Selecting family friendly dog breeds: The ultimate guide

black newfoundland laying on the grass

Adding a wonderful companion to your family unit is an exciting adventure. However, it's essential to make the right breed choice, especially when you have children. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the top family friendly dog breeds to help you make an informed decision.

Ensuring that your dog has a calm temperament, is of an appropriate size, has manageable energy levels, and is easy to train are all critical factors to consider. It’s equally important to teach your children to treat dogs with kindness and respect.

Introduction to family friendly dog breeds

When considering bringing a dog into a home with children, it’s crucial to select a breed known for its gentle demeanour, patient nature, and resilience to withstand the energetic playtime that kids often enjoy.

Contrary to popular belief, even some breeds with a robust and fierce appearance, such as Boxers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, have a reputation for being fantastic with children.

Remember, all dogs are individuals with their unique personalities. Therefore, their behaviour can vary regardless of their breed.

Let's dive into the top family friendly dog breeds.

What characteristics make a good family dog?

When considering bringing a dog into your family, it's important to consider what characteristics make a good family dog. The ideal canine companion should be adaptable, patient, and have a calm demeanour.

These traits allow the dog to cope well in different situations, whether it's a noisy household full of children or a quiet evening with just a couple of adults.

A good family dog should also be sociable and friendly, showing kindness not just to its human family members, but also to other pets and visitors. This means it should neither be overly aggressive nor too timid.

Another key characteristic is trainability. Dogs that are eager to learn and responsive to training are easier to manage and can adapt better to the rules of the household.

Lastly, an often overlooked characteristic is the dog's energy level. It should match your family's lifestyle. If you have young kids who love outdoor activities, a high-energy breed might be a great fit.

However, if your family is more into quiet indoor activities, a dog with a lower energy level would be more suitable.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are a worldwide favourite for families due to their friendly, playful, and occasionally goofy natures. Their even temperament and love for games and long walks make them a great addition to active families.

Labradors are renowned for their intelligence, making them easily trainable. This trait is one of the reasons they are often used as guide and therapy dogs.


Boxers may appear intimidating, but they are one of the most child-friendly breeds around. Known for their playful and cheerful disposition, Boxers are perfect for children who love to play. They are also very protective of their families, a trait stemming from their history as guard dogs.

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and playful nature. A Golden Retriever can be ideal for families with children of all ages due to their even temperaments, easy trainability, and sociability. A Golden Retriever can possess high energy levels and will revel in playing games with your kids in the garden.


Beagles, with their adorable looks and high energy levels, are perfect for bringing life to your home. They form strong bonds with their families and will enjoy spending time with you on walks and around the home. Their small size makes them great for excellent family dogs living in smaller homes or apartments.


Newfoundlands, also known as 'gentle giants,' are intelligent and kind breeds great with kids due to their protective yet patient nature. Despite their size, they are sweet dogs that love the challenge of obedience training and enjoy lots of playtime.

Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds are incredibly affectionate and sometimes lazy dogs, making them a great choice if you want a less energetic but still loving pet. They are not very big, making them ideal for smaller homes.

Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs are often known as gentle giants once employed as farming dogs, making them incredibly loyal and easy to train. They are known for being calm and loving dogs, so they can be a good family pet if you want a large family member without the accompanying high energy levels.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their sweet expressions that immediately win hearts. Their small size and trainable nature make them an ideal choice for families, especially those with young children.

French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs are as popular as Labrador Retrievers, especially among families living in cities. Their large ears and adorable personalities can bring a smile to anyone's face. They are fiercely loyal to their families and make for a great companion.


Poodles are known for their intelligence and ease of training. They are good natured, cheerful, and are generally good with kids. They come in different sizes (standard, miniature, and toy) to fit various household needs.

Border Collie

Collies are known for their undying loyalty and have been made famous by the movie "Lassie". They are very intelligent and easy to train. These dogs are great with children and love to please their owners.

Bichon Frise

A Bichon Frise is a small dog that is known for their cheerful attitude and love of play. They are very good with children and other pets, and they are easy to train. They also have a hypoallergenic coat, making them a good choice for families with allergies.

Choosing the right breed for your family

poodle sitting on a field

When choosing dog breeds for families, consider the dog's size, personality, sociability, energy level, grooming needs, trainability, and barking tendencies. Your lifestyle and tolerance levels will help determine the breed that works best for your family.

What is the most popular household dog?

When it comes to the title of the most popular household dog, one breed stands head and tails above the rest - the Labrador Retriever. Known for its friendly demeanour, intelligence, and adaptability, the Labrador Retriever is a favourite choice for families around the globe.

These dogs are as comfortable romping around with kids in a suburban backyard as they are fetching balls in a city park. They are known to be extremely friendly, reliable, and very good with kids. Their intelligence and eagerness to please their owners make them easy to train.

Moreover, their versatility makes them suitable for various roles like guide dogs for the blind, search and rescue missions, and even detecting drugs.

Ensuring your dog's health and safety

Once you've chosen your perfect family-friendly breed, remember to secure dog insurance to ensure that you’re financially protected in the event of an unexpected claim for your furry friend. Get a dog insurance quote. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our dog insurance team on 0330 102 5748.

In conclusion, choosing the right family friendly dog breeds can make a significant difference in your and your children's lives. Remember, while the breed can give you an idea of what to expect, every dog is unique, and individual dogs within a breed can display different behaviours.

Always spend time with a dog or puppy before bringing them into your home to make sure their temperament matches your family’s lifestyle.

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