Kids & Pups: 21 Ideal Family Dog Breeds


There’s a reason for saying that a dog is a man’s best friend and there’s no better way to grow up than to share a home with a furry friend. Apart from teaching your kids many valuable lessons in life, dogs will protect them, play with them, and love them to death.

Almost any breed can learn how to handle children, but some dogs are naturals with kids. Here’s our list of the top 21 family-friendly dogs who are more than amazing with tiny humans:

1. Boston Terrier

The adorable Boston terrier, also known as the American gentleman of dogs, is one of the most popular breeds in the States, owing much of their good reputation to their docile temperament and excellent manners. They are, indeed, one of the best dogs for families with children as they get along well with everyone, including other dogs and non-canine pets.

Since they are friendly, playful and affectionate, Boston terriers love nothing more than to spend time with kids and they can play for hours on end. Moreover, they are also the ideal pet for elderly people as they are obedient pets who are easy to train and teach how to behave.

In a nutshell, Boston terriers are happiest when they are part of a loving family, and they will cherish every moment spent with their humans.


2. Beagle

Apart from being beautiful and affectionate pets, beagles are also high-spirited pets who enjoy spending time outdoors and participating in family activities. They are ideal companions for homes with kids because they never seem to run out of energy and want to play all day long.

Also, they will make sure nothing happens to your children and they are even fine with rough-play. Basically, beagles will love their tiny humans as if they were their own puppies and will do everything they can to make them happy.

Of course, they also friendly toward strangers and perceive everyone they meet as their friend. When it comes to other pets, beagles are completely fine with sharing a household with other animals as they enjoy playing all sorts of games. However, due to their strong hunting instincts make sure to introduce them to non-canine animals at an early age..


3. Collie

The world fell in love with collies when Lassie first appeared on the silver screen and these beautiful dogs have been one of the most popular breeds in America ever since. Though they were bred as working dogs, collies have become one of the most loved breeds ever and you will rarely see them herding cattle on farms.

Nowadays, they are precious family companions who will protect their family with their life and spend every waking moment playing and taking care of their little humans. Their owners mean the world to them, and collies will reward you every single day for your affection and care.

They are super smart dogs, and you will have no problems training and socializing them as collies are extremely eager to please their humans and learn everything it takes to make you happy and proud.


4. Standard poodle

Though there are three almost equally popular varieties of the poodle, the standard poodle definitely makes the best family pet.

They are one of the gentlest dogs in the world, and they are known as exceptionally smart pooches who can easily excel in a wide variety of dog sports and competitions. Standard poodles are, therefore, very easy to train and socialize as long as you are aware of their delicate nature; they respond best to positive reinforcement, whereas criticism and harsh treatment may lead to problems in behavior.

Since they are kind and good-natured, standard poodles really know how to handle children and keep them safe and provided for. Standard poodles may not be the most energetic of breeds, but these gorgeous dogs will do everything it takes to put a smile on your children’s faces.


5. Labrador

The Labrador retriever is, without a doubt, the most popular dog breed in English-speaking countries and their personality and temperament really make them the ideal family companion. Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of spending time with a Labrador knows that these dogs are exceptional beings who are happiest with people.

They are friendly toward everyone they meet and want to make friends with the entire world. Since they are kind-hearted and affectionate dogs, Labradors are amazing with people of all ages, and especially like playing with children.

These beautiful dogs are highly intelligent and trainable, which means they can adapt to any environment or situation you put them in. Since they are also very energetic dogs, they thrive in active families who want to take them on all sorts of adventures, including camping, hiking and swimming.


6. Bulldog

The bulldog may seem like an angry pup, but these easily-recognizable dogs are actually one of the sweetest and most affectionate breeds ever. They get along particularly well with high-spirited children as they don’t mind rolling around on the ground with mischievous kids and can endure rough-play.

Their only drawback is that bulldogs aren’t really active dogs, meaning they especially enjoy doing nothing and taking long naps during the day. This, however, may prove to be the best thing that can happen to you as you can put both your kid and your dog to sleep after a hard day of running and jumping around the house.

They will become part of your family in no time and you can rest assured that nothing bad will ever happen to your kids as long as the bulldog is around.


7. Golden Retriever

Many people will tell you that the golden retriever is the best family dog ever, and these lovable dogs really have what it takes to be a lovable family companion and ideal playmate to children. Golden retrievers basically have it all: they look exceptionally good with their golden hair and smiling faces, they are super smart and extremely easy to train, and they want to be friends with everyone.

These adorable pooches are also high-spirited and have no problem playing with children all day long. The best part is that you can teach them how to play fetch, chase, and, believe it or not, even hide and seek.

Your children will definitely never be bored with a golden retriever, and you can be certain that the dog will take care of them as if they were their own puppies.



Yorkshire terriers may look like the cutest creatures ever to walk the earth, but these adorable dogs are, in fact, fearless watchdogs and loyal protectors of their home and humans.

Though they are well-mannered and friendly dogs, Yorkshire terriers will be suspicious toward strangers and it seems they can actually sense if someone has bad intentions. They are feisty little pooches with a huge personality, and love nothing more than to explore their surroundings and have something important to do.

Yorkshire terriers are wonderful with kids, but they may be a handful for smaller children who still don’t know how to handle toy dogs. They, however, want to play all day long and will get along great with children who have had some experience with canines. Still, make sure to keep an eye on them as Yorkshire terriers are known to get into trouble.



Though they can seem rather intimidating, boxers are actually real sweethearts who love their humans more than anything and would give their life to protect them. Not only can they be trusted with children, but boxers are one of the best breeds you can possibly leave your kids with.

Apart from playing with kids for hours on end, boxers will make sure no harm ever happens to them. Tiny humans are, after all, more important to boxers than anything else in the world.

Your guests and neighbors will always be welcomed in your household, but if anyone threatens you or your family, boxers will protect you with their life. They consider themselves more than just a family pet, and will never allow anyone to hurt their humans.

Boxers also get along great with other household pets, cats included, but they should not left unsupervised with farm birds.

Sleeping baby and puppy


Dachshunds are one of the best loves breeds of all time because of their unusual appearance and cheerful temperament. They are happy-go-lucky dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors, being involved in family activities and running around the house with children.

Having in mind that dachshunds are energetic pooches, it’s no wonder that they especially like playing games with kids. They never seem to get tired and can, therefore, keep children company as long as it takes – the longer, the better.

Despite having numerous positive traits, dachshunds may prove to be a handful for first-time owners as they are difficult to train and housebreak. If you have enough time, energy and patience to devote to the dachshund, you will fall in love with this one-of-a-kind breed and they will definitely change your life for the better.



Even though most families opt for well-known breeds that doesn’t mean that some rare dogs are not ideal family pets. Take the Welsh springer spaniel as an example. They are incredibly loyal and obedient dogs who will guard and protect your home, while at the same time making your kids super happy.

Welsh springer spaniels are amazing playmates due to their intelligence, energy and willingness to please. They want to be part of everything that’s happening around them, especially when the kids are involved. These unusual dogs will become best friends with your children in no time, and they will be inseparable.

Their gentle temperament and ability to adapt make them excellent companions, and Welsh springer spaniels form such strong bonds with their humans that they would do anything for the people who gave them a loving home.



The first thing that comes to mind when you see the Tibetan spaniel is that they really look like the Pekingese, and they, indeed, share some characteristics with the Chinese lion dog.

Tibetan spaniels are vigorous little creatures who are always ready for action. Apart from being tireless and wanting to keep your attention non-stop, these lively dogs are excellent watchdogs and will inform you every time they hear or see something suspicious.

Since they can be standoffish with strangers, Tibetan spaniels will never allow someone unfamiliar to come near your home and they will make sure your family is always safe.

They need some time to get accustomed to being part of the family, but when they get to know you, the Tibetan spaniel will never ever want to leave your side. It goes without saying that the same applies to their tiny humans.



The Papillon may seem as gentle as their butterfly-looking ears, but there is so much more to this adorable toy breed than meets the eye.

Despite having a fragile appearance, the Papillon is a tough little pooch who can easily adapt to any situation and environment. They are fearless watchdogs who are extremely loyal to their master, but may be reserved toward strangers. Papillons are great with kids, though younger children may not know how to handle such a spunky dog.

The worst thing you can do is treat them like they were toys because they may develop unwanted behavior and become unruly and disobedient. On the other hand, if you know you way around small dogs with big personalities, the Papillon will meet all your expectations and prove to be so much more than you ever imagined.



Everyone who’s ever owned a Hungarian Vizsla will tell you that these Eastern European dogs are nothing short of amazing. Until recently, they were almost unknown outside of Hungary, but today they are popular across the globe thanks to their great temperament, playful and energetic nature and the fact that they make terrific family dogs.

Vizslas are very affectionate and crave human contact and attention. They seek attention but they are also more than willing to give it. They are very active and do require a decent amount of working out, but this is actually a good thing for families with young, active children. Vizsla is a very loyal and protective dog, but he is not aggressive. Because it loves his downtime too, just lounging around being quiet, Vizsla is suitable even for smaller houses or even apartments. It is highly trainable so that’s an activity all the members of the family can enjoy and a valuable lesson for the children.


15. PUG

Pugs have become incredibly popular over the recent years. We see more and more pugs on the streets every day, and it’s no wonder – these little weirdos are terrific pets, ideal both for single owners and for families. They are very loyal, affectionate and playful family companions, and they are so much fun to be around. They love goofing around making everyone laugh.

When it comes to kids, most pugs really enjoy playing with them. They are very tolerant and children love them because they are small but lively and so funny looking. Pugs love running around and they enjoy their time in the yard, but they don’t mind living in small apartments either, which is a plus for families who don’t own a house. Travel is convenient and relatively easy with pugs, which is another plus for families. Pugs are very charming and outgoing so they are usually very friendly to strangers, both human and animal ones.



Some say that there is no better pet for a family than an Irish Setter. We don’t know if this is true or not but we do know that Irish Setters really do make terrific family dogs. These dogs are very playful and energetic, so children love them, and they love children too. They thrive in bigger homes, preferably with a yard, where they can play with kids and other pets.

These dogs are very loyal. Even though they are not aggressive, they are protective of their own and will make great guards. They are very trainable and enjoy doing different exercises and responding to commands. Irish Setters love being outside so you can take them to your field trips, to the beach, hiking or whatever activity your family enjoys. However, they also like the comfort of their home, like lounging on a couch after a long day of running around with kids.



Did you know that one of the nicknames for Newfoundland dogs is “Nature’s Nannies”? And for good reason, too. Newfoundlands are extremely nurturing, warm and caring. When they become a part of the family, they see it as their own, especially children. They are not just protective of the kids in the family – they also love playing games, fooling around, comforting them and making them laugh.

Newfoundland is a large breed and they tend to shed and drool a lot, but these are pretty much their only downsides. They prefer homes with large yards but usually follow the family around and end up wherever the rest of the family is; meaning they probably won’t be happy living outside in a doghouse or a kennel. They are just too sensitive and affectionate for that. These huge fur-balls are so delightfully sweet, it’s impossible not to fall in love with them. Children especially adore them.



St. Bernard is a breed originally created to help people stranded in the Alps and bring help. So, they are caregiving and protective by nature, which, of course, makes them great family dogs. Plus, ever seen Beethoven? If you did, you understand what we’re talking about.

Just like in the movie, St. Bernard dogs are big, clumsy, drooly, hairy and messy, but they have a heart of gold and would literally die for you and your family. They are amazing with children – one of the best breeds to have around kids, actually. And children love them, too. St. Bernards are probably best if given a large yard to play in. They require regular physical activity, but nothing too extreme, just a couple of good, long walks a day and some fun time with the kids in the backyard. They are also ideal for families who already have other pets, even cats, as they are very friendly towards all living creatures.



Bearded Collie is a kids’ favorite, and how could he not be, just look at him! That long, soft coat, bangs over the eyes and a playful and loving disposition make him very desirable as a family pet. This breed originated in England, where they were used to herd sheep and guard the property. Today, a small number of dogs still perform these fundamental functions while the majority enjoys their time in families who adore them.

What makes Bearded Collies great for families is the fact they are very trainable (including training for dog shows and competitions) and simply love being around humans. If they are alone, they get quite depressed, so if you have a big family, don’t worry – a Bearded Collie will be in heaven surrounded with lots of people, especially children. They are very active, though, and they thrive in larger homes, preferably with a backyard.



Spinone Italiano is not a very common or well-known breed, but if there’s any justice in this world, this will change soon enough. These dogs are simply adorable. They are a joy to look at, especially while running or playing around with a ball. They are very strong and agile, extremely resilient and tenacious, and they enjoy outdoor activities.

Anyone who’s ever owned one of these dogs will tell you they are absolutely delightful with children. They love kids, especially young ones, whom they sometimes see as their own. They are protective, but not aggressive, and very caring and warm. These dogs are also very friendly towards other dogs, even those of the same sex. When it comes to cats, they are not exactly crazy about them, but they can coexist relatively peacefully. As family dogs, they are very affectionate and gentle, they show great understanding for what’s going on around them, and they are extremely loyal.



Finally, there is not a dog breed in the world that would make a better family pet than a mutt. This may sound unfair to some breeds that are an absolute delight to have around in a family, but mutts are mutts. It’s probably because of the fact that they realize and remember that their owners basically saved their life when they picked them from a shelter or from the streets. The gratitude a mutt has towards the owner is something truly remarkable. These dogs would die for you and your family and they will make sure to show their love and appreciation every single day of their life.

Mutts usually combine all the best traits of the breeds they descended from, both physically and when it comes to temperament. They are generally healthier and have a longer lifespan than purebred dogs, so you don’t have to worry about the trauma your kids will suffer when the dog dies after six years.


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