The Best Dog Breeds for Families

There’s nothing quite like the family dog. It’s almost a slice of Americana. In ever cheesy fifties image of the Perfect American Family, we see a nice little house with a white picket fence, Mom and Dad, two children (usually a boy and a girl), and a family pooch happily prancing around the yard. As cliche as that image may be, the fact remains that people love dogs and some families just don’t feel right without a family dog.

When choosing a dog for a family, there are important traits to keep in mind. Some breeds of dog are wonderful for families while others simply don’t have the proper temperament to deal with family life. They may be too rough with small children, to needy of their own space to deal with the incessant coming and going of a large family, or simply too naturally aggressive to respond well to a family setting. Other breeds are just perfect fits for family life. Here are some of the best dog breeds for families.

Golden Retrievers

Originally bred as a bird dog (like most retrievers), the Golden retriever is an amazingly loyal and very protective breed. They are perfect for families that enjoy outdoor activities because they love to run, jump, and play.

Irish Setters

Irish Setters are known for their pleasant personalities and their eagerness to please humans. They were also originally bred as hunting dogs and can serve well in this capacity, but it is their aptitude for companionship that makes them a beloved family breed.


The Collie may be one of the breeds most easily associated with the qualities of a family dog due to the popularity of the Lassie television programs. Collies are characterized by a combination of intelligence and patience uncommon in other breeds.


Boxers look large and scary and have a deep, resonating bark that makes intruders wary, but they are truly gentle, loving, and loyal dogs. Their size may make families with small children want to wait a few years before owning one, but they are a perfect family pet once the kids are a little older.


Remember the dog “Hooch” from the Tom Hanks movie Turner and Hooch? This is Hooch, a big, friendly, loving pooch. They tend to slobber and drool rather excessively, but the Newfoundland is a loving and protective pet. Like the boxer, the dog’s size may be of some concern, but it will be hard to find a more loyal dog for a family than this breed.