11 Best Family Dogs: Top Breeds for Parents With Kids

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11 Best Family Dogs: Top Breeds for Parents With Kids

The best family dogs are only as good as their owner. Check out my article Dog Care 101: The Right Dog For You, 5 Best Tips For First Time Owners to find out if owning a dog is a good fit for your family’s lifestyle.

One of the most popular terms that comes to mind when thinking about dogs is the old phrase “Man’s best friend.”. However, I can tell you from personal experience, having a dog as a child will give you a best friend many years before you start shaving the wispy mustache that took two years to grow in the first place.

Having a family dog as a child teaches responsibility, how to care for a living creature, not to mention walking the dog regularly will not only get your kids off the couch but off those darn Gameboy devices as well.

When compiling a list of potential furry companions I looked for breeds with high sociability (among dogs and humans) as well as plenty of energy so you can send your kids to the backyard to chase the dog and have them in bed by 9 0’clock.

I made sure to sort this list into small, medium, and large breeds for variety, as well as your own personal preference

Finding the perfect dog for you family can seem daunting at first, but hopefully these selections for the best family dogs will help you choose your newest family member.

Small Breeds:

Not everyone has the space for a gargantuan land shark that knocks over everything in its way and eats its weight in dog food every day. Luckily, dogs come in all shapes and sizes.

Small dogs are great for those of us who love to cuddle, but do not like to be pushed off the bed. Non-threatening and big enough to pick up and hold under your arm if they act up, these are amazing dogs for a new owner who can feel overwhelmed training a behemoth big enough to ride.

Be warned, however. Disciplining small dogs can prove to be much more difficult, given that they often retain that sad-eyed puppy dog look well into adulthood.

The following is a list of smaller dogs, with a brief overview of each, that would be perfect for an apartment or any home with limited space.

#1 – Corgi

Corgi, Pembroke Corgi, Welsh Corgi, best family dogs

Corgis are a sturdy short breed originating in Ireland and bred for herding sheep. They come in short and medium-length haired varieties, though no matter what, you are going to want too keep a wire brush handy to keep the shedding at bay.

Highly social dogs, Corgis love to be around their humans. They crave stimulation, whether it be a game of fetch, long walks, (by the beach) or the perfect chew toy.

I will admit to playing favorites ranking the corgi at the #1 spot, and also to following what some would say is “Too many.” Corgi accounts on Instagram. Can you blame me though? Just look at that face! There’s a reason the Queen of England has her own personal pack of these fluffy little heartbreakers!

Breed Traits:
-Can be stubborn but loves people.
-Sheds a lot but easy to groom.
-Very smart and easy to train with enough patience.
-May kill you with cuteness.

Average Lifespan: 10-12 yrs.

#2 – Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkie, Yorkshire Terrier, best family dogs

Yorkshire Terriers, or, Yorkies for short, are a toy breed originating in England. Originally a rodent hunting breed, they didn’t take long to weasel (get it?) Their way into the homes and hearts of humans everywhere.

One of the top ten most popular dogs in the world, this silky haired little monster is energetic, yet small enough to be comfortable in an apartment. Their love for their family makes them one of the best family dogs out there.

A wonderful first dog for any family member with allergies. Yes, Yorkies are hypoallergenic, meaning there is no need to worry about popping a few dozen Claritin every time you want to hug your new puppy.

Breed Traits:
-Long lifespan, few health issues.
-Love family wary of strangers.
-Energetic small enough to play in an apartment.
-GREAT indoor dogs.

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years.

#3 – Beagle

Beagle, best family dogs

This classic small-medium sized hunting dog will make a great addition to any family. Known for their acute sense of smell, this compact breed is used in law enforcement as drug sniffing dogs, and at the TSA as the Beagle Brigade.
This breeds’ sense of smell can be a double-edged sword, as they are known to follow any interesting scent that comes across their path.

Beagles make awesome dogs for the pet owner who wants a small dog that you can see without a microscope. Beagles are one of the best family dogs for owners who are willing to put the time in to train them.

Although somewhat stubborn to train they are superb housepets who enjoy being indoors as long as they get plenty of exercise.

Breed Traits:
-Sensitive nose, likely to wander.
-Incredibly friendly and social.
-Not too small.
-Can be tough to train.

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years.

#4 – Pug


Hailing from Asia, the Pug is everybody’s favorite wrinkle-faced furball. You cant help but love that smushed face which somehow looks happy and sad at the same time.

One of the largest toy breeds, they are quite the compact resilient dog. While playful by nature it is important they get plenty of exercise as excessive weight gain can contribute to their more prevalent health issues.

Exceptional house pet as long as air conditioning it available. It is imperative that you make sure your Pug does not overheat, a common, sometimes deadly, issue with this breed.

Breed Traits:
-Tough but small.
-Good size for first dog.
-Low maintenance.
-Breathing problems common.

Average Lifespan: 12 – 15 years.



“This one is too small, this one is too big, this one is juuuust right!” All the great parts of small and large breeds without having to worry about losing them in tall grass, or mistaking them for a bear, mid-size dogs are a perfect for beginners who are looking for flexibility.

Medium sized dog breeds are some of the most popular in the world. It’s easy to see why! Nobody wants to get lost in the copious amounts of dog hair that large breeds shed, nor do they want to have to build a set of stairs so that their toy breed can climb their way into your bed.

A medium-sized pup makes one of the best family dogs, for those with small children.

Let’s get started with the selections for the best medium dog breeds!

#5 – Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier

The first thing you might think about this breed is “Hey thats Spuds Mackenzie!”. While that advertisement was before my time it is easy to see why it is such a recognizable breed. With its curved snout, pointy ears, and eyes that make you wonder if it should make an appointment at the optometrist, this dog is very unique to say the least.

Originally bred as fighting dogs, you can see why some would be intimidated to own one of these pooches as a first time dog owner, however you will find your trepedation unfounded once you meet one of these affectionate and loyal pups in person.

I, myself own a Boxer/Bull Terrier mix and I can say, without a doubt, she is the most sociable, stubborn, outgoing, crazy dogs I have seen. Bull Terriers are misunderstood animals who are more likely to tackle you to lick your face than to so much as bear their teeth.

Breed Traits:
-Healthy low maintenance.
-Very high energy.
-Friendly toward strangers and other dogs.
-Great first dog.

Average Lifespan: 11 – 14 years.

#6 – Collie

Collie, Border collie

Collies are the pretty models of the dog world. With their raised fluffy flowing coats of fur they are an ideal pick for a colder climate. The collies silky mane comes with one downside, however….

Grooming is extremely important, not only for the care of your Collie’s coat but also their overall health as their fur can clump and they can get hard to find ticks. Don’t let this be a deterrent, however, as these are phenomenal dogs for children of any age

Collies make excellent watch dogs seeing how they were bred for shepherding in Scotland. These highly intelligent, highly social companions often apply herding techniques around children and others that it deems need protecting. Collies are some of the best family dogs for an active household.

Breed Traits:
-Work well with people.
-Very dependent.

Average Lifespan: 14 – 16 years.

#7 – Irish Setter

Irish setter, setter

A very active dog better suited for older children. Irish setters are often used in obedience and agility competitions due to their high energy and intelligence.

A highly active breed, Setters are known to wander, so a large fenced in yard is a big plus. Be sure to train them how to walk with a leash at an early age, as without proper discipline they can be pullers.

Training an Irish Setter can be difficult. Setters are naturally inquisitive and aloof which is understandable since, being bred as hunting dogs, they needed to be ready for anything at a moments notice.

Breed Traits:
-Very social.
-Need lots of space.
-Good with other dogs.
-Great for active families.

Average Lifespan: 12 – 15 years.

#8 – Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog, Sheepdog, best family dogs

It is no wonder Shetlands, or Shelties, for short are a mainstay of obedience competitions everywhere. Out of 132 breeds they are ranked number 6 in intelligence, and make some of the best family dogs out there.

Shelties have beautiful coats that keep them comfortable in summer or winter weather. Another extremely social sheepdog on this list, the Sheltie strives to not only obey but also understand every command.

Shedding can be a problem with this breed, though, frequent brushing will help keep unwanted dog hair at bay.

Breed Traits:
-Beautiful coat, shedder.
-Easy to train.
-Kid friendly size.

Average lifespan: 12 – 13 years.


“Any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are pointless.”
-Ron Swanson

As an owner, I can tell you from firsthand experience, big dogs make some of the greatest pets. I am sure your family will fall head over heels for these gentle giants.

Owning a large breed dog can be difficult concerning inexperienced owners, however, with a little patience and a whole lot of training these dogs make amazing family pets. It is important to make sure, when selecting a large breed, to make sure you know what you are getting. All puppies are small. large breed puppies are no exception. The difference here is important: Large breed puppies will get big. Many new owners pick up a Rottweiler, or Siberian Husky puppy thinking they will stay that size, and when they inevitably reach adulthood simply send them off to a shelter with a shrug.

Large dogs make great deterrents for kidnappers and would-be home invaders due to their fierce reputation as vicious, bloodthirsty monsters. These rumors couldn’t be further from the truth (But I think we can agree to keep that a secret from the bad guys *wink*). Bigger breeds are the best family dogs, and anyone who puts the time in will see their investment pay off with years of love and joy.

Below you will find a list of some of the top large dog breeds for families with children. I made sure to include only dogs with a caring temperament who will make great furry pillows for you and your loved ones.

#9 – Newfoundland

Newfoundland, Newfoundland dog, best family dogs

Newfoundlands are an ideal dog for a family with lots of space, preferably near water, since this breed is an excellent swimmer who is not afraid to get a little wet or a little dirty.

Weighing in at around 100lbs, Newfoundlands are, simply put, monstrous. Size can be misleading, however, as “Newfies” are some of the most gentle and kid friendly dogs in the world. Nicknamed the natural-born babysitter, Newfoundlands are protective and caring especially with children.

This is a large breed. Many larger-sized dogs drool. The Newfoundland is no exception, though, sheer volume is an entirely different story. Grooming is a must to keep your Newfie looking great.

Breed Traits:
-Needs plenty of room.
-Needs plenty of attention.
-Intelligent, easy to train.
-Exremely kid friendly.

Average Lifespan: 8 – 10 years.

#10 – Golden retriever

Golden Retriever, best family dogs

When somebody says the word “Dog.” this is what comes to mind for millions of Americans. Seriously if you have never heard of the Golden retriever then I am assuming you were actually born yesterday, in which case this just might be the dog for you. Be careful, though, sometimes Goldens don’t know their own strength and can accidentally knock something or someone over after playing too rough.

Very social, so much so, that they make quite poor guard dogs, as they are more likely to make friends than stop intruders. Excellent for families with multiple dogs as they often get separation anxiety when left alone. Don’t worry, though, they are some of the best family dogs for people who have the time to spend.

Breed Traits:
-Extremely good with people and other dogs.
-Sensitive to punishment positive reinforcement.
-Very energetic need lots of exercise.
-Prone to separation anxiety.

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 years.

#11 – Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog, best family dogs

One of the biggest breeds. Bernese Mountain Dogs need plenty of space to run and play. This is not a breed that is inclined to warm weather climates and can overheat which can lead to heatstroke or death.

They are easy to train if you let them know who’s in charge. Not for owners who will slack on training as with any breed, they should be socialized as early as possible to avoid accidents in the future.

Quite a loving dog, the Bernese will let its affection be known by drowning you in drool. No worries, they’re some of the best family dogs out there.

Breed Traits:
-Extremely large.
-Needs strong owner.
-Not suitable for hot weather.
-Very affectionate.

Average Lifespan: 6 – 8 years.

Have a suggestion or breed you think should have been included on this list? Let us know by commenting under this post! Or join The Paws Hub Email list and tell us there. We’d love to hear any feedback you have!



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