The best family dogs include breeds with friendly dispositions, loyal personalities and the patience to endure a toddler’s sticky grasp. To determine which dog is best for your family, start by learning the basics about each breed you're considering. Is the breed recommended for families with young children? Is this breed easily trainable? Be sure to find out what kind of temperament the breed is known to have and any medical conditions that might be common with the breed.
Before bringing a new dog into your home, spend time with the dog. When adopting a puppy, observe the puppy’s parents if possible. Note their behavior, as it may be an indicator as to how the puppy will behave in later years.
To help get you started, here is a look at six popular family friendly breeds.
Beagle. Sweet and loyal with a friendly disposition, the beagle has a smaller stature that may make it a good choice for families with limited space. In general, beagles range in height from 13 to 16 inches tall and weigh between 20 and 25 pounds. Beagles tend to be good around strangers and small children.
Golden retriever. The golden retriever is considered a sporting breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Sporting breeds tend to be active and friendly. Golden Retrievers are smart dogs that respond well to training and but are not recommended as a watchdog due to their overly friendly nature.
Labrador retriever. Regarded as an ideal dog for families with children, the fiercely friendly Labrador Retriever is happy to play with children and adults alike. The dogs are energetic, intelligent and easily trainable. They may be the right choice for an active family that enjoys playing outdoors.
Newfoundland. Patient, friendly and loyal, the Newfoundland may weigh up to 150 pounds and stand on average between 26 inches and 28 inches tall. Being a large dog, the Newfoundland needs space indoors and out for exercise and play. According to the AKC, this breed is an excellent swimmer and is at home in the water or on land.
Pug. A sturdy but small dog, the pug can be patient, loyal and loving to its family and generally gets along well with other family pets. Pugs are trainable and calm around small children. This breed needs minimal exercise, making it a good choice for smaller homes. With a short coat, Pugs don't require a lot of brushing and they aren't heavy shedders.
Standard poodle. The standard poodle is smart, patient and affectionate. The poodle’s coat is considered hypoallergenic, but does require professional grooming. The breed is active but trainable and needs daily exercise. The standard poodle generally has a friendly disposition.
When choosing a family dog, remember that dogs, like people, have distinct personalities. Never assume that because a specific breed is recommended as a family dog, it will be a good family dog. It may take time to find the pet best suited to your family, but when that connection is made, you will know it.