Guide To The Best Family Dogs: For Kids, By Size, Hypoallergenic & More


Last Updated: January 13, 2023 | 6 min read | 5 Comments

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Family petting Golden dog (Caption: Guide To The Best Family Dogs)

Are you on the hunt for the best family dog? There’s no quick answer, but this guide can help you learn some of the top breeds for families, what makes them great, and how to pick the best breed for your family. After all, there are many great family dogs, but just because a dog is characteristically great with families doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for yours.

What Makes A Fabulous Family Dog?

Quote Form Widget

Here are a few common characteristics you might find for the best family dogs:


If you have little ones around, you’ll want to make sure your furry family member is sturdy enough to withstand the often-rough hands of little ones. Gentleness and tolerance go hand-in-hand here, as it’s inevitable that your kiddos will be putting theirs all over Fido. Strength and gentleness are a great combination when choosing an addition to your family.

Consistent Energy Level

While you don’t want a dog with too much energy, you’ll have enough on your plate trying to keep up with kids. You’ll want to make sure that your dog can keep up (or slow down) with your family and your lifestyle.

Loving And Loyal

By far, a sweet demeanor and a loving temperament carry the most weight — no matter the breed — when you’re trying to decide on a dog to bring into your home. Affectionate dogs are often loyal and can be protective over their families, which is a great trait to have. You can never have too many people — or animals — watching over your flock.

What To Consider Before Picking A Dog?

Little girl with dog in grass

Just because a dog is suitable for a family doesn’t mean it’s right for your family. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, the only thing left to do is take a good look at not only what your family wants but what it needs.

Activity Level

How active is your family? Taking an honest look at your family’s activity level is essential to the type of dog you will choose. For example, you wouldn’t want a Labrador Retriever if you don’t enjoy the outdoors, and you wouldn’t want a Bulldog if you want a dog to run with every day.


Some breeds are more prone to health issues than others. Healthcare concerns can be time-consuming and costly. It’s important to consider how you will cover the cost of care for your pup. The best thing is to consider the type of pet insurance or wellness plan you’ll need to make your pup’s healthcare more affordable.

Living Situation

Consider your living situation before bringing a dog into your life, as well. Do you have enough space for the dog you want? Taking a look at your home environment, both immediate and long-term is something every owner should consider before picking a pup. 

Best Dog Breeds For Families

Sick Lazy Beagle on sofa

So, what is the best family dog? Our experts review the top family dogs to help you decide what might work for you.


If you need an intelligent dog that’s affectionate and excellent with kids, the Beagle may be the right choice for your family. This breed has enough energy to outlast playful children and will take a stand to protect your family as a loyal guard dog.

Border Collie

This intelligent breed can be the perfect addition to an active family. They love to spend time outside and enjoy games that exercise their mind and body — Border Collie’s work well in families with more than one pet.


A Bulldog is sturdy enough to handle whatever your kids may throw their way, but they’re also low on the energy scale and perfect for lightly active households.  Tolerant and sweet, Bulldogs live well in small and large homes, making them versatile mates.

Golden and Labrador Retrievers

English Cream Golden Retriever
English Cream Golden Retriever

Labs love to please, are loving, protective, and reliable. They’re also highly energetic and intelligent. Golden Retrievers are similar to Labrador Retrievers in all these attributes but are incredibly patient and helpful with children. Both Labs and Golden Retrievers make an excellent choice for families with children.

Irish Setters

Irish Setters are an active breed that loves the outdoors and fits right in as part of a family. Their love of life is contagious and will bring joy and lots of entertainment to a family.


Newfoundlands have been called “Nature’s nannies” for their innate love of children. The sweet, gentle-giant Newfoundland, or Newfie as it’s commonly called, is the perfect companion for families with room to romp as they tend to drool and shed — a lot — though they’re such great companions you’ll hardly even notice.

Standard Poodles

Black standard poodle standing on sidewalk

Standard Poodles are great family dogs. They’re intelligent, gentle, and make good playmates for children. Poodles are great for families with allergies since they have hair, not fur. Toy and miniature poodles are not usually a great fit as they can be high-strung and nervous.


Pugs are wonderful companions and can be an excellent family dog since kids and adults easily fall for this sweet face pup. With an eager playfulness, this breed will enjoy time with kids and still have time to share cuddles with the whole family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our experts put together a list of some of the most common questions people have when looking for a family dog.

What Are The Best Dogs For Kids?

Dog licking baby's face (Caption: How To Introduce Dogs And Newborns)

If you’re looking for good dogs for kids, this article has you covered since the best dog breeds for kids are the same as the best dogs for families. If you’re thinking about the best puppies for kids, the best dogs for babies, or the best dogs for toddlers, again, the breeds in this article may work. Be thoughtful about introducing your dog to your newborn and talk to your kids about being gentle with a new dog. You’ll always need to keep an eye out for aggressive behavior from the dog or the child.

What Are The Best Guard Dogs For Families?

German Shepherds are a go-to breed for the best family protection dogs. Our experts have put together an article about the best guard dogs for families if you want to see what other options there are in this category.

What Are The Best Small Family Dogs?

The best small dog breeds for families could include Pugs or French Bulldogs. While you may choose a small dog that will be easy on your child, don’t forget that children can be rough on smaller dogs.

What Are The Best Medium-Sized Family Dogs?

Bulldogs and Border Collies might be a good choice if you’re looking for the best medium to large-sized family dog to fit your needs.

What Are The Best Large Dog Breeds For Families?

Labradors and Golden Retrievers are excellent choices if you want to consider the best big family dogs.

What Are The Best Hypoallergenic Family Dogs?

4 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds (Caption: Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds)

The Bichon Frise is an excellent hypoallergenic choice for families, while the best family dogs that don’t shed tend to be Poodles. You can learn more about hypoallergenic dogs and non-shedding breeds from our experts.  Keep in mind, hypoallergenic just means less likely to cause allergies because no dog is entirely hypoallergenic.

What Are The Best Hunting Dogs For Families?

Beagles, Irish Setters, Labs, and Golden Retrievers are all hunting dogs that can work well with a family at home.

What Are The Best Hound Dogs For Families?

Beagles aren’t just a favorite hound dog breed. They’re also one of the best hound dogs for families.

What Are The Best Inside Family Dogs?

All of the breeds we discuss in this article can work as an inside pup. You just want to make sure they get the exercise they need and have space if they need it.

What Are The Best Dogs For Busy Families?

If you have a busy family, you need a dog that can keep up, be trainable, and handle alone time here and there. The Border Collie is intelligent, learns quickly, and can keep up with a busy family.

What Are The Best Dogs For Active Families?

If you have an active family, make sure the breed you choose likes to do the same things you do. For example, you don’t want a dog that can’t keep up on long hikes if that’s what your family is doing each weekend.

What Are The Best Dogs For Working Families?

If working keeps you away from home, be sure to consider that when choosing a dog for your family. Pugs might be the right choice since they require minimal exercise to stay healthy.

Dogs Bring Joy To Families

In this one-minute video from The Ellen Show, you can see how much joy a pup can bring to a family with lots of love and affection to share.

Adopting Your Family’s Newest Member

Picking the right dog for your family is a big decision. You’ll need the right fit to make sure you can all live happily ever after, but there’s one more thing to consider. Adopting your next furry friend is an excellent way to rescue a pup in need and find a pup you and your family will love. You can adopt from a shelter or find a breed-specific rescue organization to help you find your family’s newest member.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Notify of
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top