The Best Family-Friendly Dogs

February 21, 2019 by Steven M. Peters

Source: skynesher / Getty Images
The benefits of owning a dog have been established for decades. It all boils down to the fact that canines make people happy and keep them healthier. For kids, puppies are a source of unconditional love and help them develop a sense of responsibility.

But you have to pick the right breed. An active person may not do well with a dog that prefers to sleep, and a person who prefers to stay inside will not likely do well with a dog that is a ball of endless energy and loves to play outdoors.

So how do you decide who your child’s best four-legged friend will be for the next decade or so? It takes more than looking into a puppy’s eyes and falling in love with it. You may also want to consider how long a dog is expected to live. The American Kennel Club recognizes almost 200 official dog breeds. With so many options, choosing just one becomes a tricky and emotional journey.

You have to think about the type of family you are, including how much time you spend outside your home, as well as temperament. Whether you live in a small apartment or a house with a big yard also plays a role, as does the age of your kids.

Some important questions you should ask before taking home a dog include whether the breed is safe for everyone in the family (some love to hang out with the entire family, while others prefer just adults) and what is the dog’s exercise needs (some may need a lot of daily activities, while other are OK with a few days a week).

To create a list of the best family-friendly dogs to own, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed online sources focused on dog and pet care, such as the American Kennel Club, PetMD, VetStreet, and DogTime.

Click here to see the best family-friendly dogs you can adapt.

Source: chuckrasco / Getty Images

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are famous for their long ears as well as short legs, and also for being one of the most loyal dogs out there. Even though this is a hunting dog — its trailing ability is second only to the Bloodhound — the Basset has a gentle temperament and is very friendly with kids as well as other pets in the house. The breed needs daily exercise, which can be an excuse to keep the kids active as well. Otherwise, Bassets may be prone to obesity.

[in-text-ad]

Source: chris_leung / Flickr

Collie

Collies consistently make the top of lists of best family dogs. One reason why is their personality — gentle and affectionate. They learn quickly and are easy to train. They also love to please everyone around them, as well as care for people in the family with whom they form a great bond. Collies tend to get bored with the same routine, which can make them a great partner for kids who love to play a lot and different games.

Source: SvetaElfimova / Thinkstock

Newfoundland

You can’t go wrong with a dog whose nickname is “nature’s babysitter.” Another popular nickname for Newfoundlands is “nanny dog” because they are sweet, patient, and good companions. Newfs may be some of the world’s biggest dogs, but they are also among the most affectionate towards kids and are very protective of them. These large dogs are best suited for families who have a home with a big yard or other large open space.

Source: Thinkstock

Beagle

Beagles are among the most popular breeds in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club. These hunting dogs are known for their happy temperament and loyalty. They thrive when they live indoors with the rest of the family. They are very curious and need a lot of playtime outdoors, which they love. That makes them a perfect companion for energetic kids. Beagles get along with other pets in the house as well.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Canarian / Wikimedia Commons

Beauceron

Beaucerons are described as gentle giants. Sometimes weighing over 100 pounds, these powerful dogs are also faithful and obedient. These dogs are known to be sensitive and protective of their owners. However, veterinarians warn that Beaucerons are not the best choice for people who have never had dogs before because they are very stubborn. But they are also excellent watchdogs who won’t have a problem defending their home and family.

Source: jonathandavidsteele / Getty Images

Golden Retriever

One of the Golden Retriever’s best qualities is its patience, which is why the breed is a perfect match for children. This dog, however, will not protect your home from thieves. Golden Retrievers are gentle and really love everyone around them. They are also loyal, calm, and smart, which is why, perhaps not surprisingly, they are often used as service dogs.

[in-text-ad]

Source: sgilsdorf / Wikimedia Commons

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers often rank as America’s most popular dog breed. They are happy, fairly easy to train, and always ready to play, especially swim. Vets say these dogs can thrive in a range of environments — from smaller apartments to houses with big yards, as long as they get a lot of exercise. “If you give him an outlet for his energy, a Lab will be the best dog you could ever have,” according to VetStreet.

Source: Moires / Wikimedia Commons

Boxer

Another very popular dog in the United States, Boxers make good family companions because they are active, loyal, and affectionate. They love to participate in all kinds of dog activities, such as flyball and agility courses. Despite popular belief, boxers are not aggressive and don’t like to fight. They do make great watchdogs, but they are playful and patients with kids.

Source: Tomas Maracek / Getty Images

Vizsla

Vizslas are not the best fit for inactive families. But if your children love to play, these dogs may be perfect for your household. Just like children, they need regular exercise and like being active. They are also described as loyal, affectionate, and gentle. With children, they are known to be patient, playful, and very protective.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: s5iztok / Getty Images

Irish Setter

Often described as “tireless,” Irish Setters are very energetic and need a lot of exercise, making them an ideal match for active children, especially older ones. They love to be among people and play with kids and keep their puppy persona until they are about three years old. These dogs are also very athletic and competitive in sporting activities.

Source: chris-mueller / Getty Images

Australian Shepherd

They are known as cowboys’ favorite dogs, but they love everyone. They love to run after everything and everyone that moves, especially kids. Since they love to play, and will gladly do it as much as possible, these Aussies are not an ideal match for a family that prefers to stay home inactive. These tireless dogs are also very smart and can adapt to any environment as long as their exercise needs are met.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Marcelo-Kaneshira / Getty Images

Bulldog

Bulldogs are often demonized in movies and sometimes the media as being fighting dogs, but these muscular canines are actually very devoted and sweet, especially towards children. Bulldogs can handle rough play like champs. What parents should be aware of, however, is that these dogs are not very energetic; they won’t play with the kids for hours. But they get along with other pets and are suitable for big houses as well as small apartments.

Source: pc.david / Wikimedia Commons

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

Fauves are affectionate dogs that are a good match for children, but they need training and socializing. They love to play, and will do so with almost anything, but they also love to snuggle. Originally hunting dogs, Fauves can easily adapt to any environment. They are not active inside, but they love to run outside.

Source: Bigandt_Photography / Getty Images

Weimaraner

Weimaraners are known as Germany’s “Gray Ghosts” because they like to follow their owners everywhere. Mostly favored by hunters, pet owners love them too because they are friendly and obedient. These are active dogs that need to be around their human families. In fact, they would love nothing more than to spend the whole day being active — whether it’s playing canine games, hunting, or just running around.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: MG_54 / Getty Images

Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is another dog breed that has been branded as aggressive in popular culture, but that could not be farther from the truth. They were bred to be companion dogs and are very friendly and love people – adults and children alike. They can also tolerate pain and are well suited to high-spirited kids who might play a bit rough.

Source: siur / Getty Images

Spanish Mastiff

Two of the best qualities that make Spanish Mastiffs wonderful for children are being very protective and affectionate. These powerful and muscular dogs, which can weigh around 200 pounds, are guard dogs. They are, however, not recommended for small places, such as apartments, because of their size. They tend to be inactive indoors.

[in-text-ad]

Source: olgagorovenko / Getty Images

Bracco Italiano

Bracco Italiano is one of the oldest breeds, dating back to as many as 2,500 years. Known in English as the Italian Ponting Dogs or Italian Pointers, these hunting dogs are very sweet family companions. They have endless energy, especially when in the field, making them a perfect match for active kids. The Bracco loves people in general and behaves best and thrives most when interacting with its family.

Source: Thinkstock

Poodle

Another dog breed that has been misrepresented in movies, Poodles are actually very intelligent animals. One of the most popular dog pets in the country, the Poodle is very athletic, ready to play all the time, and an ideal companion for every kind of family. Its hypoallergenic coat makes it perfect for people with allergies.

Source: CaptureLight / Thinkstock

Australian Terrier

Australian Terriers are energetic dogs that will want to play with you and for you to play only with them. These Aussies were bred to hunt, as well as to be watchdogs and companions. The small terriers follow their owners’ lead, even when it comes to mood. They are calm if their owners are sad, and playful if they are happy.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: JamesBrey / Getty Images

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers are among the best protective dogs in the world. They are often described as noble dogs, and even as royalty in the canine world. There were originally bred as guard dogs, and are ideal family companions that are very energetic and smart. Their powerful look and reputation will make most intruders think twice before entering a house.