The Best Family Dogs to Welcome to Your Home

The Best Family Dogs.

Paw-sitively Perfect: The Best Family Dogs for Wagging Tails and Endless Smiles!

Many people argue “You can choose your friends, but you can’t always choose your family!” However, that’s not the case with your new best four-legged friend. With so many lovable pups making the best family dogs, where do you start?

Whether you think ‘big is best,’ ‘small is beautiful,’ or like Goldilocks, something that’s just right — aka medium. The best dog breeds for families come in all sizes — but size isn’t everything! The personality and traits of the individual dog breeds are equally important.

Join us as we delve into the world of dog breeds that make a great addition to any family.

What Is the Best Family Dog?

Selecting the perfect family dog is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Bringing a dog into your home requires careful consideration of the dog's individual needs and your family's lifestyle. It’s essential to choose a dog that can adapt well to your family dynamics, including the presence of children and other pets.

Key questions you need to be asking yourself include — how:

  • Large or small will your new dog be?
  • Will their personality fit with your family’s lifestyle? Are they more suited to a hectic home life or one of the more calm dogs for families?
  • Sociable is the dog? Not just with kids but with visitors, and potential other household pets?
  • Energetic is the pooch? How much exercise will they need?
  • Much does the breed shed? If somebody in the family has dog allergies, is the dog considered hypoallergenic?
  • Trainable is the dog? Are they eager to please or strong-willed? 
  • Tolerant are you of dogs who bark?

The factors that determine which pooch will make the best family dog for your home include:

  • Your family’s lifestyle.
  • Size of your living space.
  • Age and number of kids in your family.
  • How much spare time you can devote to your dog.
family dog breeds.

The Benefits of Owning Dogs For Families

Welcoming the perfect family dog into your home can be an immensely rewarding experience for families — offering a wide range of benefits that enhances overall well-being and strengthens bonds.


First and foremost, family dogs can be excellent companions for families. They’re loyal and non-judgmental, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere at home. Whether it's a busy day or a challenging time, the presence of a furry friend can bring comfort and support to every family member, promoting emotional well-being and reducing stress.

Promote a More Active Lifestyle

Dogs are great motivators for families to stay active and lead a healthier lifestyle. Regular exercise is crucial for both dogs and humans, and taking your dog for walks or playing with them in the backyard encourages physical activity for everyone. This not only improves your family's physical health but also helps to establish a routine and sense of responsibility in caring for your dog's needs.

Encourages Responsibility in Children

Owning a dog also fosters a sense of responsibility and teamwork within your family. Children learn the importance of taking care of their pet by feeding, grooming, and training them. Experts have shown in various studies that pets, in particular children friendly dogs can have a positive effect on your child’s development. Eight ways kids who have family dogs benefit, include:

  1. Higher self-esteem.
  2. More compassion and empathy towards others.
  3. Children will feel more supported.
  4. Better cognitive skills.
  5. Less stress.
  6. Happier.
  7. Healthier.
  8. More responsible.

Promote Social Connections With Others

In addition to the emotional and physical benefits, dogs can act as social connectors for families. Walking your dog in the neighborhood or visiting dog parks often leads to interactions with other dog owners and families, providing opportunities for socialization and community engagement. Sharing stories and experiences with fellow dog owners can create lasting friendships and a sense of belonging.

From companionship and emotional support to promoting an active lifestyle and teaching important life lessons — cute dogs for families truly enrich the lives of all family members and create cherished memories that last a lifetime.

Our Pick of The Top Dog Breeds for Families

From the best large family dogs to the best small family dogs and everything in between — we’ve got you covered.

Our Top Dog — Overall Best Family Dog

Labrador Retriever

best family dog labrador retriever.

Everyone loves a Lab, and the Labrador Retriever loves everyone, whether they’re kids, other pets, or strangers. Their sweet nature makes them the ideal family pet. 

A larger breed, Labs get along fabulously with youngsters, tolerating a child prodding, tail or ear-pulling, hugging, or climbing all over them. They will happily play frisbee or catch for hours with their new best friend. With a waterproof coat, they’ll even enjoy the odd dip in a nearby lake or ocean.

Be warned, however, Labradors will need plenty of training in addition to exercise, especially from a young age, to instill good manners in the pup — watch “Marley & Me” to see why! That said, Labs are people-pleasers, so training shouldn’t be too tricky.

Bear in mind, while this breed is awesome in most areas, Labradors are heavy-shedding dogs, which means they won’t be the most suitable pooch for families with allergy-suffering members.


  • Sweet, playful nature.

  • Amazing with kids.

  • Eager to please — easy to train.

  • Gets along with cats, other dogs, etc.


  • Heavy shedders.

Best Large Family Dogs

Golden Retriever — Best Dog With Kids

best kid friendly dog golden retriever.

Want a family member who's good as gold? Look no further than the Golden Retriever! This fur-tastic breed is the ultimate pooch package: they're loving, loyal, and endlessly playful.

Need a furry therapist after a rough day? They'll be right there, wagging their tails with empathy. Craving an adventure buddy? They're ready to have some fun!

Whether it's cuddle time on the couch or a game of fetch in the park, Golden Retrievers are experts in bringing smiles to everyone's faces. However, you may not be smiling too much when you have to clear up the constantly shedding fur of their double coat, especially during the heavier shedding season.


  • Loyal family companions.
  • Uber-friendly with little ones.
  • Energetic and bouncy.
  • Rarely barks.


  • Double coat — constantly sheds.

Great Dane — Best Big Dogs for Older Kids

best big dogs for older kids great dane.

Great in size, in name, and for families, the Dane is big with a capital B. The tallest of all the family dog breeds, stood on their hind legs the Dane will stand taller than most of their owners.

Yet, despite their imposing size, these majestic dogs are surprisingly affectionate and make fantastic family companions. The Great Dane’s calm and incredibly patient nature is ideal for households with children, although younger tots may find the size difficult to cope with — they could get bumped by the Dane’s clumsy nature.

Great Danes are not only loving and loyal, but also excellent protectors, providing a sense of security for the whole family. With a Great Dane by their side, families can enjoy a remarkable blend of elegance, affection, and steadfast companionship.


  • Affectionate and loyal nature.

  • Highly protective.

  • Patient with youngsters.

  • Moderate exercise needs for their size.


  • HUGE! Not the best for smaller homes.

Newfoundland — The Best Dogs for Water-Loving Families

best dogs for water-loving families newfoundland.

The Newfie is a big fluffy dog that looks like a bear that’s partial to aquatic adventures. Their webbed paws make them natural swimmers — need a K9 lifeguard for the pool? Your Newfoundland will be straight in there with their loyal and protective nature.

Their calm and ever-so-patient demeanor makes them great dogs for kids. When they’re not playing, the Newfie makes a cuddly couch potato to binge-watch your favorite TV shows with.

With their luxurious coat and soulful eyes, everyone will want to curl up with this huge fur ball of a dog, and they will happily let them, even other household pets! Don’t get too close though, their drool is legendary!


  • Loves the water.
  • Calm and patient.
  • Super affectionate.
  • Highly adaptable.


  • Big droolers.

To find out our complete top 10, check out our guide on Large Family Dogs.

Best Medium Dog Breeds for Families

Siberian Husky — Best Medium Dog for Active Families

Best Medium Dog for Active Families siberian husky.

The Siberian Husky has a vibrant and outgoing personality that's perfect for active families who can match their energy levels. This breed is always up for a jog, a hike, or a spirited game of catch. 

As pack animals, they're also super sociable, making them great with members of your pack. But be prepared for some hilarious antics — their mischievous streak is as legendary as their howling serenades!

Known for their striking icy blue or brown (sometimes even one of each) eyes, this beauty has a luxurious double coat, but is a naturally clean dog with very little doggy odor. But don't be fooled by their wolf-like looks; beneath that fluff lies a heart of gold, devoted to their human pack.


  • High energy levels for outdoorsy families.
  • Sociable nature and good with kiddos.
  • Low drooling.
  • Devoted doggies. 


  • Seasonal shedders.

Poodle — The Best Family Dog Breed for Allergy Sufferers

best family dog for allergy sufferers poodle.

Try not to be too distracted by the fancy hairdos; the Poodle is way more than a pampered pooch. These highly intelligent and affectionate dogs perfectly match families seeking a loyal and loving companion.

Poodles thrive in family settings, they’re people dogs. Their versatility shines through in various activities, from playful interactions with children to excelling in obedience training and dog sports.

Available in three distinct sizes, toy, miniature and standard, the Poodle’s hypoallergenic coats are a bonus for families with allergies. So, whether it's a game of fetch or a snuggle session, the Poodle's charming personality and elegance will win your hearts.


  • low-shedding.
  • Super smart. 
  • Highly trainable.
  • Children love their playful nature.


  • Grooming can be demanding, especially if left unclipped.

Collie — Best Medium Dogs for Kids

Best Medium Dogs for Kids collie.

Probably one of the best-known family-friendly pups on the big screen was Lassie, always up for an adventure with her younger family friends. Collies have a heart of gold and a gentle demeanor that melts anyone's heart faster than butter on a hot day.

With their luscious coats and soulful eyes, the Collies appeal goes beyond their good looks! These dogs are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them top-notch students in any family training class.

From playing tag in the yard to cuddling up during storytime, Collies are always up for some family fun with the kiddos. And, their herding instincts mean they'll keep a watchful eye over the little ones, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment for all.


  • Gentle demeanor.
  • Fantastically fond of youngsters.
  • Fast learners.
  • Good guardian dogs.


  • Boredom barkers.

Want to know our favorite 10? Check out our guide on Medium Family Dogs.

Best Small Breed Family Dogs

Miniature Schnauzer — Best Small Family Dog for Boisterous Kids

best small family dog miniature schnauzer.

When you have younger tots in the house you need to consider whether a small family dog will be able to cope with the rough and tumble of more energetic kids. 

One of the sturdier small dog breeds for families. The Mini Schnauzer is a bright, friendly, and trainable companion who gets along well with other animals and kids too. With their signature bearded grin and perky personality, Mini Schnauzers are the four-legged comedians that keep everyone giggling. 

Just like their larger siblings, the Giant Schnauzer, the Mini has a wiry coat that sheds very little. Although, you may need to spend extra time hand-stripping loose hair from their coat. These too are considered hypoallergenic.


  • Small dog that doesn't shed much.
  • Robust ‘roughhousing-friendly’ breed.
  • Vigilant — a handy little watchdog.
  • Gets along well with other animals.


  • Hand stripping — preferred grooming method.

Bichon Frise — Best Hypoallergenic Small Family Dog for Kids

best small family dog bichon frise.

One of the most cute dogs for families, the fluffy Bichon Frise is also, surprisingly, one of the most allergy-friendly breeds you'll find. Despite a coat that resembles a big cotton puff, the Bichon sheds very little. But, keeping that beautiful coat looking its best can require some serious brushing and grooming time.

These little fluffy white dogs are one of the safest dogs for kids and are known for their patience with toddlers. The Bichon is a lover rather than a fighter, and gets on well with children, other pets, and considers strangers just friends they haven’t met yet.

But don't let their delightful charm fool you — Bichons are no pushovers when it comes to intelligence. They excel in training and love showing off their clever tricks to impress the whole family.


  • Perfect for families with dog allergies.
  • Gentle nature.
  • Very trainable and love to show off new tricks.
  • Easily manageable size — low to moderate exercise.


  • Doesn't like being left alone for too long.

Pug — Best ‘Lazy” Small Family Dog

best small family dog pug.

The masters of snooze and snuggles, Pugs take napping to a whole new level. With their adorable wrinkly faces and barrel-chested charm, Pugs are known for their comedic antics, keeping your kids amused and giving you some peace and quiet. 

These pint-sized couch potatoes are the ideal match for families who appreciate a dog that's low on energy and high on charisma. Pugs are content to spend their days snuggling on the sofa, providing warmth and companionship for the entire family.

While they may not be the most active breed, pugs make up for it with their affectionate and friendly nature. They adore kids and get along famously with other pets, making them fantastic companions for all family members.


  • Super-cute looking.

  • Lower activity levels. 

  • Even-tempered. 

  • Easy to train. 


  • Flat-faced — prone to breathing issues. 

We’ve put together 10 top toy-sized picks, take a look at our guide on the Best Small Family Dogs.
best dog breeds for families.


From the playful and devoted Labrador, to the elegant and intelligent Poodle — the world of canine companionship offers a delightful array of options for every family's unique needs and preferences.

Whether that’s a medium-sized Husky for active family adventures or a small but mighty Bichon Frise to fill your home with happiness — a perfect furry match is out there. The best family dogs are paw-some companions — proving that wagging tails and endless love are a winning combination! 

Dog Breeds Best for Families FAQs

What Are the Best Dog Breeds for Babies?

Fortunately, many of the child friendly dog breeds we’ve looked at can also be gentle enough for homes with an infant. Golden Retrievers and Labs are known to be soft around babies, while the English Bulldog has a nurturing nature, which makes them great baby friendly dogs.

What Are the Best Family Dog Breeds for Small Living Spaces?

Some of the best family dog breeds for small living spaces include:

  • Bichon Frise.

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

  • French Bulldog. 

  • Pug. 

These breeds are generally smaller in size, adaptable to apartment living, and have lower energy levels that make them well-suited for cozier homes.

Which Family Dogs Are Best With Children and Other Pets?

Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Bichons are known for their friendly nature. They can also get along well with other pets, creating a harmonious household.

Are There Any Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for Families?

Several hypoallergenic dog breeds can be great for families with allergies, including:

  • Poodle. 

  • Bichon Frise. 

  • Schnauzer (mini, standard, giant).

  • Portuguese Water Dog. 

What Are the Safest Top Family Dogs?

When looking for the safest dog for kids, consider how patient the pup is going to be with children, how playful and how protective the dog will be. Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Collies, and even the little Bichon Frise are considered to be among the safest dogs for families.

However, you should never leave a young child and canine together unsupervised, no matter how much you trust your dog. 

What Are the Best Low-Maintenance Family Dog Breeds?

For families seeking low-maintenance dog breeds, consider, the:

  • Bulldog. 

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

  • Basset Hound. 

  • Greyhound. 

  • Chihuahua. 

These breeds require minimal grooming, have lower exercise needs, and generally adapt well to a more relaxed lifestyle. If you’re considering becoming a pet parent, check out our guide on the Best Low-Maintenance Dogs for First-Time Owners.