Newfoundland
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The Most Family-Friendly Dogs to Bring Home to the Kids

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Newfoundland
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Group Pug

If you’re finally ready to give in to the kids’ pleas for a new pet but don’t know where to begin, it’s worth becoming educated on what breeds offer the most bang for full households. While “doodle” mixes are hot, don’t overlook this list of breeds known for being particularly good choices for families. 

Related: The Easiest and Hardest Dog Breeds to Train

CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These small dogs (they typically weigh under 20 pounds) are surprisingly versatile — they can be either couch potatoes or agreeable athletes, depending on their family. “They have wonderful temperaments; they're incredibly sweet and gentle, love people, and are the ultimate lap dogs,” says Catherine Gilmartin, a certified dog trainer in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Related: 15 of the Most Expensive Pets to Own

havanese
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Havanese

These sturdy little dogs are adaptable to apartments or homes, and do well when their families are around often — so not the choice for the busy family who needs to leave their pet at home alone a lot. Nonetheless, “They are happy, bouncy little dogs that will never fail to entertain you, and they're likely to love snuggling up with their family members,” Gilmartin says.

Related: 32 Facts You Didn't Know About Dogs

newfoudland
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Newfoundland

These gentle giants do well with children and other pets. “What I feel sets them apart from other large breeds, and what makes them the most family-friendly, is their typically rock solid and steady temperament. They tend to be tolerant and patient, which can make them a great match for families with kids,” Gilmartin says.


Related: A Look Back at Presidential Pets

basset hound
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Basset Hound

Basset hounds “are very low-key, patient, and gentle dogs. This makes them great family dogs,” Gilmartin says. One thing to keep in mind: The breed can be somewhat aloof and stubborn with training, despite their loyalty.

Related: The Most Popular Dog Breeds in Every State

bichon frise
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Bichon Frise

Before hopping on the doodle bandwagon, you may want to give this breed a shot. “It's become increasingly popular for people to want hypoallergenic dogs, which often leads them to "doodle" mixes that are not as hypoallergenic as one might think. The bichon frise is a wonderful option for those looking for a non-shedding breed. They have great personalities — sweet, social, and happy,” Gilmartin says.

Related: 30 Popular Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

pug
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Pug

The Pug is considered an even-tempered and loving breed. “They love everyone they meet and all they really want in life is to be snuggled up to their people. They have huge personalities and will never fail to make you laugh. That being said, pugs are a breed that can be prone to health issues and breathing problems, so if you decide you want one of these wonderful dogs, please do your research and go to an extremely reputable and responsible breeder. Or even better, look for a rescue pug,” Gilmartin says.

Related: 10 Ways to Raise a Dog on a Budget

golden retriever
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Golden Retriever

This breed is best for active families that are willing to devote time to daily walks and playtime. “There's a reason this breed is the quintessential, all-American family dog. They are typically very social, friendly, loyal, and loving dogs and can be a great match for families,” Gilmartin says. “They make wonderful family members but need plenty to keep them busy,” says Jess Sanchez, who, along with staff members of Passage East Kennels, a boarding, grooming, and day care center in Wilton, Connecticut, included the breed on their own list of favorite family-friendly dogs. 

Related: 14 Types of People Who Shouldn't Own a Dog

bernese mountain dog
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Bernese Mountain Dog

These large, powerful dogs are also amazingly easygoing and sweet. “They are similar in temperament to Newfoundlands, but may have slightly more energy,” Gilmartin says.Sanchez agrees, saying, “They make excellent companions for everything from long hikes to a relaxing night of Netflix at home.”

Related: Otterhounds, Pulis, and 23 Dog Breeds You've Never Heard Of

Labrador Retriever
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Labrador Retriever

Much like the golden retriever, this breed has been an extremely popular family dog for decades, and for good reason. “They typically adore people and are good with kids, and are all-around happy and fun dogs to be around,” Gilmartin says. They are an energetic breed who enjoys — and needs — daily walks and playtime. If you have a pool, they will likely join you for a swim.

Related: 10 Cheapest Dog Breeds to Own

boston terrier
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Boston Terrier

“I would describe Boston Terriers as quite similar to pugs, but with a little more energy,” Gilmartin says. The breed is friendly, portable and sturdy, and loves to be around people.“They're very social and open to meeting new people and pets — always helpful if you have family members or new friends frequently going in and out,” Sanchez says.

Related: 25 Hacks to Reclaim Your House From Messy Pets

Border Collie
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Collie

It’s nearly impossible not to think of Lassie when thinking of the graceful collie. This breed is devoted to its family and known as a loyal companion to children. Collies are generally extremely energetic, so they do best in an active family that can keep up with its exercise demands.

Related: 14 Workouts You Can Do With Your Pet and Other Animals

Irish Setter
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Standard Poodle
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Standard Poodle

“Standard poodles have a high level of intelligence and are quick learners who love being around people,” Sanchez says. “Their playful personality can make them a fantastic addition to families with children of different ages.” While the breed requires frequent grooming, their non-shedding hair can be better for family members with allergies.

Related: 20 Summer Vacation Spots Where Pets Are Welcome

Beagle
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Beagle

“Beagles are super social, friendly dogs who love being part of a family and thrive on human interaction,” Sanchez says. Because of their small size and short coats they're also generally low maintenance when it comes to health care and grooming needs.

Related: 47 Adorable Photos of Pets “Working From Home”

mixed breed dog
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Mixed Breeds

Of course, the best breed for your family just may be the one you rescue. “While puppies are always adorable, an adult or senior dog will likely have had experience being a family pet and be forever grateful to join yours,” Sanchez says.

Related: 14 Unexpected Jobs for Animal Lovers