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Best Family Dogs
Photo: Harold Meerveld

Bringing home a new dog into your family is exciting, but it’s also a big decision to make. There are a lot of things to consider when you decide to adopt a dog or which breed is best for your family. Before heading to the shelter, a rescue, or a reputable breeder you need to stop and think about your home environment and the qualities your family wants in a pet.

I’ve done some of the research for you and compiled a list of 10 best family dogs which will provide you with a good starting point, but you’ll still have some research to do on your own. Most of these dogs are all-around great family dogs, but as you can see below, some dog breeds are better suited for families with older children, or families with a more active lifestyle, or families with a lot of room to roam.

I would suggest using this list of best family dogs to narrow down your selections to a top 3 or top 5 best breeds of your personal choice, and then do some more in-depth reading on each of those breeds to make sure they will suit your family’s lifestyle and environment. Aside from your local library and the internet, you can talk with breed specific rescues, your local AKC chapter, or a responsible canine breeder to get more information about the breed that you think would best fit in with your family’s needs.

RELATED: 35 Best dogs for kids

Consider this before deciding on a breed and your choice of a best family dog:

Once you’ve answered these basic questions about your family and the type of dog that you desire, you can begin looking for a pet that will fit your lifestyle. Just remember that it is important to adopt your best family dogs responsibly. If you’re not sure how to go about finding a reputable place to adopt a dog, check out our column devoted to this topic

Ten Best Family Dogs

1Beagles

Photo: Maëlick

Beagles are one of the best family dogs one can choose. They are full of energy and very loyal to their pack. They are a medium size breed, so they don’t require tons of space, but they do need a backyard to run around in. Because of their hunting background, beagles tend to chase smaller animals and may leave the yard if they smell something enticing, so a fenced-in yard would be best.

Beagles can handle the rough and tumble of kids and can keep them going for hours. They enjoy smaller children as well as older kids. This breed is somewhat needy and do require plenty of attention and devotion from their family. As puppies, they require a good, firm training, or they can get out of hand very quickly.

2Basset Hounds

Photo: Don DeBold

Not only are Basset Hounds absolutely adorable as puppies, they are great with young kids and fit the description of best family dogs perfectly. Basset Hounds are a very rugged breed and can handle being climbed on, having their ears pulled on, and any other abuse that a young child may throw at them without responding aggressively. They tend to be lazy dogs, so they do not require a large yard or space.

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Basset hounds have a big appetite and are known to sneak food off the counter when no one is looking. Bassets don’t need lots of attention and do well when left home alone during the day. They do need exercise to help keep them in shape, so daily walks are always a plus, but they would fit in well with a more sedentary lifestyle.

3Golden Retrievers

Photo: RD_Elsie

This dog breed is great for a busy family and certainly one of the best family dogs you’ll find. Golden Retrievers are easy to train and full of energy. They are very friendly dogs and do well around other pets and kids. This breed is extremely intelligent and affectionate.

Golden Retrievers are amazing best family dogs and will be the kind of canine at the park chasing down footballs or Frisbees. They are athletic dogs and need room to run and play. They are an excellent choice if you have active children that would love to run around outside with a dog. One thing to keep in mind is that they do require frequent grooming because of their long hair which is easily matted.

4Labradors

Photo: dasWebweib

Labradors are known for being one of the most loyal and loving of all dog breeds. They are the perfect dog for the busy, outdoorsy family. Labs are great on hikes and have been trained to be a hunter’s helper. They love being outside and are very quick learners.

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Labradors are extremely loyal to their pack and are great for kids. An added bonus, they have a shorter coat so there is less grooming required, however, they do tend to shed a lot. Labs also suffer from hereditary hip and joint problems, so if you choose this breed, be sure you select a reputable breeder that screens their dogs.

5Bulldogs

Photo: sabianmaggy

Bulldogs are great, sturdy dogs. They are mild-mannered and friendly. Bulldogs are very good with kids, cats, and other dogs. Bulldogs are loyal and protective, making them excellent watchdogs, and they are very courageous. It’s a little difficult to get this breed off the couch, but they do need regular exercise.

A few things to consider. Bulldogs do not do well in heat due to their rugged build and short snout. When taking them for walks, early mornings and evenings when it’s cooler are best. Bulldogs prefer a less active lifestyle, so if you’re looking for a dog to take hiking and camping, this probably isn’t the breed for your family.

6Pugs

Photo: Christopher Michel

Pugs are a small breed, and definitely one of the best family dogs. They are very friendly, making them great with kids and other pets. Since they are small in size, pugs don’t require a lot of space. This makes them ideal for families in apartments or homes in the city where there isn’t much indoor space and there is no yard.

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Pugs enjoy having people to play with and are very gentle. For those that enjoy dressing up their pets, pugs are a great choice. They are loyal to their family and, although small, are excellent watch dogs. Pugs do have a tendency to have nasal issues down the road, so that is something to keep in mind if you choose one for your family.

7Saint Bernard

Photo: Gerald Ferreira

Saint Bernard’s are a large breed, but also very friendly and watchful. They are good, hard-working dogs and very even tempered. They are considered a giant breed and do need lots of room both inside and out. Another thing to consider when adopting a dog of this size is how much food they will consume. You will be spending at least twice as much to feed a dog this size compared to a small or medium breed.

Saint Bernard’s are extremely intelligent and easily trainable. They are a calm breed and a great choice for a new family. You also need to take grooming into consideration when thinking about adopting a Saint Bernard. Their coat needs consistent brushing. They also tend to drool a lot. Saint Bernard’s are one of the more high-maintenance breeds on this list.

8Collie

Photo: Harold Meerveld

There is a reason why there was a TV show about Lassie the Collie. Although it may seem like the bond between the dog and his family was made for television, it is actually very true that this breed bonds closely with humans and is as loyal as any dog can be. Collies are most certainly a people oriented breed who like attention from all members of their family.

This breed is active, hard-working, and strong. Collies are gentle, mild-mannered, and very friendly. They are energetic and need room to run, but they are also extremely intelligent and require a lot of mental stimulation as well. This is not a good breed to choose if you don’t have a lot of time to spend with a dog. Collies require a lot of stimulation and can become bored or depressed very quickly without the activity that they need.

9Boxer

Photo: John McStravick

Boxers are a good dog for an active family. This fun-loving, goofy breed will keep you laughing. They are playful and energetic. They respond well to commands but have the tendency to be stubborn. Boxers are great watchdogs and working dogs. They can be aggressive towards strange animals but are typically okay if raised around household pets.

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Boxers are very devoted and guard their pack well. That being said, boxers are very needy and require a lot of attention. This breed loves their family and will follow you around anywhere that you go. If you don’t want a dog that is constantly in your face or you are away from home for long periods of time during the day, boxers may not be the breed for your family. They require a lot of time and attention.

10Great Danes

Photo: StormSignal

This one may come as a surprise, because they are one of the largest dog breeds, but this gentle giant is great with kids and other pets. They are loving, sensitive, and a great companion. The main thing to remember with Great Danes is that they a very large dog, and their size may overwhelm small children.

Because of their extra-large size Great Danes require more space than many other breeds. They need plenty of room inside and outdoors. A large home with a big backyard would be the ideal environment for this breed. Great Danes are mellow and don’t require a lot of activity, but still need daily exercise like any other breed.

Dogs bring love, energy and fun to the lucky family that adopts them.

The Top 10 Best Family Dogs
Photo: Donnie Ray Jones

These breeds are just some of the dogs that are a good fit for a family. Do your own research to see what will be the best fit for all aspects of your life and your family’s current situation. Truth be told, having a dog will probably bring your family closer together. Dogs are excellent companion animals that form lasting bonds with each member of your household.

A dog will bring fun and excitement into your life, plus A LOT of extra work, but they are more than worth it. Dogs force you to become more active and genuinely appreciate all that you do for them. Just remember, although it is wonderful to bring a dog into your family, it isn’t for everyone.

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Canines can become a hassle and they can cost a lot of money. Similarly to most other pets, your pooch will require tons of time and energy, and they are a huge responsibility. Think long and hard about your decision to adopt a pet and decide whether now is the best time to bring a dog into your family. Bringing a dog into your household is similar to having another baby; it changes everything. Make sure you’re ready for the commitment before you take that step.