Is a family really complete without at least one dog? It would seem that many people would agree a pet is a necessity since 68% percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Adopting a dog is a huge decision for anyone but young parents with small kids may have additional concerns with choosing a dog who will be gentle and patient with the tiny humans.
Some people automatically think a small dog would be the perfect pet for their child because, hey, they are both small and adorable. But small dogs are more fragile and many have a very low tolerance for babies, toddlers or loud noisy kids.
Small breed dogs are typically more nervous and more likely to bite or snap out of fear. Larger dogs tend to be more patient, gentle and less likely to be anxious around kids. So you’ll notice that all the pups that made our top ten list are medium to large sized dogs. Make sure you have the yard space, living space and couch space required for your new friend.
Beagles top many “best of” dog lists not only because they are adorable but because they are very happy and even-tempered dogs who are very comfortable living in a “pack” just like your family. Young beagles need a lot of exercise so an active family with school age kids would be a perfect fit for them. Hardy little dogs that are rarely timid, make a great addition to households with little ones.
These stoic looking doggos are patient with children and protective of their family members. They get along well with other pets too. Boxers are known for having a stubborn streak but they are really sweet and friendly. Boxers can also handle long walks and lots of playtime. These guys might look tough on the outside but inside they are all heart. Watch out for dog drool!
Poodles are known for being very obedient and easy to train. These highly intelligent dogs are great for teaching tricks. They don’t get bored easily and enjoy being around children. The standard size rather than the minis are prefered for families with young kids. You can also cut their hair into many interesting styles, who doesn’t love a dog with a little pizazz?
Have you ever heard about Lassie, the dog that saves his little boy Timmy who fell down a well? That amazing hero-pup of black and white TV fame was a collie. These very gentle souls are particularly affectionate with children. Bread to be working dogs, they are obedient and loyal. Collies warm up to their families quickly and enjoy playing with kids, quickly making them part of their pack. Another highly intelligent dog breed, many collie dog breeds are used in movies and TV shows because they are so easy to train.
5. Irish Setters
Best for very active families that want to take their dog on every adventure! Irish Setters, who have beautiful red coats, are loving and affectionate dogs that love spending time with their human family. They can get over-attached leading to separation anxiety so these dogs do best with a family that won’t leave them home alone a lot. Setters are hunting dogs with a strong sense of smell and a desire to be your constant companion.
One of the original “nanny dogs,” the newfoundlands are a very large breed of loveable fluff and scruff. The “nurse dog” in Peter Pan was a newfoundland. They are notoriously calm, patient and loving with children. Loyal to their human families these gentle giants will melt your heart and become your new best friend. They also make great couch warmers. Of course these dogs are a bit massive so you might want to take the size of your home into consideration as well.
Is your family a bit less “adventure” and a bit more “Netflix and snack?” A sturdy, dependable bulldog might be perfect for you. They are famously patient with kids who love to hug and tug at their furry friends. These cannonball-like puppers are super lovable and calm. They snore, loudly, but adorably.
Now here is a dog breed you don’t hear about everyday. The lesser known Vizsla is a beautiful dog that is obedient, kind and patient. They sometimes get left off the top dog lists because they are very active and need a lot of exercise and activity but if your family loves to hike and camp then this might be the perfect fit for you.
9. Labrador Retriever
We saved the best two for last. First up, the famously patient, lovable dog-bff of your dreams has to be the loyal lab. Dogs in the retriever family were breed to be human companions and work dogs so they are easily bonded to their families. Labs love to swim and hike if you have an active family and they also love to cuddle on the couch with you and they almost all believe themselves to be lap dogs no matter how large they are.
10. Golden Retriever
The golden retriever usually rounds out every top dog list. They are loveable, goofballs full of fluff and fun. These dogs are always smiling whenever they are surrounded by their human family members. Gentle and sweet as pie, these long haired beauties with soulful brown eyes are one of the most popular dog breeds for families.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to get yourself a pooch! Even if you have your heart set on a certain breed we urge you to adopt rather than go to a breeder or pet shop. Most dog breeds have specific rescue groups you can contact or you can look at several shelters over time until you find the right dog. Spend time with the dog, let them meet the kids! Soon you will all be one big, happy, family.