Dogs are a significant part of many families today. They offer companionship, a sense of safety and security, and love to their owners. But what dog breeds suit family life the best?
Let’s look into the twenty best breeds for families with children – breeds tolerant of kids’ rough play, get along well with other pets in the home, rarely bark excessively, or develop behavioral problems.
Why Do You Need a Dog?
Before you choose what kind of dog breed is best for your family, first consider why you want a dog at all. Keeping and caring for a dog is a big responsibility, and it’s not something to take lightly. If you answer that your child wants a puppy or that everyone else in the family has one, then perhaps reconsider your options. Dogs are wonderful animals, but they can be expensive to maintain, especially regarding their food, veterinary bills, and other needs. If you can’t afford to take a dog on or don’t want one, it’s okay to say so – but consider a different breed of dog that suits your lifestyle and circumstances.
Finding the Right Dog Breed
If you’re not sure what kind of dog to buy, start by looking at a breed guide. For example, the Kennel Club (UK) produces a guide that lists all recognized breeds in alphabetical order.
After you’ve found the right dog breed, it’s time to move onto finding the right dog for your family. As well as considering age and size (your choice of one-year-old dog over a six-month-old or a puppy) and temperament (expecting an aggressive guard dog or an affectionate lapdog), you should also pay attention to suitable breeds for children.
20 Best Dog Breeds for Families with Children
Children can be rough with pets, and many dogs won’t put up with the kind of treatment children dish out. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t allow your child near or interact with your dog, but you will need to supervise them closely. If you have a small dog, consider getting a crate for it to live in your child’s bedroom so it doesn’t get hurt or trampled by an excitable toddler. Keep in mind that dogs, like children, will sometimes “outgrow” their favorite playmates and find others they prefer to be with.
1. Bassett Hound
This breed was named after the town of Bassett in Wiltshire. As descendants of the old English hound, these dogs still retain many of the qualities typical of the English dog – they are alert and courageous but not aggressive. Bassett Hounds are great for children and families because they are playful and loyal. They can also be very responsive to the owner’s voice commands, making them easy to train.
2. Bearded Collie
This sturdy breed has been used for centuries as a working dog, and its appearance is still similar today. It has a strong sense of loyalty to its master – one of the reasons why it is such a popular breed with children and families alike. Bearded Collies make a good family pet for children because they are quiet and easy to train.
3. Border Collie
Border Collies are one of the most intelligent and hard-working breeds in the world. Their intelligence also makes them great family pets because they quickly learn new things and handily adapt to their new environment – almost as if they had been thoroughly indoctrinated before arriving at their new home.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This breed can trace its roots to the royal court of England. Cavaliers make great family pets because they are quiet, affectionate, and friendly towards children. They are also quite tolerant and easygoing, which is why they have been dubbed the perfect breed for families with other animals – especially cats.
5. Cocker Spaniel Cocker
Spaniels originated in Spain and were brought to England by migrants in the 16th century. The dogs became popular with the aristocracy and were used as sporting dogs to hunt woodcock. The Cocker Spaniel is a very gentle dog breed that can be trained easily, making it a great family pet for children.
6. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer was originally a hunting dog, first used in Germany against birds and hares to retrieve them. With a good sense of both hearing and smell, this breed is ideal for working with the police or customs service. They make good family pets for children not only because they are loyal but also because they are quiet and trainable.
7. Great Dane
A member of the Spitz family, this large dog breed was originally used as a livestock guardian. Nowadays, Great Danes are often used as family pets, but they can also be trained to perform sleight-of-hand tricks. Due to their strength and size, you need to be careful with a Great Dane when interacting with your child.
8. Jack Russell Terrier
This small dog breed was used in fox hunting, usually by the grounds’ owner. These dogs are smart, active, full of energy, and very lively. They are very good with children and will often show them affection. They also love to play and can be quite friendly with other small animals too.
9. Labrador Retriever
One of the most popular breeds for many family pets, Labradors were originally bred as gundogs. They like to be around their owner and will often work relentlessly to please them. They are brilliant and can easily be trained, making them ideal family pets for children – although this breed is also happy when left alone.
10. Miniature Schnauzer
This is a German breed initially used as a herding dog, but they can also make excellent family pets because they are friendly and easygoing. But just like any other dog, they are not recommended for children under the age of six.
11. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
This is an amiable breed that was initially used to track downland and water game. They have an awesome sense of smell and highly developed senses of hearing and touch. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is ideal as a family pet because it is devoted to its owner and will put up all sorts of a punishment without showing any frustration.
A member of the Spitz family, these dogs originated in Germany. They are even today used for sporting and hunting purposes. The Poodle is a playful dog breed with a good sense of smell and can easily be trained. This makes them ideal family pets for children who play together with other children.
Originally bred as a companion dog, the Pomeranian is a small, compact dog that does not have an especially long lifespan. The Pomeranian can be very good with children and will often show them affection.
14. Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a sled dog originally bred in Siberia to pull heavy loads on the frozen river trails. Its thick coat helps it stay warm during the winter months and protect it against the cold. It is a very clever dog breed and needs plenty of exercise not to become too excitable.
15. St. Bernard
Originated in the Western Alps of Switzerland and is an amiable and patient dog breed capable of living in even the harshest conditions. It is an ideal family pet for children because it loves being around people, is very affectionate and gentle, and is not aggressive or jealous.
The Sticky is a small and playful dog breed originating in Russia. Known for its extremely silky coat, it is very friendly with people and is also good with children. This dog enjoys being with other people and can get along well with other dogs as long as they are the same size and do not bark too much.
17. Tibetan Mastiff
Purebred Tibetan Mastiffs originated as watchdogs or guard dogs from Tibet. They are big dogs that need lots of exercise and company. They are affectionate, loyal companions with a lot of energy and personality.
18. Tibetan Terrier
Purebred Tibetan Terriers originated as watchdogs in Tibet over 3,000 years ago. These friendly and playful dogs have a strong inclination toward being in people’s presence thanks to their keen sense of hearing, making them easily trainable.
Also known as the English Bulldogge, the Bugg is an energetic and playful companion breed bred to work. This dog is good-natured, loving, and intelligent.
Poodles are one of the most popular dog breeds out there because they’re smart and easy to train. They’re also super affectionate, and they need a ton of exercise, so you must make time for them every day.