Almost any dog can make a great family pet; it's just a matter of finding the best possible match for your family. Some dog breeds love to exercise outdoors; others prefer quiet snuggling. Some breeds love the noise and energy of children; others are happiest in quiet families with two adults. Consider your family's needs and lifestyle, then choose a breed that fits. Realize that while breed characteristics can help you determine a dog's likelihood for certain personality traits, each dog is an individual.
Consider searching your local animal shelter for your new furry family member. In addition to purebred dogs, shelters have plenty of mixed-breed pups who need families to love.
Dogs for Active Families
Active dogs love to get out and play, and active families can benefit from a canine companion at the park, on bike trails, hiking trails and just about any outdoor adventure. Look for an affable, athletic breed such as:
- Border collie
- Irish cetter
- Australian shepherd
These breeds all require regular, strenuous exercise to stay fit and happy, but are also well-known for their patience and easy-going personalities.
Dogs for Couch Potato Families
If your kids prefer spending time playing video games, reading or watching movies, a sedentary breed might be the best fit for your family. Choose a snuggly pup who will be content to curl up on the couch next to you while you relax. Breeds to consider include:
- Bassett hound
- Bernese mountain dog
- Great Pyrenees
- Shih tzu
Dogs for Families with Young Children
Young children can create strong bonds with their dogs, as long as they're taught how to properly interact with their pups. Teach your toddlers how to pet and love their pup, and supervise their interaction so your pup doesn't suffer abuse such as ears and tail pulling.
Calm, laid-back dogs with plenty of patience are best for families with little kids. Some breeds to consider include:
- Golden retriever
Consider adopting an older dog instead of a puppy. Older dogs are less likely than rambunctious puppies to knock your toddler on the floor.
Some breeds are not recommended for families with young children. Tiny toy breeds such as Yorkies, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas are fragile and easily injured when dropped. It's best to wait until your children are at least 8 years old before considering these breeds.
Dogs for Busy Families
All dogs need regular exercise and plenty of interaction with their humans, so make sure you have time to spend with your dog before you bring him home. Busy families can still enjoy the companionship of a furry canine friend, but should look for breeds that can adapt to a sometimes chaotic lifestyle and who don't need a lot of grooming. Check out these breeds for some ideas:
- Boston terrier
- Cardigan Welsh corgi