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90+ Best Dog Breeds for Kids, Guarding & More (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 29, 2024 by Dogster Team

dogs in grass_Piqsels

90+ Best Dog Breeds for Kids, Guarding & More (With Pictures)

With so many dog breeds in the world, how do you choose just one? We’ve gathered the best dog breeds for every kind of dog lover, including the best dog breeds with kids, the best guard dogs, and more! Scroll down to find your new favorite breed.

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Best Dog Breeds With Kids

Dogs can be great companions for your kids – as long as you choose the right breed. Here are the 26 best dog breeds to have with kids:

1. Redbone Coonhound

Redbone Coonhound_Shutterstock_Crystal Alba
Image By: Crystal Alba, Shutterstock

As long as you properly socialize them, Redbone Coonhounds are excellent with children. They’re playful, lively, good-tempered, and affectionate family dogs.

2. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound_Shutterstock_Maxim_ka
Image Credit: Maxim_ka, Shutterstock

Norwegian Elkhounds are playful and energetic, making them great companions for active, mischief-loving kids. They can knock over smaller children, so you’ll want to keep an eye on toddlers.

3. Canaan Dog

canaan dogs fetching a tree branch
Image By: FilkovPhotography, Shutterstock

The Canaan Dog is a smart, devoted dog from Israel. With enough socialization, this breed does very well with families.

4. Field Spaniel

field spaniel running
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

Loyal, sweet, and intelligent, the Field Spaniel is an excellent family pet. You can expect affectionate companionship, but make sure to supervise this breed with small children.

5. Smooth Fox Terrier

smooth fox terrier_Charlotte Yealey_Pixabay
Image Credit: Charlotte Yealey, Pixabay

Smooth Fox Terriers are upbeat, fearless dogs with a playful side. Families with active, outdoorsy lifestyles will love this small breed!

6. Pocket Beagle

Pocket Beagle
Image Credit: bunthaweekan anpunya, Shutterstock

Pocket Beagles are small British hunting dogs that can be great companions for older children. This little breed is playful, affectionate, and just a little bit mischievous.

7. King Shepherd

king german shepherd puppy sleep near bed
Image Credit: Vach cameraman, Shutterstock

The King Shepherd is a smart, confident mix of the Shiloh Shepherd and the German Shepherd Dog. This is an excellent family dog with a gentle, steady nature.

8. Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound standing at a beach
Image By: Kim Christensen, Shutterstock

The Scottish Deerhound is an affectionate large dog best suited to older children. This gentle breed isn’t especially playful but can be a great family companion.

9. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is a lively, loyal breed well suited to small families. They may tend to herd small children but can do very well with older kids.

10. Miniature Pinscher

miniature pinscher standing on tire
Image Credit: Dorena Beckendorf, Pixabay

The Miniature Pinscher is a fearless, lively little dog from Germany. As long as you teach your children how to approach and play with dogs, a well-socialized Min Pin should do well.

11. Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

Australian Silky Terriers are great pets for older kids, though they have less patience for toddlers. Don’t forget to teach children how to respect your terrier!

12. Bearded Collie

Two bearded collies
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock

Active, smart, and alert, Bearded Collies are affectionate family pets. You’ll want to supervise them with small children but they’re fun companions for older kids.

13. American Eskimo

american eskimo running_carpenter844_Pixabay
Image Credit: carpenter844, Pixabay

Fluffy white American Eskimos are smart, protective dogs that do well in active families. If you’re looking for a good-tempered guard dog, this breed could be for you!

14. American Mastiff

Image Credit: PJW31189, Shutterstock

American Mastiffs won’t work for every family – these powerful dogs need an experienced hand – but with the right training, you’ll have a loving, calm companion for older kids.

15. Australian Bulldog

Australian Bulldog_JCM Photos_Shutterstock
Image Credit: JCM Photos, Shutterstock

Australian Bulldogs are confident, loyal dogs that need plenty of socialization. With consistent training, they do very well with older kids.

16. American Water Spaniel

Image Credit: Steve Bruckman, Shutterstock

American Water Spaniels are hardy gundogs with friendly, merry personalities, making them perfect for any family with spare time.

17. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

Curious, independent, and alert Australian Cattle Dogs go very well with active families. They may be standoffish with strangers, but these dogs love the children and adults in their families!

18. Basset Fauve de Bretagne

Basset Fauve de Bretagne puppy sitting on a rug
Image Credit: Paul Steven, Shutterstock

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is an adaptable, affectionate hunting dog perfect for active families.

19. Leonberger

Leonberger close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

Leonbergers are often called “gentle lions,” and that nickname sums up their suitability for families. These giant dogs are surprisingly gentle, patient, and affectionate with children.

20. Finnish Lapphund

Finnish Lapphund resting on the stone
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

The Finnish Lapphund is a tough, playful dog that needs plenty of space to run around. Active families will love this courageous, energetic breed!

21. American Foxhound

American Foxhound_Olga Aniven_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

Often mistaken for the Beagle, the American Foxhound is an intelligent, independent dog with a loyal, even-tempered personality. These dogs have boundless energy and do well with small children.

22. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound
Image Credit: David Raihelgauz, Shutterstock

The Afghan Hound is one of the world’s oldest breeds, and with the right socialization, this elegant dog can be a good family pet.

23. Border Collie

border collies couple
Image Credit: Andraž Cerar, Shutterstock

Border Collies may be herding dogs, but they also do well with very active families. Be prepared for nearly boundless energy!

24. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois
Image Credit: jotoya, Pixabay

Outgoing and hardworking, the Belgian Malinois is a smart dog perfect for the most active families.

25. Brittany Spaniel

Image Credit: TanyaCPhotography, Shutterstock

The Brittany Spaniel is a playful, fun dog perfect for families with large fenced yards. These stubborn, enthusiastic dogs need lots of exercise!

26. Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd_JitkaP_ Shutterstock
Image Credit: JitkaP, Shutterstock

Australian Shepherds are energetic, smart herding dogs that do very well in active families. These beautiful dogs need lots of exercise and are very protective of their families.

Still looking for the perfect family pet? There are quite a few other dog breeds that do well with kids, including American Cocker Spaniels, Border Terriers, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Collies, Greyhounds, Pugs, Basset Hounds, Whippets, and Newfoundlands. A lot of it comes down to properly socializing and training your dog, so many breeds can be great family pets.


Best Guard Dog Breeds & Best Watch Dog Breeds

If you want a dog that will help you protect your family and property, look no further than these dog breeds. From Akitas to Mastiffs, these are the best guard dog breeds in the world.

27. Kuvasz

Kuvasz sitting in the snow
Image Credit: La Su, Shutterstock

The Kuvasz was originally bred to guard livestock in Hungary, so you can feel confident that this breed will keep you safe. Brave, smart, independent, and intimidating, this breed is thousands of years old.

28. Alano Español

alano espanol
Image Credit: miguel curiel mena, Shutterstock

The Alano Español regularly tops lists of great watchdogs because it’s so fearless, strong, and devoted. This hard-working breed can handle rugged terrain and harsh weather.

29. Aidi Dog

aidi dogs
Image Credit: Erik Lam, Shutterstock

The Aidi Dog originated in Morocco and is a cheerful, strong guard dog. These vigilant dogs are fiercely intelligent and always ready to defend their homes.

30. Leonberger

Image Credit: sesheta, Pixabay

Leonbergers are gigantic dogs, so it’s easy to see why they’re intimidating guardians. This breed comes from several large and giant breeds and looks something like a lion.

31. Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpie black with tan dog at the beach
Image Credit: K.A.Willis, Shutterstock

Australian Kelpies are excellent watchdogs without boundless energy and stamina. These hard-working herders are smart and very trainable.

32. Azawakh

Image By: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Azawakhs are protective, independent dogs that are devoted to their families and suspicious of strangers, making them perfect guard dogs.

33. Appenzeller Sennenhund

Appenzeller Sennenhund_Piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

Watchful, lively, and smart, the Appenzeller Sennenhund is a protective, stubborn family dog.

34. Austrian Pinscher

Austrian Pinscher_Hong_Phuc_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Hong_Phuc, Shutterstock

Austrian Pinschers are devoted, protective dogs related to the German Pinscher. These dogs are good hunters, guard dogs, and companions.

35. Anatolian Shepherd

Image Credit: CharlitoCZ, Shutterstock

Anatolian Shepherds are ancient dogs that may date back as far as the Bronze Age. These confident, devoted dogs are excellent protectors and guard dogs.

36. Akita

Akita dog
Image Credit: Anaite, Shutterstock

Akitas may be adorable, but they’re also stubborn, brave watchdogs perpetually on the lookout. These imposing Japanese dogs are a powerful working breed.

37. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Madelein Wolfaardt, Shutterstock

Australian Cattle Dogs aren’t just great with kids! They’re also alert, curious watchdogs with pleasant, independent temperaments.

38. Belgian Malinois

Image Credit: shymar27, Shutterstock

The Belgian Malinois is an outgoing, practical herding dog with an alert temperament. This is an intense watchdog!

39. Bullmastiff

Image Credit: BORINA OLGA, Shutterstock

Imposing Bullmastiffs are loyal guardians and companion dogs. These brave, affectionate pets started out as guard dogs for the British aristocracy, so you know they’ll keep an eye on your castle, too.

40. Boerboel

Image Credit: Pixabay

Boerboels were originally bred as South African guard dogs, hunting big game and protecting farms.

41. Beauceron

Image Credit: Vera Zinkova, Shutterstock

Beaucerons are faithful, obedient, and protective dogs that started out as herders and livestock guardians. In modern times, you can find them working as military and rescue dogs!

42. Cane Corso

cane corso resting at the beach
Image Credit: Sbolotova, Shutterstock

Cane Corsos are even-tempered and reserved, but they’re also natural protectors well suited to keeping an eye on their families. These dogs are powerful, smart, and loyal.

43. Dutch Shepherd Dog

dutch shepherd_petrahagedorn_Pixabay
Image Credit: petrahagedorn, Pixabay

The Dutch Shepherd may be on the smaller side, but it’s also an alert, muscular watchdog sometimes used for police tracking.

44. Dogo Argentino

Dogo Argentino in the woods
Image Credit: Lunja, Shutterstock

Strong, energetic, and cheerful, the Dogo Argentino is an excellent family pet and a loyal guard dog.

45. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock

Doberman Pinschers are classic guard dogs originally bred to protect livestock from wolves. These powerful, territorial dogs also have a loyal, loving side.

46. German Shorthaired Pointer

Brown German Shorthaired Pointer hunting
Image Credit: Vitalii Mamchuk, Shutterstock

German Shorthaired Pointers are smart, social hunting dogs that love adventure and keeping an eye on their families.

47. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in winter
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is calm, dignified, and powerful, weighing up to 140 pounds. This guard dog was bred to protect and herd livestock.

48. Great Dane

Great-Dane_Martin Tajmr, Pixabay
Image Credit: Martin Tajmr, Pixabay

Great Danes can weigh up to 200 pounds and stand over 30 inches tall, making them imposing watchdogs. Affectionate with family and shy around strangers, these dogs are alert companions.

49. German Wirehaired Pointer

Two German Wirehaired Pointer close up
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

German Wirehaired Pointers are hunting dogs, but they’re also fiercely protective watchdogs well suited to protecting your family and house.

50. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees in the mountain
Image Credit: Paolo Seimandi, Shutterstock

The Great Pyrenees dog breed was bred to fight predators like wolves and bears, so you know it’s a great fearless guard dog. These massive dogs are sweet with small children and vigilant, hardworking watchdogs.

51. German Shepherd

German shepherd running on grass
Image Credit: Zelenskaya, Shutterstock

German Shepherds are famously loyal, alert, and obedient, making them popular watchdogs and working dogs. This breed is commonly found working in police and military agencies!

52. Newfoundland Dog

Newfoundland in the river
Image Credit: rzoze19, shutterstock

If you’re looking for a giant dog that’s good with kids and protective, the Newfoundland may be for you. These hardworking, gentle dogs can even rescue people from water!

53. Weimaraner

Image Credit: Dr. Georg Wietschorke, Pixabay

Weimaraners are excellent companions, hunters, and guard dogs. These agile dogs can hunt wolves and bears!

54. Chow Chow

chow chow_VKarlov_Shutterstock
Image Credit: VKarlov, Shutterstock

Don’t let the face fool you: Chow Chows may be adorable, but they’re also independent, alert watchdogs perfect for hunting and guarding.

55. Spanish Mastiff

Spanish Mastiff_Marcelino Pozo Ruiz_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Marcelino Pozo Ruiz, Shutterstock

Spanish Mastiffs were originally bred to guard livestock and fight off predators and thieves. They’re imposing, fearless, and powerful, making them perfect guard dogs!

56. Shetland Sheepdog

Merle Shetland Sheepdog
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

Shetland Sheepdogs may look delicate, but they’re hardy sheep guardians that can withstand the cold, wet weather of the Shetland Islands in Scotland.

57. Tibetan Mastiff

Mountain Mastiff tibetan
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

Tibetan Mastiffs are intense, giant dogs from the Himalayan Mountains. This aloof, independent breed has served as a guard dog and a watchdog for the Dalai Lama and countless others.



Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Life

Although many dog breeds need backyards and space to run around, if you live in an apartment, there’s no need to despair! This list of the best dog breeds for apartment life will help you find a small dog that will love your smaller spaces.

58. Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher_Shutterstock_Didkovska Ilona
Image Credit: Didkovska Ilona, Shutterstock

Affenpinschers are small dogs originally bred as ratters. These playful, curious pups do well in apartments and make excellent beginner pets.

59. Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier
Image Credit: strangewriter42, Pixabay

Australian Silky Terriers are pint-sized dogs with energetic, friendly personalities. They’ll love your apartment!

60. American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier_Shutterstock_nika174
Image Credit: nika174, Shutterstock

These goofy little dogs are feisty, co-dependent, and smart. Plus, as the name suggests, the American Hairless Terrier will keep your apartment hair-free!

61. Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon dog
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Brussels Griffons are loyal, stubborn little dogs that love to be glued to your side. It’s an active breed but also one that can handle apartment living.

62. Border Terrier

adorable Border Terrier puppy
Image Credit: Pixabay

Border Terriers are cute lap dogs perfect for singles, seniors, and apartment dwellers. These hard-working little dogs have distinctive wiry coats and only weigh 11 to 14 pounds.

63. Cesky Terrier

Cesky Terrier
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

With an adorable mop of hair and an affectionate, family-oriented personality, the Cesky Terrier is an excellent choice for anyone with a small home. This dog is also low-shedding!

64. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier standing on grass
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

Dandie Dinmont Terriers may have a goofy name, but they’re reserved, smart little dogs with endless amounts of personality. Even better, they love any size of home!

65. Dutch Smoushond

dutch smoushound_Wirestock Creators_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

The Dutch Smoushond hails from the Netherlands. This shaggy, wire-coated breed gets along well with other pets and can handle a small apartment.

66. Drever Dog

Swedish Drever_Popova Valeriya_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Popova Valeriya, Shutterstock

The Swedish Drever dog needs a fair amount of exercise but is otherwise very low-maintenance. As long as you take this breed for regular walks, they should adapt well to your apartment!

67. Basset Hound

Image Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

Basset Hounds may be hunting dogs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy lounging around the house. These loyal, affectionate dogs have a lazy side, so you will need to make sure they get enough exercise.

68. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relatively new breed with a patient, people-oriented personality. Weighing up to 18 pounds, this little dog will fit into any apartment!

69. Chinese Crested Dog

Chinese Crested Dog_Piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

This distinctive breed is shy, somewhat yappy, and very devoted. The Chinese Crested isn’t recommended if you have small kids, but they will do well in adult-only apartments!

70. French Bulldog

french bulldog lying down on the floor
Image Credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay

French Bulldogs are classic apartment dogs because they’re easy to groom, friendly lap dogs with affectionate, entertaining personalities. This breed is ideal for city dwellers!

71. Finnish Spitz

Image Credit: BMJ, Shutterstock

The Finnish Spitz is a small game hunter bred to point out animals hiding in hedges. This little dog is independent, happy, and perfect for apartments.

72. Havanese

havanese looking up
Image Credit: ralfdeon, Pixabay

Havanese dogs are active little pets that love to stay close to their owners. Weighing up to 13 pounds, this breed can easily squeeze into small homes.

73. Klein Poodle

klein poodle
Image Credit: Lisjatina, Shutterstock

Falling between the Miniature Poodle and the Standard Poodle, the lesser-known Klein Poodle is a playful, goofy pet that can handle apartment living. Just make sure you take this breed out for regular walks!

74. Keeshond

Image Credit: stockfoto, Shutterstock

If you’ve never heard of the Keeshond, you’re missing out! This German breed is alert, lively, and well-sized for apartments, though they can be very vocal.

75. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound
Image Credit: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock

Most people think of Italian Greyhounds as fast, athletic dogs, but they also have a lazy side. These lean, low-shedding dogs typically weigh less than 15 pounds.

76. Miniature Schnauzer

Image Credit: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock

Miniature Schnauzers are great apartment dogs that offer all of the personality of a Schnauzer in a very compact size. These smart, brave little dogs can also serve as watchdogs.

77. Maltese

Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Maltese dogs are excellent little companion dogs, weighing only 4 to 7 pounds. They’re also surprisingly athletic!

78. Pomeranian

pomeranian playing outdoors
Image Credit: Purplehorse, Pixabay

Pomeranians have been popular lap dogs and companions for hundreds of years. These little dogs weigh up to 7 pounds and do well in apartments but aren’t well suited to small children.

79. Papillon

papillon in the autumn
Image Credit: AndyBir, Shutterstock

Papillons got their name from their distinctive ears – “papillon” means “butterfly” in French – and they’re also one of the world’s oldest toy spaniels. This agile, active little dog can handle apartment living as long as you provide regular exercise.

80. Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier
Image Credit: Oksana.Bondar, Shutterstock

The Norwich Terrier is a small dog from the United Kingdom originally bred to hunt rodents. This working terrier is small enough for apartments but can be a big barker.

81. Toy Poodle

toy teacup poodle puppy
Image Credit: Pixabay

Toy Poodles are the smallest of the Poodle breeds, weighing only 7 to 9 pounds. These little dogs are hypoallergenic and don’t chew, scratch, or dig excessively, making them a good option if you live in an apartment.

82. Russkiy Toy

Russkiy Toy
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock

Russkiy Toys are tiny lapdogs from Russia. These 3- to 6-pound dogs are thought to be one of the smallest dog breeds in the world!

83. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

welsh corgi pembroke winks
Image Credit: RikiEnot, Shutterstock

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the world’s oldest herding dogs, hailing from Wales in the UK. This stubborn, smart dog is perfectly sized for apartment living.

84. Pug

smiling pug looking up
Image Credit: George Kabot, Pixabay

Pugs are popular with all kinds of dog lovers, but they’re especially well suited to apartment living. These cheerful, outgoing dogs have a mischievous side and can be very entertaining.

85. Pekingese

Image Credit: T.Den_Team, Shutterstock

Pekingese dogs were originally bred as companions and lapdogs for the Chinese Imperial court. These little dogs are excellent in small spaces but can be a little yappy.

86. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso
Image Credit: SubertT, Shutterstock

The Lhasa Apso has a glorious, silky coat and a confident, playful personality. This small dog has been around for at least 1,000 years and started out as a guard dog for Tibetan monasteries.

87. Bichon Frise

bichon frise puppies_mikeledray_Shutterstock
Image Credit: mikeledray, Shutterstock

Bichon Frises have hypoallergenic fluffy white coats and charming personalities. They’re excellent companion dogs and can thrive in small homes.

88. Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier
Image Credit: Plotitsyna NiNa, Shutterstock

The Scottish Terrier is an independent, sensitive dog that excels in agility and hunting. This small dog does well in apartments as long as they get enough exercise.

89. Welsh Terrier

Welsh Terrier outside
Image Credit: IIRaZZoRII, Shutterstock

Welsh Terriers can handle living in apartments, though they will need regular walks. These dogs are playful, confident, and alert.

90. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier dog on grass
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

The West Highland White Terrier, commonly called the Westie, is a fun, charming little dog perfectly suited to apartment living. This easy-to-train dog does need regular walks and prefers not to be left alone.

91. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
Image Credit: Josep Monter Martinez, Pixabay

Yorkshire Terriers (affectionately known as Yorkies) are smart lapdogs with lion-like courage. Weighing up to 6 pounds, these dogs have fine, silky hair and demanding personalities.

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The Bottom Line

We hope you found the perfect dog breed for your needs, whether you want a pup that can handle kids, guard duty, or apartment living. With so many dog breeds in the world, there’s sure to be a perfect option (or three) for you!

You may also be interested in:

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels


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