Special Report

10 Best Dogs for Families

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It should come as no surprise to learn that man’s best friend is also America’s favorite pet. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36.5% of households have a dog. But different breeds are better suited for different households, and this is a very important consideration for families with children.

There are many factors to consider when picking the right breed. Does your family live in a big house in the country or a small apartment in the city? Are you an active and outgoing bunch, or would exercising with your dog become a tedious chore? Are your children young or old? Breeds have different personalities and require different levels of care and attention, so it’s worth doing your homework. After all, your dog will become a member of the family.

And when you come home from a bad day at work and the dog comes bounding to the door, or when you wake up after a good night’s sleep to find your pup in bed beside you, you’ll be glad whatever breed you chose.

Click here to see the best dogs for families.

To identify which breeds are best for families, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the American Kennel Club’s list of best family dogs, with information related to each breed’s personality, suitability for children, trainability, size, and life expectancy.

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1. Labrador Retriever
> Height for males: 22.5-24.5 inches
> Height for females: 21.5-23.5 inches
> Weight for males: 65-80 pounds
> Weight for females: 55-70 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

More than family friendly, the Labrador retriever is the most popular breed in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed has been the most popular for 26 consecutive years. It is playful, eager to please, and good with children. And you have a choice of three colors — yellow, black, or chocolate.

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2. Bulldog
> Height: 14-15 inches
> Weight for males: 50 pounds
> Weight for females: 40 pounds
> Life expectancy: 8-10 years

The Bulldog has long been associated with British culture (note the resemblance to Winston Churchill!), but it’s also one of the most popular breeds in America. Its name belies a friendly personality and gentle disposition.

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3. Golden Retriever
> Height for males: 23-24 inches
> Height for females: 21.5-22.5 inches
> Weight for males: 65-75 pounds
> Weight for females: 55-65 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Golden retrievers are known for their work ethic. They are employed as guide dogs, in search-and-rescue, and – as their name suggests – for hunting. Their friendly, gentle disposition rules them out as guard dogs but makes them one of the best breeds for families. And they’re not just gold-colored – they can be blonde or yellow, too.

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4. Beagle
> Height for a small beagle: 13 inches & under
> Height for a normal beagle: 13-15 inches
> Weight for a small beagle: < 20 pounds
> Weight for a normal beagle: 20-30 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-15 years

With their superior sense of smell and tracking instinct, Beagles are famous as hunting dogs and are also used by customs agencies around the world. They were bred to hunt in packs and enjoy the company of other dogs, as well as people. They are good natured and devoted and take well to training. They need regular exercise but are otherwise easy to care for.

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5. Pug
> Height: 10-13 inches
> Weight: 14-18 pounds
> Life expectancy: 13-15 years

Pugs have a lot of personality in a small package, and they like attention and affection. They are intuitive dogs and sensitive to the moods of their owners, which makes them good companions. They can be strong willed but are not aggressive. They like to play with children but some supervision may be needed.

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6. Irish Setter
> Height for males: 27 inches
> Height for females: 25 inches
> Weight for males: 70 pounds
> Weight for females: 60 pounds
> Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Irish setters are famous for their fine red coats and for their grace and speed. They thrive on human companionship and get along well with children and other dogs, but they may have problems with cats. They like vigorous exercise and lots of it.

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7. Brussels Griffon
> Height: 7-10 inches
> Weight: 8-10 pounds
> Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Descended from a rough-coated dog called a Smousje, Brussels Griffons are also alert and inquisitive. They love to play and can be taught to perform tricks. Brussels Griffons are good with children but may require supervision. They sometimes bond with one human more than others. They have big eyes as well as big hearts and come in a variety of colors, including red, reddish brown, and black.

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8. Newfoundland
> Height for males: 28 inches
> Height for females: 26 inches
> Weight for males: 130-150 pounds
> Weight for females: 100-120 pounds
Life expectancy: 9-10 years

The Newfoundland was originally bred as a working dog for fishermen in the Canadian province after which it is named. These dogs are big, strong, and loyal, and excellent swimmers — with lifesaving instincts in the water. The breed is easy to train and eager to please. It is an excellent companion and is even referred to as “the nanny dog.” J.M. Barrie specified that the beloved guardian “Nana” in “Peter Pan” was a Newfoundland.

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9. French Bulldog
> Height: 11-13 inches
> Weight: < 28 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

The French Bulldog is characterized by a smushed-up face and protruding ears but still wins hearts and minds. It is loyal, playful, and good with small children. It doesn’t need much exercise but shouldn’t be left alone for long periods as it can suffer from separation anxiety.

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10. Collie
> Height for males: 24-26 inches
> Height for females: 22-24 inches
> Weight for males: 60-75 pounds
> Weight for females: 50-65 pounds
> Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Collies have tremendous herding abilities and protective instincts, as generations who have seen Lassie in films and on television know. They are strong, loyal, affectionate, and elegant dogs and respond well to training. Collies are a good fit for families with an active lifestyle, and they can thrive in the city as well as in the country.

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