Best Dogs For Families

family with dog

Everyone loves to have an obedient and loving family pet, but what are the best dogs for families? This article will focus on a variety of specific dog breeds. That does not mean that mixed breeds or “mutts” cannot be good family dogs! We are just focusing primarily on dogs based on their historically bred backgrounds.

With that in mind, even dogs with breeding for certain attributes can vary drastically from those breed characteristics. It’s important to remember that every dog is different, and just because a dog should make a good family dog doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be. 

You must also ensure that you train your dog properly to prevent problem behaviors before they occur. For help with training your dog, seek the help of our Training Courses.

Before We Begin

We touched on it previously, but it’s important enough to mention again. Breeding does a world of help for the personality of a dog, and a good breeder can mean the difference between a “breed-standard” dog and a dog who is not anything close to their breed’s usual attributes.

With that in mind, even the best bloodlines can result in random flukes. Retrievers who could care less about playing fetch, border collies who have no herding instinct whatsoever, dogs are individuals and sometimes those breed characteristics don’t shine through. With that in mind, please remember that all dogs are different and need consistent training from the moment you bring them home.

You should also remember that each dog will fit your family differently. That’s why we haven’t “rated” or listed these dogs in order. The breeds are entirely random because some dogs just might not fit your lifestyle! With that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the best dog breeds for families!

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever in backyard

Let’s start with a classic. The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dogs in the United States and across the globe. This breed has a friendly and energetic disposition. These dogs make a good fit for an active family that is ready to provide enough exercise and play to keep a dog happy.

Though bred for sport (retrieving, if you couldn’t guess by the name) the Golden Retriever sports a friendly and happy-go-lucky nature that charms almost anyone they meet.

When properly socialized and trained, this breed makes a great family dog who is ready for hours of play with the kids.


Newfoundland Dog in the Park

There are few dogs better for families and children than the Newfoundland. Also known as the “Newfie” for short, this breed has a reputation for being an immense teddy bear of a dog.

They do fantastic with children, and generally have admirable patience when it comes to the antics of youngsters.
Bred to work aboard ships, this breed has a knack for sea rescue and an instinct to protect their family from danger.

The breed was even a member of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, protecting the travelers from danger. Though they outweigh the Golden Retriever, this breed is not quite as energetic, though they enjoy a good romp with their family.

Saint Bernard

St Bernard in Yard

Where the Newfie is the protector of the sea, the Saint Bernard is the protector of the mountains. This breed got its start in the Alps, where monks utilized the dogs for search and rescue in the treacherous mountain passes.

Strong, loyal, and friendly, this breed is eager to please. However, with their large size it is incredibly important to use proper training with a Saint Bernard to ensure they do not develop any problem behaviors.

The breed can easily knock people over should they jump on them, so utilize consistent training early on


Collie resting on the grass

Ok, as the owner of two collies I might be impartial, but I’m coming with backup on why collies make the list of the best dog breeds for families. You’d be hard-pressed to find a breed more famous for their loyalty to family and children.

When Timmy has fallen down a well, you better how you have a collie in the family to go get help!
The breed is incredibly intelligent and friendly towards other animals as well, especially with proper training and socialization.

They enjoy high-energy activities, but are content coming home and taking a nap afterwards. Though you should always properly socialize a dog, they tend to take well to children instinctively.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sitting on a bench

As a breed utilized for cuddling and companionship, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel typically makes a fantastic family dog. Originally bred as companions for royalty, this dog thrives while spending time in your lap, but also has a bright and energetic disposition to go along with their friendly nature.

While all dogs are individuals and have different needs, for the most part this breed doesn’t need quite as much activity, and certainly doesn’t take up as much space, as some of the others on this list!

With that in mind, it is important to supervise small children around smaller dogs, particularly puppies, because they can be more easily injured than some larger breeds.


Bulldog relaxed in the grass

If you’re looking for a bit more of a couch potato, our final entry on this list is the way to go. The bulldog has a friendly disposition and does well with children, without the added burden of lots of exercise.

Yes, you need to take a bulldog for regular walks and ensure they get enough exercise to keep them trim and fit, but they aren’t a dog who will be dragging you out the door for their fifth walk of the day!The breed tends to have a calm disposition, and does well with children.

They aren’t quite as rambunctious as other breeds, but will still enjoy play. At around 40 or 50 lbs. the bulldog also has a stockier breed than a “small” dog, but doesn’t quite take up the space of a standard large breed either.

No matter the breed, all dogs have different personalities, and they all need some level of training to prevent problem behaviors. It’s important to properly socialize your dog no matter the breed, and make sure you supervise your children and teach them how to treat the dog gently and kindly.

If you want extra help with socialization or training, take a look at our training courses.


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