39 Best Family Dog Breeds For Kids (Small, Medium & Large)

Last Updated on May 11, 2021 by Sofia Coleman

You are thinking about which family dog breeds are suitable for you and your kids? Dogs make excellent pets for kids of all ages. They are loyal, loving, and perfect companions who will not only help prepare your children to learn about responsibility but likewise about unconditional love.

The deal is choosing the ideal sort of dog to blend in with your family’s lifestyle.

Several variables figure in picking what breed of dog will ideal fit your family. Focus on temperament, energy levels, size, and particular care requirements when you start your search.

What Makes a Good Family Dog?

To determine which canine is best for your specific family, veterinarians suggest that you take into consideration the size of the dog in addition to your family’s lifestyle, as well as what energy level would suit best.

No matter whether a dog is a mutt or a purebred, these three variables can assist you in picking the right family dog:

  • Energy: Some canines will happily fetch for cuddles on the sofa; others love to run and stroll outside. The most suitable dogs for families will vary depending on the family, so consider whether your crew is searching for a furry snuggle bug or a hiking companion.
  • Size: Small dogs can be more fragile and may be suitable around older children. Some large dogs might be right at home with a rough and tumble crew but need routine walks or a yard to play in. Ensure your family’s environments fit the size of your prospective new dog.
  • Care Needs: Have you considered grooming? Who will take the canine for strolls? Consider your possible dog’s requirements and whether or not your family can meet them before committing to that cute furry face.
  • Temperament: Is your family prone to fits of laughter? More stoic and severe? Several canines have various characters too, and your dog must suit right alongside your family’s.

15 Best Small Dogs for Kids

Beagle

The Beagle’s tiny size, they can conveniently be carried! And calm character makes this breed an excellent decision for families.

Beagles were kept as hunting dogs, and their sturdy build means they’re never too tired to play games. If your children like the outdoors, this breed will suit right in because there’s nothing they enjoy more than taking to the trails and exploring outside.

Happy, intelligent, and friendly, the Beagle typically gets along with other dogs, too. They do shed, so they need regular grooming.

Boston Terrier

These black-and-white dogs have the “big-dog” feel of a boxer in a much smaller package.

They tend to have a playful but patient temperament and are pretty strong dogs despite their tiny size.

The breed originated in Boston when white English terriers and bulldogs were crossbred. Many people consider Boston terriers to be America’s national dog, as it is one of the very rare breeds that originate from the U.S.

Bichon Frise

If you desire a canine that reminds you of a little white powder puff, look no more than the Bichon Frise. These dogs have been preferred throughout history, as early as 16th-century French royal courts, and have also named their own as an American circus dog.

Unlike other tiny dogs who might need to lounge the day away, the Bichon Frise has the energy to keep up with an active family. They’ll make an affectionate and loyal addition to your “pack” so long as you put effort into daily grooming and consistent basic training.

Cairn Terrier

Part of the AKC Terrier Group, the Cairn Terrier, is best known for representing Dorothy’s tiny canine Toto in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. The breed originated in the Scottish Highlands more than 200 years ago, where they hunted rats, foxes, and other furry critters in the piles of rocks called cairns.

Not all terriers are great with children; however, the Cairn Terrier loves kids and will seek them out significantly. Despite their tiny size, Cairns are tough and strong and always up for games and fun.

Just like all dogs, you should educate children to be gentle with Cairns; however, this breed will usually forgive unintentional bumps from kids. Cairns has a high prey drive–the instinct to hunt feathery and furry creatures–, so you may not trust them with cat, and some can get scrappy with other canines.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

 The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a royal, elegant toy spaniel, slightly longer than big. The breed maintains the build of a working spaniel but in a miniature version. Their gait is smooth and free, with incredible drive and reach. 

Their fur is of moderate length, with a slight wave permissible. Long feathering on the feet is a breed hallmark. A characteristic of the Cav is his sweet and gentleness.

Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is a happy small dog that enjoys being with its favorite people. Like many other breeds in the AKC Sporting Group, they were bred to be calm with people, other canines, and other pets.

Well-socialized Cocker Spaniels are excellent dogs for children, provided the kids are respectful and gentle. Cockers like to play and participate in almost any adventure or game.

These canines are tiny enough to knock little children down yet sturdy sufficient to withstand a little roughhousing.

Cockers are dynamic but require only modest quantities of exercise in off-leash running and daily walks in the yard. Their fur also requires regular expert grooming.

French Bulldog

Frenchies have a reduced center of gravity, muscular build, heavy bone, wide-body, and square, large head with loose soft skin creating wrinkles about the shoulders and head. Enjoyable home friends, these dogs are alert, with a curious expression, helped by bar ears and free action.

Havanese

There’s something practically wacky about a Havanese, like they’re attempting to make us laugh with their naughty eyes and capacity to learn any number of skills. They adjust well to various conditions but will be hurt if you let them out for their training rather than joining them.

Pug

Small, square-proportioned, and of a stocky build, the Pug is a big dog in a tiny space. The Pug gait is jaunty and robust, however, with a slight roll of the hindquarters. Their curious expression is solicitous and soft. 

Their forehead has deep, large wrinkles. Their coat is short, fine, and smooth.

Bolognese

Like in style to the bichon Frise, the Bolognese is a friendly dog that won’t freak out when children come running in fired up after school; they can additionally embrace the peaceful times after dinner when your kids sit down to finish homework. However, more on the chill side, so if your children are very young or have loud, wild sides, possibly wait a few years.

Maltese

Maltese canines are usually known to be gentle and beautiful dogs that try to please. While they appreciate having fun with kids, they are also happy to spend downtime inside. The Malt-Tzu or Mal-Shi is a hybrid breed that likewise got excellent reviews for their ideal balance of energy and gentleness.

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Australian Terrier

Training will be a breeze with an Australian terrier who is ready and intelligent to get moving! They’ve got a lot of energy and bore quickly, so a home full of kids seems like their ideal environment. Territorial behavior appears around other canines, so if you’re into a one-pup family, this dog is for you.

Dachshund

The Dachshund has an enjoyable, energetic expression. Each of the three coat types has unique characteristics: the short coat is sleek and soft, giving some protection against the elements; the long fur is smooth, sometimes slightly wavy, providing added protection; the wire has thick, tight, and hard hair with a finer undercoat, giving maximum protection.

Border Terrier

The breed originated in the English and Scottish countryside, so they’ve got an aptitude for outdoorsy playtime. Nevertheless, they know when it’s time to come home for dinner (aka they are loyal).

Bull Terrier

Unjustly branded as an aggressive pet, the Bull Terrier was bred to be a companion dog— caring and friendly towards kids and adults alike.

Remember that your Bull Terrier may usually have mischief on their mind, specifically when it comes to other dogs and small pets. Avoid problems by maintaining your dog physically and mentally active every day.

 Their flat, short coat is easy to care for, and the breed does excellent with easy access to a yard for fun.

10 Best Medium Dogs for Kids

American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniels were bred in the Great Lakes region of the United States in the mid-1800s as a talented hunting dog. This breed excels at flushing and recovering birds and fits both in the water and in the field.

The breed is a little standoffish with unfamiliar people and requires socialization and training in puppyhood to grow into a well-manned and confident adult dog.

American Water Spaniels have the energy to spare and are hard workers, so they need more daily exercise to avoid behavior problems coming from boredom. The benefit to all this energy is that these dogs are content to play and romp as the kids keep throwing the frisbee or ball.

Among the rarer spaniels, the midsize American Water Spaniel is an enjoyable and energetic friend, completely loyal to his human family, including kids.

Keeshond

The fluffy Keeshond is a family companion breed that looks like a smaller version of a Husky. They usually seem to be smiling, and some appear they’re wearing glasses, for the colored coat difference bordering their eyes. Keeshonds immediately adjust to being part of a family and are usually excellent friends for kids.

Poodle

The Poodle is a square-proportioned canine with an elegant look and proud carriage. The pup needs to move with a springy, light, smooth stride.

The breed stems from working retriever stock, and the confirmation needs to reflect this athletic background. The coat is dense, harsh, and curly, forming a water-resistant barrier.

The Poodle is energetic, elegant, and intelligent. This breed has a happy bearing and air of distinction.

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Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel originated in the United States (South Carolina to be detailed); the breed is a passionate hunting dog when in the field but friendly and laid back in your home.

The Boykin Spaniel was used for hunting wild turkeys, yet today is appreciated for hunting smaller birds like pigeons and ducks.

Playful and friendly, Boykins love being joined in family activities and get along excellent with respectful kids, particularly older children who can throw the frisbee or ball and play in the yard.

Boykin Spaniels are rare, so be prepared to get on a waiting list if you’re expecting a puppy.

Vizsla

While this breed isn’t specifically a familiar family name– principally because of their necessity for regular exercise– they’re among the best dog breeds for energetic and active families with older children.

The Vizsla has a lively character yet a mild manner and is both affectionate and loyal.

The breed is additionally confident, obedient, and intelligent. Vizslas develop close bonds with family members and are smart to learn new skills quickly.

Vizslas have a short coat, so their grooming routine is relatively low maintenance.

Collie

Anybody who grew up watching “Lassie” will recognize that Collies make for the ideal family dog. They are both very smart and loyal and love even the smallest of humans. Collies are highly social dogs, specifically if they are well-socialized. 

However, they can be very protective of family members– especially kids– around new people, so peacefully present friends right away!

Brittany

Larger than a vizsla yet smaller than a pointer, the Brittany (occasionally incorrectly called the Brittany Spaniel) is versatile and popular hunting, retrieving, and pointing dog.

Brittanys are remarkably friendly, happy to please, and are conveniently trained. They make excellent family dogs and are always ready to participate in the next adventure. This might include hiking, running, hunting, camping, swimming, and training for a competitive dog sport like agility.

Because Brittanys have great energy, it’s vital to provide sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, or they may try to escape your yard or become harmful.

Bulldog

For a patient, loyal dog that’s certain to act passionately towards children, the Bulldog is your ideal breed. The Bulldog has a strong build that is excellent for kids. Nevertheless, he won’t win any prizes for “most energetic dog.”

Most are also comfortable with outside guests and suitable with other dogs, making them an excellent fit for a social, busy family. Their smaller size makes them comfortable for both small apartments and big houses, too.

If you want to get a Bulldog, one thing to bear in mind is that their jaw’s compressed nature implies they’ll require a little extra care with teeth cleaning and wheezing.

English Springer Spaniel

Exceptionally playful and full of energy, the English Springer Spaniel is the best companion for children. Great dogs for busy families, Springers requires great deals of regular exercise.

From long walks to jogging, swimming, hiking, games of fetch, or even training for a competitive sport like flyball, your dog will be up for the challenge.

These dogs don’t succeed when left alone for long periods, but fortunately, their medium size makes it comfortable to take them along on family trips. The Springer’s coat needs expert grooming and brushing a few times a week to prevent mats.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Recognized for his affection toward people and his exceptional affinity for kids, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has got the nicknames “Nanny Dog” and “Children’s Nursemaid.”

Of course, this is not to claim that you should leave this breed home alone to babysit the children, yet children and Staffies can be the greatest companions with proper adult supervision.

The breed is small but strong, with a brave character and muscular body. Although Staffies enjoy people, several do not get along great with other dogs, particularly strange dogs. Some have a very high prey drive and are not suitable to have around small pets like cats and rabbits.

14 Best Large Dogs for Kids

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador is a calm dog, not extreme in any way. He is square-proportioned longer than tall, of relatively large substance and bone. The breed’s broad head and sturdy jaws let the dog bring the large game birds like Canada geese.

Solid legs and a heavy body allow the breed to run and swim powerfully. The coat, which is dense, short, and straight with a soft undercoat, is weatherproof and services to protect it from icy waters.

German Shepherd

German shepherds have long worked as herding and hunting dogs in Germany. They are usually trained as service dogs; they rescue and search, work with police, and the military due to their hardworking and intelligent character. When choosing a dog for the family, this breed is incredibly loyal and caring, making them the excellent choice for an active family.

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Golden Retriever

 Although the Golden Retriever might not be one of the most original dog choices, he is among the most friendly, sweet, and fun breeds. Their often boisterous character can make him much ideal for slightly bigger children. The breed was bred to hunt birds, especially water games, and like running and swimming.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dogs, Berners, or Bernies, whatever you call them, this Swiss race would risk life and limb to help save people stranded in the Alps.

He’s highly protective(yet not aggressive) with people. Despite their large size, they’re incredibly gentle (particularly with younger kids) and enjoy inclusion in family life.

Boxer

The Boxer is exemplary in the mix of agility and strength with stylish elegance. The Boxer is square-proportioned with good musculature and substance. This breed’s stride is ground covering and free, with proud carriage.

The head is unique, with an alert expression and broad, blunt muzzle. 

The coat is shiny and short. This breed is pretty suited to act as a working watchdog.

Alaskan Malamute

Although they were bred to hunt strong prey, such as seals and bears, today’s Alaskan Malamutes are completely housebroken, gentle giants that would make an outstanding addition to an active family.

Alaskan Malamute has a generally friendly nature that guides them to greet strangers as friends instead of foes; thus, they do not make excellent guard dogs.

Border Collie

A range of breeds is classified as Collies, like the Border Collie and Bearded Collie. And while your choices for this friendly dog are not restricted to the famous “Lassie” dog, we’ll focus on that variety of Collie here.

Border Collie is a predictable and gentle dog, rarely misbehaving and quickly trainable– which is ideal for families unfamiliar with dogs. This breed gets along great with kids and likes to protect their families and please their owners.

While this kind of breed is usually mild-mannered, they were bred as herding dogs, so your collie may try to herd your kids! This may be enjoyable initially, but it’s possibly great to discourage the child-herding— regardless of how convenient you think it could be.

Because of the Border Collie’s long coat, the breed needs regular grooming to maintain its coat in great shape. An intelligent and sensitive breed, Border Collies, are both stubborn and gentle, so keep obedience training in mind.

Basset Hound

This breed may not seem to be a large dog in the beginning glimpse, but their normal weight range places them in the ranks of gold retrievers and Siberian huskies. Although basset hounds can be highly stubborn, they’re popular for their loyalty and devotion to their families.

They are devoted and gentle with kids and even other dogs and small pets, especially if they are well-socialized. Just be prepared for a bit of training– this breed has a mind of its own.

Weimaraner

Weimaraners are highly active dogs who do well with families who like to invest their time outdoors. They are intelligent dogs who enjoy hunting, hiking, and long walks and are easy to train. This breed is nicknamed the “Gray Ghost” for its quick instincts and sleek grayish hair.

Great Dane

 Loyal, gentle, and clocking in at 200 pounds fully grown, the Great Dane is the gentle giant of the dog world. Yet don’t let their large stature fool you– these massive-sized dogs are calm and only need a couple of walks daily when they’re out of puppyhood. Great Danes love kids, although they can knock over a kid simply by bumping into one.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

This gentle large makes an excellent family dog. Though possibly lazy, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is both gentle and peaceful and doesn’t bark very often. But, that doesn’t imply this breed won’t protect the family. He was bred to hunt and protect his owner.

Irish Setter

A breathtakingly lovely dog, the Irish Setter’s charm is in part the consequence of historical necessity. He is elegant, but substantial build let this breed hunt with stamina and speed. The body is slightly longer than tall, providing sufficient room for movement without interference between the fore and hind legs.

The trot is ground covering and efficient. The coat is straight, flat, and of medium length, with longer feathering on the backs of legs, ears, chest, tail, and belly, giving protection from briars without becoming trapped in them. The mahogany color is elegant and unique.

Rottweiler

This breed has an affectionate and playful side. Rottweilers sometimes get a bad rap, yet they make great family dogs– if you have older kids– not so much for young children. Like many breeds, Rottweilers were originally bred to herd cattle, using their large and solid bodies to bump cattle in the right direction.

Nonetheless, they tend to herd kids, giving them a nudge, which may knock over a small kid. A Rottweiler might additionally be very protective of the children in his family and intervene when they are rough-housing with other children. The Rottweiler’s prey drive may kick in and lead him to chase running kids.

Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is nicknamed “Nature’s Babysitter,” he is considered to be among the most intelligent breeds globally, and this breed loves kids and is very protective of them.

Patient, gentle, and kind, this breed is relatively like the Mother Teresa of dogs. Both older and younger family members will immediately fall in love with this big, beautifully sweet dog.

The Newfoundland ideal fits a family with open, large areas, and although they are known to drool and shed excessively, their long coats will also need regular grooming. 

Newfoundland has been known to save lives in emergencies, and he is also an excellent swimmer. They are simply trained and completely task-oriented, so don’t be worried about giving them stimulation that needs a little added work on their part.

What’s Next In My Dog Search?

So, what breed is the best for your Kids? With all these choices, it can be hard to pick. Consider limiting your search to just a handful of breeds. After that, contact animal shelters, rescue organizations, and local breeders to see if there are any one of your chosen breeds available to meet.

Bring your entire family to ensure that everyone’s temperaments jive well. Some organizations will even let you foster the dog for a brief period to do a trial run of living together.

Furthermore, several online sites can assist you in finding a dog based on your particular requisites. Check out PetSmart Charities and Petfinder.

Take your time when deciding. You, your family, and your dog have a lifetime of friendship ahead of you.

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