What are the most family friendly dog breeds?

Best family friendly dog breeds

Got kids and thinking of getting a dog? While almost any breed of dog can be trained to get along with kids, there are some breeds that are naturally better suited to family environments. Ideally, you want a dog that is gentle around children and that enjoys playtime. There are a few breeds that meet this description – below are just some of the best examples.

Labrador retriever

Labradors are one of the most popular breeds of dog – and for good reason. They are one of the least aggressive dog breeds, often treating every person and dog they meet with affection. Labs have distinct droopy ears and expressive eyes, and are typically one of three colours: black, chocolate or yellow. Despite being quite large dogs, they are very wary of young kids and are able to play with them without the fear of an accident (although with any dog, you should still monitor them). They are high-spirited and enjoy long family walks and lots of playtime. Less active families may find them a little full-on, but for most families they can be a reason to get outside more and get more exercise. You can find breeders at sites such as https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/lab-puppies-for-sale/ if you’re looking for a puppy. Alternatively, you can adopt an older lab.


Poodles are very similar to labradors in temperament, making them another popular family pet. They are very animated dogs and are generally very stranger-friendly. They are not quite as patient with younger kids as labradors, but still very gentle compared to most other breeds. One big perk of poodles is their obedience – they are one of the easiest-to-train dogs, even exceeding labradors. It’s worth noting that poodles are also not as messy as other breeds due to not shedding a lot of hair. One of the most diverse breeds, poodles come in all different sizes and colours – their most identifying features being curly hair and long snout.

Cocker spaniel

Cocker spaniels are loving dogs that are known for being very easy to train. They are generally quite small and distinctive round faces with long fluffy ears. Compared to many other small dog breeds, they are very tolerant of kids and very friendly with strangers. As a result, they are another popular family dog breed. As with most small dogs, they can be quite vocal. Young cocker spaniels can also be very prone to nipping and chewing. However, good training can discourage these behaviours. An advantage of cocker spaniels is that generally they experience fewer health problems than many other dogs.


Beagles are another popular small dog breed for families. Their appearance is similar to labradors but in miniature form, with square heads and droopy ears. They are famously very playful and love to socialise with people and other dogs. Like all of the breeds listed above, they are not aggressive. Beagles don’t need a lot of grooming compared to cocker spaniels. Unlike cocker spaniels, they can be a handful when it comes to training – they can be quite challenging puppies, so make sure you’ve got the patience. Check out this guide for tips on how to train a beagle https://mybeaglebuddy.com/are-beagles-hard-to-train/

Border collie

Border collies have a shaggy coat and unique ears that stand up but flop over. They were originally bred for sheep herding and are still commonly used for this purpose today, while also being a popular family dog. They are believed to be one of the most intelligent dogs and are very easy to train. Collies are very energetic dogs that love to play – like labradors they are best suited to active families. Most collies get on well with kids and are very gentle around them, although their excitability can make them a bit clumsy. They can be aloof with strangers but are generally not aggressive. 

French bulldog

French bulldogs have become a very popular breed of dog in recent years. These miniature bulldogs with their lovably large ears are known for being very affectionate and get on with just about everyone. They can be very playful and are likely to enjoy games with young kids. That said, they do not require a lot of physical activity and are quite happy to spend a lot of the day lazing around, making them well-suited to laid-back families. Training French bulldogs is typically quite easy, although you’ll need to keep enforcing rules as these dogs can be quite mischievous (especially when food is involved). French bulldogs can be more prone to health problems than many other breeds, although you can reduce the risk of health problems by buying from a reputable breeder. 


Those that prefer larger dogs may want to consider a newfoundland. These big heavy-coated dogs are known for being gentle with kids and are generally very affectionate with most people they meet. They are very calm dogs that rarely bark. They are also very easy to train, preferring laid-back guidance to harsh shouting. Newfoundlands do not require long walks and are often happy to be couch potatoes, although they do enjoy socialising with other dogs and love swimming (they were originally bred to help fishermen). They may not be ideal for owners looking for a playful and energetic dog, however kids will still love cuddling these dogs and receiving kisses. 

Bernese mountain dog

Like newfoundlands, Bernese mountain dogs are very large thick-coated dogs that are very affectionate. They get on very well with kids. Unlike newfoundlands, they are very energetic dogs that require long daily walks (they’re called mountain dogs for a reason). Although energetic, they are docile animals that rarely exhibit aggression unless threatened. You can learn more about these gentle giants here at https://www.perfectdogbreeds.com/bernese-mountain-dog/


Another loving breed of dog is the boxer. These dogs are easily identifiable by their square nose. Like labradors and poodles, boxers are very playful and energetic – they love walks and they love playing games like catch and tug of war. Boxers are one of the few breeds that make excellent family pets and excellent guard dogs. They are very affectionate to their owners and very gentle around kids, but they are also very protective. Be prepared to slowly introduce strangers so that boxers can warm to them and learn to trust them.

Mixed breed dogs

You don’t have to get a pedigree dog. In fact, mutts can often make perfect family pets. Although it depends very much on which breeds they are mixed with, mixed breed dogs typically have a docile temperament that makes them good for family environments. Mixed breed dogs are also less likely to exhibit health problems found in pure-bred dogs. There is no shortage of mixed breed dogs ready to be adopted, although they are sadly not as popular as many pedigree dogs. If you are not interested in having a pure breed and are looking for a family pet, consider whether it could be worth adopting a mixed breed dog.


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