What are the Top Dog Breeds for Families?

pet sitter with pugs, dog walker, carlsbad ca

So you’re ready to start looking for a dog for your family ~ congratulations! Please do your homework and find a dog who will fit into the atmosphere at your home.  Check your local shelters first ~ and spend a lot of time there with your family and really examine the personality of the dog to see that he/she will be happy at your home. Next up ~ find a professional pet sitter/dog walker who is fully insured and check those references! Here are a few dog breeds that are overall good with families.

1. Bulldogs

The English Bulldog is used as a mascot for many high school and college sports teams, including the Yale Bulldog. According to Yale’s website, Yale was the first university to adopt a mascot in the united states, and Handsome Dan was chosen. Despite the often fearsome appearance of mascot Bulldogs, the English Bulldog is an affectionate sweetheart and great for families with kids, reports Dog Breed Info.

The English bulldog grows to an average height of 12-16” and weights 50-55 lbs, according to Dog Breed Info. They are full of energy as puppies, but slow down with age. This makes them a great companion for young children, developing into calmer dogs as the children age. Dog Breed Info notes that this breed is an average shedder and should be wiped down every day to keep wrinkles clean and free of infection.

Bulldogs are a loving and gentle dog, according to Dog Breed Info, yet still make great guard dogs with a good sense for when something is wrong. If the Bulldog is allowed to think it is the leader of the home, then it may show aggressiveness towards other dogs or even humans – this however is easily managed with strong and gentle leadership and training, notes Dog Breed Info.

The AKC notes that this breed is well-loved by families because of their tendency to build a strong bond with children. They also warn that the Bulldog may overheat in warm weather and should not be left outside. With a loyal, courageous and agreeable temperament, the English Bulldog is an excellent choice for a child’s pet.

2. Beagles

The Beagle is a floppy-eared dog that is well-known by children in the form of Snoopy, Garfield’s pal Odie or Shiloh. These dogs were bred to be hunters, so Cesar Millan notes: they may not handle other, smaller pets around the house very well and you might get a surprise rabbit or chipmunk as a gift. They are, however wonderful with children. They must be regularly exercised, as Cesar Millan notes, and their food intake must be carefully monitored to avoid obesity in this breed, which will happen very quickly without prevention.

The setback to owning a Beagle with children is the Beagle’s love for food and great sense of smell to root it out – passing table scraps will be tempting, but children must be taught that this could cause unhealthy weight gain and behavioral habits in their dog, warns Dog Breed Info. The Beagle does not drool and is an average shedder, according to Dog Breed Info, which means not too much of a mess for a kid’s pet.

The doge is easy to care for, though the ears must be watched for infection, according to Dog Breed Info. There are also few health concerns that are common for Beagles, as listed by Dog Breed Info, which helps reduce the family vet bills.

The Beagle is sweet, gentle and loving with children – happy to be around people and typically good with other dogs, says Dog Breed Info. Without adequate exercise, rules and attention, the Beagle can become destructive, bark excessively and become over-protective, warns Dog Breed Info, but this can be easily managed with training and maintaining a firm and confident rule structure. Games and walks are excellent for Beagles, says Cesar Millan, and great for encouraging your children to be active as well!

3. Newfoundland

Remember Nana, the nurse dog of the Darling family from Peter Pan? The large romping, lovable dog may be America’s most well known Newfoundland. Also known for short as the Newf or Newfie among Newfoundland owners, this gigantic breed has a sweet disposition that makes him a wonderful dog for kids. The AKC notes that this dog breed was originally bred in Newfoundland and was used by fisherman to pull nets and haul wood.

The mammoth dog is a great swimmer and has a heavy coat that comes in black, brown, gray or white and black, according to the AKC. Dog Breed Info finds that the average size is 25-29” high and 100-150 lbs with a lifespan of 10 years on average. Dog Breed Info also recommends daily brushing with a hard brush and families should prepare for extra care spend during the shedding times of spring and fall.

Newfs are social dogs who eagerly welcome strangers who bear no ill will, notes Dog Breed Info, especially patient and loving with children.

PetMD considers the Newfie one of the most intelligent breeds among dogs. The Newfs are easily trained and the process is enjoyable, since they love working with humans, notes Pet MD.

4. Bull Terrier

The Target dog is represented by a Bull Terrier. With a flat head that slopes evenly into his snout, the muscular Bull Terrier is a gentle breed that usually makes a good fit for a family dog, according to Dog Breed Info. Typically 20-24” and 45-80 lbs for the standard Bull Terrier, according to Dog Breed Info, this breed is a medium-large dog that will not be injured easily by rough play (a common concern with small dog breeds and children).

The American Kennel Club® notes, “the Bull Terrier is best described as a three year-old child in a dog suit. Given his muscular build, the Bull Terrier can appear unapproachable, says the AKC, but he is an exceedingly friendly dog with a sweet and fun-loving disposition and popular in the obedience, agility and show rings.”

The AKC also recommends that families should not leave dogs alone and obedience training will help keep this dog from being over-stimulated with young children around. Bull Terriers have easy-to-groom, low-maintenance short coats and require daily exercise, according to the AKC. Dog Breed Info notes that the breed may be susceptible to minor health problems, like slipped kneecaps, heart defects, kidney failure, allergies and zinc deficiency, but is often a healthy dog, especially when bred right.

A Bull Terrier only needs a small yard and can even live happily in an apartment as long as they are sufficiently exercised, notes Dog Breed Info. This wonderful dog may become willful or protective when not handled with firm and calm leadership and children should participate in their training.

5. Bichon Frise

Happy-go-lucky and vivacious, the energetic Bichon puts a smile on the face of everyone it meets, says PetMD. Fluffy white and puffy fir will need constant grooming, according to PetMD, but the complete lack of shedding and sweet nature of this dog make it an ideal pet for families with children.

Dog Breed Info reminds owners that small dogs can easily develop Small Dog Syndrome when they believe they are the head of the pack and should have rules to keep them from developing this. They can become snappy, obsessive and form separation anxiety if Small Dog Syndrome is allowed to develop, warns Dog Breed Info. With children and small dogs this is always a concern, according to Dog Breed Info, so allow older children to be part of the training process and very young children shouldn’t be unsupervised.

These dogs may live in an apartment, but should be frequently exercised to keep them from getting bored or displaying behavior problems, Dog Breed Info reminds potential families. PetMD finds that the Bichon enjoys an average lifespan of 12-15 years, but may suffer from hyperadrenocorticism, allergies, patellar luxation, cataract, canine hip dysplasia or liver disease.

The Bichon Frise cannot live as an outdoor dog, says PetMD, but will require lively games, a romp in the yard or short leash-led walks on a daily basis. Brushing and combing will be needed to keep the puffball fur dirt-free and un-matted, according to PetMD.

6. Collie

What more can prove the undying position of the collie in the home of a child than the name “Lassie”? You remember the fluffy dog, always faithful to his owner. This great childhood dog is smart and predictable by nature. They love children and may lovingly try to herd them as they play.

The Collie Club of America points out that the average Collie ranges from 22-26” high and weighs 50-70 lbs. These dogs are beautiful, as well as intelligent friends to a family, says The Collie Club of America. According to The Collie Club of America, the Collie loves to be around people, is loyal and sensitive. The Collie is well-known for being easy to train and, despite their heavy shedding, are very clean dogs, says The Collie Club of America.

The Collie will also make a great watch dog, says The Collie Club of America. They are not aggressive, notes The Collie Club of America, but they will bark a warning and protect if attacked. With children they are gentle and loving, says The Collie Club of America, and their stable personality makes them ideal for the young or old.

Dog Breed Info finds the Collie has an average lifespan of 14-16 years. This beautiful breed may be a heavy shedder and need weekly or daily brushing, as noted by the AKC, but they are a great dog for a kid’s pet.

7. Mutts

The upside to mutts and mixed-breeds found at your local animal shelter will be that you are saving a dog from a bad situation that could get worse, says Cesar Millan. A dog doesn’t thrive in a shelter without a family, so choosing an orphaned dog for your pet is a caring act that will teach your children about kindness and the responsibility of owning a pet.

The real benefit or concern to choosing a shelter dog comes into play when your family selects the animal. Will the dog have shedding problems? Has it had a difficult past that will add behavior problems and separation anxiety? One way to avoid these concerns is by talking to friends to see if they have connections to another family who may be forced to get rid of their dog (allergies, moving or work schedules) and looking for a home.

With this method, you save the dog from ever entering the shelter and you can learn about the dogs personality and needs from the first-hand owner.

If, however, you don’t have a connection like this and are choosing a dog from the shelter, the workers who handle the dogs every day can help you pick out the right dog. They will be very familiar with which dogs have a great personality and who will make an awesome pet for your children and family’s level of activity.

Choose a medium- or large-sized mixed breed, says Ceasar Millan the Dog Whisperer, since small dogs can easily develop Small Dog Syndrome or get injured with younger children. A bonus factor fo mutts is that many mixed-breed dogs don’t suffer from inherited diseases that pure bred dogs may be susceptible to.

8. Pug

Pugs are absolutely the most adaptive dogs to humans and other canines! They rarely have a bad day.

Nicknamed the “Dutch mastiff,” the Pug is a small dog with a wrinkled face, short legs and barrel chest. In addition to being one of the world’s most physically distinctive dogs, the Pug is also well loved for its charismatic personality and effortless charm.

The Pug’s attentive and soft expression is its distinguishing feature. Its coat, which is fawn and black in color, is short, fine, and smooth. A compact and square-proportioned dog, the Pug moves with a jaunty and strong gait; its hindquarters roll slightly. The Pug also has clearly defined black markings on its muzzle, ears, cheeks and forehead, which has deep and huge wrinkles.

The Pug is a playful, confident, and friendly companion that magnificently combines comedy with dignity. It is usually pleasant and willing to please, but it can be headstrong and adamant at times. The breed is also known to frolic and flaunt about.


9. Poodle

With a quick wit about them, the Poodle is often considered one of the smartest dog breeds (listed No. 2 by WebMD, just after Border Collies). Poodles were bred to retrieve things from the water and their “beauty without brains” image gives them little of the credit due. Remember Georgette, the spoiled and bossy poodle from Oliver & Company? They were a staple on clothing items like Poodle Skirts in the 1950s and Clifford the Big Red Dog now has a poodle friend named Cleo.

While they are often known for their absurd and intricate hair cuts that are blown-out and over-stylized during dog shows like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Poodles may have a variety of cuts that are much more maintainable and low-key for families. The fun-loving dogs are easy for families to care for, with a hypoallergenic lack of shedding as noted by Hill’s Vet.

Without regular grooming their coat will mat, but a short cut will reduce this, says Hill’s Vet. Oiling and daily grooming is required for longer cuts to avoid their coat getting matted or brittle, according to Hill’s Vet. They are often bred with other dogs to reduce the hair that can result in allergies or messes around the house.

The poodle can become quickly overweight when fed too much and need exercise and socialization, warns Hill’s Vet. They are active dogs, notes Hill’s Vet, that are often employed as seeing-eye guide dogs for the blind or as police dogs. Small breeds can reach 17 years in age while the standards have a lifespan of 12-14 years, according to Hill’s Vet, which is great for a pet that can grow up with your kids.

10. Labrador Retriever

Though depicted as a difficult and ornery dog in the comedy Marley and Me, the Labrador Retriever is actually a great pet for kids. Black, yellow and chocolate Labs are the three recognized colors for this breed. While they shed a lot, notes DogTime, families that are prepared to brush daily and vacuum regularly may not be too bothered by their thick coats. Trained as seeing-eye dogs, the breed is smart, loving and highly-trainable, according to DogTime.

The Labrador thrives on commotion, according to DogTime. They put up with a lot of the pushing, pulling and excitement that usually resonates from children. While the dog will need to be taught how to handle kids and the kids will need to be taught how to handle the dog, the Lab is usually a great mix for young and old children alike.

Labs are usually easily trained to accept other dog breeds, cat or other small pets. When exposed and trained how to interact with these animals, Labs quickly learn how to be part of an inclusive animal environment, adds DogTime.

Labs can become overweight (just like nearly any other dog breed) when fed excessively without proper exercise, notes DogTime. Labs are susceptible to several genetic diseases that can be passed through their bloodlines, but are generally healthy dogs.

The Lab’s eagerness to please and friendly nature makes them one of the most well-loved dogs in America and perfect for your kids, according to DogTime. The winning personality should be well trained to give a lab mental exercise in addition to physical exercise with walks and games, reminds DogTime.

11. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is well-known family dog, with a beautiful golden coat. Those children fond of Homeward Bound will remember Shadow, the Golden Retriever, fondly. Golden Retrievers, as implied in their names, are great at learning fetch and bringing objects back in their mouths, says PetMD. They are wonderful companions for children and adults alike and pick up good behavior and new commands quickly.

The sweet and playful attitude of Golden Retrievers has earned them a place as a well-loved family dog and a great pet for children. According to PetMD, owners can count on a calm indoor attitude and a love for active outdoor activities. This makes it the perfect dog for keeping kids active, without disrupting the household.

According to PetMD, the lifespan of the average Golden Retriever is usually 10-13 years. While this is not a long lifespan for all dogs, it is a generally good average lifespan for a larger dog. PetMD found that the average lifespan for dog breeds over 90 lbs was 8 years.

Common minor health concerns for the Golden Retriever include eye disorders, mast cell tumors, seizures, hypothyroidism and elbow dysplasia, according to PetMD. The limited number of health concerns facing this breed and a low-maintenance coat that only requires brushing twice a week, as noted by PetMD, makes this an easy dog for a child to help care for.

The Golden Retriever makes a great kid’s pet with its easily-trainable nature, intelligence and obedience, says PetMD. Families who choose this dog breed will find they are loyal to a fault, according to PetMD, and will put up with much from children.

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