When my kids were small, I knew that I wanted them raised around dogs. My husband hadn’t had dogs growing up but they were a central part of my childhood. I would often venture out into the world, loyal canine, a Heinz 57 named Bogart, at my heels braving the wilds with me. He was the epitome of family-friendly and I wanted the same experience for my kids.
If you are like me, then a family friendly dog is an important part of your family planning. But how do you know which breed or mixed breed to choose? While I can’t give you direction on the best for your home, I can steer you toward the best breeds for families and kids.
Before the Breeds
Before we launch into the different breeds, it’s important to look at what you want for your family. Picking a great family friendly dog comes down to a few traits:
Many people think small is best for kids but this isn’t always the case. Large breeds tend to be laid back and patient, making them perfect for kids. However, that doesn’t mean all large breeds are good and all small breeds aren’t family friendly.
I’ve already hinted at it, but temperament is important for finding family friendly. Breeds known for being more eager to please, laid back, and patient are better for kids.
Three: Energy Level
Based on individual preferences, high-energy dogs can be great with kids, as can low energy. Find the breed that works best for your family.
Four: Grooming/Care Needs
Finally, be honest about the care you can dedicate to a dog. If you and the kids can’t manage a two-hour sprint around the neighborhood, then an athletic, high-energy breed isn’t a great fit. If you don’t want to spend hours grooming a dog, then choose a wash and wear breed. In this case, it is really up to what you can handle as a family.
Family Friendly Breed: Golden Retriever
Confident and affectionate, the Golden Retriever is an excellent breed for families. They are up in the top 10 of registered dogs and are often found in rescues.
They are a perfect family-friendly dog because they are extremely patient and kind. The breed loves to play and is often very obedient.
One of the downsides is that the coat can be difficult to care for. They also require a lot of exercise. However, if you have the time to dedicate to both, this is a dog breed that will put a smile on everyone in the family.
Family Friendly Breed: Mastiff
Gentle giants, the mastiff isn’t a family breed that many people think of. If you are looking at the mastiff, be prepared for a giant dog, with drool and squished laps.
They are excellent with kids of all sizes, being a calm and patient breed, but they do go through a bull in a china shop stage so be careful with really little kids.
The breed is easy to care for with lower energy and an easy to care for but vet bills and food costs can be high. However, if you can look past those negatives, you will have a steadfast and faithful companion for your kids.
Family Friendly Breed: Beagle
Small in size but large in personality, the beagle is excellent with children and very family friendly. The breed is playful and happy, always ready to tag along with the kids.
They are a bit loud, originally hunting dogs that bayed, the beagle loves being outdoors. They have a wash and wear coat, but they do shed a lot.
Exercise, they have a lot of energy so expect daily walks to keep them happy. However, the breed is so smart and friendly; they can fit into most families.
Family Friendly Breed: Labrador Retriever
America’s most popular dog is so for a reason…they are family friendly. Labrador Retrievers are playful, eager to please, patient and loving. They are very intelligent and train easily.
They are often great with kids and their energy level lets them keep up with kids on a day-to-day. The breed is protective and will often get along well with everyone.
They do require a lot of exercise but their coats are easy to care for. Labrador Retrievers are the number one family dog around, and they have the added bonus of coming in three colors: chocolate, black and yellow.
Family Friendly Breed: Bulldog
Last, but definitely not least, the bulldog is not often thought of when considering family friendly. But they are definitely just that. When it comes to kids, bulldogs are patient and incredibly devoted.
In addition, they are sturdy so they get along great with rough and tumble kids. They are very calm and tend to be very loyal to their family.
They do have health concerns, so potential owners should be aware of this going in. For care, they don’t require a long walks and grooming is easy, although you do need to keep wrinkles clean. Moreover, they can be quite noisy at night since they tend to snore.
But the breed will definitely make kids laugh with their playfulness and dedication.
As you can see, there are many breeds, large and small, that are family friendly. All you have to do is find the right breed for your family and then bring them home for your kids. Don’t forget, there are many purebreds in shelters and Petfinder is a great place to find your next family pet.