labrador retriever

The Best Family Dogs: Finding Your Perfect Family Companion

There's nothing quite like the fun and companionship of having a dog join your family. 

As any pet parent knows, our furry friends bring laughter, loyalty, love, endless cuddles, and dog hair. 

But choosing the right breed is key to finding a faithful companion your whole household will treasure for years. 

This article will examine traits that make certain family dogs stand out for homes.  

We also cover dog breeds well-suited for families, patience with children, gentle disposition, and trainability, making them ideal household pets.

What makes a dog breed ideal for families?

Selecting the ideal family dog involves much more than simply the cutest appearance. Carefully consider your household's unique activity levels, space, and commitment readiness. You know your family's lifestyle best. 

You may want to assess if a dog fits your family's lifestyle. Don't take on more responsibility than you can handle.

You should look for breeds known for tolerant, easygoing personalities that can handle lively children. But, you'll need to provide good care that meets their needs.

As a prospective pet parent, you should pay attention to the following key factors when selecting a good breed for the family: 


Temperament comes first, no question. An easygoing, patient personality that can handle typical children's antics is usually a great choice for families. 

Some of the best dog breeds for families, like Retrievers and Poodles, tend to be calm and gentle family pets.


You have to pay attention to the size when you're getting a family dog. Small to medium sizes usually make the best family dogs, especially if you have young kids.

Energy Level 

When getting a dog for your family, energy needs matter too, or your new friend can be unhappy and frustrated. 

You've got to think: can you or the children provide adequate exercise for an energetic breed? If not, mellow companions like a Bichon Frise suit a laidback lifestyle better. 


If someone in the family has allergies, consider looking for hypoallergenic breeds. While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, some breeds shed less often than others. 

Some of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds for homes include poodles, Bichon Frises, Kerry blue terriers, and Maltese. 

If possible, have your prospective pet spend time with the allergic person before taking it home to ensure that a reaction will not be triggered.

What is the best dog for a family?

When choosing the best dog for your family, you should prioritise breeds with a patient temperament and energy level that suit your family's lifestyle. 

You can go for child-friendly companions like Labrador Retrievers or Poodles. Their mellow nature helps create joyful households.

  1. Labrador Retriever

    Labrador Retriever

    Lovable Labs take to bustling family life like a duck to water. Their trademark "please throw this ball" grin says it all.


    • Personality: Outgoing, patient, relaxed
    • Energy: High octane
    • Good with Children: Absolutely! Their patience is legendary. But dogs should be supervised at all times around children.
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes
    • Shedding: Year-round moderate
    • Grooming: Weekly brushing, more when shedding

  2. Bernese Mountain Dog

    Bernese Mountain Dog

    This is a gentle and affectionate dog with a loyal spirit and intelligence. Despite their size, they are wonderful family dogs requiring moderate activity. 


    • Personality: Affectionate, gentle, playful
    • Energy Level: Needs a high level of activity
    • Good with Children: Yes
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, but with supervision
    • Shedding: Regular shedding
    • Grooming: Weekly brushing

  3. Poodle


    Smart, energetic, and eager to please, Poodles have a kids-at-heart silliness that fits well in family-filled environments. Poodles are one of the best dog breeds for allergy sufferers.


    • Personality: Trainable, proud, very smart
    • Energy Level: High
    • Good with Children: Yes
    • Good with Other Dogs: With Supervision
    • Shedding: Minimal
    • Grooming: Daily brushing, regular clipping

  4. Beagle


    Few can resist a Beagle's charm. As solid family companions, Beagles gently play or cuddle as the moment calls for it.


    • Personality: Sweet, gentle, upbeat
    • Energy Level: Moderate
    • Good with Children: Yes
    • Good with Other Dogs: With early socialisation
    • Shedding: Year-round moderate
    • Grooming: Weekly brushing

  5. Golden Retriever

    golden retriever

    Finding a breed that’s more fun-loving than a Golden Retriever is very difficult. Goldens are always cheerful, revelling in whatever antics the children dream up. This is a great choice for active homes seeking a tireless playmate.


    • Personality: Affectionate, trusting, devoted
    • Energy: They're very active
    • Good with Kids: Excellent!
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, excellent with other dogs when supervised
    • Shedding: Constant moderate-heavy
    • Grooming: Daily brushing, plus frequent vacuuming

  6. Bichon Frise

    Bichon Frise

    This cotton ball with legs fills your home with cheer and delight. Bichon's irresistible plush coat and charm rocket them to stardom among UK family dogs. Trick-loving and playful, they adore kids' laughter.


    • Personality: Playful, cheerful, perky
    • Energy: Moderate
    • Good with Kids: Excellent
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, they are great with other dogs when supervised
    • Shedding: Minimal, hypoallergenic
    • Grooming: Daily brushing & regular haircuts

  7. Collie

    Hailing from herding lineage, Collies bond intensely to "their" flock, you guessed it, your family. They become gentle yet vigilant guardians, active outdoors yet composed when indoors. Collies need almost constant stimulation. This is to meet their physical and mental needs.


    • Personality: Loyal, responsive, protective
    • Energy: Very high 
    • Good with Kids: Yes, but with supervision
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, but early socialisation is required
    • Shedding: Twice yearly heavy 
    • Grooming: Daily brushing during shedding months

  8. Newfoundland


    Massive yet mild-mannered, Newfoundland's tremendous size belies their sweet temperament. They move with graceful control indoors and patiently indulge in silly antics from children. 


    • Personality: Calm, generous, obedient
    • Energy Level: Moderate
    • Good with Children: Excellent
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, with supervision
    • Shedding: Year-round, heavy
    • Grooming: Weekly brushing

  9. Border Collie

    border collie

    This is one of the
    cleverest dog breeds you can get for your home. They need intense daily mental and physical stimulation. 


    • Personality: Energetic, smart, intense
    • Energy Level: Very high
    • Good with Children: Excellent with supervision
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, with socialisation
    • Shedding: Seasonal moderate
    • Grooming: Weekly brushing

  10. Boxer


    For families seeking a protective yet silly and fun-loving pooch, Boxers are a great choice. Their patience, gentleness, and playful swagger make Boxers ideal for active households. 


    • Personality: Fun-loving, bright, active
    • Energy Level: Very high
    • Good with Children: Excellent
    • Good with Other Dogs: Requires socialisation
    • Shedding: Moderate year-round
    • Grooming: Weekly brushing

  11. Shih Tzu

    Shih Tzu
    The Shih Tzu is easygoing. It is affectionate and trusting. These traits make it a wonderful companion. It's a cuddly yet adaptable breed suited to varied activity levels. They rarely require intense exercise. 


    • Personality: Friendly and bright 
    • Energy Level: Moderate
    • Good with Children: Excellent
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes
    • Shedding: High
    • Grooming: Regular brushing

  12. Welsh Corgi

    Welsh Corgi
    Originally bred to herd cattle, this breed retains its spunky boldness, conducting amusing play sessions with respectful kids. They thrive when included in family activities. 


    • Personality: Bold, smart, vocal
    • Energy Level: Moderate
    • Good with Children: Good with supervision
    • Good with Other Dogs: Requires socialisation
    • Shedding: Heavy year-round
    • Grooming: Regular brushing

  13. Irish Setter

    Irish Setter

    The Irish Setter is an active and fun-loving companion. Always alert and enthusiastic at heart. 


    • Personality: Rambunctious, clownish, demonstrative
    • Energy Level: High
    • Good with Children: Good with supervision
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes
    • Shedding: Significant year-round
    • Grooming: Thrice weekly brushing

  14. Vizsla

    Vizsla's striking appearance sets them apart from other dog breeds. Their lack of an undercoat eliminates concerns about shedding, making them ideal family pets for active children.


    • Personality: Gentle and energetic
    • Energy Level: High
    • Good with Children: Yes, with supervision
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes, but under supervision 
    • Shedding: Low
    • Grooming: Weekly brushing

  15. Samoyed


    Samoyeds possess a distinctive smile that showcases their amiable temperament. Adapting effortlessly to family routines, these loyal companions are remarkable.


    • Personality: Friendly and gentle
    • Energy Level: High
    • Good with Children: Yes, but may need supervision
    • Good with Other Dogs: Yes
    • Shedding: High
    • Grooming: Brushing twice a week

Which is the friendliest dog?

Most well-socialised dogs, like Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters, have the potential to be great companions. But, some breeds are especially trusting and outgoing with unfamiliar people. 

  1. Labrador Retriever

    It's no coincidence that Labrador Retrievers consistently rank #1 as the most popular dog in the UK. This exceptionally eager-to-please breed lives to love people and other animals. 

    Their patience, gentle nature, and friendliness make them one of the friendliest of all the best dog breeds for families.

  2. Golden Retriever

    They share the Labrador Retriever's temperament. They are friendly and tolerant. Golden Retrievers make friends very easily and are usually always happy. What's not to love?

  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    Few can resist melting when greeted enthusiastically by a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Their mild-mannered, gentle nature plays well with everyone - from small toddlers to older adults.

  4. Irish Setter

    Beneath their elegant red coat lies an incredibly outgoing heart of gold. Irish Setters eagerly befriend new humans with zealous, welcoming "joy jumps" and nuzzles. However, moderate exercise is required to prevent naughty mischief resulting from boredom. 

  5. Mixed Breed Dogs

    Mixed-breed backgrounds vary. But, many mixed-breed dogs inherit the friendly temperament of family-trained breeds like Labradors or Retrievers. 

What is the best family dog that is low maintenance?

You should always pick low-maintenance family dog breeds. Choose small to medium-sized ones like Labrador Retrievers. 

They need little grooming, don't need much exercise, and have eager-to-please personalities. These traits suit relaxed family living.

Most low maintenance family dogs need regular short walks and play to stay happy and healthy. They are content lounging around the house. 

Some of the best dog breeds for families have less demanding coats for busy, on-the-go families.

Essential tips for caring for your family dog

  1. Create a Clean and Safe Home Environment

    Scan your house at nose level, securing hazards and blocking unsafe zones. Repair faulty fences, store toxic items locked away, and tidy loose choking risks to avoid accidents. Manage play interactions gently.

  2. Stick to a Reliable Routine

    It would be best if you had a schedule for feeding, walks, and playtimes. You can start with a meal like James Wellbeloved™ Dog Food and avoid changing their meal so often. Consistencies like these aid training and cement good behaviours when dogs know what to expect daily.

  3. Make Veterinary Care a Priority

    Keep your dogs healthy. Take them for regular vet checkups. Keep their vaccinations up-to-date. And, give them any needed flea and worm treatment. You can also follow specialised diet and exercise guidance for their needs.

  4. Engage the Kids

    Show children how to gently stroke fur, give training treats as rewards and avoid rough play. Have them help fill water bowls, but always supervise dog and child interactions.

  5. Stick to Proper Diet and Exercise

    Make sure your dog receives proper mental and physical stimulation. Follow veterinarian feeding guidelines to fuel their needs. Select quality foods and avoid unhealthy scraps from tables.

    There are some dog home safety tips you need to pay attention to going forward.


With all that's been said, it's clear that adding a dog to your family requires careful thought. You need to consider breed traits and individual temperaments. They must match your lifestyle and limits. 

But the effort pays off. It brings infinite rewards when you find that perfect furry friend. You'll both share years of joyful memories.

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