Today I want to talk about the very best dog breeds for families with kids. It’s pretty easy to decide to get a dog–but a lot harder to pick the perfect breed for your family.
I took several factors into account on this list. Each breed’s temperament will shine in a family setting. Most of these breeds would be thrilled to join someone on a morning jog.
I also looked at trainability. While not every breed on the list tops the charts, all five breeds work for food, praise, or play. Most members of all these breeds easily graduate basic obedience courses.
I also list pros and cons for each breed. While they all make great family pets, each breed’s unique characteristics require consideration.
Ready to see them? Here we go!
Labrador & Golden Retrievers
I know, not the same breed. But they act very similarly in families, and I think both deserve to be on the list.
Why retrievers are one of the best dog breeds:
Both breeds start life as high-energy pups and adolescents. They learn quickly, and both breeds work well for food, praise, or play. These dogs love family life. A well bred member of either breed never considers biting, but will bark to guard the house.
As a larger breed, Retrievers handle the rough-and-tumble play of children very well, but need to learn to be gentle as adolescents.
Cons of Retrievers
You must find a responsible and reputable breeder for either breed. Otherwise, health conditions or poor temperaments pop up.
Both breeds shed heavily. Expect to vacuum multiple times a week. Both breeds also delight in water, so expect them to get wet and muddy at every opportunity.
As adolescents, both breeds require firm but fair training, and may play too rough with smaller children. Supervise all interaction between these dogs and children.
About as much opposite of retrievers as possible, French Bulldogs make sweet and well-mannered family pets.
Why Frenchies are one of the best dog breeds:
These happy, merry little dogs enjoy play and activity, but settle well into a household routine. They bark but are too small to effectively guard. Well bred Frenchies are not aggressive.
While not as obedient as most other breeds on the list, their small size and short legs prevent most shenanigans. They may be motivated by food, though not to the extent of other breeds. Do not expect an obedience school valedictorian.
Cons of French Bulldogs
Most cons revolve around health. The breed develops issues due to face structure, including difficulty breathing, and they do not swim well. They must be supervised in hot weather. They also snore loudly.
The breed also develops several major health conditions, including cardiac and hip issues. A responsible breeder can outline the risk in any litter.
Because these dogs birth small litters via c-section, puppies cost more than most other breeds.
The collie comes in two versions: rough (Lassie) and smooth. The smooth’s coat feels like that of a German Shepherd.
There are two other breeds of collie, though this article is not about those breeds. The Border Collie is an extremely intelligent, highly active breed. While they are awesome dogs, they are not a good first breed for dog owners. The Bearded Collie has a long, thick coat that requires near-constant grooming. They also make good family pets, but their extensive grooming needs keep them off this list.
Why collies are one of the best dog breeds:
Throughout the last two centuries, Collies have been credited with amazing works on behalf of humans. They have traveled cross-country in search of their family, saved children from fires and raging bulls, and even saved other pets.
Collies are very intelligent, and learn quickly. They are highly motivated by praise and play, and do very well in obedience competition.
In a family, collies bond tightly to every member, though usually have a favorite. They guard their family with their life, but allow guests and visitors without issue.
Cons of Collies
Roughs require frequent, trained grooming. They need brushing out multiple times a week, and shed heavily. Smooths do not tangle, but shed heavily.
They bark. Collies bark at intruders, squirrels and mailmen. They also bark at leaves falling off trees, and that funny noise the dryer makes. Collies learn quickly to be quiet when told, but as watchdogs they do make some noise.
Some health conditions exist, and the breed is sensitive to some specific drugs. Research this before bringing one home, as unknowing vets have accidentally killed dogs.
Why Beagles are one of the Best Dog Breeds:
Beagles love people, and quickly settle in with guests and visitors. They get along well with other pets and prefer to live with other dogs.
They will go anywhere and do any sport or activity with you. Don’t be fooled by their short stature–they happily jog for hours once trained. They are highly food motivated and some will work for play (especially real rabbit fur toys).
With their short, tight coat, they don’t require grooming. They eat anything, and are robust and healthy little dogs.
Cons of Beagles
They are highly food motivated. I know I listed this as a pro, but that’s when you want them to do something. They will go to great lengths to acquire food, including destruction of personal property. Crate train thoroughly.
Beagles sometimes have trouble with housebreaking. Dogs pee in the same places, and their sensitive nose leads them back even after thorough cleaning.
Beagles require a different training technique than sporting, herding, and working breeds, and finding an obedience class that caters to their temperament sometimes proves difficult. While I am a strong proponent of the Obedience Training Club, some clubs have difficulty working with the hound breeds. You might need to try a few different clubs.
Beagles sometimes hunt other small mammals and some will not safely live with guinea pigs, rabbits, or other small pets. They may also attempt to kill cats despite their small stature.
Why Poodles are one of the Best Dog Breeds:
Biggest pro? Multiple sizes! If your family wants a small dog, get a toy or mini, but standards grow as large as a Labrador.
As one of the smartest dog breeds, Poodles learn anything and everything your family tries to teach them. While poorly bred poodles often exhibit aggressive tendencies, a well-bred poodle acts very much like a Golden retriever.
These active dogs love children, and love playing with children. They learn new games and tricks at the drop of a hat, and are motivated by play, food, and praise. They easily earn top awards in obedience, agility, and hunting competitions. Yes, poodles can hunt, and are one of the oldest breeds of retriever.
This breed is active as a puppy but calms down well after adolescence. Standards enjoy daily exercise and make good jogging partners.
Cons of Poodles
Recognize that grooming your poodle is not an option. The coat grows without shedding, and will develop large knots very quickly. Daily brushing and frequent trips to the groomer keep the coat in shape. Many super adorable clips help keep grooming to a minimum.
Because of their long-term popularity, poor breeding and puppy mills plague the breed. Poorly-bred poodles exhibit major health conditions, missing teeth, and terrible temperaments. Find a well-bred poodle from titled parents and a good breeder. Don’t accept second-best from this breed.
What breed have you chosen?
Tell me about your family’s breed, and your experiences. Do you think they are the norm for your breed, or do you think you got lucky?
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