a girl bonds with the new family dog

Best Dog Breeds for Families

Of course, the best way to have a family-friendly dog is to ensure that the dog considers every human member of the family as its Pack Leader. That being said, here is Cesar’s Way’s take on some of the best dog breeds for families.


The great advantage of bulldogs? They’re sturdy, so they can take anything that rambunctious kids throw at them, while they’re not very energetic. End result? A dog that will put up with a lot. They’re also not picky about where they live, so both small apartments and large houses are fine.


If you don’t mind a bit of high maintenance when brushing and bathing, Charlie Brown’s best friend is an ideal dog for families with children. Energetic and friendly, beagles are also sturdy and mostly child-proof, and your kids will wear out before they do. They also make good nannies that can help you herd the young ones at bedtime and have endearingly humorous habits, like howling, which can be very amusing in small doses.

Bull Terrier

Spuds McKenzie, Buster Brown’s Pal, and the preferred canine baby sitter of yesteryear, bull terriers are intelligent, energetic, and friendly dogs that can take a lot of roughhousing while remaining calm. Particularly suited to large families, they don’t complain too much when manhandled by children and can help teach kids how to relate to dogs properly. Plus, they’re just charming and adorable. While they are energetic and require lots of playtimes, they will also help wear your kids out — the more, the merrier — and will return the favor by being very protective of them.


One word: Lassie. In fact, Lassie was one of the two dogs (the other was Rin Tin Tin) who inspired a very young Cesar Millan to become a Pack Leader in the first place. While its long coat is high maintenance, its tendency to herd your children may be helpful, at least in their early years. Beyond that, collies love nothing more than to make their humans happy, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that you could train yours to alert you to a fire in the barn or to remind you that you’ve left your cell phone on the dining room table before rushing off to work with a well-timed bark and whine. Sadly, though, no one has yet been able to train this breed to cook.


Because of their natural love of children, the Newfoundland has been dubbed “Nature’s Nannies.” Large and sweet, it’s hard not to fall in love with them, and they will return the favor. While they can drool and shed a lot and suit a family with large open spaces, they will also tend to wind up wherever the family is. Basically, they are gigantic, lovable furballs who desire nothing more than to keep watch on their pack members.


Originally a middle-European hunting dog, and little known outside of its native Hungary, the Vizsla is gentle, loyal, quiet, and affectionate. It does require a lot of exercise — not a problem if you have energetic children. Still, it prefers to spend a lot of time indoors with its family and is very eager to learn and show off. If you want to teach your children by train dogs, then this breed is a good choice.

Irish Setter

A better choice for families with yards because of their energy, Irish Setters are wonderful with children, because they are playful and energetic. One word of warning, though — their life spans are among the shorter ones for larger breeds, so you should only choose an Irish Setter if you want to teach those inevitable life lessons while your children are in middle school. Twelve years is considered old age for the breed, and few make it to fifteen.


Please note, only the standard poodle is a good family dog. Miniature poodles tend to be very high strung and not suitable for families with children. Standard poodles are intelligent and gentle and are ideal for children with allergies, as they do not shed as much as other breeds. Otherwise, they are good-natured and make excellent playmates for children.

Labrador Retriever

One of the most popular breeds all around, we have documented Labradors elsewhere as the best dog to have if you’re looking for a date, the only breed accepted for training as arson dogs, and one of the more popular breeds for service dogs. For a family, there’s hardly a better choice. Labradors love to please their humans, being playful, protective, loving, and reliable. There’s nothing that a Lab loves more than to show off by learning a new trick, even if they manage to learn that new trick before you’ve taught it to them. They are canine Einsteins. All of these things make them one of the best dog breeds for families.

Golden Retriever

Goldens are almost everything a Labrador is, except with a much shorter life span than the Irish Setter — twelve years at the most, but ten more likely. Their main asset is extreme patience, helpful around children, as well as their high energy. Frequently used as service dogs, they were initially bred as gun dogs and are avid swimmers.


Bonus choice:

  1. Go to your local shelter, and consider rescuing a mixed breed dog.
  2. Consider a mixed breed in any case.
  3. Look for a dog that matches the energy level of your family, keeping one thing in mind — mid-size and larger dogs are great for families, while small breeds are not. If you have children, avoid Chihuahuas or Yorkies or anything you could pick up with one hand; look at terriers, retrievers, or other bigger dogs.

In general, if you’re not afraid of injuring it by stepping on it, then it’s probably durable enough for children. Once again, remember: Whatever dog you bring into the family, all of the people in the household need to be the Pack Leaders, whether adults or children. Follow this rule from day one, and no matter what dog you adopt, you’ll have an enjoyable experience.

What Qualities Should I Look for in a Family Dog?

A family enjoys a walk on a beautiful fall day with their pet dalmatian. Giving your family a pet is an excellent opportunity to teach them the basics about caring for another living being. Taking care of a dog will provide children with a sense of ownership and responsibility. One should not take lightly the factors that go into pet ownership. There are some points to consider when you are ready to bring home a four-legged friend.

What Breed Factors Are Important When Choosing a Dog for My Family?

You will want to think about the different breeds of canines and which one will best fit your family. Take into consideration your lifestyle and how active your family is. Do you travel a lot? What is your home environment like? Do you live in a small condo or apartment? Is your yard fenced in? You should consider all these points as well as these factors below.


Matching the personality of your pup is of most importance if you desire a successful paring. If your family is energetic and loving, then a poodle or a labrador might be a good fit. A beagle might be a good fit since they tend to be calm with kids, sweet, and gentle. No matter what breed you choose, keep a close watch on how they interact with children. Dogs are fantastic for families with kids, but you must remember that they are still animals.

Energy Level

Take into consideration the amount of exercise a dog needs before you commit to bringing the pup home. Larger dogs like Labradors or German Shepherds tend to have more energy and need an outlet to run and play. If you have a decent-size fenced-in yard or your schedule allows for long walks or trips to the dog park, a bigger pup might be a good fit for you. If you travel often or cannot give the attention an active dog needs, a smaller breed might be a better option. Smaller species like Shih Tzu or Pomeranian tend to need less cardio activity.

Shedding and Grooming

If you are not a fan of constant sweeping of your pup’s shedding fur to maintain the cleanliness of your home, then you will want to consider a short hair breed of dog such as a border terrier. Whether large or small, all dogs, short-haired or long-haired, will shed and need appropriate grooming. Border collies and poodles always look adorable but keep in mind that they will need more upkeep and attention with their fur whether you take them to the groomer or handle the maintenance yourself. If you prefer not to spend a ton of time grooming you may consider a dachshund or a beagle. Both of these breeds only require grooming and a bath occasionally.


Choosing a breed of dog that is easy to train will alleviate stress and headaches down the road. A mild-mannered pup like a golden retriever or a labrador is obedient, loving, intelligent, and tolerant. Shih Tzu’s are very energetic and hard to housebreak, so this breed might not work if you desire an easier transition.


Families with small children will want to pay close attention to the size of the dog they choose to bring home. You will want to look at pups that are sturdy and can hold up to the constant tugging, pulling, pushing, and tail-pulling that tiny tots seem to inflict upon their four-legged friends. Also, keep in mind the size of your home. Small, cramped apartments may not do well with a German Shephard.

Not Prone to Barking

Have you ever been the victim of a neighboring dog who would not stop barking? You can feel helpless in that situation, and it can undoubtedly bring tension. If you live in an apartment complex or a townhouse where there is not a lot of space between you and your neighbors, you may want to consider choosing a breed that tends to bark less. Some of these breeds include Greyhound, French Bulldog, Chinook, and Bullmastiff. Beagles, Chihuahuas, Siberian Huskies, and Yorkshire Terriers breed dogs that tend to be more vocal.

The Benefits of Dogs for Families with Kids

Studies have shown that children who have a dog are more likely to benefit in many different ways. Children tend to be more intelligent, emotionally aware, and more likely to be healthier. Some children with disabilities can benefit greatly from having a pup in their life. You can train certain breeds of dogs to be part of a positive support system for children who struggle emotionally, socially, and physically.

Good Health

Children tend to be healthier when they are active with their dogs. Walking and playing with their furry friends allows them to burn energy and remain physically active. Studies show decreased development of allergies for children that have dogs in the home.

Learn Responsibility

A young boy plays at the park with his dog after a nice walk in the fall weather. Children pretty much automatically assume responsibility for their new puppy by promising to walk the dog every day, keep their food and water bowls full, and, if you’re lucky enough, even clean up the poop. Starting your kids at a young age will give them a sense of responsibility and belonging within the family unit.

Lower Stress

Research shows that a child’s stress level decreases when they read aloud to their pet. Cortisol levels decrease in both the dog and the child while petting. What could be better than literature and lowered stress?


A dog’s instinct will kick in to protect their family and home when they sense danger. Research has found that barking dogs can prevent robberies and other attacks Overall, mentally and physically, your child can feel more at ease with their pup around.

More Compassionate and Empathetic

When children learn how to care for and nurture a dependent pet at a young age, they show more compassion and empathy towards people.

Higher Overall Happiness

Dogs are calming and familiar companions that can help with lowering stress and anxiety levels. Dog owners are typically less depressed than non-dog owners because they have higher levels of serotonin. Puppies are a natural conversation starter, and for those who are introverted, this could lead to situations where they can have less awkward conversations.

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