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10 Best Dog Breeds for Kids & Families: With Pictures

Written by: Lisa Hertz

Last Updated on April 24, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever with a kid

10 Best Dog Breeds for Kids & Families: With Pictures

What’s the best family dog breed? There are a lot of breeds that come to mind when you consider what makes a good family dog. Some, like the Labrador and Golden Retriever, are well-known choices for families with children. However, there are plenty of other breeds to consider, too.

Sometimes, your choice can depend on the specifics of your family and living situation. Do you have young children or older children? How much time and attention can everyone in the home give to a new dog, especially if they’re a puppy? Do you have a large yard, a small yard, or no yard at all?

These and other questions can influence your decision-making when choosing a family dog. We’ll help you narrow down the options and maybe even introduce you to a few lesser-known dog breeds so you can make the best choice for your family.

The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Kids:

1. Golden Retriever

golden retriever dog watching over his owner's house
Image By: Luc Brousseau, Shutterstock

What list of best dogs for kids and families would be complete without the lovable Golden Retriever? The Golden is known for being exceptionally good with children of all ages. They can be a gentle companion for very small kids and an enthusiastic playmate for active older children.

It’s hard to find a downside to adding a Golden Retriever to your family, but experienced Golden owners will tell you that they shed heavily, and all that thick, soft fur requires a good amount of grooming. During seasonal shedding times, you can expect to brush your dog’s coat every day. If you prefer a dog with a low-maintenance coat, the Golden, as sweet as they are, may not be the best choice for you.

2. Vizsla

Wirehaired Vizsla
Image Credit: Colin Seddon, Shutterstock

It doesn’t get more low maintenance than the Vizsla’s sleek, short coat. If you’re looking for an affectionate and energetic dog that’s good with children of all ages, consider the Vizsla. Originally a Hungarian hunting dog, the Vizsla has become known as a good family dog. Vizslas love their human family members and become very attached to them.

The breed is known for being good with young children, and their high energy level makes them a good choice for active adults and older children. The Vizsla’s strong attachment to family means that your dog will want to be with you and will not do well if left alone for long periods. The Vizsla may be an excellent choice if your family vacations include your dog.

3. Pug

Pug walking in the grass
Image Credit: Praisaeng, Shutterstock

Can smaller dogs be good for children and families? While some pint-sized breeds might not be ideal for families with small children, the small but mighty Pug makes an excellent family dog, especially if you don’t have the space for a larger breed. The Pug is an affectionate and fun-loving dog. They are happy to cuddle and snuggle with all family members but are always up for playtime too. They are small but sturdy, which can make them a good choice for small living spaces and young children.

The Pug’s cute, smushed face is part of their appeal, but potential owners should be aware that they are a brachycephalic breed, which means that it can be prone to breathing problems, especially in hot weather or after a lot of activity. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your Pug’s food intake and weight to avoid obesity.

4. Irish Setter

irish setter standing in the field
Image Credit: Reddogs, Shutterstock

Do you prefer a large dog for your family? The beautiful Irish Setter could be the perfect dog for you. Irish Setters were originally bred as hunting dogs, but their elegant looks won them loads of admirers and they soon became sought-after companion animals. Irish Setters are known for their happy and enthusiastic temperaments.

They are energetic and make a good choice for active adults and older children. However, their size and rambunctiousness might be a little overwhelming for younger children. Because of their size and energy level, the Irish Setter is also a better fit for larger homes and yards. A full-grown male Irish Setter can stand 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh around 70 pounds!

5. Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever standing on green meadow
Image By: fsHH, Pixabay

Yes, it’s time to talk about everyone’s favorite family dog, the lovable Labrador Retriever. The Lab was the most popular dog breed in the US for nearly 30 years. Labradors are famously friendly, loyal, and intelligent. They make excellent companions for family members of all ages, from young kids to seniors.

Labs tend to be playful and energetic, so young children should be supervised when interacting with them. Although the Lab is sweet-natured, their large, sturdy build and high energy level can be overwhelming for a small child who isn’t used to being around dogs.

Be sure to include your Lab in all your outdoor family activities since they require a lot of interactive exercises and play. They are very easy to train and can benefit from organized canine activities like agility training to keep them happy.

6. Beagle

Image Credit: Daniel Albany, Pixabay

Although originally bred as a pack-hunting dog, the Beagle has long been a favorite pet for families with children. The Beagle is known for their cheerful, energetic, and intelligent nature. They can be a good choice for families with children and other dogs. Beagles have high energy levels and require a lot of daily activity. They also like to interact with people and other dogs, which makes them good for multi-pet households.

Older children can be a better fit for Beagles than younger kids and should feel comfortable supervising their dogs when outdoors. They have been known to dig under fences and escape when in the yard and must be walked on a leash as some can have a strong prey drive and take off running.

7. French Bulldog

french bulldog with collar
Image Credit: speckfechta, Unsplash

The French Bulldog, or “Frenchie,” was bred to be a loving and playful companion animal. They’re a popular breed that combines cute looks with an impish personality. The Frenchie’s compact size allows them to live comfortably in small homes and apartments. Although small, they’re sturdy dogs that can handle enthusiastic play sessions with children of all ages.

New owners should be aware that, like the Pug, the French Bulldog is a brachycephalic breed that can suffer from breathing problems, so care should be taken during hot weather and when they exercise.

8. Newfoundland

Newfoundland in the river
Image By: rzoze19, Shutterstock

Not all dogs that are good with children are child-sized. Some of the biggest dogs, such as the furry Newfoundland, can be exceptionally patient and gentle with children. The Newfoundland, or “Newfie,” is a giant breed known for their sweet temperament and love of children.

Although gentle, an adult Newfoundland can be 28 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh as much as 150 pounds. This should be a consideration for smaller living spaces. Newfies also tend to drool, and their thick coats require regular grooming.

Newfies are so caring and protective of children that they are often called “nanny dogs.” They dedicated water rescue dogs.

9. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier standing in the river
Image Credit: Lindasay, Pixabay

Don’t let the breed’s muscular appearance fool you. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier makes an excellent dog for families with children. Originally bred for fighting, the Staffie prefers their role as a family dog, a loving companion, and a playmate for kids. Like the Newfoundland, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also often called a “nanny” dog breed because of their affinity for children.

They are known for being very patient with children and devoted to all family members. Not all Staffies get along well with other dogs, so it’s best to ensure that your older children are comfortable maintaining control of them outdoors when other dogs are around.

10. Havanese

havanese on grass
Image By: Sandra Huber, Shutterstock

The Havanese is a charming toy dog breed that is very good with children. They would much rather play with kids than be toted around in a purse all day. The Havanese is a friendly and social dog that enjoys the companionship of people of all ages. Although small, they are sturdy little dogs that aren’t fearful of children. The small size also makes the breed good for small indoor and outdoor spaces.

Their long, silky coat requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition, and many busy families choose to keep their dog’s coat trimmed to a shorter length for convenience and ease of care.

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Final Thoughts

What’s the ideal family dog for you and your children? Dogs that are good with children can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the size of your house and yard can be a bigger factor than the size of your kids, as many big dogs make excellent companions for children.

Small dogs can be a good fit for families with children too. Some tiny dogs have a reputation for not being good with kids, but lively and cheerful breeds like the French Bulldog or Havanese are a fine choice if you have children. Of course, perennial favorites like Labs and Goldens are popular with families for many reasons.

However, you have plenty of choices! Most breeds can make great family pets with proper socialization and training.

See also: 

Featured Image Credit: Rebecca Scholz, Pixabay

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