What’s the Best Dog for a Family? (An In-Depth Guide)

You’ve decided it’s time for your family to get a dog…

But which one is right for you?

There are hundreds of different breeds to choose from… and finding a dog that’s a great match for your family isn’t always simple.

What’s more: The consequences of getting the wrong breed for your family could make your newfound pet ownership a nightmare.

But getting the right dog means you’ll have an excellent new addition to the family, along with all the fun and companionship that only a loyal, family-friendly dog can provide.

In this guide, we’re going to cover a range of breeds that are suitable for different families.

What’s the Best Dog for a Family?

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to picking a family dog.

You’ll need to consider the dog’s size, energy level, personality, and more. However… we can make a few generalizations about certain breeds that’ll help pair your family with the perfect dog.

So let’s begin.

What’s the Best Low Maintenance Family Dog?

When looking for a low-maintenance family dog, its good to look for breeds that don’t require a groomer or tons of exercise.

The Dachshund or Bulldog are both great choices as they have short coats, making for easy cleanup, are small to medium in size, and are both content with being lapdogs.


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The Dachshund comes in two sizes, small or medium, and can weigh up to 30 pounds. This is an iconic breed due to the short legs and long body.

They’re considered hound dogs so they’re prey-driven. They do require regular exercise and weekly brushing, but other than that, they’re intelligent and affectionate. They’re happy as long as they’re with their family!


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Although bigger than a Dachshund, the Bulldog is still low-maintenance.

Due to the Bulldog’s face shape, they can be prone to breathing problems and don’t tolerate heat or humidity very well. They need moderate exercise, but a short daily walk will suffice. This breed is not prone to barking and overall, they’re very friendly with both children and other pets.

What’s the Best Friendly Dog for a Family?

There are many friendly dog breeds out there that can fit into busy lifestyles or will appreciate a cuddle session with the family… but one of the best options is the Lab.

Labrador Retriever

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Labs are known as gentle giants and they persevere as military dogs, service dogs, and family companions.

Although this breed is very friendly and loving, they do require some attention when first introduced to small children as they are very energetic, especially in their younger years.

Due to their high energy levels, Labs also need a lot of exercise… so they’re great for active families.


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A Boxer’s bark is bigger than his bite. This breed is extremely friendly and loving to kids, grown-ups, strangers, other pets, and pretty much anything living.

The Boxer’s affection makes it a great family dog. Boxers love running around and playing with children but also enjoy a cuddle session in front of the TV.

This breed does require good training and socialization as puppies because they’re very intelligent and can easily catch on to bad behavior if not caught early.

Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are all great alternative options to consider as well.

What’s the Best Dog for a Large Family?

If you have a large family, the best dog breeds are those that are adaptable.

They can tolerate being alone for a bit while the kids are at school, but they can also handle a lot of attention from kids as well. Let’s explore a few options.


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The Greyhound is an independent hound dog weighing up to 70 pounds.

Greyhounds love long runs or hikes but also adore hanging out on the couch with their human. This breed also does great if they have a yard to run around in.

Greyhounds are very easy to groom as they only need a weekly brushing.

Since this breed is independent, they’re perfect for large families who may not be able to hound them with constant attention.


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The Newfoundland is the iconic Nana from Peter Pan. As depicted in the film, Newfoundlands are extremely caring and patient creatures.

They’re very big dogs (up to 150 pounds), but with proper training, they’re one of the most loyal and loving breeds out there.

This breed also loves kids and people in general. Newfoundlands have a very thick coat and will require regular brushing.

What’s the Best Dog for Family Protection?

When looking for a family dog that’s also a good watchdog, it’s important to find one with intense loyalty.

Of course, a lot of this comes down to training and even the most scary-looking dog can just want attention.

However, some breeds are more protective than others and still do great with families.

German Shepherd

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The German Shepherd is a loyal watchdog that’s perfect for protecting the family.

With proper socialization, the German Shepherd is friendly and well-behaved towards strangers, but they’re territorial and will be wary of any intruders.

This breed requires good training and socialization from a young age and sheds frequently.

They’re a bit higher maintenance at first but will repay you three times over with their courage and loyalty.

What’s the Best Non-Shedding Dog for a Family?

Non-Shedding dogs make family life so much easier because they don’t require as much fur cleanup.

Bedlington Terrier

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This is an energetic, loving breed that comes with the bonus of being non-shedding. Bedlington Terriers are very affectionate and friendly, making them perfect for families. They do require regular grooming and trims to prevent matting and fur overgrowth.

In this category, the Shih Tzu and Havanese are also great options.

What’s the Best Dog for a Family With a Small Child?

It can be difficult to find the perfect dog for families with small children because a lot of breeds are either too small to the point where the child can hurt the dog or too energetic.

However, it’s possible to find a happy medium.

Finding calmer dogs is imperative when it comes to being around small children, and the Bernese Mountain Dog fits perfectly.

Bernese Mountain Dog

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Bernese Mountain Dogs are big dogs that grow to be very attached to their families.

They’re great with children and are an overall patient breed when fully grown.

Berners do require daily walks. Due to their strength, they can even pull children in wagons. They do shed a lot so they require regular brushing (3 times a week minimum).

Due to their calm nature, Berners are good for families with small children.

What’s the Best Dog for a Family With Allergies?

Any non-shedding or hypoallergenic dog is great for families with allergies.

However, allergies often differ per person so even dogs with short coats and lesser prone to shedding could work for someone with allergies.


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This breed is a mix between the Lab and Poodle.

Depending on the breeding, this dog can either be non- or low-shedding, making it perfect for those with allergies.

Labradoodles are not only smart and loving, they friendly towards strangers and other dogs and are easy to train.

Any of the non-shedding dog breeds on this list are also an option to look into, too.

What’s the Best Hypoallergenic Dog for a Family?

Another option for those with allergies is to find hypoallergenic dogs.

These breeds typically don’t shed and are even more allergy-friendly than the Labradoodles because they are purebreds rather than hybrids.

Portuguese Water Dog

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The Portuguese Water Dog is an athletic companion perfect for active families.

Even though this breed is hypoallergenic, it requires regular grooming. This is an extremely intelligent breed and will do best when properly trained and socialized from a young age.

Porties require intensive daily exercise, but this can be made into a fun family hike or a ball game.

What’s the Best Dog for a Busy Family?

Family life can be very busy… but that doesn’t mean a dog can’t acclimate to your schedule.

When looking for a dog to adjust to busy school and sports schedules, look for independent breeds. Smaller breeds are also great because they typically require less exercise.


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The Havanese is a toy breed that’s very adaptable to both environment and schedule.

If the coat is clipped short, it makes grooming a lot easier and can be manageable even for busy families. Although they need regular exercise, a daily walk will be plenty for their small stature.

Even though this breed is good for busy families, they’re still social and love cuddling with the family.

What’s the Best Dog for a Family With Toddlers?

Just like dog breeds that are good for families with small children, it’s important to evaluate not only your child but also a breed’s behavior to identify which ones are a good fit!

If you have a gentle toddler, a smaller dog breed is perfect because they’re not only gentle but also much easier to manage.

Larger dog breeds are great too, but many will require proper training and some time to grow out of their energetic puppy stage.

Shih Tzu

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Not only is the Shih Tzu hypoallergenic, but its small size also makes it agreeable to toddlers. The Shih Tzu is notorious for being very affectionate towards children and other animals.

They make great lapdogs and only require a short daily walk or indoor play session.