The 12 Best Dog Breeds for Families

by Hannah Roundy

two kids with a friendly dog in a hallway

Check out our list of the best dogs for kids to see which breed is the best fit for your family.

Looking to welcome a furry friend into your human family? Any dog's behavior will ultimately be influenced by their environment and training, but there are some personality and dispositions that can be tied to breed type. 

What do the best family dogs have in common?

The best family dogs typically have an affectionate demeanor, playful spirit, and good temperament with young children. Based on breed characteristics, there are specific pups considered to be the best dogs for kids. Still proper preparation, training and care when making introductions is very important for longstanding harmony. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to adopt a pup of these specific breeds. Mixed dogs and other breeds are known to be great family dogs too. By choosing the best dog breeds for families, there’s a lower risk of adopting a pup that isn’t the right fit.  

Small Breed Best Family Dogs 


Height: 10-13 inches

Weight: 14-18 pounds

Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

Affectionate with Family?: 5/5

Good with Young Children?: 5/5

Families with young children may desire a small breed pup that doesn’t outweigh their kids. If this is the case, we recommend welcoming a classic Pug into your home. At 14 to 18 pounds, children will quickly outgrow these pups in size but will never outgrow their love for playing with them. 

Pugs are some of the best dogs for kids because they are playful, mischievous, and affectionate. They can meet their exercise requirements simply by playing with their human family. Pugs are also notoriously lazy and laid-back once playtime is over – so they’ll get a nice break when your kids are down for their naps. 

Border Terrier

Border Terrier dog breed

Height: 12-15 inches

Weight: 11.5-15.5 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Affectionate Level: 4/5

Good with Young Children?: 5/5

Outdoor playtime is a blast with a Border Terrier by your child’s side. These pups are from the working group and were originally working as country dogs. Time exploring the outdoors is time well spent for a Border Terrier. Welcoming this breed into your family may encourage your screen-addicted children to spend more time outside. 

Border Terriers are a fantastic choice for busy parents, too. They are one of the best dog breeds for families because they are highly trainable and have a moderate energy level. Their wiry coats may look high-maintenance, but Border Terriers only need a bi-weekly brushing and occasional bath. 

French Bulldog

French Bulldog dog breed

Height: 11-13 inches

Weight: Under 28 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Affectionate with Family?: 5/5

Good with Young Children?: 5/5

Affectionate, playful, and adorable pointy ears? Everyone can agree that French Bulldogs are one of the best family dog breeds around. Frenchies are the perfect combination of playful and peaceful. They are down to play with young kids and ready to snuggle when it’s time to settle down. 

Another reason we consider French Bulldogs to be the best family dogs is because they don’t bark often. They have a low noise level, so you won’t hear a bark from them every time someone walks past your front door. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Height: 12-13 inches

Weight: 13-18 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Affectionate with Family?: 5/5

Good with Young Children?: 5/5

Although this breed has regal roots, they are always ready for a game of fetch or tag with your kiddos. Their natural urge to play is one reason Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are one of the best dog breeds for families. Cavs also love humans of all ages and even other dogs. These pups are a friendly, social addition to your family. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are extremely intelligent and love to please their pet parents. This makes them a highly-trainable breed that can easily learn obedience commands and even agility skills. You’ll find Cavs to be the ideal cuddle companion for your family, as well, with their sweet disposition and urge to be close to their humans. 

Medium & Large Family-Friendly Dog Breeds

Irish Setter