25+ Best Family Dogs: Finding the Perfect Match for Your Home

best family dogs

Bringing a dog into your home is like opening the door to lasting joy and companionship because the ideal family dog fits seamlessly into your household’s rhythm. Such dogs are patient with children. They’re gentle in nature and embody a loving spirit. In my experience, every family member’s input is crucial when choosing this new furry family member. It ensures the new pet meets the needs and preferences of all family members, fostering a harmonious and joyful home environment.

In this article, we dive into the world of family dogs, exploring the top breeds that excel in family environments. We’ll cover everything from their characteristics to what makes each breed special. You’ll find insights on how different breeds match different family dynamics and spaces. Expect practical tips on size, grooming, energy levels, and much more. So, keep reading to discover the perfect canine addition to your family.

Best Family Dogs and Their Suitability for Family Life

1. Labrador Retriever


  • Personality: Friendly, outgoing, patient
  • Energy Level: Very active

The Labrador Retriever, America’s sweetheart, is the epitome of a family dog. Known for their friendly and patient demeanor, Labs thrive in a bustling household. They adore children, often becoming the playmates and protectors of the little ones. Labs are medium to large in size, typically weighing up to 80 pounds, making them a robust companion for active play. Their life expectancy hovers around 10 to 12 years, meaning your family gets many years of companionship.

Labs get along well with other dogs. However, supervision is always wise. They may require regular grooming because they shed, but nothing too demanding. Further, their barking is moderate and unlikely to disrupt a household.

2. Saint Bernard


  • Personality: Laid-back, friendly, attentive
  • Energy Level: Moderate

Saint Bernards are the heartwarming giants of the dog world, known for their gentle nature. Not only are they stars in movies like Beethoven, but they also have a noble history as rescue dogs. These dogs are a perfect fit for families with spacious homes, as their size requires room to roam. Typically, Saint Bernards live for about 8-10 years, offering a long period of loyalty and companionship.

Furthermore, their bond with children is something special. They mix attentiveness with a wonderfully calm temperament, making them ideal playmates and protectors for the little ones. In addition, Saint Bernards get along well with other pets, adding to their appeal in multi-pet households. They do require regular grooming to keep their thick coats in good shape, and they shed moderately. When it comes to training, their eagerness to please and intelligence make it a rewarding experience.

3. Poodle


  • Personality: Intelligent, playful, adaptable
  • Energy Level: Active

Poodles, with their regal appearance and keen intelligence, are a top pick for families. They come in three sizes – toy, miniature, and standard – fitting into various living spaces comfortably. This breed’s hypoallergenic coat makes it suitable for households with allergies. They are playful and bond deeply with family members, especially children, offering gentle yet lively companionship.

Life expectancy for Poodles is impressive, often living up to 15 years or more. They’re highly sociable and mingle well with other pets. Although their grooming demands are higher due to their curly coat, it’s manageable with regular care. Poodles are also known for their low barking tendency and are impressively easy to train.

4. Boxer


  • Personality: Protective, playful, intelligent
  • Energy Level: High

In my time with Boxers at the kennel, I’ve found them to be incredibly joyful and energetic, perfect for families. They’re not only playful, making them ideal for children, but also protective, providing a sense of security.

Their integration into family life is seamless, as they thrive in a nurturing environment. Notably, Boxers possess a muscular build and are always up for activities. As for grooming, they require regular care and shed moderately. Training a Boxer is both fun and rewarding. Their intelligence shines through in training sessions, especially with positive reinforcement.

5. Golden Retriever


  • Personality: Intelligent, friendly, devoted
  • Energy Level: Very active

Golden Retrievers have always been a personal favorite of mine at the kennel. Their friendly and intelligent nature makes them a top choice for families. They’re particularly great with kids, displaying a patient and devoted temperament. These dogs are medium to large, enjoying a lifespan of around 10-12 years.

They seamlessly adapt to family life, bringing joy and activity. Golden Retrievers require regular grooming due to their luscious golden coats, but they are worth the effort.

6. French Bulldog


  • Personality: Playful, smart, adaptable
  • Energy Level: Low

French Bulldogs are a hit with families in the city. Their compact size is perfect for apartment living. On top of that, these charming dogs bring a sense of playfulness to any home. They live between 10-12 years, offering enduring companionship.

Adaptable and loving, French Bulldogs fit well into various lifestyles. They require minimal grooming and are low shedders, making them easy to care for. Additionally, training these intelligent dogs is usually a joyful experience.

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


  • Personality: Gentle, adaptable, sweet
  • Energy Level: Moderate

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a heart-stealer with a sweet and gentle personality. These small-sized dogs, weighing around 13 to 18 pounds, fit perfectly in any family setting. They live for about 12-15 years, offering long-term companionship.

Cavaliers are great with kids, displaying patience and affection. They’re also friendly with other pets, making them an excellent choice for multi-pet households. Their grooming needs are moderate, and they’re not heavy shedders. On top of that, Cavaliers have a low barking tendency, ensuring a peaceful home environment. Training them is usually straightforward, as they love to please their families.

8. Beagle


  • Personality: Curious, friendly, merry
  • Energy Level: High

Beagles, with their adorable expressions and compact size, are wonderful family dogs. Known for their curiosity and friendliness, they are particularly great with kids, often becoming their adventurous companions. Beagles are medium-sized dogs, typically living 10-15 years. They get along well with other dogs and have a playful disposition. Although they shed, their grooming requirements are fairly low. Beagles have a distinct bark, but it usually isn’t disruptive.

9. Bulldog


  • Personality: Calm, courageous, friendly
  • Energy Level: Low

Bulldogs are the epitome of a relaxed family pet. These medium-sized dogs are calm around everyone, including children. Expect to enjoy their companionship for a while as their life expectancy is about ten years. Further, bulldogs are generally good with other dogs and are known for their loyal and protective nature. Their grooming needs are minimal, but they do shed moderately.

While Bulldogs are not known for being excessive barkers, they can be quite vocal when needed. Training a Bulldog requires patience, but their affectionate nature makes the effort worthwhile.

10. Pug


  • Personality: Charming, mischievous, loving
  • Energy Level: Moderate

Pugs are small bundles of joy with a huge personality. They are the perfect size for cuddling and adapt well to various living environments. Pugs typically live for 13-15 years, providing long-lasting companionship. They are especially good with children, often forming strong bonds. Their grooming needs are moderate, with regular shedding. Pugs are not excessive barkers, making them suitable for apartments. Additionally, training a Pug can be enjoyable, as they are intelligent and eager to please.

11. Irish Setter


  • Personality: Outgoing, sweet-natured, active
  • Energy Level: Very active

Irish Setters are known for their stunning red coat and joyful disposition. They’re perfect for active families that love spending time outdoors. They are excellent with children, offering playful and gentle companionship. Irish Setters get along well with other pets, too. They do require regular grooming due to their longer coat and tend to shed moderately. Their barking level is manageable, and they respond well to training, especially when it involves activities that let them burn off their abundant energy.

12. Bichon Frise


  • Personality: Sweet, playful, affectionate
  • Energy Level: Moderate

The Bichon Frise, with its fluffy white coat and cheerful demeanor, is a great family pet. These small dogs are ideal for families living in the city or with limited space. They typically live between 12-15 years. Bichons are wonderful with kids, displaying a gentle and affectionate nature. They are friendly towards other dogs and are known for their playful spirit.

Their grooming needs are higher due to their fluffy coats but they shed very little. Bichons are not known for being loud barkers, making them well-suited for apartment living. Training a Bichon Frise is usually a delightful experience as they are intelligent and eager to learn.

13. Dalmatian


  • Personality: Kind, dynamic, playful
  • Energy Level: High

Who would ignore the striking appearance of a Dalmatian? It also has a lovable personality and the energy to keep up with your kids. You’ll have a family pet for up to 15 years when you get a Dalmatian puppy.

Further, when you bring some Dalmatians home, expect them to become your kids’ playmates. They get along well with other dogs and enjoy being part of a busy household. Their short coat requires minimal grooming, but they do shed. Their barking is moderate, and they’re easy to train because they’re intelligent and enjoy learning new things.

14. Border Collie


  • Personality: Intelligent, energetic, responsive
  • Energy Level: Very high

Border Collie breeds stand out for their intelligence and high energy. They are medium-sized dogs, ideal for families that enjoy outdoor activities. Their lifespan typically ranges from 10 to 14 years. Border Collies are excellent with children and love engaging in play that challenges their minds and bodies. They require regular grooming due to their thick coat and tend to shed. Training a Border Collie is rewarding as they are quick learners and eager to please.

15. Newfoundland


  • Personality: Gentle, patient, loyal
  • Energy Level: Moderate

Newfoundlands are known for their large size and gentle temperament. They fit well in homes with ample space and love being around children, often acting as gentle guardians. These dogs can live 8-10 years. They are sociable with other pets and have a calm disposition. Newfoundlands have a thick coat that requires regular grooming and they shed moderately. Their training goes smoothly due to their loyal and eager-to-please nature.

16. Brussels Griffon


  • Personality: Hearty, intelligent, active
  • Energy Level: Somewhat active

Brussels Griffons have always caught my attention with their unique expressions and lively character. These small dogs, typically around 7-10 inches tall, are perfect for those who enjoy a dog with personality. They live about 12-15 years, offering a long companionship full of antics.

Griffons are great with children, often forming a deep bond and providing endless entertainment. They get along well with other pets too. While they do require regular grooming, their shedding is moderate. Their barking can be excessive, but it’s all part of their charm. Training a Griffon can be quite fun, as they are intelligent and responsive.

17. Havanese


  • Personality: Charming, responsive, affectionate
  • Energy Level: Moderate

If you’re looking for a breed that’s delightful and big-hearted, get a Havanese. It’s small in stature and charming. Imagine having such a pet in your home for between 14 and 16 years. In addition, you can keep it in a home with limited space.

Havanese are gentle and playful with children. They adapt well to other pets and are known for their cheerful disposition. Grooming can be a bit of an effort due to their lovely coats, but they don’t shed much. Their barking is generally not excessive, and they’re quite easy to train, making them a wonderful addition to any family.

18. Cocker Spaniel


  • Personality: Playful, affectionate, gentle
  • Energy Level: Moderate

Cocker Spaniels are a true classic among family dogs. With their soft, wavy coats and soulful eyes, they’re medium-sized, usually living for about 12-15 years.

In my time with Cockers, I’ve found they have a special way with kids, being both playful and gentle. They’re also good with other dogs. Their grooming needs are higher due to their beautiful coats, but it’s a labor of love. While they do shed, their barking is usually quite manageable. Training a Cocker Spaniel is a rewarding experience, as they’re eager to please and respond well to gentle guidance.

19. Dachshund


  • Personality: Playful, devoted, curious
  • Energy Level: Moderate

Dachshunds, or as we fondly call them at the kennel, ‘sausage dogs’, are truly one-of-a-kind. I’ve noticed how well these dogs get along with children, their playful nature making them excellent companions.

These spirited, small canines weigh about 30 pounds. Further, they have a moderate shedding coat, which requires regular grooming. As for barking, they can be vocal, but it’s often manageable. Training them can be a delightful challenge, as they’re both curious and independent.

20. Collie


  • Personality: Graceful, devoted, intelligent
  • Energy Level: Very active

Now, if you’re looking for stunning, smart, and affectionate pets, consider getting a few Collies. They’ll be with your family for about 14 years.

My friend has a Collie, and one of the characteristics I admire about this breed is its devotion. Collies can live around kids. They’re sociable with other dogs and have a joyful nature. Their beautiful coat does require regular grooming and they shed moderately. Training a Collie is an enriching experience, thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to learn.

21. Labradoodle


  • Personality: Friendly, energetic, intelligent
  • Energy Level: High

Labradoodles have been a popular choice at our kennel for families looking for a hypoallergenic option. Did this breed is a crossbreed between a Labrador and a Poodle? These pets vary in size but are generally large, and live for up to 14 years.

These dogs are amazing with kids, showing both friendliness and patience. They get along well with other pets, adding to their family-friendly nature. Grooming a Labradoodle can be a bit of a task due to their coat, but they shed minimally. Their training is usually straightforward as they inherit the intelligence of both parent breeds.

22. German Spitz (Pomeranian)


  • Personality: Playful, affectionate, confident
  • Energy Level: Moderate

German Spitz, especially the Pomeranian variety, are a joy to have around. It’s one of the smallest breeds you can keep in your home as the heaviest weighs about 7 pounds. Nevertheless, it’ll be with your family until your kid’s teen years.

While attending to some at our kennel, I’ve found they get along well with other dogs. Their grooming needs are considerable, given their fluffy coats, but they’re worth it. Training is enjoyable, as they’re intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement.

23. West Highland White Terrier (Westie)


  • Personality: Hardy, friendly, active
  • Energy Level: High

West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, are full of energy and spunk. They’re among the average-weight canines, weighing between 15 and 20 pounds. Terriers live for about 15 years, which is a good duration for a family pet.

I always find Westies to be great with kids, offering endless fun and play. They have moderate grooming needs and shed minimally. Training them is usually straightforward, as they are intelligent and love engaging in various family activities.

24. Coton de Tuléar


  • Personality: Affectionate, lively, gentle
  • Energy Level: Moderate

The Coton de Tuléar, with its soft, cotton-like coat, is a delightful breed. It’s one of the breeds that live for about 19 years. Coton de Tuléars are small, usually around 8-13 pounds. They’re excellent family dogs because they’re wonderful and gentle with children. Their grooming demands are high, but their shedding is low. Training a Coton de Tuléar is rewarding, as they’re smart and eager to please.

25. Boykin Spaniel


  • Personality: Playful, friendly, eager-to-please
  • Energy Level: High

Boykin Spaniels are a joy to work with, known for their friendly and playful nature. They’re a medium-sized breed, living around 10-15 years.

These dogs have a special way with kids, being both energetic and gentle. They also fit well into homes with other pets. Their grooming needs are moderate, and they shed somewhat. Training a Boykin Spaniel is fun due to their eagerness to learn and please.

26. Bernese Mountain Dog


  • Personality: Calm, affectionate, loyal
  • Energy Level: Moderate

Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants, perfect for families who have enough space because they’re large pets. They can weigh up to 115 pounds. Nevertheless, they have a low lifespan of about 8 years.

I always find these dogs to be fantastic with children, protective and affectionate. They’re sociable with other pets and have a calm demeanor. They require regular grooming. Training them is a fulfilling experience as they are intelligent and responsive.

27. English Pointer


  • Personality: Intelligent, energetic, affectionate
  • Energy Level: Very high

English Pointers are medium to large in size. If you’re looking for a furry companion that lives long, you’ve found one as this breed can live up to 17 years.

At the kennel, I’ve observed their affectionate nature with children and how they always look forward to playtime. They get along well with other dogs and are perfect for active families. Their grooming is straightforward, and they shed moderately. Training an English Pointer is engaging, as they’re quick learners and love activities that challenge them physically and mentally.

Factors to Consider: How to Get the Best Family Dog Breed

In my years at the kennel, I’ve seen how the right match can make all the difference. Let’s explore what to consider when selecting your new furry family member, from size and lifestyle to breed temperament and health. Each aspect plays a crucial role in ensuring your new dog is not only a pet but a part of your family.

Choose the Right Dog for Your Living Space

Best Breeds for Apartments and Small Homes

Choosing a dog for a smaller living space, like an apartment or a small home, requires careful thought about size and energy levels. Compact breeds like Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Dachshunds are excellent choices. They adapt well to limited spaces and typically have energy levels that are manageable in smaller environments. Consider not just the physical space but also the lifestyle you can offer. For example, a small, high-energy dog might still need ample exercise outside the home.

Find the Right Fit for Larger Homes

In larger homes, especially those with yards, you have more flexibility in choosing bigger breeds. Dogs like Great Danes, Bernese Mountain Dogs, or Golden Retrievers can thrive in these settings. They benefit from the additional space to roam and play.

However, remember that large dogs can have higher energy levels and exercise needs. So, it’s crucial to match not only the size but also the activity requirements of these breeds to your family’s ability to provide them with adequate exercise and engagement.

Lifestyle and Activity Level Compatibility

When choosing a dog, it’s vital to consider your family’s typical activity level. A mismatch here can lead to frustration for both the pet and the family. Energetic breeds like Border Collies or Australian Shepherds are ideal for active families who love outdoor adventures. These breeds thrive with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

For families preferring a more laid-back lifestyle, breeds like Bulldogs or Shih Tzus are perfect. They enjoy lounging around the house and require less vigorous exercise.

Understand Breed Characteristics and Temperament

Every dog breed comes with its own set of characteristics. In my years working with dogs, I’ve learned that these traits can significantly impact how well a dog fits into a family setting. Consider factors like size, energy levels, and instinctual behaviors specific to each breed.

Families with children should particularly look for breeds known for their friendly and gentle nature. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Beagles are not only friendly but also patient with children.

Check the Grooming Needs of Different Breeds

Grooming needs vary greatly across breeds. Some, like Poodles, require regular professional grooming, while others, like Beagles, have minimal grooming needs. Always consider the grooming demands of the breed and whether you’re prepared to meet them. Keep in mind the time and financial commitments involved in maintaining your dog’s coat and health. Regular grooming can be a significant expense and time investment, especially for breeds with long or specialized coats.

Know the General Health Issues of the Breed

Different breeds have predispositions to certain health issues. For instance, large breeds like Saint Bernards are prone to hip dysplasia, while smaller breeds like Pugs can have respiratory issues. Being aware of these breed-specific health concerns is vital for prospective dog owners.

The lifespan of dog breeds varies, with smaller breeds generally living longer than larger ones. A commitment to a dog’s health includes understanding their lifespan and preparing for their care in the long term, which may involve regular vet check-ups and potential treatments for breed-specific health issues.

Will You Invest in Puppy Training?

Early training and socialization are crucial in raising a well-adjusted dog. It helps them become comfortable in various environments and situations. This early investment in training pays off in the long run. Different breeds have different training and socialization needs. Some, like German Shepherds, are quick learners, while others may require more patience.

Do You Have Allergies ?

For families with allergies, choosing the right dog becomes even more important. It’s crucial to consider how a breed’s coat and shedding might affect allergy sufferers in the household. Breeds like Poodles and Bichon Frises are often recommended for allergy sufferers due to their hypoallergenic coats. Additionally, breeds that shed less can also be a good choice, as they spread fewer allergens around the home.


What size dog is best for small living spaces?

Consider breeds like French Bulldogs or Pomeranians for small spaces. They adapt well to apartment living.

How do I choose a dog that matches my family’s activity level?

Look for breeds that align with your lifestyle: active families might enjoy Labrador Retrievers, while calmer households might prefer Bulldogs.

What are the best dog breeds for families with children?

Breeds like Golden Retrievers and Beagles are known for their friendly and gentle nature, making them great with kids.

How often do different dog breeds need grooming?

Grooming frequency varies: breeds like Poodles require regular grooming, while others like Beagles have minimal needs.

What should I know about a breed’s health and lifespan?

Research common health issues and lifespan. Some breeds live longer but may have specific health concerns.

Why is early training and socialization important for a family dog?

Early training and socialization help ensure your dog is well-behaved and comfortable in various settings.

What dog breeds are suitable for families with allergies?

Hypoallergenic breeds like Poodles or breeds that shed less, such as Bichon Frises, are suitable for allergy sufferers.

How do I find a dog breed that gets along with other pets?

Look for social breeds like Labrador Retrievers. A breeder or kennel attendant can also guide you.

Finding Your Family’s Furry Companion

When we brought Oscar, our family dog, into our home, it wasn’t just about his breed or size. It was about understanding his personality and how he’d fit into our daily lives. We learned about his energy needs, how he interacts with others, and his unique quirks. This process brought us closer as a family, discussing, planning, and even laughing about our expectations versus reality. It was a heartwarming chapter in our lives, enriching our family bond. E

Therefore, embrace this journey, cherish the moments of decision-making, and prepare to welcome not just a pet, but a new source of joy and unforgettable memories into your lives.

About Mabel 58 Articles
Mabel is a dog lover, pet boarding industry veteran, and has been a writer at Perfect Dog Breeds from day one. Her hands-on experience and daily adventures with her Belgian Malinois, Oscar, infuse her writing with genuine insights and a touch of canine wisdom.

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