Remember that while these dogs may have characteristics that make them great family pets, you will still need to work on daily training and socialization to help them become good canine citizens.
Here’s a list of dogs that tend to make the best dogs for kids and families:
Overall Top Pick: Mutts!
While your family might be considering only purebred dogs, don’t count out mixed breeds. Mixed breeds often provide the best traits of two (or more!) great breeds in one dog.
When you adopt a mixed breed dog, you are saving the lives of two dogs—the dog you adopt, and the dog you’ve now made space for at the rescue.
By adopting, you can also get more behavioral background on the dog. The shelter or rescue workers spend their days caring for the dogs, so they can let you know about the ins and outs of a dog’s personality and habits.
In terms of size, if the dog is a mutt and also not fully grown, you might only get a best estimate on their size as an adult.
1. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a confident, smart, kind, and loyal dog. Neither aggressive nor timid, the Golden Retriever is extremely patient, which makes them a perfect match for kids.
While the breed does need a lot of exercise, they love to play (retrieving games are their favorite—for example, your Golden might love playing with frisbees).
You’ll often find that the fun-loving Golden Retriever is affectionate and obedient, as well, meaning that your kids will fall in love instantly.
Proper care for their glorious golden coats requires twice-weekly brushing.
2. Labrador Retriever
This is one of THE most popular dog breeds, and for good reason—the Labrador Retriever is playful, patient, loving, protective, and reliable. Another perk—Labs are highly intelligent and take well to training.
They require A LOT of exercise (they love swimming!), so be sure your family is up for the challenge. Make sure that they have plenty of room to run around and play.
Whether they’re Black Labs, Chocolate Labs, or Yellow Labs, they all share the same sense of stamina, strength, and obedience that makes them such a popular breed.
These affable dogs get along well with other animals and pretty much everyone they meet, plus their short coats mean that they only really need a weekly combing to keep them clean and healthy. However, Labradors do shed, so you should be prepared for cleaning up their hair regularly.
Besides their often-distinctive haircuts, the Poodle also happens to be a very smart and gentle dog.
Proud and elegant, this dog breed is both caring and loyal and is seldom annoyed or bored.
Poodles are available in both miniature and standard sizes, meaning you can choose the specific Poodle size that best matches your living environment. They’re great for kids with allergies, as they shed very little.
Each breed comes with different perks. The Standard Poodle breed, for example, is very obedient, smart, playful, and adventurous. Although they are often shy with strangers, they get along great with people and kids that they know.
Miniature Poodles, on the other hand, tend to dedicate themselves to one person in particular, but they are good with other pets and kids. They are smart, responsive, obedient, and playful.
No matter the particular breed of Poodle, however, their coats do require scheduled grooming.
4. Irish Setter
Known for their red coat, the Irish Setter is playful and energetic, loves being around people, and plays well with children.
In fact, this breed loves being with their family so much that they hate to be alone, which means they’re on their best behavior when surrounded by their loved ones. (Check out some easy ways to prevent separation anxiety in your dog here.)
This dog needs lots of exercise and is a good match for energetic kids.
A smart and trainable companion, the Irish setter is perfect for people with a yard, and they’re great at greeting new people that come into your home, as well.
Irish Setters do have a longer coat, so they will require regular grooming and brushing to prevent them from getting hair mats.
While this breed isn’t exactly a common household name—mostly due to their need for regular exercise—they’re actually one of the best dog breeds for active and energetic families with older kids.
The Vizsla has a lively disposition but a gentle manner, and is both loyal and affectionate.
The breed is also obedient, confident, and smart. Vizslas form close bonds with family members and are able to learn new tricks quickly.
They have a short coat, so their grooming routine is quite low maintenance.
Nicknamed “Nature’s Babysitter,” the Newfoundland is considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds in the world, and these dogs just happen to love children and are very protective of them.
Gentle, kind, and patient, this breed is almost like the Mother Teresa of dogs. Both younger and older family members will quickly fall in love with this large, wonderfully sweet dog.
The Newfoundland best suits a family with large, open spaces, and although they are known to drool and shed excessively, they should not be left to live outdoors in the yard (no dog should). Their long coats will also require regular grooming and upkeep.
The Newfoundland is also a great swimmer and has been known to save lives in emergency situations. They are easily trained and quite task-oriented, so don’t be afraid to provide them with stimulation that requires a little extra work on their part.
7. Border Collie
A variety of breeds are classified as Collies, such as the Border Collie and Bearded Collie. And while your options for this family-friendly pup are not limited to the classic “Lassie” dog (Border Collie), we’ll focus on that type of Collie here.
Collies are a gentle and predictable breed, rarely misbehaving and easily trainable—which is perfect for families that are unfamiliar with dogs. Collies get along great with children and love to please their owners and protect their family.
While this type of breed is typically mild-mannered, they were originally bred as herding dogs, so yours may try to herd your children! This might be amusing at first, but it’s probably best to discourage the child-herding (no matter how handy you think it could be).
Because of the Collie’s long hair, the breed requires regular grooming to keep its coat in tip-top shape. A sensitive and intelligent breed, Collies are both gentle and stubborn, so keep obedience training in mind.