The 25 Best Family Dogs for Homes With Kids

Dogs are a great addition to any family. But which dog breeds get along best with children? Which breeds are better with young children vs. those that prefer to bond with older kids? Our list of best family dogs can help you choose the best breed for your fam.

Family dogs are just that—dogs who get along with all members of the family, both children and adults. And they’re not just friendly dogs in general. Whether you’re looking for a new family member who’s a gentle giant or one who’s high-energy enough to match the enthusiasm of an active family, we’ve rounded up the 25 best family dogs for those looking to adopt.


Photo of a Beagle sitting in grass Garkusha

Size: Small

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Temperament: High-energy, intelligent, loyal

The Beagle dog breed thrives in family homes—as long as it is an active family. Known for their sense of smell, these hound dogs need proper training in order to become great companion dogs. They’re cheerful, clever and love to howl, but they’re also good with other dogs and kids—in fact, they make excellent playmates because of their friendly and playful nature.

2Golden Retriever

Image Consaul

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Temperament: Social butterfly, quick learner, adventurous

The Golden Retriever is the quintessential family dog—they are outgoing and easy to please, and are great with children of all ages as well as other pets. They are known for their double coat of golden, fluffy fur, and their devoted personality. They are also intelligent, easy-to-train sporting dogs who require a lot of exercise, so they’re best suited for busy households with constant activity.

3Labrador Retriever


Size: Large

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Temperament: Adventurous, animated, ready for anything

Another sporting dog breed, the Labrador Retriever is known as America’s favorite dog breed—and for good reason. This popular breed makes great companion dogs who are friendly and high-spirited. But while they get along with practically every human and other breed and are great dogs for children of all ages, they do require a lot of exercise like playing catch and swimming.



Size: Medium (varies based on type of Poodle)

Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Temperament: Sporty, smarty pants, loves the spotlight

You might think the Poodle breed dog is high-maintenance, but don’t let that reputation fool you. While their hair may require some extra grooming, Poodles have perfectly pleasant personalities. They’re generally friendly and eager to please their family. The breed has three different sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—so pet parents can choose the size that’s best suited to their home and ages of their children.

5Irish Setter

Photo of an Irish Setter standing in a field

Size: Large

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Temperament: Loving, goofy, curious

While not the ideal choice as a guard dog due to their overly friendly nature, Irish Setters make great family dogs. They are good with kids of all ages and other pets, but keep in mind that this sporting dog does require a lot of exercise to thrive—so they do best in homes with large yards and active pet parents.



Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Temperament: Family first, super-trainable, friend to all

You may recognize the Collie dog breed from TV and movies as Lassie. But this herding dog breed is more than just a celebrity of the dog world; they are devoted family dogs who are good with children, playful and adaptable. They also make great family watchdogs who are very vocal and will bark if they’re lonely or bored. Keep in mind that Collies do tend to display typical herding behaviors, but they are relatively easy to train. They’re often used as service dogs and therapy dogs and are well-rounded dogs for an active family.



Size: Extra Large

Life Expectancy: 9-10 years

Temperament: Sweetheart, devoted companion, patient

The Newfoundland dog breed is known for being gentle giants—and these extra-large furry friends are highly adaptable, making them ideal companions for families with children. But don’t let their friendly nature fool you; they are best suited for pet parents who have previous dog experience, due to their high shedding level, health issues, and large size. Aside from that, these working dogs are known for their patient and gentle personality. They need early socialization to know how to play appropriately, because they don’t realize how big they are. But with the right training, these sweet-tempered “Newfies” make a great family dog and get along well with kids of all ages—even babies and toddlers.

8Bichon Frise

Photo of a Bichon Frise dog standing in grass

Size: Small

Life Expectancy: 14-15 years

Temperament: Fun-loving, smart, Velcro dog

The Bichon Frise is a small dog breed known for their great personality as well as for their high-maintenance but “hypoallergenic” (aka low-shedding) white coat that’s less irritating to people with dog allergies. Bichons are adaptable companion dogs who get along well with other dogs and children. These playful pups are “Velcro dogs” who don’t like to be left alone for long; therefore, they’re best suited for pet parents who are home a lot. They have a moderate energy level, ideal for low-key lifestyles.

9Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


Size: Small

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Temperament: Gentle, sweet, jolly

While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is part of the toy group, they have a large, up-for-anything personality. These companion dogs easily adapt to your lifestyle, loving both low- and high-activity households and enjoying both playtime and cuddle sessions. They make good dogs for first-time pet parents, and their affectionate, gentle nature makes them a good fit for homes with young children.

10English Bulldog

Photo of an English Bulldog lying in grass

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Temperament: Cuddly, loyal, stubborn

The English Bulldog dog breed is the wrinkly-faced pup that probably springs to mind when you hear the word “Bulldog” (as opposed to the American or French versions). Hailing from England (it is the country’s national symbol, after all), these stocky pups make great family dogs, as they live for attention and affection. Heavy on drool, these pups don’t make good hiking companions, but they’ll happily join you for short walks and outings.

11English Pointer

Photo of an English Pointer dog pointing at prey

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12-17 years

Temperament: Intelligent, fun-loving, full of energy

The Pointer dog breed is known for, well, their ability to point at prey. Also known as the English Pointer, these sporting dogs are hardworking and friendly but require a lot of exercise. They are eager to please, and have boundless energy and a love for adventure. They require proper training and socialization due to their high prey drive, and they require work using their nose—so even if you aren’t a hunting family, you’ll want to engage that sniffer using exercise, nose work or games.

12Saint Bernard


Size: Extra Large

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Temperament: Laid-back, social teddy bear, attentive friend

You may have been introduced to the Saint Bernard dog breed via the “Beethoven” movies, which show this big dog breed being the quintessential family dog. These lovey-dovey gentle giants from the Swiss Alps are intelligent and friendly, and are known as the original rescue dogs used along the Italian-Swiss border. This ancient breed’s rescue missions date back as far as 1050, when they were widely known as the rescue dog of monks. And today? These powerful working dogs prefer a large home, focused training and plenty of cuddle time.

13American Pit Bull Terrier


Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Temperament: Active, loyal, eager to please

The American Pit Bull Terrier dog breed tends to become friendly with everyone they meet once they’re properly trained and socialized. These pups are friendly, goofy and overly enthusiastic with everyone they meet. With a Pittie, you’re signing up for sloppy kisses and a pup who follows you everywhere you go, and you couldn’t ask for a better companion dog. They are highly intelligent, energetic and make great service or therapy dogs. Pitties are best for active, experienced pet parents and families with older children.


Photo of a little girl hugging an adlut Leonberger dog. A Leonberger puppy lays in the grass nearby

Size: Extra Large

Life Expectancy: 7 years

Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, playful

Yes, the Leonberger dog breed is extra large, high-maintenance and a heavy shedder—but if you have the space and time to spend on them, they make excellent family pets. They are friendly with kids, playful and tender, and these “gentle lions” love as big as you do. They need to be socialized as puppies to bring out their naturally friendly nature; otherwise, they may be wary around new people. Their loyalty to their family makes them great guard dogs, too.


Photo of a Havanese dog sitting outside

Size: Small

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Temperament: Bright, outgoing, amusing

The Havanese dog breed may be a toy breed, but these fun-loving pups are more than just a standard lap dog. They are social butterflies with a big personality and love to share affection with everyone, kids included. Known as the only dog breed that is native to Cuba, these low-maintenance, intelligent pups just want to please their family. Don’t let their easygoing nature fool you, though; they are also capable of play breaks and they love training and learning tricks.

16Border Terrier

Photo of a Border Terrier fetching a ball

Size: Small

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Temperament: Independent, brave, affectionate

The Border Terrier dog breed may be small, but their busy nature and strong work ethic make these active little dogs a great fit for homes with older children. They were originally bred to be a working dogs who guarded homes and caught vermin, but these days they’re more suited to on-the-go family life. They’re confident and outgoing, so they’d be best suited for an active family that’s excited to train them and teach them new skills.

17Old English Sheepdog

Photo of an Old English Sheepdog lying in grass

Size: Large

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Temperament: Gentle, intelligent, active

The Old English Sheepdog breed may be known for its herding abilities, but these pups also make great family dogs. Gentle yet active and even-tempered, they are best suited for homes with older kids, as they can be nervous around small children who don’t yet understand boundaries. Sheepdogs do take their job as professional herders seriously and love to keep busy, so they need a lot of exercise and opportunities for stimulation. Once they know you, you’ll have a loyal and devoted playmate.


Photo of a Keeshond dog standing in a field

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Temperament: Devoted, sociable, intelligent

Despite their heavy shedding, the Keeshond dog breed makes a good family dog. This outgoing and loving breed gets along with almost everyone they meet, and they are highly intelligent and easy to train—with positive reinforcement training being a must for their sensitive personality. They have a history as a watchdog and will bark loudly as an alert or a welcome—but due to their friendly nature, they definitely aren’t guard dogs. They tend to suffer from separation anxiety and prefer to be around their family as much as possible.


Photo of a Brittany dog standing on stairs

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Temperament: Social butterfly, energetic, smart

The Brittany dog breed is a friendly, high-energy dog who needs a lot of exercise. They were bred to be versatile hunting dogs, so they are adaptable and ready for action—whether they’re going for a walk or competing in a tracking event. Though they are energetic, they do not thrive in homes with chaos. They are sensitive and do best in harmonious homes. (So, maybe wait until the kids are a bit older to bring one home.) They are named for the westernmost region in France, as it was there where, hundreds of years ago, French hunters developed this breed, now considered one of the world’s most versatile bird dogs. Brittanies are a nice fit for families who like the great outdoors—whether that’s to have them as an all-purpose hunting partner, a dog-sport teammate, or simply a hiking companion.

20English Setter

Photo of an English Setter dog standing in grass

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12 years

Temperament: Affectionate, high-energy, social butterfly

The English Setter is gentle and affectionate—and great with kids. These furry friends make great playmates. They are protective and make great watchdogs, and won’t hesitate to bark when someone unfamiliar approaches. While they are not ideal to be around smaller pets, this sporting dog is trainable and loves to be at the center of the action. They do best with active families, as they need a lot of exercise.

21Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever

Photo of a Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Temperament: Affectionate, outgoing, intelligent

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is totally high-maintenance, but worth it! They are considered the smallest of the retrievers, bred to entice ducks to the shore. If you (or your kids) like watersports, this energetic pup is in. Their webbed feet make them great swimmers, and their boundless energy means very long games of fetch for you and/or your older children. Tollers are smart and affectionate companion dogs, but they should only be with active families who have the time and energy to keep them busy.


Photo of a Chinook dog

Size: Medium

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Temperament: Patient, devoted, smart

The Chinook dog breed is patient, friendly and highly intelligent—everything you expect of a good family dog. As social butterflies, they form strong attachments to their family. This big dog requires proper training and socializing, but once they are well-mannered, they will thrive in a busy home. They need a lot of daily exercise and attention and would do well with a large, fenced-in backyard to run in. A family with older children is ideal and, though they don’t make good guard dogs, they are excellent greeters who welcome visitors enthusiastically.

23Flat-Coated Retriever

Photo of a Flat-Coated Retriever standing on a hillside

Size: Large

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Temperament: Good-humored, cheerful, optimistic

The Flat-Coated Retriever is known for being friendly, outgoing, and highly social, with their family always coming first. They bond to their people and get along well with kids, other dogs and cats. This active pup is a high-energy sporting dog, so they do best with an active lifestyle, whether that be a retrieving game of fetch, tracking, scent work or agility. They will always have a puppy-like energy and love having a playmate—whether two-legged or four-legged—to go on adventures with.

24Tibetan Terrier

Photo of a Tibetan Terrier sitting beside a flower bush

Size: Small

Life Expectancy: 15-16 years

Temperament: Sensitive, affectionate, loyal

Known as the “Holy Dog of Tibet,” the Tibetan Terrier is an ancient watchdog and companion dog who has long been associated with Buddhist monasteries. The TT has “snowshoe” feet and a double wooly coat, which means they’re better suited for colder climates. But this funny, mischievous dog breed is extremely smart with a gentle temperament, making them a good family dog for homes with older kids and other pets. They require regular grooming because of their heavy coat, but they are easy to train, friendly and alert.

25Bluetick Coonhound

Image Swift

Size: Large

Life Expectancy: 11-12 years

Temperament: Tenacious, devoted, smart

The Bluetick Coonhound is known for two things: their “ticked” or mottled black-and-blue pattern on their coat and their braying bark. They are sweet and affectionate but do best in single-family homes where their loud, drawn-out braying won’t bother the neighbors. These hounds were bred to be working and hunting dogs, so they have plenty of stamina. They need space to run and get a lot of exercise, but they are also sweet-natured family pets who are a great match for fun-loving families who are active and experienced with hunting dog breeds.

Think you’ve met your match? Here’s the good news: Many of these family-friendly breeds are often found at your local shelter. Just be sure to consider all of your family’s needs before committing to a new pet and thoroughly research each breed you’re considering as a furry friend. Being well-informed will make all the difference to a happy home. Dogs make great companions, family pets, and playmates—just ensure you match their personality and energy level.

No matter which breed you choose, you’re in good hands with us. Check out our new dog guide for the ins and outs of adopting a new family member.

The post The 25 Best Family Dogs for Homes With Kids appeared first on BeChewy.