Best Family Dogs: Great Dog Breeds for Families & Kids

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Dog laying with family

Choosing the Best Dog for Your Family 

Welcoming a new dog into your home is a joyous occasion, and every pet parent wants to make sure their furry friend is the perfect fit for their household. Whether your family consists of children, seniors, or multiple pets, you’ll want to find the right dog breed for your situation. 

While no two dogs are exactly alike, certain breeds of dogs have earned a reputation for making the best family dogs thanks to their unique characteristics. Some breeds, like the Labrador Retriever, have boundless energy and patience, making them perfect playmates for active kids. Others, like the French Bulldog, are content with cuddles and quiet evenings, ideal for families who prefer a mellower pace. 

Large dog breeds, including the Newfoundland, need families with sprawling yards. Others, such as the pug, are perfectly content living in a cozy apartment setting. Likewise, your family’s lifestyle is an important factor in your decision. If you’re constantly on the go, you’re going to need a pup that’s adaptable and can keep up the pace. 

To help you find your family’s perfect fluffy friend, keep reading! We’ve compiled this list of the best family dog breeds to help you find your family’s canine match. 

Breeds That Make the Best Family Dogs 

Every family has its own rhythm, from the whirlwind adventures of weekend warriors to the cozy nights of bookworms and cuddlers. Finding the best family dog breeds for you and your loved ones takes time and consideration. Reflect on your family dynamic to identify a breed that will love being in your home. 

If your family’s ideal weekend is curling up in front of the television, you’ll want to rethink adopting an energetic border collie. That’s a recipe for disaster. Similarly, if you’re caring for a newborn baby, a yappy or dominant dog isn’t going to be a great fit, especially at naptime. 

For families with active kids, finding a dog who's up for a playful romp but also remains calm and collected during cuddles (and maybe the occasional unintentional tail-grab) is key. These gentle companions can keep up with the whirlwind energy of youngsters while offering a cuddle buddy for quieter moments. They're the perfect furry friends for homes filled with muddy paws, endless fetch games, and bedtime stories whispered into floppy ears. 

Dog outside with family

Labrador Retriever 

Number one on our list is the famous Labrador Retriever. There’s a reason the retriever is one of the first breeds that comes to mind when considering the best dogs for families. These kind canines are exceptionally friendly and patient, making them a great fit for kids and other dogs. 

While they may tip the scales at 80 pounds, these gentle giants have hearts of gold. To keep them happy and thriving, regular exercise and mental stimulation are key. Otherwise, their playful energy might find other outlets, like chewing. Their adorable faces come with a generous dose of fur, so be prepared for some extra vacuuming sessions to keep things tidy. 

One perk of this breed is that they’re highly trainable. Kids and adults alike can work with the Labrador Retriever to teach them basic commands like fetch and sit. Your family might just be surprised at some of the more complex tricks labs are capable of, such as doing an “Army crawl” or cleaning up their toys! 


Are you looking forward to the idea of your new dog remaining by your side throughout the years? A bulldog could very well be the ideal breed for your family! Distinctive thanks to their wrinkly faces, these cute dogs are renowned for their loyalty, remaining faithful to their owners through the thick and thin. 

Their adaptability is another key feature of the breed. They’re the type of dog that is known for going with the flow. Whether you have visitors coming in and out of your home or you’re traveling every other weekend, bulldogs are flexible and aren’t likely to get rattled. Shaking up their routine isn’t going to affect them quite as much as it might affect a more skittish dog. 

If you have children or other dogs living in your house, bulldogs will often feel right at home since these affectionate pooches love being around others. Note that this breed is better suited for cooler climates as they can quickly overheat in hot weather, so keep the air-conditioning running. 

Golden Retriever 

Originally hailing from Scotland, the golden retriever is another high-energy dog breed that fits right in with all types of families. These intelligent pups are as clever as they are friendly. It’s rare for a golden retriever to meet someone that they don’t immediately consider a friend! 

You can recognize these gorgeous canines by their thick, golden coats. Their beauty comes at a price though, as they constantly shed their fur. Regular grooming can help mitigate this issue. 

These dogs offer undying devotion to families. They’re especially good with older kids because they love to run around and play. While Golden Retrievers offer a lifetime of joyful moments, families considering this breed should be mindful of their predispositions to certain health conditions like cancer and hip dysplasia. Responsible breeding practices and proactive veterinary care can significantly mitigate these risks, allowing these golden bundles of joy to lead long and healthy lives. 


Snoopy, one of the most famous dogs in the world, is a beagle, and there’s a reason the Peanuts gang love him so much. He’s the perfect embodiment of the beagle breed: sweet, merry, and very curious. Beagles, with their cheerful personalities and compact size, often rank high on the list of family-friendly breeds. 

These charmers rarely weigh more than 30 pounds, making them more likely to steal your socks than scare the mailman. Their size makes them ideal for small children, but just because they’re small doesn’t mean they can’t get into trouble. Beagles are known for being curious, so when they detect a scent, they’re sure to follow the trail, especially if it belongs to a rabbit! 

Typically black, tan, and white, beagles also have floppy ears that are susceptible to infection. Besides keeping a close watch on their ears, you’ll need to monitor their spine for symptoms of intervertebral disc disease, a condition which affects the breed. 

Dog with family


Another small-but-mighty canine that has made it on our list is the proud pug. While these tiny dogs are child-sized, they do need some supervision when they’re around little ones. This holds true for other animals too, since pugs like to be top dog. Supervision isn't just about preventing accidents; it's an opportunity to build strong bonds and mutual respect. By observing playtime and offering gentle corrections, you can teach your child empathy and responsible pet ownership while guiding your pug towards gentle playfulness. It's a win-win situation that fosters a happy and harmonious home for all! 

Pugs are known for their expressive personalities and comical antics. Those upturned noses might make them look innocent, but they're full of playful surprises. Just be prepared for some silly zoomies and occasional bouts of stubbornness - it's all part of their endearing charm!   

Pugs have a high risk of developing many health conditions, so investing in pet insurance to protect this breed is a must. 

Irish Setter 

The beautiful Irish setter is another dog breed that families gravitate to. This chestnut-colored canine originated as a sporting breed and typically weighs between 35 and 70 pounds. Because of their size and energy levels, these dogs tend to be better suited for older children and adults rather than young kids. Their boundless energy, while captivating, can be overwhelming for young children who might not be able to keep pace. Older kids and adults, on the other hand, will find perfect partners for outdoor escapades and active lifestyles. 

However, Irish setters love being around other dogs. In fact, other dogs can be good for them because they need lots of activity. While their spirited nature might require a touch more training finesse than some breeds, Irish setters' eagerness to please and boundless enthusiasm shine through with consistent, positive reinforcement. 

Their sweet nature carries over past their puppy years, as they’ll remain quite playful until about four years old. These beauties have a mischievous streak, though, so don’t let them stray too far from sight. 

Brussels Griffon 

If you have seniors in your family, a Brussels Griffon might be the dog breed you’ve been looking for. These whimsical-faced toy dogs are the perfect size for snuggling on your lap. A typical Brussels Griffon will want to be by your side 24/7, so be ready to give them tons of attention. 

Brussels Griffons can be good companions for older children who understand how to interact gently with small dogs. However, their tendency to be nervous and their small size make them unsuitable for homes with young children who might unintentionally hurt them. 

Although small, they’re relatively active and will need to be supervised around children and other dogs. They have a bit of a reputation for picking fights with bigger dogs, so use caution when they’re around other animals. In other words, they often (figuratively) bite off more than they can chew! 

Brussels Griffons are smart and like to run the show around the house. However, these dogs aren’t immune to problems, as much as they might like to think so. Brussels Griffons are prone to dental issues and eye problems such as cataracts. 


One of the most easily recognizable dogs on our list is the Newfoundland. This dog breed stands out thanks to its massive size. It’s not unusual for these giants to reach up to 150 pounds! It should go without saying that the Newfoundland, or “Newfie” as they’re affectionately known, is in no way an apartment dog. 

A Newfoundland can be a good fit for your family if you have lots of outdoor space where he is free to roam around. If your property has a pool or pond for him to swim in, that’s a bonus. These pups are extraordinary swimmers so don’t be surprised if your Newfie gravitates to any water he sees. 

These sweet and patient dogs love being around kids and other canines. As with most bigger breeds, the Newfoundland has a lower life expectancy, so you’ll want to take its age into consideration before adopting. 

Dog cuddling with owner

French Bulldog 

Another little dog with an adorable face, the French Bulldog has earned a place in the hearts of many pet owners around the world. This breed is distinctive in part due to its squarish head and its flat face. Although playful, the typical French Bulldog doesn’t require a lot of exercise, making it the ideal breed for families who live in apartments or other small homes. 

French Bulldogs are smart and attach quickly to their families. It’s best not to leave your Frenchie alone very often. They love being around people and can be negatively affected by too much independence. 

This breed of dog is usually good with children, but you’ll want to make sure they don’t get overheated while playing around the house. They’re at risk for brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), a respiratory disorder that affects flat-faced dogs. 


Some of the best dogs for kids are collies. It's no surprise that Lassie, the fictional dog who is always there to save the day, is a collie. This breed is famous for being as graceful as it is devoted to its family. With a long, lustrous coat, the collie is a proud breed that can appear sable, tricolored, blue merle, or white. 

Collies tend to nip at the heels of people and animals, a throwback to the breed’s herding days. It’s a good idea to supervise your collie while they’re around children and other dogs because this herding instinct can cause alarm. 

Fortunately, with training, collies can become a beloved part of the family. Some of them are even used as therapy dogs thanks to their friendly dispositions. 

Considerations for Choosing a Family Dog 

While many potential pet owners are concerned with how much a dog costs, there are many more factors you’ll need to consider before adoption. Good family dogs are ones that are of a size and energy level that fits your household. If your family is made up of avid hikers, a Newfoundland will be more your speed than a French Bulldog. 

Families with children will need to find a breed with an easy-going temperament and which doesn’t mind loud noises. Dogs that can easily be trained will be safer around children and other pets. 

While it’s easy to dismiss worries about grooming and shedding, these factors can become very important. Improperly groomed dogs could experience health problems. Owning a breed that sheds a lot (such as the Labrador Retriever) means you’ll spend a lot of your time vacuuming and washing their bedding. Make sure you’re up to the task of cleaning up after them for the next decade or longer! 

Owner laying with dog

Protecting Your New Family Dog’s Health 

No matter which breed of dog you choose, investing in dog insurance is a great way to plan for your dog’s future. Embrace offers insurance and wellness plans to help your family prepare financially for your dog’s medical needs. The earlier you enroll, the better. Pre-existing conditions aren't covered by insurance, so starting a policy while your dog is healthy ensures you're both ready for whatever life throws your way. 

Don't wait until the unexpected happens. With a robust insurance policy coupled with a wellness plan, you’ll be ready for whatever life throws your way. 

Adopt a Dog That’s Right for Your Family 

Finding the right dog for your home takes time. Don't get swept away by floppy ears or puppy eyes – delve deeper and understand the needs of each breed. 

Be honest with yourself about your family’s needs and find a dog that’ll feel right at home with you and your household. Research the special care your new dog will require and be adaptable to their needs. This way, your furry friend can live their happiest and healthiest life! 

When you’re ready, check out Embrace’s suggestions for unique boy dog names and other pet ideas. The perfect dog is out there waiting for you. Open your heart, do your research, and prepare to welcome a furry bundle of love into your home. It'll be the best decision you ever make!