Best Dog Breeds for Families: A Best Friend For All

Looking to add a new member to the family by adopting a new dog? When choosing a new puppy or dog for adoptions, consider the best dog breeds for families based on size, temperament and lifestyle. You might be surprised to what little (or big) furball is your next most amazing best friend.

Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Kids and dogs don’t always get along. The reason is simple, neither respect boundaries at times. If you have kids, especially younger once who haven’t spent a lot of time around dogs, choose the right breed with a good temperament known for being around energetic kids.

The American Kennel Club recommends considering your home’s physical interior and exterior environment when considering any of the breeds considered great with kids. Your new best friend needs to be a good fit from all sides.

Golden Retriever


Who doesn’t want their own Air Bud? Golden retrievers are loyal, smart, confident and loyal. They are particularly patient with children and seem to relish the extra attention and energy kids bring to the relationship.

Labrador Retriever

Whether it is fetch or frolicking in the ocean waves, Labrador retrievers are great family dogs. Not only are they extremely playful dogs, but they are also protective of the little beta and omega members of the family (aka the kiddos), keeping them safe from all sorts of trouble.


Maybe best idolized in the Peanuts cartoon series for decades, kids around the world love Snoopy. The Beagle is a small dog that won’t overwhelm kids. He is patient and calm. For kids who love to be outside, the hound in this dog make him the perfect exploration companion thanks to his keen hunting dog’s heritage.


Lassie was always there to save the day. But as Babe the Pig learned, Lassie’s cousin, the Border Collie is smart, loyal and playful. Collie breeds in general are smart and easy learners. These medium-sized dogs love showing off new tricks with their kid playmates whenever possible.


These dogs are great water dogs and considered one of the smartest breeds out there. Many dog experts call the Newfoundland “Nature’s Babysitter” because the big lovable beast doesn’t mind being a pillow and a playmate.

Even though we have highlighted some great breeds made famous in film, television and print, not every breed on television is a good example of a family dog for kids. After 101 Dalmatians was first released, families across American bought Dalmatian puppies only to flood shelters a year later when the high-strung dog either nipped at children or created disarray in homes where they couldn’t be the center of attention. Not every dog is a great companion for children.

Best Dog Breed for New Couples


New couples often adopt a purebred dog before they create a kid. It’s a good way to see how well you parent together. Finding a perfect family companion at a local shelter is a great way to build a family and help a dog in need. Many mixed breeds found at shelters are perfect for new couples.

At the same time, pure breeds are often a gift in a relationship, representing things are getting serious. It doesn’t matter if you choose smaller or larger dogs. Find one that fits your home meeting the needs of apartment living, patio dining or camping trips.

Basset Hound

If you want someone to take the karaoke mic on Friday nights, the Basset Hound your dog. He’ll howl with you and all your friends because he loves everyone including strangers. This hunting dog breed seems to have endless tail wags unless he catches the scent of something to hunt. These dogs need moderate exercise but are flexible with how. Meaning they are happy with the walk down to the local café patio for an afternoon of people watching.

Boston Terriers

This breed is a big dog in a little dog’s body. They proudly stand as if they are lions but remain as gentle as just about any breed out there. The short snout makes the Boston Terrier less suitable for places that get extremely hot because they can easily overheat, but these dogs do well in apartments, accept new family members such as newborns or other dogs with ease, and don’t have a lot of separation anxiety.

English Bulldog

A great family animal where there are other dogs, cats and even when kids get introduced. English Bulldogs are gentle protectors that don’t need a lot of space. They do well in temperate climates and become the subject of many social media videos with their snoring while chilling on movie night.

German Shepherd

A great protector because this dog was bred to protect the sheep and goat herds. German Shepherds are outgoing dogs who love to play, are courageous and curious. Many shepherd owners claim their dog is very aloof to strangers much like a lone wolf. These are working dogs that do best with routine and tasks to keep their mind active. German Shepherds do have a tendency to develop hip dysplasia from breeding practices.

Great Dane

Not quite a lap dog, but he might think he is. Hitting the scales at around 120 pounds, these dogs are big but as gentle as they come. Great Danes are stubborn and wary of other dogs on walks they don’t know. Training is essential though they do well with other animals in the home.

Best Dog Breeds for Elderly

Considering dogs for families should consider breeds for a family, regardless of the age. Elderly couples gain a lot of companionship spending time with a dog in the house. Studies have shown elderly people stay healthier with dogs partly because dogs reduce stress, force elderly people to remain active and provide security.

An elderly couple who has grandchildren visiting frequently needs to consider not just a dog that is good for them but is tolerant of the spitballs of energy that come to see them on the weekends. Elderly dog owners should consider smaller dog breeds simply for the safety factor of handling the strength and energy of a dog.


Standard poodles are adventurous and require some yard space to investigate and play otherwise they’ll find themselves in the laundry basket. The miniature poodle is known to get particularly attached to one person, making them the ideal lap dog companion. This breed needs scheduled grooming but doesn’t shed much and is low-maintenance between grooming visits.


A little waddle encourages a lot of walking. The Queen’s choice: Corgi’s are fun dogs who learn tricks before you even teach them. These are very stubborn dogs because they are so bright. But with a little training, they become loyal and fun companions. They do as much to encourage play as they do cuddling together with cozy nights by the fireplace.


Small, loves to cuddle and doesn’t shed. What isn’t there to love about the eyes poking through that long hair around the crest of the Maltese’s head? These are friendly dogs who love just about everyone and are perfect for grandma when home by herself. Then they jump right in when the grandkids want to play.



What better dog to understand our aging bodies than the pug. Heck, a few extra wrinkles make this eating and sleeping machine even more adorable. If any dog is a couch potato, the pug certainly is. Avoid giving those silly big eyes table scraps and provide encourage a little bit of play to keep their weight down.

Best Dog Breeds for Active Lifestyles

Families of all sizes, whether with kids or without, who live an active lifestyle don’t want to leave their dog behind. If you love hiking, hanging out at the lake or horseback riding on trails, you’ll want a breed that loves being outside as much as you do.

While many dog breeds are bred for outdoor activities, owners need to be the fun warden. Dogs will push themselves without care for their own health. Extreme weather (both hot and cold), extended activities without rest or not paying attention to the subtle differences of an aging dog can lead to disaster.

Here are some great breed to take with your family on those outdoor treks.

Irish Setter

Amazing athletes who love to play fetch. If your kids are playing at the park, the Irish Setter is just as happy retrieving tennis balls for the afternoon. Their stature makes them great jogging partners and their gorgeous coat keeps them cozy in snowy conditions.

Cocker Spaniel

This is a game dog who might proudly bring you a few birds as gifts. They are great in apartments or houses but do need time to cut loose and run so make sure you set time for them to play. These are easy going dogs who do well on trails, camping or hunting.

Bull Terrier

Spud MacKenzie put the Bull Terrier in the spotlight with his her (portrayed as him) starring roles in Bud Light beer commercials in the late 1980s. This breed knows his role is to be the life of the party, seemingly playing jokes on his family. These are loyal dogs with a ton of brute strength so provide outdoor time where they can explore and release that energy positively.


A gorgeous dog bound to make friends for the whole family with his hazel eyes and silvery coat. Another sports dog great with the family but need both mental and physical stimulation to exhaust that immense curiosity he is born with. The Weimaraner is fast enough to keep up with you on a mild mountain bike trek and make even sprint for the win at the end (and beat you).


Known for their jumping ability, Boxers need a good yard with excellent containment if you don’t want to be chasing him throughout the neighborhood. These dogs are strong just love to be the life of the party. They’ll make you feel safer on a camping trip with their protective nature and keen hearing.

Whatever type of dog you choose for your family, be sure to spend the time and energy to train the dog and your family. Consistency among family members including kids helps dogs understand their place in the pack. This helps reduce dominant and even aggressive behavior.

Always teach young children how to treat dogs and what signs a dog will show when he is stressed, upset or angry. It is always the owner’s responsibility to make sure everyone is safe, including the dog.

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