Best family dog breeds: Top 10

Are you desperate to get a dog, but are worried about how safe it would be for your kids? There's no need to fret! These 10 family dog breeds are perfect for big and small humans alike!

If you want a family dog, you should choose a breed that is safe and friendly.
If you want a family dog, you should choose a breed that is safe and friendly.  © Unsplash/CDC

Parenthood is hard enough. From dirty diapers to sleepless nights, there's plenty to keep you occupied.

Worrying about your child's safety takes up at least as much mental energy. And since dogs – however much we love them – are still unpredictable animals at the end of the day, many parents give up on their wish to add a canine companion to the family.

But that doesn't have to be the case!

Dog wreaks hilarious chaos on the family car after muddy romp!
Dogs Dog wreaks hilarious chaos on the family car after muddy romp!

Some pooches are just perfect for life surrounded by family members, both young and old. These 10 breeds are your answer if you're a parent looking for a four-legged friend.

Top 10 best family dog breeds

Whether it's Chihuahuas, Tibetan mastiffs, or even the much-maligned XL bullies, every breed has some specific characteristics. These are no guarantees, as every dog is unique, but rather predispositions that make some types of behavior more likely than others.

We've picked out 10 breeds whose gentle personalities and ease around children make them the perfect family dogs!

Hot tip: If you are truly concerned about adoption, and worried that your dog will pose an unnecessary risk to your children, get the advice of both a veterinarian and your family doctor. They should be able to advise how best to proceed.

German shepherds are big, beautiful dogs.
German shepherds are big, beautiful dogs.  © Unsplash/Yuriy Bogdanov

10. German shepherd

Despite the size and scale that the German shepherd brings to the table, their incredible intelligence and friendliness make the perfect family dog. Happy to go out for walks and explore the forest, these dogs love a good swim and enjoy the company of their friends and family. Fluffy, yet mentally as sharp as a knife, there are few dogs that make better traditional family dogs than the humble and endlessly adorable German shepherd.

9. Cavalier King Charles spaniel

There are few dogs cuter and sweeter than the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
There are few dogs cuter and sweeter than the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.  © Unsplash/Izabelly Marques

Small little dudes and cheekier than a six-year-old child on too much sugar, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a great pick for any prospective doggy family. With a unique and incredibly iconic coat and big, floppy ears, these medium-sized doggos are friendly, funny, and always keen for a play.

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is one of the safest and happiest dogs in the world, and absolutely perfect for any family looking to adopt a child-safe dog.

8. Beagle

Beagles are fantastic and fun dogs for families with children.
Beagles are fantastic and fun dogs for families with children.  © Unsplash/Luke MacGillivray

Beagles are more than just good sports dogs – they also slip seamlessly into family life.

Small-to-medium sized, with big and floppy ears, these keen-eyed hounds are always happy to cuddle or play.

They are intelligent dogs that would never let you or your family down, while always providing plenty of fun times for both grown-ups and kids with their boundless energy!

7. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland might be big, but it's a gentle giant.
The Newfoundland might be big, but it's a gentle giant.  © Unsplash/Andy Lyell

Huge but gentle, the Newfoundland is an iconic doggo that can be a little hard to get your hands on.

Despite that difficulty, though, the Newfoundland is a sweet and kind dog that will be a perfect family hound if you manage to adopt one. Always wanting a hug and a hike, these big boys are covered in thick and long fur that's super soft to the touch. They're friendly, funny, and endlessly happy.

6. Dachshund

Dachshunds are small, friendly, and happy little doggos.
Dachshunds are small, friendly, and happy little doggos.  © Unsplash/Kojirou Sasaki

These tiny little doggos, often referred to as sausage dogs, are completely harmless and incredibly friendly.

With long snouts and a stature that rivals even the shortness of the munchkin cat, few breeds of dog are more popular and more wonderful than the dachshund. As a result, they would make a perfect family pet.

5. Samoyed

Is there any dog breed cuter or fluffier than the samoyed?
Is there any dog breed cuter or fluffier than the samoyed?  © Unsplash/Christian Testa

Possibly one of the safest breeds of dog, and certainly one of the sweetest, the samoyed would be a perfect pick for any family with small kids.

While they grow to be quite big, the samoyed's friendly and warm nature will keep your children not only safe, but loved and cared for by a dog that's incredibly loyal and nurturing. To make matters even better, the samoyed is one of the fluffiest, cutest, and most beautiful dogs in the world.

4. Corgi

There's a reason why Queen Elizabeth loved Corgis so much.
There's a reason why Queen Elizabeth loved Corgis so much.  © Unsplash/Shiangling

Famous for being the dog of choice of the late Queen Elizabeth II, there's a reason why corgis got so much love from England's monarch. These short little dudes, with stubby legs that'll make your heart melt as they stumble along the ground, are friendly and fun.

If there's any dog that is virtually guaranteed to make your kids smile while also keeping them safe, it's the humble corgi.

3. Poodle

Poodles are fluffy dudes with big personalities, but are great with kids.
Poodles are fluffy dudes with big personalities, but are great with kids.  © Unsplash/Daniel Savill

Poodles don't only have to be owned by professional dog groomers, they can also be adopted as happy and dedicated family pets. Fluffy and covered in curls, there are few dogs more friendly and comfortable around dogs, and more docile, than the poodle.

These medium-sized dogs are ideal for family life – just make sure to keep that hair under control!

2. Labrador

Most labradors are smiley and excitable - this one's just feeling a bit grumpy!
Most labradors are smiley and excitable - this one's just feeling a bit grumpy!  © Unsplash/Lucrezia Carnelos

The Labrador is possibly one of the world's most famous dogs, and for good reason. These beautiful hounds are more than happy to play, chill, eat, go for walks, or do whatever you want it to do.

With a little of training, you'll have a dog that's respectful, calm, and incredibly obedient, making it perfectly safe for the context of family life. All in all, you can't really get any better than the Labrador when it comes to family-friendly dogs.

1. Golden retriever

There is no dog breed better for a young family than the endlessly happy golden retriever.
There is no dog breed better for a young family than the endlessly happy golden retriever.  © Unsplash/Elisa Kennemer

Many a list of "best" dog breeds will end with the golden retriever, but as unoriginal as it may be, these beautiful dogs are well worthy of our number one spot. Golden retrievers are just the friendliest dogs in the world, and make the perfect family dogs.

They are safe, they are calm, they are easily trained, and they are eager to please. What more could you want?

What do you need to think about when getting a family dog?

There's a lot to focus on and think about in the lead-up to getting a family dog. Many factors will influence your decision, all of which should be considered as carefully and thoroughly as possible before you bring one of those adorable four-pawed fellows into your home. After all, you don't want either your child or your pooch to end up hurt or rejected.

Before you adopt a family dog, have a think about these factors:

  • Can you afford it? The cost of your dog will not just be the initial asking price. You also need to think about vet fees, food costs, and any equipment you might need to purchase.
  • How old is your child? If your kid is less than about two years old, it is probably not a good idea to have a dog in the house. Young children need all the attention of their parents and can be very delicate. As a result, for the purpose of absolute caution, you should only consider dog adoption once your kids are more than two years old.
  • What breed of dog are you adopting? Are you absolutely set on the breed you want, but don't see it on our list? We'd recommend choosing a more family friendly dog, but at the very least you should talk to a professional vet and get some advice.
  • Will it fit your lifestyle? What is your lifestyle like, and will it fit the requirements of dog ownership? Will you have the time to go on long walks, do you have the space for your dog, and the mental capacity to lend it the attention it needs?

Important: While we are always going to advocate for the adoption of a shelter dog, when it comes to a family with young children, it is not really advisable. Dogs from shelters can be scarred by experiences and, as a result, a little bit more wild, unpredictable, and potentially violent than a puppy from a pet store.

Guard dogs pose a serious hazard to small children, so avoid them when adopting a family dog.
Guard dogs pose a serious hazard to small children, so avoid them when adopting a family dog.  © Unsplash/David Taffet

The best family dogs are friendly and happy, not guard dogs

There is a false assumption that a good family dog will "protect" its humans from potential attackers. While it might sound like an ideal situation, the risks associated with such a dog far outweigh the potential benefit.

Guard dog breeds are very different from family dog breeds. They have been specifically trained to fulfil their purpose, and have far more requirements and needs than your average doggo. On top of that, a dog that has been trained to attack intruders poses many potential risks that need to be avoided if you have small children in the house.

This is something you should keep in mind before settling on the best dog for your family.

Cover photo: Unsplash/CDC

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