Anyone who grew up with a dog will surely tell you it is one of the most beautiful experiences in life. A dog can teach us so much. Even though they can’t understand all of our words, they listen to us as we complain to them.
We don’t even mind that they are not able to respond and we can enjoy the silence together. In addition, our dog is our best friend for walking and going to the park. They are the one who guards our house and property and faithfully waits for us to return home.
If you were lucky enough to grow up with a dog, you will want the same for your family and children. Even if you haven’t had a dog before, it’s never too late to get one!
So, what are the best family dog breeds? Each dog breed is special in its own way, and your choice will, of course, depend on your lifestyle and what you are looking for in your future dog.
Below we bring you 24 types of family dogs, among which we believe everyone will find their favorite!
24 Best Family Dog Breeds
Do you have a lot of free time and don’t spend too much time away from home? Or are you a workaholic who spends most of your day in the office? Whichever group you belong to, I’m sure you’ll find the right dog for you in this article!
Big dogs, small dogs, sports dogs, guard dogs, lap dogs… You will find them all on this list!
We offer you our 24 favorite family dogs, and it’s up to you to choose the one that will become your favorite companion.
1. Basset Hound
Photo from: @basset_hound_ins
Our first dog is the Basset Hound. Known for its short legs and long, floppy ears, this dog was originally bred as a hunting dog and used to hunt animals such as foxes and rabbits.
There are two types of this dog: European and American Basset Hound. Some would say that they are the same, but they have some minor differences. The European Basset Hound is a bit larger than the American, and the European Basset Hound has more wrinkles on their body compared to the American Basset Hound.
Thanks to their amazing scent of smell, Basset Hounds are extraordinary hunters. At the same time, these dogs are amazing family dogs. They are easy-going and love to spend time with their human families.
They might not show affection to their owners all the time, but they love to be part of any activity just as long as they get to spend time with humans, especially children. If your family spends a lot of time together and loves to spend as much time as they can with your dog, a Basset Hound would be a great option for you.
This charming pooch will be suitable even for first-time dog owners. However, you should be aware that a Basset Hound needs a lot of attention and does not like to be left alone for too long.
If you do so, you might be surprised by the huge mess your Basset Hound made while all the family members were out of the house!
One thing related to health that all future owners should know is that the Basset Hound loves to eat and is prone to obesity. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the best dog food for Basset Hound and be careful of portion sizes for this dog breed.
A Beagle is a happy and loving dog who makes a great family pet for any dog lover! This dog enjoys having a lot of playtime with their human companions.
The Beagle is a medium-sized dog that can grow up to 15 inches. It is characterized by extremely short legs that should not mislead you: their legs are extremely strong and, thanks to them, the Beagle is agile, fast and durable.
Beagles can be very stubborn and self-confident. Since it was originally bred to be a hunting dog, the Beagle still has a strong sense of smell and drive to hunt. Don’t be surprised if your Beagle suddenly disappears while you are spending time outside! They probably sensed small prey and went hunting for it.
Beagles are very sociable and get along well with other animals. The only problem that could arise is if your Beagle acts as if they are the leader of the entire household. Therefore, they need training and socialization from an early age so they do not grow into a disobedient and self-willed dog.
The Beagle is an intelligent dog that, in addition to playing outside, also loves to receive mental stimulation through play. They also enjoy walking and going to the park with their owner. This dog breed is a great choice for active families where there is always some action going on.
The average lifespan of a Beagle is estimated to be 12 to 15 years. Some of the diseases that this dog might struggle with are obesity and canine epilepsy.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
One large dog with a sweet personality is our next dog breed on today’s list. Its name is the Bernese Mountain Dog and it originated in Switzerland where they served as herding dogs. This dog can reach up to 27 inches and is therefore a better option for people who have a lot of space.
The Bernese Mountain Dog loves to be outside. They are highly trainable but need plenty of exercise. This large dog is not aggressive in their nature, but might show destructive behavior if they lack physical activity.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes Bernese Mountain Dog as a strong, but at the same time calm and good-natured dog. So, despite their large size, this dog is a great option for families and can be described as a gentle giant. They are affectionate with their owners and make a wonderful watchdog for their family.
This dog is one of the best dog breeds for families with young children, since Bernese Mountain Dogs love to play with children for many hours! What these dogs take very seriously is their task to keep their human family safe.
They might show distrust with strangers, but when properly socialized, these dogs accept even people they have never met before.
Similar to other large dog breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog has a shorter lifespan, estimated between 8 to 9 years.
If you like everything about this dog breed, but you are uncertain about his large size and whether your place will be a good option for a dog of this size, we have a great option for you – the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog!
This dog looks like a Bernese Mountain Dog but with a significantly smaller body; their height goes up to 22 inches. Same as the larger version of this dog, the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog is also a gentle and affectionate pooch and wonderful option for a family dog.
4. Bichon Frise
If you are a fan of small, fluffy dogs, we have the best choice for you: the Bichon Frise! This charming dog is very playful and in love with its owners. They love to snuggle up with you and follow you from room to room.
Although most people think that Bichons are always white, they actually can have other coat color patterns, such as white and apricot and white and cream.
Bichon Frise love to join you in any activity, whether it’s lying on the couch, going for a walk, or hiking. The Bichon Frise is a very adaptable dog and can live in different environments. They get along well with both children and other pets, so are a good choice even for families that have not had a dog before.
The Bichon Frise will most likely be your children’s favorite playmate, but care must be taken so that your Bichon does not get injured when playing with children.
Since they are so small and delicate, it is very possible to injure them without even noticing.
The Bichon Frise does not require much exercise, so can be an ideal pet even if you have a busy schedule and spend a lot of time away from home.
If anyone of your family members suffer from allergies, a Bichon Frise is still a great option for your next family dog, since they do not shed much.
These small dogs can live up to 16 years if they are in good health. Some common diseases for Bichon Frise dogs are hip dysplasia and Cushing’s disease.
5. Border Collie
Our next dog is considered to be the smartest dog breed in the world, and its name is the Border Collie. These extremely capable and fast dogs can learn numerous commands in a very short time, and they are excellent working dogs as well as being great for families.
The Border Collie has high energy levels and is the perfect option for active families that love to spend time outdoors. This dog is easy to train, but it needs an experienced and persistent trainer.
Early socialization is very necessary as the Border Collie barks a lot, and can easily make a noise that will wake up the whole neighborhood.
What a Border Collie needs to be a healthy and happy dog is spending a lot of time outside and lots of activity.
This dog is a faithful companion and the best guard dog, if trained and socialized. Not only does it need a lot of exercise, but also mental stimulation. If their needs are not met, the Border Collie can be very unhappy, which it will show by chewing things around the house or digging holes in the yard.
The Border Collie loves company and will get along with other animals, but will probably want to assert themselves as leader of the pack. If you and your family enjoy activities such as jogging and hiking, you will find the best company in a Border Collie.
What can we conclude about the Border Collie as a family dog? Well, they are an excellent watchdog and a great companion for various activities, but also need a family that will provide them with living conditions in which they will be able to fulfill their full capacity.
If you are a family that is not too active and would prefer a calmer dog breed, another less demanding dog would probably be a better option for you.
6. Boston Terrier
Photo from: @jack_hsm_era
The Boston Terrier is also known as The American Gentleman. This dog loves human company and is suited for both living in a house or in an apartment. In the past, the Boston Terrier was used as a fighting dog, but today they are known as a loving family companion.
As the Boston Terrier growth chart explains, the average height of these dogs goes from 15 to 17 inches, and they usually weigh up to 25 pounds. Although they are small dogs, their bodies are strong and muscular.
This dog has a very loving and gentle nature and is a perfect family dog for all fun lovers! With a Boston Terrier, you will never be short of a good laugh and they are a great option for people of all ages. However, they might show their stubborn Terrier side, so adequate dog training is necessary.
The Boston Terrier is not too demanding in terms of exercise but will still be your shadow and join you in whatever you are doing. These dogs are not excessive barkers and do not usually show hostile behavior, even towards strangers.
The main health issues related to Boston Terriers are different allergies, cherry eye and deafness.
Our next choice of the best family dog breeds is the fun-loving and intelligent Boxer. This dog was the 14th of the most popular dog breeds in the States in 2021.
An ex-herding dog, the Boxer is nowadays a gentle human companion. This dog is also equally successful as a guard and as a working dog. Being so affectionate and friendly, Boxer makes an excellent choice for a family dog.
Boxers are a medium to large-sized dog, with an average height of 22 to 25 inches. Although this dog is very gentle and loving, it still needs space and a lot of exercise. A Boxer will enjoy huge yards where they can jump and run as much as they like.
These dogs are often used as therapy dogs and search and rescue dogs; they are very trainable and should not be allowed to get bored.
Boxers love children and get along well with them. This dog will be very protective towards its humans and love to have endless playing sessions with family members. They also love to receive a lot of attention and praise from their owners.
So, the Boxer’s playful and friendly nature makes this dog a good family dog, especially for families with smaller children, with whom the Boxer will be glad to play with and take care of.
8. Bull Terrier
Photo from: @bull.terrier.of.ig
The Bull Terrier is a Terrier dog breed famous in the past as a fighting dog. Today, Bull Terriers are found to be affectionate and loving family dogs who love to guard their humans.
You might be surprised by the temperament of this strong and muscular dog; although its looks might make you think it’s a vicious dog, the Bull Terrier is actually very good with people, especially children.
This dog is often stubborn and might act independently so it is a better choice for people with experience of similar dogs. However, rarely is a dog as devoted to its family as a Bull Terrier dog is. So, what does a Bull Terrier need to be a fine family dog?
Mainly, early socialization with people and other animals. Also, this dog will require proper dog training and a lot of time spent with its owners. If you make this possible for your Bull Terrier, they will be the best family companion you can imagine.
9. Brussels Griffon
Our next perfect dog for families is the Brussels Griffon and it might be described as a weird dog breed. This dog was bred for rut hunting, but today many people enjoy the company of this funny and intelligent small dog breed.
This dog is suited for apartment living but still needs plenty of exercise and play sessions. They might also bark a lot and are aloof from strangers, therefore requiring proper training and early socialization. So, the Brussels Griffon is a dog of small size but has a high activity level.
What Brussels Griffons need most is the attention of their owners. This dog does not like to be left alone, so we can say that it is the right dog for people who have a lot of free time to spend with their pet.
The Brussels has its needs but makes a wonderful companion dog. The family member with whom this dog first connects will probably remain its favorite person for the rest of its life. So, with a lot of dedication and a lot of time together, a Brussel Griffon will be a loyal family dog!
10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
When talking about sweet and graceful little dogs, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the best possible family dog with these characteristics!
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a lovely companion but is also an alert sporting dog, depending on your lifestyle and activities you will be engaging your new pet with. Known for being the favorite company of royalties throughout many years, they can be your favorite lapdog but also have remarkable retrieving skills.
This dog comes in different colors but its most recognizable colors are Blenheim, Black and Tan and Tricolor. Its adorable facial expression will make you want to cuddle your Cavalier King all day long!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels adore human company and is actually more suited for living indoors than in a yard. This dog breed does not require a lot of exercise but does require a lot of company from their humans!
The average lifespan of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is estimated to be 9 to 14 years. Some of the health problems these small dogs might suffer from are retinal dysplasia and hip dysplasia.
11. Cocker Spaniel
We have one more Spaniel dog on our list of best family dog breeds and its name is the Cocker Spaniel. This dog is lively and intelligent and loves to be in the company of its owners.
Cocker Spaniels are generally friendly and loving dogs who get on well with other dogs and humans. However, this does not mean that they are completely calm and tolerant: it is necessary to subject them to early obedience training to prevent your Cocker Spaniel becoming aggressive.
The Cocker Spaniel loves their human and wants to protect them. Together with this, the Cocker Spaniel used to be a hunting dog, and the combination makes it very likely that your Cocker Spaniel will bark at strangers or anything new or unfamiliar.
All in all, a Cocker Spaniel makes a great companion for families with smaller children, but needs daily physical and mental stimulation. Therefore, it is suited for people who can provide them with at least an hour of exercise of any kind on a daily basis.
The Corgi is a pretty popular breed in the United States which is totally understandable since it has such a fun personality! These dogs are loyal and devoted to their owners, although sometimes might be quite challenging due to their high energy levels.
Corgis are small dogs who do not grow more than 12 inches. This dog is playful and loyal and is therefore wonderful for families. One thing to bear in mind is that a Corgi is a better option for families with older kids.
The main reason for this is that Corgis were bred to be herding dogs so they might start to herd the kids. They don’t have any bad intentions, but might nip at smaller children. So, it’s best to wait until your children are about 5 or 6 years old before thinking about welcoming a Corgi!
Other than that, a Corgi is a dog that every family will have a lot of fun with. Used to taking care of their herds, Corgi dogs will enjoy the company of other animals in their house. Thanks to their herding instincts, they are also great watchdogs.
The small and lively Dachshund, in addition to being an excellent hunter, is equally good as a pet. The Dachshund is recognizable by its short, fast legs and long back.
This dog is smart, alert and fast, which makes it an excellent hunting dog. Also, they are quite independent and brave, which makes them a fine guard dog.
What future owners of this dog need to know is that the Dachshund barks often and loudly. Dachshunds love children and get along well with them, but only if they are socialized early.
With appropriate socialization and exposure of this dog to various people, places, and sounds from an early age, the Dachshund will grow into a kind and friendly dog.
This dog is suitable for life both in the house and in the apartment.
The Dachshund is quite energetic and active and needs daily exercise. This dog is independent and sometimes refuses to obey commands, so you need to be patient and persistent in training your Dachshund.
So, the Dachshund is a special and interesting dog that, with proper training and care, can be an excellent pet.
14. French Bulldog
The French Bulldog is probably the most charming of all the dogs on our list of the best family dog breeds.
This small, cute dog is extremely popular and there is always high demand for this dog breed. This is exactly the reason why purebred Frenchies are quite expensive. If you want to buy a purebred French Bulldog from a reliable breeder, be prepared to spend between $1200 and $2000.
The French Bulldog can be described as a rather passive dog breed that doesn’t mind lazing around all day. Therefore, it is also suitable for owners who live in an apartment and spend some time outside the house.
This dog is easygoing and patient and will not often alarm you with its barking.
Unlike the vast majority of dogs, the French Bulldog will rarely be distrustful even of strangers. Simply, this small charming dog loves people and company, and most of all, lots of attention!
The French Bulldog is a dog that your children will adore and vice versa. The only thing to watch out for are other pets, as French Bulldogs prefer to keep all your attention focused on them. Therefore, they might be jealous in the company of other animals.
As you can probably guess, French Bulldogs don’t require much exercise. A short walk a day should be enough for a little Frenchie.
15. German Shepherd
If you are looking for a loyal, reliable and hardworking family dog, there is probably no better option for you than the German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd is an ideal guard dog, also known as a top police dog. As a family dog, it is very attached to its owners, is constantly alert and extremely protective. Not only does the German Shepherd bark at possible danger, but its howling can easily terrify a stranger on your territory.
This dog is very friendly towards children, so it makes an excellent family dog and guard dog for your home and property.
The German Shepherd is suspicious of strangers, but if they gain their trust, the German Shepherd becomes friends with them, too.
So, this dog is an intelligent, hardworking and loyal family dog. They have a lot of energy and require a lot of physical and mental exercise. In order to be able to use up their enormous energy, German Shepherds are an ideal option for families with larger yards.
16. Golden Retriever
One of the favorite family dogs is certainly the friendly and intelligent Golden Retriever. This dog is extremely tolerant, kind and gentle and is, therefore, suitable for every family.
The charming Golden Retriever gets along well with children and other dogs. If there is a need, it will bark to alert its owner about possible danger, but it is not likely to show aggressiveness.
This dog likes to please its owner, so it is very easy to train. They will enjoy running and playing fetch with their family members.
The Golden Retriever is great with children, but is still a big dog, so it is necessary to supervise the interaction of the Golden Retriever with a small child, so that this playful dog does not knock the child to the floor during play.
The Golden Retriever will even get along great with cats!
So, this adaptable dog is an excellent option for every family, regardless of their lifestyle.
17. Labrador Retriever
I’m sure you’re not surprised to see a Labrador Retriever on this list. Perhaps most of you even thought of this breed when you saw the title Best family dog breeds!
If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog, you should probably skip Labrador Retrievers, since these dogs shed a lot. Other than this, I am sure the Labrador would be a perfect choice for every family!
Why are Labradors such a popular family dog? These dogs are very smart, sociable and affectionate to their owners. Labradors are generally healthy dogs, but it is necessary to provide them with quality dog food and distribute their meals evenly, since they can be gluttonous and tend to be overweight.
Labradors are energetic and intelligent. However, they do know how to show their stubborn and independent side, so they need obedience training.
So, if you like to exercise, the good-natured and gentle Labrador will be your best friend. This adaptable dog will bond easily with children and other animals and will be extremely patient with them.
18. Irish Setter
Photo from: @layka_irishsetter
While it used to be a gundog, the Irish Setter is today known as a sweet-natured family dog. This elegant, sporting dog can grow up to 27 inches.
This dog is highly intelligent and energetic. It is suited for families that live in houses with big yards and who have an active lifestyle. The Irish Setter does not do well when left alone and needs at least an hour of exercise daily.
This large dog gets on well with children and other animals, but needs to be properly trained and socialized. It is independent in its nature, so requires a firm and calm dog trainer.
With an Irish Setter in your yard, your home and your property will be safe. Its powerful bark will keep intruders away and will always let you know if something unusual is happening. This dog loves its family unconditionally and will be glad to share every moment with them!
An Irish Setter’s lifespan is estimated to be 10 to 15 years, while some health problems this dog breed is prone to are hypothyroidism and osteochondrosis dissecans.
The Maltese is a great option for any family looking for a playful, trusting and intelligent small dog.
The Maltese is known for its long, white, smooth coat. But did you know that the Maltese also comes in other coat colors? According to the American Kennel Club, Maltese’s recognized colors are white, white and light tan and white and lemon.
The Maltese is a playful little dog that has a lot of energy with whom you will share a lot of fun moments and a lot of laughter. Although it is small, the Maltese are fearless and always ready for adventures of any kind!
Even if you are a new dog owner, the Maltese will easily adapt to you. If it sees a threat, your Maltese will most likely bark to protect you. This dog will adore you if you have a yard where you can spend hours and hours playing with your puppy.
The Maltese likes to be the center of attention and will most likely not be tolerant of other dogs.
This dog is very intelligent and you can train it very easily, using lots of praise and rewards. If you are looking for a dog that will cheer you and your family up every day and provide you with fun adventures, consider a Maltese!
If you are looking for a large dog with a gentle personality, we suggest you think about getting a Newfoundland! Despite their intimidating size, this large, hard working dog, known as the Nanny Dog, is an excellent dog breed for families with small children.
The Newfoundland is known for its sweet nature and moderate exercise requirements. This is a big dog with a calm temperament which makes it a delightful human companion.
Training a Newfoundland might be challenging due to their size. If you look up the Newfoundland growth chart you will see that this dog can grow up to 28 inches while their average weight goes from 130 to 150 pounds!
This giant dog is happiest when surrounded by its family and does not like to be left alone. If they are, you will start to notice them become sad and lethargic.
Newfoundland’s average lifespan is estimated to be around 9 years; unfortunately, it is shorter than some other dog breeds. However, no matter how much time you get to spend with a Newfoundland, this dog will teach you a lot about true friendship and loyalty!
The Poodle is one of the best options of our list of best family dog breeds for people who suffer from allergies. Poodles don’t shed much, but it is necessary to emphasize here that there is no dog who can be described as a one hundred percent hypoallergenic dog.
Still, there are some better options for people with allergies and Poodles are one of them!
This dog is a favorite family pet for many people. What character traits make Poodle such a loving family dog? Well, a Poodle is a playful, affectionate and gentle little dog. Together with this, it is a very smart dog breed that can be easily trained.
Poodles need plenty of exercise and will enjoy being part of activities such as jogging or swimming. These dogs tend to develop a strong bond with their families and also get along well with other pets.
The Pug is our next choice of the best family dog breeds.
Pugs are a dog with a small body, but a big and special spirit! This dog is extremely charming and fun-loving; you will never run out of fun moments with them.
Although the Pug loves to sleep and many consider them an extremely sluggish dog breed, they can actually be very playful and lively if something catches their attention. Also, they are very mobile and agile. The pug is extremely open with people, loves company and is therefore a good family dog.
They are loyal to their owners and are a great companion dog.
What you need to pay special attention to with a Pug is their diet. This breed is very prone to being overweight, so it is necessary to choose the best dog food for the Pug that does not contain sugar and has a high proportion of meat.
Also, it is very useful to let the Pug rest for a short time after meals to digest the food and reduce the possibility of the dog becoming obese. After a short rest, the Pug is ready for a walk or for a playtime!
Although the Pug likes to rest quite a bit, every future owner of this cute dog should encourage their Pug to exercise as often as possible, in order to prevent more serious health problems.
Otherwise, the Pug is a fairly easy dog to maintain. It does not require much space or a lot of exercise and is easy to train. They are extremely loving and attached to their owners.
23. Shih Tzu
If your family is looking for a true companion dog, the Shih Tzu might be the right option for you!
This playful dog gets along great with both small children and other pets. They are extremely charming and playful and love to follow every member of their family wherever they go.
The Shih Tzu originates from Tibet, and throughout history was known as the favorite dog of numerous royal families. This dog doesn’t require much exercise, but loves to jump! In some cases, the Shih Tzu can overdo this activity and even injure itself while jumping.
Therefore, it is necessary to be careful that the Shih Tzu does not end up with a more serious injury while jumping.
This puppy will be happy with shorter walks and playing with you even in smaller spaces. Therefore, this breed is also very suitable for apartment living. What the Shih Tzu likes to do the most is rest on the couch with its owner and enjoy endless cuddles.
The Shih Tzu is truly a wonderful family dog that gets along great with children, but you need to be careful if you have smaller children. It is very possible for a small child to inadvertently injure a small Shih Tzu during playtime.
The lifespan of a Shih Tzu is estimated at 10 to 16 years. Some of these dogs can live up to 18 years, so, with regular visits to the vet and a good diet, chances are high that you will spend many beautiful years together with your Shih Tzu!
Some of the health problems these dogs can face are eye infections, obesity, and dental problems.
Our last dog on the list of best family dog breeds is the Vizsla, another dog that was originally bred to be a hunting dog. Nowadays, the Vizsla is a favorite family pet but still has its strong hunting instincts.
According to the Vizsla growth chart, this dog’s average height goes from 21 to 24 inches, and usually weighs from 45 to 65 pounds. So, this is a medium-sized dog who loves to be a part of any activity with its family, such as jogging, hunting, or hiking.
The Vizsla is a low-maintenance dog breed, does not require bathing too often and does not shed too much. So, if you plan to become a Vizsla owner, you can be your dog’s own groomer at home!
What do Vizsla dogs need? A lot of activity and a lot of your attention! This is a friendly dog who, above all, wants to have your company all the time. A Vizsla loves its family and makes an excellent watchdog.
One important character trait of these dogs is that they are high-energy dogs who need a lot of daily exercise. So, a Vizsla is the best option for families who love adventures and are very active.
Our list of the best family dog breeds offers a variety of dogs, among which, I believe, every dog lover will find their perfect choice. Without a doubt, all of these dogs are great family dogs, and it’s up to you to decide which dog would be the best fit for you and your family.
What to focus on when choosing? Your lifestyle, habits and needs should play a crucial role in your final decision.
While some people live in a house with a yard and can accommodate a large dog, or perhaps need a guard dog, others will prefer a smaller dog, suitable for living in an apartment.
Some owners have the privilege of being able to spend a lot of time with their new pet, while others would prefer a breed that can spend more time alone and is not overly dependent on company.
So, we suggest you do some basic research on the type of dog you intend to make a member of your family and bring a new furry friend into your home as soon as possible.
Don’t forget that having a family dog is indeed a beautiful life experience, especially for children.