10 Best Dog Breeds to Welcome to the Family

If you’re an animal lover, you probably don’t feel that your family is complete unless there is at least one set of furry feet in the picture. After all, dogs aren’t just great for you. Studies show that children who grow up with dogs tend to be happier, more responsible, and more empathetic.

Which pooch is perfect for you?

All in all, adding a dog to your family has a great many benefits… but you must first choose the right pet! Not sure where to start? No problem. We’ve compiled a list of popular family dogs, why they’re great for your family, and offer some tricks for picking the perfect pooch.

The first canine on our list? The American Kennel Club (AKC) consistently ranks it as the most popular dog breed in the United States…

10. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a dog that just naturally loves children. He is extremely loyal and his energy level is perfect for children looking for a pet that loves to play. In fact, you may find that the Lab and your child play endless games of fetch. Labs are also extremely intelligent, so they seem to innately understand how to interact with children of all ages.

Why is this breed great for the family?

Labs are easygoing and highly intelligent dogs. Best of all, Labs are simply devoted to their families. These traits help them be careful and patient with children, even young kids.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Labrador Retriever is not a difficult dog to keep; however, be aware that the Lab needs a great deal of activity in order to be truly happy. Give the Lab plenty of play time, possibly in a side yard.
  • Otherwise, interact and play with the Lab to keep him happy and healthy.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • You literally can’t choose a “bad” Labrador Retriever! The only “bad” Lab is one that’s not the right fit for your household.
  • When selecting a Lab, be wary of puppy mills or breeders who won’t allow you to visit their facilities. Ask to meet the pup’s parents, and you’ll get a good idea of how the pup will turn out.
  • Again, while the Lab can be happy as an indoor dog, you need to have enough room in your yard for him to run and play.
  • Conversely, if you live near a dog park and are able to take the Lab for playtime, you can keep the Lab in a small home or an apartment. However, that means you will have to make regular trips outdoors in order to keep your pooch happy.

Of course, these dogs are quite large. If you have limited space, the following smaller breed might be a better fit for you…

9. Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is a great dog to raise alongside your children. And, since this dog is small, he can live most anywhere, making the Boston Terrier great for apartments.

Plus, the Boston Terrier loves to play in short sessions. That means that after a good round of fetch, she’ll curl up on the couch beside you for a nap. A lap dog and a playful pup in one perfect pooch? Yes, please!

Why is this breed great for the family?

The Boston Terrier loves to be a part of a family. They tend to be patient with children, particularly if they are raised with small children. Throw in the fact that this breed is highly adaptable, and you have an ideal family dog.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Boston tends to be energetic; however, children must be careful not to let the dog become overexerted. Why? Because the Boston Terrier is brachycepahalic, meaning their nose is “short.” So, they naturally have difficulty breathing when they become too hot or excited.
  • Bostons may also suffer from separation anxiety. So, if your family is away from home a lot, the Boston might not be a good fit for you.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • Boston Terriers can often be difficult to come by, especially since there are disreputable breeders who try to create “miniature” or “toy” versions of the breed. Unfortunately, these dogs often experience health problems. So, you will need to be patient in the hunt for your Boston Terrier.
  • Additionally, ask to visit breeding facilities and meet “Mom.” If the mother is engaging and seems healthy, you are likely getting a happy, healthy pup.

If you’re looking for a dog to go on long walks with, you can’t go wrong with the following breed…

8. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a dog breed that is highly intelligent, gentle with humans, and is extremely loyal. These traits make this breed a popular choice for service dogs; they are also wonderful family pets for these same reasons.

Why is this breed great for the family?

Golden Retrievers were originally developed to be hunting dogs that stayed close to their handlers. Naturally, that means they are highly trainable and fiercely loyal, so the Golden Retriever loves nothing more than to spend time with his family.

This background also means they require a great deal of exercise, making them great dogs for families with active lifestyles. If you love hiking or other outdoor activities, the Retriever is happy to accompany you.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Golden Retriever is typically very healthy, but he will need a great deal of activity to be a happy dog.
  • Be aware that Goldens may exhibit bad behavior if they are left alone for long periods of time without play or human interaction. You can combat this issue with a fenced-in side yard where Fido can play with you or on his own.
  • They additionally require a bit of grooming, but daily brushing should combat tangles and knots in their beautiful coats. So, if you are concerned about shedding, this breed might not be the fit for your household.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • As with other breeds, schedule a visit where you can meet one or more of the pup’s parents.
  • You can tell a lot by the parents and how they behave; happy, healthy adult dogs typically produce happy, healthy puppies.

Weight limit needed for the apartment? No problem. The following pooch is still active and adaptable but is much smaller than the Golden Retriever…

7. Beagle

The Beagle is a highly intelligent hound that is beyond lovable. Best of all, they are easy to care for due to their short coat and friendly disposition. They are fairly active dogs, which makes them perfect for families with young children. Considering how adaptable this breed is, they can be happy with indoor living or outdoor life.

Why is this breed great for the family?

Beagles are happy-go-lucky, highly intelligent, and curious dogs. Raised with small children, the Beagle is a comical companion with a deep loyalty to her family.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Beagle is another breed that is typically healthy, particularly if they are raised by hobbyist breeders. They will need a good bit of activity to be happy, so be sure to provide a place to play if you keep the Beagle indoors full-time.
  • Keep in mind that the Beagle may be a bit stubborn. The way to combat this stubbornness? Consistent training using a rewards system. Otherwise, the Beagle is a fairly carefree breed to own.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • Once you have confirmed that the parents are happy and healthy adult dogs, then virtually any Beagle pup will be a good choice.
  • Beagle moms are attentive, and they typically do not experience health problems.

Looking for a lap dog? The following pooch makes the perfect cuddling companion…

6. Pug

The Pug is a sweet and cuddly little pup. Her distinctive wrinkles may require a little extra care, but the Pug is oh-so-worth-it! These small dogs are friendly and rarely bark or exhibit any signs of aggression.

Why is this breed great for the family?

The Pug loves her family, and if you want a “lap dog,” the Pug is a perfect pick! These dogs are brachycephalic, meaning they cannot take a great deal of activity (at once). They do love to play, but in short bursts. Just as quickly, they enjoy sitting on the couch and taking a nap to rejuvenate from playtime.

Pugs also tend to be closer to children than their adult family members, although they do love all their human companions. She is happy in an apartment or a larger home with a yard. So, families in most locations with small children might find the Pug to be the canine companion they’ve been searching for.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Pug absolutely must be kept cool and not allowed to get overly excited due to her brachycephalic snout.
  • Pugs also have bulging eyes that can pop out if the dog experiences trauma to the head or face. Allow for moderate exercise in small increments, and you’ll largely prevent these two issues.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • Because this small dog breed is so popular, there are some disreputable breeders who are not producing pups for the betterment of the breed but rather for a quick buck.
  • Again, visit the facilities and meet the parents (or at least Mom).
  • There are some health tests/certifications that you can also inquire about. For example, the parents should be tested for issues such as patellar luxation or hip dysplasia before breeding. There should be a certified veterinarian confirmation of this testing. Ask for these certifications when you visit the facilities.

Want a more active breed? The following pooch is as breathtaking as it is active and adventurous…

5. Irish Setter

The Irish Setter is a pleasant and playful pup that does nothing but add joy to your family! The Irish Setter is a highly outgoing dog that loves the outdoors, making him a great choice for families who love to spend time hiking, fishing, or just simply being outside.

They are easily trainable, but they often need grooming.

Why is this breed great for the family?

The Irish Setter loves his family, from adults to children to even other dogs. Because the Setter is so active, he’s likely to engage family members in long games of fetch. He is adaptable to indoor living as long as he gets ample activity every day.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Irish Setter will need weekly grooming. So, those who wish to keep this breed indoors should be aware that shedding can be an issue.
  • Other than this necessity, the Irish Setter will require daily activity of at least one hour. That means the Irish Setter will need a space all his own outdoors to run and play if you intend to keep him inside primarily.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • The Irish Setter is prone to hip dysplasia. So, ask the breeder for papers that certify the parents have successfully passed genetic testing for this condition.

Want an active pooch at a smaller size? You’ve got it with the following breed…

4. Brussels Griffon

If you are looking for a small dog that has a big personality and requires little care, the Brussels Griffon is perfect for you. This little package of dynamite is adaptable to apartment living or spacious homes with big yards, as long as he is allowed regular activity.

Why is this breed great for the family?

The Brussels Griffon thrives on interacting with family, particularly children. In fact, they are patient with even young children, particularly if they are raised together. The Brussels Griffon also loves to take daily walks with you, and just a brief stroll provides them with the daily activity they require. Throw in the fact that they are highly trainable, and you have a fun-sized pooch bound to bring entertaining energy to any household.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • Other than a daily walk, the Brussels Griffon has relatively few daily requirements.
  • They are highly intelligent, and they love to play. Providing them with chew toys that give them mental stimulation (think puzzle toys like the Kong that make them “work” for a treat) is a great way to keep them occupied indoors.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • As the Brussels Griffon has few health issues, visiting the facility to make sure mom is healthy and happy is really the best way to choose a pup.

Of course, larger dogs can be just as great with children, as is the case with the following massive breed…

3. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a dog breed that originated near the same region as the Labrador Retriever, and they share some of the same personality traits. Namely, they are highly intelligent, loyal, and sweet. They are also highly trainable, so they thrive on positive interactions with their handlers.

Why is this breed great for the family?

The trainability of Newfoundlands is one of their leading positive characteristics. That means:

  • They are extremely smart, and they are often used as rescue dogs because they genuinely care for humans.
  • They are gentle with even their youngest human companions.
  • They rarely, if ever, show aggression.
  • They are also patient, and they do not require a lot of attention (although they like to feel included in family activities).

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Newfoundland is one of the larger dogs on this list, so they need ample room to run and play. This fact means that while they are adaptable to indoor living, they will need a place outside to call their own. However, this can be addressed by taking them daily to a nearby dog park where they can interact with other dogs as well as run freely.
  • They need little grooming other than weekly brushing, and they are not particularly prone to health issues.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • You’ll want to give a Newfoundland time to get used to eating solid food and be completely away from his mother before you bring him home.
  • While six weeks of age was once the standard for moving a pup away from the mother, today it is best to wait until the puppy is between eight and ten weeks of age.

If you don’t have the space for this massive hound, the following fun-sized pooch could be the perfect canine companion for your household…

2. French Bulldog

The French Bulldog can be described as dynamite in a tiny package! Not that the Frenchie is aggressive or tends to misbehave; this dog is actually quite the comedian, being naturally playful and curious. This pup provides lots of entertainment for the family.

Why is this breed great for the family?

They are easygoing, fun, and adaptable. If those reasons aren’t quite enough, the Frenchie is great for those living in smaller homes or apartments because they do not require a lot of exercise or space to run. Best of all, they get along with children and other dogs too, especially if they are raised together.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The French Bulldog is brachycephalic, so you must keep them indoors chiefly—do not allow them to get overly excited.
  • Frenchies must be kept cool during the summer, but they should also be kept from extreme cold temperatures as well.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

  • Be wary of breeders that offer “toy” or “miniature” Frenchies. These variations of the breed are usually actually “runts” of the litter that may grow up to have lots of health issues.
  • The National Breed Club recommends the following health tests: hip evaluation, patella evaluation, cardiac exam, and ophthalmologist evaluation.

The last breed on our list? It’s a classic dog that’s as lovable as it is lovely…

1. Collie

The Collie is an iconic breed thanks to Lassie. Fortunately, all the attributes Lassie possessed are actually typical of the breed—loyalty, protective of their owners, and highly intelligent.

Why is this breed great for the family?

The Collie is highly protective of its family members; in fact, they are known to protect their humans from danger. They also means that they love to interact with their human companions. They are particularly great for active families who hike, jog, or love to generally be outdoors.

What are this breed’s unique needs?

  • The Collie will need frequent grooming. Specifically, daily brushing and weekly grooming with a detangling brush is mandatory for this breed.
  • Collies are active, meaning they need regular exercise.
  • Just know that Collies shouldn’t be left alone in a yard for too long, or barking can ensue.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pooch for your Home

The Collie is generally healthy, although there are a few health risks to be on the lookout for. So, recommended tests for this pooch include:

  • PRA Optigen DNA test to check for inheritance of an eye disease.
  • MDRI DNA test to check for sensitivities to certain drugs.

What’s next?

So, what’s the final takeaway for those wanting to add a furry companion to their household?…

The Whole Family’s Best Friend

Dogs make a great addition to any family. What’s most important when searching for a dog is to find a breed that fits your family’s activity level and living situation. For example:

  • Dogs that are more adaptable are great for people who live in the city or the country.
  • Dogs that need a good bit of activity are better suited to families with access to large yards or a local dog park.

Choose wisely when picking a canine companion, and you’ll share a bond that will last a lifetime.

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