25 best dogs for families

Two kids cuddling dog on the sofa - 25 best dogs for families
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Expanding your family by four furry feet is an exciting time. But what are the best dogs for families?

Picking a dog that's not only right for you, but also for your entire family, is no mean feat as there’s a lot to think about. For example, if you’ve got small kids, the chances are you’ll probably want a dog that’s gentle, sociable and easy to train. 

While if you’re an active family, you might also want an energetic canine who loves nothing more than to pass the time by playing with the best dog toys or the best puppy toys

Or, if you love pounding the pavement, you may want to consider welcoming the best dogs for runners into your home. 

So as you can see, much like finding your significant other or deciding to have a baby, there are many factors to consider — and in this case, there’s an entire family dynamic to think about. To find the paw-fect pup for your pack, keep scrolling. 

25 best dogs for families

1. Labrador Retriever

Brown Labrador Retriever hanging over a fence

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With enough affection to go around, Labrador Retrievers are an excellent addition to any home. Even-tempered, high-spirited, and sociable, Labradors are perfect for living alongside kids. 

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever on little child's lap

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Golden Retrievers are known best for being trustworthy and eager to please. Partnered with their playful manner, a retriever is best suited to an active family prepared to jump right into training and keep them busy during days out. 

3. Newfoundland

Black Newfoundland dog with child cuddling it

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These big friendly giants earned the nickname ‘nanny’ through their sweet disposition and gentle nature towards children. If you can give your Newfie the socialization and contact they need, it will grow into the ideal companion for you and your little ones. 

4. Irish Setter

Brown Irish Setter dog

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If you’re a family that craves routine, has time to train, and is looking for a furry friend to match the buzz of your household — an Irish setter could be for you. These little red firecrackers are affectionate and eager to please, but consistency is key. 

5. Basset Hound

Basset Hound dog in grass

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Basset Hounds put the ‘easy’ in ‘going’. People-orientated and bred to hunt in packs, these pups are short-legged socialites.

6. Poodle

Two poodles

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Poodles are very companionable dogs, with keen instinctual behavior they make excellent support dogs and are otherwise the ideal hypo-allergenic four-legged friend for every home. 

7. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel looking up

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Do you have an active family who’s on the hunt for your furry alter-ego? Then a Cocker Spaniel is your perfect match. This four-legged canine is affectionate, easy-going yet lively. The perfect addition to any family home, if you ask us. 

8. Border Collie

Border Collie with ball on the grass

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Border Collies feel most at home in the countryside. A fantastic addition to any family prepared to put in the work. Although a Collies herding instinct is second to none, for family homes it’s best nipped in the bud with early training.

9. Pug

Pug with tongue out

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Introducing your sleepy sidekick! Pugs are endlessly affectionate, loyal and have a calm temperament. Their laid-back nature makes them a great match for anyone seeking a companion that never tires of cuddles. 

10. Beagle

Beagle dog

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This peaceful pup is a great contender if you’re a family looking for a second dog. Bred to hunt in packs, Beagles are innately sociable among other dogs and humans so settling into a full house is no object for this breed. Plus their cheerful nature is guaranteed to shower your home with joy.

11. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu dog on the grass

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Shih Tzus are a playful ball of fluff. Although their hair is long and soft to the touch, they typically do not shed, making them ideal for any allergy sufferers. Whilst they are playful, they also enjoy long stretches of downtime giving you the best of both worlds. This makes them great fun for the kids and a calm companion for an evening with the adults. 

12. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer on the couch

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Small but mighty. Miniature Schnauzers are trainable, eager-to-please, and adaptable to smaller spaces yet tireless enough to enjoy patrolling the land. This breed is one to consider for families looking to expand their pack in a smaller environment.

13. Greyhounds


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Your silent shadow. Greyhounds are sweet-tempered with a quiet disposition making them the paw-fect side-kick for the silent type. Despite their athletic ability, these gentle giants delight in lazy days at home. A greyhound might be the touch of calm your bustling household is looking for. 

14. Dachshund 


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In contrast to a greyhound in just about every way, dachshunds are lively, courageous, and stubborn little sausage dogs but oh-so very hard not to love. For a small breed, they have lots of energy to burn, requiring two walks a day to tire them out. 

15. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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The marriage of the gentleness of a toy breed and the athleticism of a spaniel is a joyous one. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an affectionate, happy-go-lucky breed that welcomes a slow day at home with its humans. 

16. Bichon Frisé

White Bichon Frisé

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These pride-filled pom-poms are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Bichons are fiercely independent and gentle-natured pups who love to be at the center of attention.

17. French Bulldog

Two French Bulldogs

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A French Bulldog’s easy-going personality and social nature make it a popular pick among families with young children. Despite their small but muscular build, these little bulldozers love nothing more than chilling out. 

18. Japanese Chin 

Japanese Chin

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Often described as ‘cat-like’, a Japanese Chin is the lap dog of dreams. If you can cope with the shedding of its silky coat, you and your family have got yourself a companion for life, never too far from your side and indisputably loyal. 

19. German Shepherd 

Black German Shepherd

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Best described as independent, loyal, and steady. This breed are keen learners and can be, at times, a little stubborn. But their protective and watchful qualities win the hearts of dog lovers across the nation.

20. Great Dane

Great Dane

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Don’t be intimidated by their size, these gentle giants are sweet-natured and faultlessly devoted to their owners. Their huge hearts soften the blow of their size, as they often greet strangers as friends. 

21. Maltese

White Maltese on the sofa

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This docile, easygoing breed is highly reactive, in tune with its surroundings and the needs of its pack. Making them a great contender for families searching for a more compact-bijou support dog. When not on duty this pup carries a lively personality with a great appetite for play. So get those dog toys at the ready!

22. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier with tennis ball

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These dogs are not to be underestimated by their size, they may be small but boy are they courageous. A great companion for people of all ages, an ideal lap dog, partner-in-cuddle, and support dog for all. 

23. Cavapoo 

Brown Cavapoo

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This breed is a family favorite. The poodle genes are dominant, giving the benefits of a beautiful coat with low moulting but also high intelligence which begs for consistent training and routine. Cavapoos have a calm temperament and they are more than happy to spend an afternoon curled up by your feet. 

24. Cockapoo

Cockapoo on a beach

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This teddy bear dog breed inherits the happy gene from both a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle leaving you with an outgoing, loving bundle of fun. A Cockapoo is hypoallergenic with low molt making hair-wrapped hoovers one less worry.

25. Labradoodle

Brown Labradoodle

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This hypoallergenic pup is energetic, playful, kind to kids and full of fun. What’s not to love? Labradoodles are the perfect blend of the beloved Labrador and proud poodle. They are best paired with an active household prepared to maintain them — curls and all! 

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Becks Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Becks is a freelance lifestyle journalist who has more than 9 years of experience in the world of digital and print journalism. She covers health, wellness and family interests for a range of titles. When she's not putting pen-to-paper (or finger-to-keyboard) she's reading, in the gym, or taking her Dog Aunt title very seriously looking after the handful of four-legged creatures in her life.