The 20 Best Dog Breeds for Families With Kids

Like peanut butter and jelly, kids and dogs just go together. When you're eager to add a furry four-legged pup to your family, here are the best dog breeds for kids.

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Cocker Spaniel

Cocker spaniels tend to be gentle, playful and dependable, making them good all-around furry friends. According to the American Kennel Club, they make wonderful playmates for children, especially active kiddos eager to burn off energy with this energetic doggo. No matter the weather, cocker spaniels love to run around outside, so keep the rain boots by the door. These pooches are eager to please and willing to learn. They also make good greeters, enthusiastically welcoming owners home, tails wildly wagging.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever makes a fantastic family dog thanks to his happy-go-lucky, tail-wagging nature. This sturdy, enthusiastic doggo paws-itively loves to exercise, making him a good fit for active kids and families eager to run, jump, swim and play fetch with this lively pup. This fun-loving, protective breed can grow to 80 pounds, according to Hill's Pet Nutrition, so make sure he has plenty of space to roam and play. Labs like to be engaged, so teach this playful pup a new trick or two.


Poodles are even-tempered and well-behaved, making them popular among families. Standard poodles, in particular, are well-suited to active families given their playful and energetic nature. These pups don't bark much and like to socialize, both with humans and fellow pups they encounter while out on a walk in the neighborhood. Per Canine Journal, poodles are smart and easy to train, too. They learn quickly and are sensibly protective, eager to keep watch over children in the backyard or at the playground.


Pugs are enthusiastic and exuberant, clever and comical, according to Dogtime. Their sparkling eyes and wrinkly faces delight adults and kids alike. Their expressions are so human-like, evoking curiosity, wonder and joy. These pint-sized pups may top out at 20 pounds, but they are eager to run, jump and play. They're low-maintenance and rarely bark, making them a good choice among families with small children. They're good cuddlers, too. These small dogs are more than happy with a snuggle and a snooze.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The friendly and affectionate Cavalier King Charles spaniel is an ideal pick as a family dog thanks to its gentle nature and eagerness to please. These happy little dogs – the breed tops out at 18 pounds – are especially good with children, according to the American Kennel Club. They are quick learners and interact well with caregivers, making them delightful household companions. These easygoing dogs love a snuggle, too. Many describe this pint-sized pup as the perfect cuddle buddy.


Beagles are fantastic family dogs thanks to their playful and loving nature. They are energetic, friendly and sturdy, per They are also largely child-proof despite their relatively small size (beagles max out at just 35 pounds). Kids will peter out before these peppy pups do. Beagles are inquisitive and good-natured, but they do crave attention. A houseful of kids (i.e., tireless playmates) is ideal for this fun-loving dog. Beagles make good family guard dogs too, eager to alert the family to suspicious sounds with a boisterous bark.

Golden Retriever

The golden retriever is such a popular breed – especially among families – that he even has his own day. Yes, Feb. 3 is National Golden Retriever Day, a day to celebrate all there is to love about this exceedingly friendly and fun-loving dog breed. Some even trumpet this breed for having a golden personality, which makes the golden retriever a first-rate pick for kids and families. He's patient, tolerant, playful and enthusiastic. It's no surprise that this breed consistently ranks among the American Kennel Club's top-five most popular breeds.

Border Collie

Border collies are people pups, according to Vetstreet. They are at their best when with their humans, and they aim to please. This mild-mannered breed is gentle and reliable, rarely acting up or misbehaving. He's also quick to learn and easy to train – all good qualities in a family dog. Border collies love children of all ages. They do especially well with active families eager to spend loads of time outside. They even live happily side by side with other pups (and cats).


The Newfoundland breed may be large (males can weigh up to 150 pounds), but they are among the gentlest of all dog breeds. This breed has been referred to as both "nature's nanny" and "the nanny dog" due to their mild-mannered personalities and exceptional temperament with children. They may drool and shed, but that makes them all the more lovable. These massive fur-babies want little more than to love on and watch over their humans, per PetMD.


The Havanese may not be as well-known as some dog breeds, but this cuddly pup is quickly becoming a favorite among families, according to The Havanese wants to please and is eager to be a loyal companion. This pocket-size pup – the breed weighs 10 to 15 pounds – loves children. He is relatively easy to train and wants to spend as much time with his humans as possible. That noted, he doesn't do well when left alone for extended periods of time.


This teacup pup is sweet, loving and as lively as they come. The papillon may be small, but he is mighty. More than a lapdog, this sprightly breed likes to play. He even excels at agility and obstacle courses. Given his size – topping out at 10 pounds – this breed makes a good pick for city-dwelling families. He's just as happy running around the apartment as he is frolicking in a park. This pup likes to socialize and is especially good with kids and families, according to Dogtime.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese mountain dog is not only a fantastic family dog, but also a very good family guard dog, per the American Kennel Club. This gentle breed is a loving companion for children, eager to watch over them. While this large breed dog does enjoy a good snooze in the sun, he also likes to romp around outside, especially across a snow-covered backyard. (He is a cold-loving Alpine breed, after all.) This breed can be shy, so it's good to socialize him with other pups and humans.

Bichon Frise

The bichon frise is a smart and friendly pup. He's also a good listener and easy to train. Given his small size, this breed is a good pick for city-dwelling families. These furry pups don't need loads of exercise, per, but they do appreciate a good stroll around the block to meet and greet the neighbors. For first-time dog owners, the bichon frise is a great pick given his calm, good-natured personality, which also makes him a top choice for families.

Shih Tzu

The loyal and pleasant-natured shih tzu is a dream doggo for families. This precious pooch may have been bred as a lapdog, but he enjoys a playful prance around the park, too. This cuddly canine is eager to be a loving companion for life, according to Dogtime. As a bonus, the shih tzu tends to be less yappy than other toy breeds — a plus for those with very small children (i.e., those that take naps and need not be disturbed). It’s hard to go wrong with this friendly, lovable pooch.

German Shepherd

Better known as guard dogs, German shepherds are especially well-suited as family dogs, too. They can be exceptionally gentle and loving companions. This breed is calm and caring, but also protective and respectful. These doggos have a lot of energy and are a good match for active families that like to run, hike and play catch. Widely considered among the best family guard dogs, German shepherds know how to keep their family safe. This dog breed loves children and makes an ideal lifelong friend, according to Hill's Pet Nutrition.

French Bulldog

French bulldogs are warm and good-natured. They love to play and spend quality time with their humans, making them fantastic companion dogs, per the American Kennel Club. They also value their beauty sleep they can sleep 12 to 14 hours a day. These petite pups don’t need a lot of exercise – a walk around the block will do. They also don't have a lot to bark about and have much love to give the family. It's no surprise that Frenchies are the most-hashtagged dog breed on Instagram.


Weimaraners want little more than to be good family dogs. They are devoted people-pleasers that love their humans. Once a hunting dog used by German royalty, this large breed is now widely celebrated as a family dog, according to One look into their blue-gray eyes and it's hard not to fall in love with the Weimaraner. These gorgeous gray dogs love spending time outdoors with kids and family. They can make an ideal companion pup for kids.


We all love the royals. So naturally, we all love corgis. Queen Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 corgis since becoming queen in 1952. These adorable pups have little legs that don’t require long walks, making them properly suited for families with small children (who also have little legs). Corgis are gentle, loving and smart, per The Dogs Journal. They love to please and follow around their humans, especially children. This sociable breed has a naturally loving personality. It won't take long before a corgi grows a strong bond with the family.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

The fun-loving and adorably inquisitive soft-coated wheaten terrier is a fantastic pick for active families, per the American Kennel Club. This mid-size breed is gregarious, energetic and oh-so-cuddly. Children will love a good snuggle with this friendly furball. Wheatens are protective – they make excellent watch dogs. However, they're not the best family guard dogs. They love everyone. Wheatens don't need a big backyard, but they enjoy long walks and the occasional trip to the agility park.

Irish Setter

The glamourous, silky coated Irish setter surprises with his boundless energy. He loves to run and requires a lot of exercise, making him better suited for very active families, according to Hill's Pet Nutrition. Take him on hikes, visit the dog park and play catch in the backyard. His exuberance can be a lot for small children. As in, he may knock them over. Still, his joy and zest for life make this elegant breed a popular choice among families eager for a dynamic dog with energy to spare.

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