there is a dog in the house, look for low shedding or hypoallergenic dogs.  Otherwise, no worries on this one.

Now that our bases are covered and you know exactly what to look for before bringing home a family dog, let’s dive into the top twenty-one breeds for families.


21 Best Dog Breeds for Kids and Families


21 best dog breeds for families infographic.


1. Beagle

These beauties are a dream family companion.  They love companionship, they are small and easy to carry, plus they are friendly straight to their core.  Beagles originated as hunting dogs and today they love any adventure out of doors.  Be warned, though.  These little charms love to shed and will need frequent brushing coupled with a good occasional bath.

2. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise doesn’t meet a stranger.  These charms are a friend to everyone and quick to create fun.  They are amiable, sweet, and quick to make memories.  Plus, the Bichon Frise sheds very little which makes them a perfect match for dog lovers with allergies.

3. Biewer Terrier

A Toy Terrier, the Biewer Terrier is a jolly and loyal little pal.  Sporting a gorgeous tri-colored coat, these Terriers are friendly with strangers and love real adventure.  They’ll seldom (if ever!) say no to a walk through the park, a quick jaunt around the block, or a trip downtown.  For families who are social and on the go, the Biewer Terrier is a dream come true.

4. Border Collie

Border Collies are outgoing, smart, and adventurous through and through.  They love being outdoors so check yes to all the hiking, running, jogging, and games that you can possibly squeeze in.  Border Collies also love to please and are quick to bond deeply with their humans.

5. Boxer

As puppies, Boxers can be rambunctious and boisterous.  Always keep a close eye on any little humans when there’s a boxer in the room.  Otherwise, when trained well, Boxers mature into upbeat and charming family companions.  Boxers are patient and quick to protect loved ones.  However, consider exercise a must in order to keep your Boxer healthy and thriving.

6. Brussels Griffon

Get ready for one big dose of personality when greeting the Brussels Griffon.  What these pals lack in size they more than compensate for in personality.  The Brussels Griffon is cute, smart, and funny all in one.  They come in either rough or smooth coats so you can take your pick for whichever coat type you prefer.  Because of their small stature, Brussel Griffons are no match for roughhousing with big kids.  Instead, give them lots of gentle play and they will soon adore you.

7. Bull Terrier

Your kids can kiss boredom goodbye when there’s a Bull Terrier in the house.  The Bull Terrier is an all-around comedian who will keep your whole family laughing.  They are mischevious, endearing, and quick to love action.  Not to mention their pain tolerance is exceptionally high so no unnecessary whining here.  Plus, they require little grooming and call for minimum maintenance.  For a busy family with kids, what more could you ask for?

8. Bulldog

When properly trained, the Bulldog is affectionate with kids and quick to show patience.  They are relaxed throughout life and often appear a bit docile.  Plus, Bulldogs are low energy and can settle into both small and large homes alike.  A regular walk should keep them happy.  Plus, their sturdy build renders them as excellent playmates to roughhouse with the big kids.

9. Cocker Spaniel

The smallest of all sporting breeds, today’s Cocker Spaniel is one sweet dose of dog.  They are active and cheerful and love to play with kids.  Plus, Cocker Spaniels have no problem settling into both tiny or large living quarters.  So apartment dwellers, meet your match.

10. Collie

It’s no joke the Collie is among the smartest of all dog breeds.  They are loyal, gentle, sensitive, and quick to learn.  Plus, they love to please and they adore children.  They will protect with their lives and work to keep their loved ones safe.  Do note, however, Collies were first bred to herd and they will have no problem herding your children too.  No matter how cute this may seem at first, don’t let it happen.  Draw lines early and make sure your Collie understands that herding kids is simply off limits, period.

11. French Bulldog

Greeting you in a sturdy, mini-bulldog body with bat-shaped ears is the playful little French Bulldog.  He’s amiable, quiet, and alert.  So yes, small spaces are no problem as the French Bulldog lives life on the chill side.  Plus, these little pals are low-maintenance and love some good playtime alongside a loving family.

12. Golden Retriever

They are obedient, kind, and confident.  Not to mention they are quick to learn and love showing affection.  If you are ready for lots of fun, then go ahead and say hello to the Golden Retriever.  It’s no mistake these are a favorite among families.  They love action and are forever fond of swimming, hiking, running, playing fetch, and anything fun that includes action.  On the grooming end, plan to brush your Goldie weekly to keep the coat clean and neat.

13. Irish Setter

As a member of the Sporting group, the Irish Setter is no exception when it comes to loving action.  Irish Setters are athletic beauts who carry stunning red coats.  They are playful and smart and thrive in wide open spaces.  One thing is worth noting, though.  The Irish Setter dispises alone time.  So if you are planning to leave your Setter home alone for extended periods of time, then brush right past this sporting breed.  If, however, you are looking for either a workout partner for yourself or a favorite playmate for your energetic children, then viola.  You’ve got yourself a match!

14. Labrador Retriever

A lover of kids, adults, pets, and nearly anything that moves is the Labrador Retriever.  These dogs hardly have an enemy.  They are sweet, popular, patient, and protective.  Plus, they are intelligent and love big doses of playtime.  Labrador Retrievers are high strung and require lots of energy so hello hikes through the wood, runs in the park, and playtime in the backyard.  They will fill all of eighty pounds and require only a quick weekly grooming.

15. Maltese Terrier

They are tiny and fragile and oh so much fun.  Watch these little guys around small children though.  Tousling and roughhousing simply isn’t their jam.

16. Newfoundland

Weighing in between 100-150 pounds is the Newfoundland.   As gentle giants, Newfoundlands are patient, sweet, and super watchful.  They are also intelligent, they flaunt a gorgeous fluffy coat, and they genuinely adore children.  In addition, the Newfoundland is quick to protect loved ones and has no problem drooling and shedding wherever he goes.  Thanks to their ginormous size, these sweet giants thrive in large living spaces.

17. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Loyal and joyful all over is the silky-haired Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.  They shed very little which makes them a fabulous match for children with dog allergies.  Plus, they love to chase so hello hours of exciting playtime!

18. Poodle

Coming in three sizes, Standard, Mini, and Toy, there is a size for all.  Poodles are incredibly intelligent and will thrive on action.  They are also gentle, caring, and loyal to their people.  Not to mention their coat is considered hypoallergenic.  So if your children love dogs but just can’t get over those nasty pet allergies, the Poodle is your dream come true.  You will want to schedule regular grooming to keep the coat in tip-top condition.

19. Pug

For folks looking for a favorite couch potato, meet the Pug.  These pals love two things: sleeping and eating.  Oh, and don’t forget the snuggles.  Really though, the Pug weighs only approx. fifteen pounds and doesn’t demand a lot of space.  He is a couch potato’s dream and loves to spend time with kids.

20. Vizsla

Meet the Vizsla.  As a member of the sporting group, Vizslas love to do life alongside active families.  They demand lots of exercises and are quick to bond deeply with their people.  Walks downtown, hiking outdoors, and runs through the park are but a few of a Vizsla’s favorite things to do.  Not to mention these pals are gentle with children, obedient, and intelligent too.

21. Weimaraners

Nicknamed the “Grey Ghost,” the Weimaraner is stunningly elegant and beautiful.  These beauties adore children and love action.  Hiking, running, and playing fetch in the backyard are staple pastimes.  To families who enjoy adventure, this one is for you!

And that’s a wrap.  Twenty-one of the absolute best dogs for kids and families.  Are you currently crushing on a dog from this list?  We would love to hear in the comments below.


Profile picture of the author - Anna LengacherAs the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.


Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

See Why Our Customers Love Us!

Read Reviews

As Seen On