The 21 best dog breeds for families and children

best family dogs

You have a child and now want to adopt a dog? Great idea! Your child and dog will most certainly be inseparable playmates! But which dog for a child? We've selected ten breeds of dogs for you to choose from, that could be a good match for your child!


Before starting on the breeds of dogs adapted to children, it seemed essential for us to remind two or three fundamentals to avoid mistakes and accidents! It will certainly seem obvious to you but it is better to be warned twice rather than once!

#1 A dog is not a toy!

Keep in mind that adopting a dog – let alone a puppy – will take time. You'll need to take him out, feed him, play with him. Even if your child wants a dog at all costs today, don't forget that he/she may get tired of him or not want to take him out in the rain: as an adult, you're responsible for the dog that comes into your family. Get a dog for your child but also for yourself!

#2 Teach your child to interact with your dog

A child is a clumsy little being. Although he/she doesn't necessarily want to hurt or frighten the dog that will join your family, it can happen: tail or ear pulled, dog mistaken for a horse, dog awakened in startle…

In the first few months of your dog's arrival in the family, take the time to explain to your child the right behaviors to adopt. A dog, no matter how patient he is, can make a bad move if he's woken up in startle, for example! These warnings are essential to facilitate the relationship.

As a general rule, avoid leaving your dog and your child under 7 years old alone (or even above if your child tends to be boisterous and careless).

Characteristics of a child-friendly dog

The following breeds have been selected according to several criteria. They are dogs that are:

  • dynamic and playful – to keep up with your child's play;
  • patient – to support your child's impulses;
  • not very independent – to prevent your dog from being too withdrawn and annoyed by your child.

Be careful though: race-related characteristics can always differ from one specimen to another. Some dogs may thus have personalities that are far removed from their breed, due to their experience and character. Get to know your dog as well as possible to facilitate the relationship he will have with your child!

Do you have children or family members in your house who are begging and pleading for you to get a dog?

If this is the case, you may have found yourself quite overwhelmed by the idea.

Plus, you will want the dog to easily fit into your home and adapt well to your environment. You might want to know if it's the best dog breed for kids. Similarly, you will want your family to feel safe around the dog.

Don't worry; it's perfectly normal to feel like this.

But, there are many dogs who can swiftly fit into families easily and are safe to own.

To make your choices easier today, we're going to provide you with an insight into the 15 best family dogs to choose from.

The best dogs for families and children

1. Golden Retriever

golden retriever large dog

The Golden Retriever is a medium to large family dog with a genial temperament. They are not aggressive and are full of fun; it loves to play. They are also tolerant and can be trained easily.

This dog breed is one of the most popular in the world due to how well they bond with humans, especially kids. Alongside this, they're loyal to the humans they live with and display lots of amounts of affection. They're renowned for their long golden double coat and are gorgeous to look at.

2. Labrador Retriever

labrador standing

Another brilliant pooch for your home is the Labrador Retriever. They have a gorgeous short and dense coat that comes in a range of colors. The personality of a Labrador Retriever is trusting and kind, making them easy to bond with. They're non-aggressive and love to play, making them a fun playmate for energy-filled kids. Labrador Retrievers are very outgoing, making them fun to take on walks with the family.

3. Pug

pug dog kids

If you're looking for a small household member, you may want to opt for the Chinese origin breed, the Pug. This gorgeous toy breed is not aggressive and has a cute-looking face that will melt the heart of almost any family member.

This dog has a short-muzzled face and is very expressive with humans. They are calm and love to climb in people's laps for a good cuddle and fun. They're also slightly mischievous, which makes them hard not to be loved by anyone. Due to their small nature, they can quickly adapt to any sized home, whether it's an apartment or a mansion.

4. Border Collie

border collie laying down

The Border Collie is a stunning black and white dog that originates from Scotland. They were formerly a working dog but now are owned by many families across the globe. They're highly active dogs, which makes them perfect for playtime. Similarly, they are graceful, making them pleasant to bond with children. The Border Collie is also easy to train, making them a breed that can learn house etiquette from a young age.

5. Beagle

beagle dog for kids

The Beagle is a medium sized dog breed that thrives off companionship. They love to play and have a goofy personality, making them a breed perfect for families with kids.

Beagles are always excited and are a joy to come home to after a long day at work or school. They're renowned for their smooth, dense double coat and their brown and black coat markings. Most importantly, Beagle's aren't aggressive; they have a gentle nature.

6. Irish Settler

irish setter dog with children

Do you love to go out with your family and play games in the park? If so, then the Irish Settler may be the dog you're looking to own. This is a highly energetic dog that loves to play a game of fetch or frisbee. They come from Ireland and are friendly towards most humans they see.

Due to their high energy, they do require many walks, so they're perfect if you live in a large house and want to divide walking duties. The Irish Settler is renowned for its red chestnut coat color, which is moderately long in length. They're medium-sized dogs, which means they're best suited to a larger home with a yard.

7. Boxer

boxer running dog

A Boxer is a dog that will make all your family feel protected and supported. They're an intelligent breed making them quick to respond to commands, and they love to play also. Due to their protective instinct, they get along well with children making them suitable for all generations. A Boxer is a medium to large sized breed and is renowned for its muscular, stocky body.

8. Bichon Frise

bichon frise best family dog

If you wish to have a dog that does not shed a lot at home, then you might want to get a Bichon Frise. This dog is stunning to look at because of its medium length white coat, and they love to wag their tail in excitement from most humans.

There's not an aggressive bone in the Bichon Frise's body; they're so sweet they will shower any family member with their love and playfulness. They're also small in size, making them a breed that's great to live in homes in the city.

9. Poodle

poodle water

Do you have any family members in your home that have allergies? If so, then the Poodle might be a good breed to own as they are close to being hypoallergenic, meaning they don't shed much. Plus, they come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. It's also easy to train due to its intelligent nature, as they were once bred to be waterfowl dogs. They're not aggressive animals, and they love to play.


bichon havanese

The Havanese is a dog coming from Cuba. They're small in size, making them ideal to adapt to any sized home. The Havanese has a charming personality and loves to bond with humans of any age. They're not a breed that likes rough play, but they do love a good cuddle and to be stroked. Plus, they're responsive, making them an obedient breed and will listen to your commands easily.

11. Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel family dogs breeds

Cocker Spaniels love to be around children and play with them. They have a gorgeous wavy coat with floppy ears and come in a range of colors to choose from. They're quiet and not a noisy dog, which means they won't disturb anyone's sleep or your neighbors! Cocker Spaniels double up as fantastic therapy dogs, making them comfortable and loving for any anxious family member.

12. Newfoundland

newfoundland water

Newfoundland's are commonly referred to as nanny dogs. Their gorgeous large heavy coated dog that comes in a range of colors. They are sweet, gentle, and have a protective nature making them bond well with kids.

They're not aggressive either if trained from an early age. They generally have a low energy level making them good breeds for those who live in apartments. Newfoundlands also love to cuddle with those in their home, making them a great companion for TV watching.

13. French Bulldog

french bulldog kids

Another charming toy breed to have in your home is the French Bulldog, also commonly known as the Frenchie. They're a small size dog making them a fantastic breed to have for any sized home.

They are highly sociable, which means they're not just great around family members but also friendly to other guests in your home. Frenchie's are easy going, athletic and mischievous. They are also cute due to their pointy triangular ears, heavy, wrinkled face, and short nose.

14. Dachshund

dogs that are good with kids

A Dachshund is a dog that does not require much exercise, making them ideal for apartments. They love kids and are playful, as long as they're socialized well from an early age.

A Daschund is often nicknamed a sausage dog due to its wiener body shape and short, stocky legs. This is a breed that loves to play games and will is never be boring. Dachshunds are extremely loyal dogs and they get attached to family members easily.

15. Labradoodle

labradoodle children

The Labradoodle is a crossbreed between the Poodle and Labrador. They're considered large breed dogs and need a house with a yard to play around.

Labradoodles have a wide range of coat variations and have low shedding coats. They have high energy and are an easy-going breed to be around. Plus, they devote themselves a lot to family and become a great companion to have in your home.

16. The German Spitz

loulou de pomeranie

The Pomeranian is the dwarf version of the German Spitz. A very playful ball of hair, this breed has the big advantage of being a very small dog.

Cute, they will be a good companion for your child and their small size will allow you to easily take them with you.

Be careful though: with less than 1.5 kilos, this dog remains fragile… it's better if your child is already a few years old (7-8 years old) so that the Pomeranian doesn't risk hurting him by playing with him!

17. The West Highland White Terrier

west highland terrier

Also known as a Westie, the West Highland White Terrier is a very hardy and strong white dog. A Scottish hunting dog, they're dynamic and playful, which could make them your child's best friend! What's more, they're the dog of Caesar's brand and it's a Westie who plays Dogmatix in Obelix and Asterix movies: that should be an argument in his favour!

18. Coton de Tuléar

coton de tulear

Their crazy white hair and shaggy face should make you and your child fall for this breed! The Coton de Tuléar is a dynamic and cuddly little dog that makes a perfect family dog. If you are in an apartment, this could be the breed for you!

19. The Boykin Spaniel

epagneul boykin

A much less known breed than the others, the Boykin Spaniel results from a cross between a cocker and a spaniel. From this mix comes out a sort of big cocker spaniel with drooping ears and sad eyes. They're absolutely very cute! Playful and cuddly, the Boykin Spaniel will join your family with joy!

20. The Dalmatian


Kind, cuddly and dynamic, the Dalmatian is a family dog par excellence! Bonus: thanks to Disney, the Dalmatian will always be popular with children! Ready to adopt a Pongo or a Perdita?

Be careful though: like the Boxer (and the dogs that follow in this list), the Dalmatian is a big dog – which implies some adjustments in your life!

21. The Bernese Mountain Dog

bouvier bernois

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a big teddy bear with brown, white and black fur. Once a sheepdog, they now guard the couch more than sheep. They're a calm and placid dog that will easily adapt to a family life. Nevertheless, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a playful dog who will enjoy going for walks and playing with your child.

So, what dog breeds are you going to choose for your family?

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