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BEST DOG BREEDS FOR FAMILIES

Starting a family takes a lot of responsibility and sacrifice. While you may love your sporty coupe, you may have to trade it in for something that can transport the whole family easily and safely. While you may love your antique vase collection, you may have to pack it away securely, somewhere out of reach of inquisitive little hands who are exploring their new world.

And while you may have had your heart set on a certain breed of dog, a safe and happy household will depend on the breed you choose. The fact is that some dogs are better family dogs than others.

Here are some of the best family dog breeds you can own if you’re looking to add a new furry companion to your household:

THE ALASKAN MALAMUTE

family dog breeds alaskan malamute

What makes Alaskan Malamutes a great family dog breed is that they naturally thrive in packs. They are pack dogs bred to work on a sled team with other dogs. So, they are happiest when they have a specific role within a family unit. When the owner has firmly trained a Malamute and established its role in the “pack,” it will be playful yet safe around kids and an overall joy to be around.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS

  • Temperament: Friendly, Dutiful, Playful
  • Average Weight: 85 lbs (male), 75 lbs (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 14 years
  • Good with Other Animals: Yes, with Proper Socialization
  • Good with Young Children: Yes
  • Grooming: Brush 2-3 Times per Week
  • Shedding: Seasonal
  • Excercise: Very Energetic, Needs Lots of Excercise
  • Training: Needs Socialization and Obedience Training

THE BOYKIN SPANIEL

family dog breeds boykin spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel is a retrieving dog. Once hunters made a kill, the Boykin would go find it and bring it back to their master. They are also effective at flushing game out of tunnels and holes. More and more though, the natural temperament of the Boykin has made it a popular house dog.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS

  • Temperament: Friendly, Keen, Charming
  • Average Weight: 30 – 40 lbs (male), 25 – 35 lbs (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 years
  • Good with Other Animals: Yes
  • Good with Young Children: Yes
  • Grooming: Brush 2-3 Times per Week
  • Shedding: Seasonal
  • Excercise: Moderate to High Energy, Needs Exercise Daily
  • Training: Easy to Train, Needs Socialization. Is Very Eager to Please and Responsive

THE CESKY TERRIER

cesky terrier
Image via AKC

The Cesky makes our list because they are great for every member of the family. They are naturally very loyal and family-oriented dogs. They are inquisitive which makes them great playmates for small children. Cesky Terriers are also much mellower than your average terrier which makes them good on walks and public outings. These dogs are great protection dogs as well, which makes them good alert dogs. You can enjoy the security they offer, and your kids will enjoy having a furry playmate.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS

  • Temperament: Smart, Independent, Loyal
  • Average Weight: 14 – 24 lbs
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
  • Good with Other Animals: Yes, If Well Socialized
  • Good with Young Children: Yes
  • Grooming: Needs to Visit a Professional Groomer
  • Shedding: Occasional
  • Excercise: Needs Daily Exercise
  • Training: Some Difficulty in Training, Use Positive-Reinforcement Based Methods

THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER

family dog breeds golden retriever

The Golden Retriever lies in that perfect medium zone between timidity and energy which makes them ideal family dogs. They are smart enough to know when to be active and when to be docile which makes them perfect for grown-ups and older children as well as babies and toddlers.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS

  • Temperament: Affectionate, Smart, Loyal
  • Average Weight: 65 – 75 lbs (male), 55 – 65 lbs (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years
  • Good with Other Animals: Yes
  • Good with Young Children: Yes
  • Grooming: Brush Weekly
  • Shedding: Seasonal
  • Excercise: High Energy, Needs Lots of Exercise
  • Training: Easy to Train, Needs Socialization and Obedience Training

THE IRISH SETTER

family dog breeds irish setter

As a sturdy, energetic and family-oriented dog, the Irish Setter can be trusted around small children. They are also known to be very well-behaved when they are in familiar settings, so expect yours to pick up on household rules and routines very quickly. Irish Setters have a strong sense of family, so although though they can be energetic, they do not cause harm to their people.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS

  • Temperament: Eager, Outgoing, Friendly
  • Average Weight: 70 lbs (male), 60 lbs (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
  • Good with Other Animals: Yes
  • Good with Young Children: Yes
  • Grooming: Brush Twice per Week
  • Shedding: Seasonal
  • Excercise: High Energy, Needs Lots of Exercise
  • Training: Eager to Please and Easy to Train, Needs Socialization

THE LABRADOR RETRIEVER

labrador retriever

A classic choice for many families, the Labrador Retriever is a loyal companion for both you and your children. Patient with younger children, labs play gently yet remain protective of their loved ones.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS

  • Temperament: Affectionate, Outgoing, Energetic
  • Average Weight: 65 – 80 lbs (male), 55 – 70 lbs (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years
  • Good with Other Animals: Yes
  • Good with Young Children: Yes
  • Grooming: Brush Weekly
  • Shedding: Regularly
  • Excercise: High Energy, Needs Lots of Daily Exercise
  • Training: Very Eager to Please and Easy to Train, Needs Socialization and Basic Obedience Training
labrador retriever

If you’re in the market for a family dog, any one of the breeds on this list would be an excellent fit. Just be sure to find a personality that suits your family well so both you and the dog are a match made in heaven. If you have an active family, a dog that loves to play outside and enjoys exercise would make a great choice. On the other hand, if your family loves to stay home and watch movies a lap dog would be the perfect addition to your loving household.

Once you have decided which of these family dog breeds is the right fit for you, check out this article for tips on keeping your pup active and how to give them more exercise.

Written by Adrian Brito

Breed Characteristics obtained from American Kennel Club

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