The Top 12 Dogs for Families

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Adding a pet to your household is a very important decision that requires a lot careful planning and consideration. You have to think carefully of not only its personality and level of care, but the needs of your children as well.

At the same time, a dog can ultimately help bring your family closer together as a unit, and can give you and your kids a healthy dose of happiness and laughter, which is essential to any child’s health.

Whether you’re looking for a small companion dog for your child, or you’re hoping that a bigger dog will help you and your family feel more protected at night, here are 12 different types of dog breeds that are known to be fun-loving and family-friendly:


They do have a tendency to snort and snore, and you may have to clean out their wrinkles from time to time, but pugs are an incredibly low-maintenance breed. They have a reputation for being baby-and toddler-friendly.

Pugs are smaller than the average dog, (they can weigh anywhere from 14 to 20 pounds), and they don’t need a lot of exercise so you can leave them locked up in your house or apartment all day while you work.

If you’re looking for a dog that is intelligent, pugs aren’t necessarily the sharpest tools in the tool shed. But that doesn’t make them any less cute!

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are known to be extremely loyal, well-mannered, and patient with children. They make excellent watchdogs, and they also serve as service or therapy-dogs for anyone who is blind or disabled.

Golden retrievers are essentially “sporting dogs” and they love to be outside. The only downside is that they do shed a lot and require a lot of exercise, but on the bright side it will encourage your children to become more active in training the dog or taking it for a walk.

Border Collies

If you have a disobedient child or even a child who likes to wander off, Border Collies may be the perfect solution to all your problems.

Border Collies are the types of breed that should be left outside, and don’t respond well to being locked up inside of the house all day. They also require a lot of care and maintenance because they have long, thick coats of fur that can get tangled if not taken care of properly.

Border Collies are described as “workaholics” and “mind-readers” and you can also train them to bark or come get you if your child misbehaves or starts crying. They are famously known for “herding” other dogs or even children, but this may be frightening to a small child if they’re not used to it.

Miniature Dachshunds

These “hot dogs” are a great choice of breed if you’re looking for a small dog, or if you have small children. However, if your kids tend to play rough with animals, this type of dog may not be the best choice because they have very sensitive backs; so before adding a Miniature Dachshund to your family, be sure to educate your child on how to pick him or her up properly.

Miniature Dachshunds love to cuddle and play all the time, and they are easy to take care of because they don’t shed a lot. They’re also great apartment dogs, and usually don’t mind being kept inside all day. They are known to be incredibly attached to their owners, but they do tend to bark a lot.

Miniature dachshunds weigh less than 11 pounds, but if you prefer a larger dog the Standard Dachshunds weigh approximately 30 pounds.

Yorkshire Terriers

These tiny little fur balls have an incredible tolerance for kids, and are comfortable with being kept inside all day. Despite their small size, Yorkshire Terriers are adventurous, brave, and clever, and tend to pick up the “leader” role when playing with a group of other dogs.

On the other hand, they can be very demanding for attention, and may snap if they become surprised or frightened, so if you have small or very active children, this breed may not be the best option. They can also be very difficult to train, so make sure your children are old enough to understand the importance of training a dog and/or puppy.


Boxers can serve as an excellent watchdog because they are very suspicious of strangers. They are also large in size, muscular and strong, and can weigh anywhere from 50 to 65 pounds. On the other hand, they are incredibly fun-loving, good-natured, and affectionate, and are extremely loyal to their owners.

Boxers don’t require a lot of care and attention because they know how to entertain themselves, and they have short fur that doesn’t shed a lot. But they do need to be exercised on a regular basis, and should be left in the backyard while you’re at work. (They can also adapt to living in an apartment as long as they are exercised more than twice a day).

If you have babies or small toddlers, be careful when leaving your child alone with a Boxer as they may accidentally knock children over due to their size and strength (even if they don’t mean to).


Newfoundlands can weigh up to 100 to 130 pounds, yet they are very patient, laid back, and gentle. And despite being easy to train, they may even be slightly lazy and inactive, so you don’t need to exercise them as much as the other large breeds of dogs.

One negative to owning a Newfoundland is that they do shed a lot and their fur tends to tangle, so you have to take extra care of their coat.

If you’re going to leave your Newfoundland outside during the day, make sure they have a place to lay in the shade because they don’t handle the heat very well.


Sure they look a little goofy, but believe it or not poodles are one of the smartest types of breeds, and are very easy to train. However, boredom can lead to mischief, so make sure they have something to do throughout the day if you’re going to leave them locked up inside your house.

Poodles are a great choice of breed if you have small children because they love to play with kids, and they are incredibly patient and gentle. Poodles are also ideal because they don’t shed a lot, and are a great option if you or anyone in your family is prone to allergies.


“Poms” are active and intelligent, and can be incredibly loyal companions for your children. However, if your child is known to be rough with animals then Pomeranians may not be the best choice of breed for your family as they are very delicate. (In fact, some Pomeranian breeders won’t sell a puppy to someone who has a child under the age of five).

But nevertheless Pomeranians are effective watchdogs and are easy to take care of. They love to be held on your lap and are a dog of choice for senior citizens or for people with disabilities.

Labrador Retrievers

Labs are easily one of the most popular family-friendly dogs, and they are also very popular service dogs as well. They are easy to train, and although they are very well socialized they tend to be sceptical of strangers, thus making excellent watchdogs.

They do need a lot of exercise though, so make sure you take them on long walks everyday with your kids.


Don’t be fooled by their tough exterior: Bulldogs are incredibly docile and loyal, and even though they look muscular they don’t necessarily require a lot of exercise.

If you have the type of family that loves to sit around and watch TV together, then Bulldogs are a great choice of breed for your household because they love to sleep all day. They are also known to form strong bonds with children.

However Bulldogs tend to chew on things and slobber a lot, so make sure you keep them outside in the yard during the day, (but be sure to provide them with a dog house or a shaded area because they don’t handle the heat very well).


Beagles may not be the smartest dogs in the world, but they are very curious, lively and friendly. But they do require a lot of training and may suffer from separation anxiety when you leave them alone, so make sure your children are committed to helping you with raising/training your Beagle puppy, otherwise they may develop certain personality traits like excessive barking.

They adapt well in both an apartment and house setting, but if you’re going to leave them outside make sure you have a high fence as they are very curious and tend to wander off.

Before making a final decision, remind yourself that over 4 million animals are euthanized each year because pet shelters are struggling to find loving homes for animals. Especially with the number of puppy farms increasing, it may be a good idea to check out a local animal or pet shelter before buying a puppy for your home.

Editor's note: Even within breeds, dogs have individual personalities. The addition of a pet to a family with children is a decision that should not be taken lightly - parents do so at their own risk!


Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she's been researching student loans with no credit checks as well as student loans without a consigner. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

Note: Opinions expressed in this guest post may not represent the views of Family Anatomy or its authors. Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.