Have your kids been begging you to bring home a dog? While many busy parents are inclined to say no, owning a pet could improve your life in many important ways. A dog can make your kids healthier. He can also help everybody get more exercise. Plus, he’ll even reduce your anxiety and help make everybody in your house a happier person. Especially if you choose a breed known as one of the best dogs for kids, bringing home a puppy can set you up to have more responsible and more cooperative children.
Below, check out the best dogs for a family with children. Each of these breeds has different characteristics and unique personalities, but they will all love your family and become your children’s new best friend.
The American Kennel Club recommends the beagle as one of the best dogs for kids. The group describes the beagle as “happy-go-lucky” and “funny,” two qualities we all love in a family dog. Beagles also have friendly and curious personalities. These very active dogs need plenty of exercise. But because they’re great with children, chances are good that a big backyard and a willing playmate will keep this dog happy.
According to the AKC, the boxer also numbers among the best dogs for kids and families. The AKC reports the boxer has a “fun-loving, bright, active, and loyal” personality. These dogs need lots of exercise and enjoy both physical and mental challenges. Fortunately, boxers love children, and they can also get along with other dogs given proper supervision.
3. Brussels griffon
The Brussels griffon makes the AKC’s list of the best family dogs. This intelligent little dog makes an “alert, curious, and loyal” companion. The breed is also somewhat active. While a Brussels griffon won’t need quite as much exercise as some of the other dogs you might consider, this dog does love taking long and vigorous walks each day. The AKC recommends supervising a Brussels griffon when he plays with kids or with other dogs but notes that this breed responds well to training.
4. Bull terrier
The AKC counts the bull terrier among the best dogs for kids. In fact, the organization says that this breed is “best described as a three-year-old child in a dog suit.” These dogs have a very friendly personality, plus a “sweet and fun-loving disposition.” But the bull terrier does need plenty of exercise, and the AKC recommends that you supervise a bull terrier when he plays with children. They also aren’t recommended for households with other dogs.
The AKC puts the bulldog on its list of the best dogs for kids. The organization characterizes the bulldog as “equable, resolute and dignified,” with a lovable and gentle disposition. These dogs are calm, but amusing. They need regular walks and some occasional play. And the AKC promises that they get along well both with children and with other dogs.
Anyone who’s ever read Lassie will find it thoroughly unsurprising that the collie is one of the best family dogs. These beautiful dogs are “strong, loyal, affectionate, responsive, and fast,” according to the AKC. They can live happily in either the country or the city, but in either environment, they need daily exercise. Collies crave companionship, which is why they grow devoted to their families. Also, they enjoy both playing outdoors and chilling out at home with you and your children.
7. French bulldog
Need another reason to love the adorable French bulldog? He’s one of the best dogs for kids. The AKC puts the breed on the list of the best family dogs, noting that this breed is “playful, smart, adaptable, and completely irresistible.” French bulldogs do have a stubborn streak, so you’ll need to have some patience during training. However, Frenchies are easygoing and agreeable dogs who get along with children and often with other dogs, too.
8. Golden retriever
We bet no one is surprised to see the golden retriever on the AKC’s list of the best dogs for kids. The golden retriever is the stereotypical family dog — and for good reason. The AKC characterizes this breed as “exuberant and friendly” and promises that a golden makes a devoted companion. And because these dogs need lots of exercise, a golden retriever might be just what you need to get your kids out of the house and running around the yard.
9. Irish setter
The Irish setter is another breed featured on the AKC’s list of the best family dogs. These gorgeous animals are some of the best dogs for kids thanks to their “outgoing, sweet-natured, active, and trainable” personalities. They needs lots of activity and will want plenty of space to run and exercise. But they do well both with children and with other dogs. Plus, Irish setters respond well to training. That means interested children might even be able to help with training one of these lovable dogs.
10. Labrador retriever
Another shoe-in for a place on the AKC’s list of the best dogs for kids? The Labrador retriever. This breed — the most popular dog breed in the United States — is known for its friendly and outgoing personality. Labs “play well with others,” according to the AKC. They’re great with children and can play with other dogs as long as you supervise them. As the AKC notes, Labs are very active dogs. They’re “high-spirited and not afraid to show it.”
The Newfoundland is a big dog. But that doesn’t stop the AKC from recommending this breed as one of the best dogs for kids. This breed has gained a reputation as a devoted companion, and a Newfoundland will live up to that reputation with either adults or children. The AKC characterizes the breed as “sweet, patient, and devoted.” They do need room to play and require a decent amount of exercise. However, they’re good with children and can also get along with other dogs given appropriate supervision.
The AKC puts the pug on its list of ideal family dogs. The pug is one of the best dogs for kids because of the breed’s even temper, playful personality, and outgoing disposition. These dogs can be a great match for an active family with a yard (or a penchant for afternoons in the park). As the AKC explains, “Pugs are not exactly natural athletes, but they do have strong legs and endless curiosity — exercise both regularly.”
13. Soft-coated wheaten terrier
This breed may not be one of the most popular dogs at the park. But the AKC promises the soft-coated wheaten terrier is one of the best dogs for kids. The group characterizes the breed as “happy, friendly, and deeply devoted.” They’re also “just stubborn enough to remind you they’re terriers.” These fun-loving dogs are great with children, though the AKC recommends them most strongly for families with kids over the age of 7. Plus, the AKC promises that these dogs “maintain their youthful vigor well into old age.”
Don’t think you have to get a small dog if you want a family-friendly breed. The AKC recommends the Weimaraner as one of the best dogs for kids. The group characterizes this dog as “friendly, fearless, alert [and] obedient.” These very active dogs make a great companion for a runner — or for children who will play with them. They’re eager to please, which makes them easier to train than many other dog breeds — a plus for busy families.
How to choose the best dog for your family
When you choose a dog to keep your family company, you’ll need to consider a variety of factors. As the AKC explains, you’ll need to think about factors, such as the temperament of the dog (even if its breed makes the list of the best dogs for kids). You should also find out how big a dog will get and determine whether you can handle a dog that size. You’ll also want to think about the dog’s coat and how much time you’re willing to spend grooming a pet. Plus, you should research the breed’s health. Last, you’ll also need to determine whether you want a male or a female dog. With those factors in mind, you can start your search and find the best dog for your kids and your family.
Read More: 18 of the Easiest Dog Breeds to Train