From pure breeds, designer breeds and mixed breeds, you have a diverse range of dogs to choose from when picking out a family pet. There are more than 170 distinct dog breeds ranging in size from less than three pounds to more than 200 pounds. And when breeds combine, the possible combinations are endless!
With so many choices available, how do you determine the best dog breed for your family? To start, consider these factors when choosing a family dog.
- Determine the size of the dog you want. Does your family prefer a small, medium or large dog?
- Then decide if you and family members can handle a dog that sheds. Are you willing to brush his coat and clean up dog hair in your home? Will you be able to take your new canine to a dog groomer on a regular basis?
- Think about your family’s lifestyle. Do you spend weekends camping or playing sports? Or does your family lounge around on the weekend watching your favorite TV shows? It’s important to pick a dog that blends well with your family’s lifestyle and activity level.
9 Family-Friendly Dog Breeds
As you begin to look at dogs, pure or mixed-breeds, here are nine breeds that are known for their friendly, loving personalities and usually make great family pets. Keep in mind there are always exceptions to a breed’s temperament and behavior. So before bringing a new dog home, do your research and have a meet-and-greet with all family members.
Beagle: This medium-sized breed (made famous by Snoopy) is a happy, easygoing member of the hound family. He possesses one of the most powerful noses in the canine world, making it a challenge to train him to come on cue when he’s not on a leash. However, the Beagle is known for his even-temperament and enjoys socializing with people.
Golden Retriever: There’s a good reason why the word “golden” is part of this breed’s name.. This large breed sports a happy, friendly grin and is an ideal family pet. They are smart, loyal and social dogs who love to fetch. For decades, the Golden Retriever consistently ranked among the top three popular breeds.
Labrador Retriever: This large dog has a short, water-repellent coat in colors of yellow, black or chocolate. Even though they have a short coat, this breed still sheds.. Labradors tend to grow physically – rather than mentally – faster and their high-excitability needs to be properly channeled at an early age. This eager-to-please breed thrives on learning and enjoys playing fetch and hide-and-seek.
Yorkshire Terrier: Weighing up to three pounds, Yorkies are cute, can-do canines who love to learn and show off. Their silky, fine coats just beg to be petted and stroked. Yorkies have mastered the art of tilting their heads to charm people into giving them what they want – whether it’s a treat, lap or car ride.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Nicknamed the Love Sponge, this doe-eyed breed is an affectionate people pleaser. Cavaliers love to engage in cuddle sessions and are polite around houseguests. They also love to exercise and enjoy long, daily walks.
Boxer: Strong, goofy and full of energy, the Boxer is a good choice for an active family and are great around children. Always loyal and fun-loving, this muscular breed has consistently ranked in the top 10 of most popular breeds by the American Kennel Club.
Pug: With their big, expressive eyes, soft wrinkled brow and curly tail how can you not smile when you see a Pug? Pugs are four-legged comedic charmers that become fast friends with everyone they meet.
Havanese: This people-oriented, small but sturdy, breed lives for the spotlight and is known for being clownish and playful. They enjoy playing “hide-the-toy” and interactive games requiring your participation.
Saint Bernard: This Swiss breed is not just big – he is gigantic! Despite his towering presence, the Saint Bernard is calm, sweet and gentle, and willingly accepts hugs from children. This breed is ideal if you want a dog with enough muscle to pull kids on a sled or wagon. The Saint Bernard tends to drool and slobber so remember to keep wipe-up cloths handy.
By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. pet health insurance agency founded in 2005.