I think most of us would agree that a dog is an indispensable part of the family. But what kind of dog is the right dog for you and your loved ones? The options range depending on what you’re looking for, what your kids want, and what you want your family’s newest addition to be. And with all the dog breeds (not to mention mixed breeds) out there, choosing the perfect pooch can be challenging.

We thought we’d help out with this list of 10 dog breeds that are known to be ideal for families.

1. Golden Retriever

One of the most beloved dogs in the world, golden retrievers are active dogs that, yes, retrieve. Frisbees, tennis balls, sticks… you name it, this dog will retrieve it. An extremely obedient dog that takes naturally to training, retrievers are loyal and perfect for families. Their rich coats do require plenty of grooming and you better be ready for a near-tireless companion, but if you can handle all that activity, it’s hard to top these dogs for your family. And while they have been known to bite (but can be trained out of it), these guys are usually too friendly to be serviceable guard dogs.

2. Bulldog

This adorable bundle of wrinkles has a fierce name (even a fierce history), but don’t let that fool you; this is a gentle creature that wants to be loved and loves to be around the family. They’re independent pets that require plenty of grooming thanks to those wrinkles, but are also known for forming close bonds with kids and being protective of their families. On a sadder note, bulldogs are among the least healthy dog breeds around. They also slobber quite a bit and, um, are known for their tendency to pass gas. So there’s that. These dogs aren’t the most low-maintenance pets around, but they’ll be love at first sight for the right owners.

3. Beagle

Lovable, loving, and insanely cute when they’re puppies, playful and energetic, beagles can also be mischievous and curious (they are hounds, after all, and can’t resist a tempting scent). They also bark, bay and howl quite a bit, so potential owners will want to take note. These might not be the ideal pets if you have young children or if you live in an apartment, as they require attention and training, but they’re ideal for a family with older kids that loves to be outside. And hey, you really can’t go wrong with Snoopy as your pet, can you?

4. Labrador Retriever

Labs are large, athletic dogs that are born swimmers and love to be outdoors. Loyal, playful and easy to train, these are intelligent pets that the whole family will fawn over. Lab puppies tend to bite, so make sure you train them out of this behavior. But they’re versatile, adaptable and healthy, just a few reasons why they’re among the most popular breeds in the country.

5. Pug

One of the most expressive dogs around, Pugs have become one of our favorite canines. Those facial wrinkles may not appeal to everyone, but pug-lovers can’t get enough of them. Combine that with the corkscrew tail and bug-eyes and you have a dog that will always interest you. Pugs love to be around people, and  they’re sturdy pets. Pugs are generally healthy, but believe it or not, owners need to be careful because a pug’s eyes can actually pop out if you hold them by the neck too tight or tugging too hard on their caller.  Pugs fit wonderfully with the family and can be easily trained. They’re also great for urban living spaces.

6. Poodle

Did you know poodles were originally hunting dogs? Or that poodles are the only breed that come in three sizes (standard, miniature and toy)? Ideal for owners with allergies, they’re intelligent pets that are great for families, but one thing to note: they are high-maintenance animals when it comes to grooming.

7. Newfoundland

There’s a reason these dogs are sometimes called “Nature’s Babysitter.” Their sweet and protective nature makes them lovable pets for the whole family to enjoy. These are strong, large and active dogs that need exercise, and tend to shed and drool quite a bit. But their nurturing instincts make them true gentle giants.

8. Collie


Photo by Christian Madden / CC BY

One word: Lassie! Okay, there’s more to this breed than its celebrity. These are devoted companions who love kids (they may try to herd them, which you probably want to train them out of) and are very intelligent pets, which make them easily trainable. Their luxurious coats require grooming, and they do shed quite a bit.

9. Vizsla

Not the most well-known of breeds, the Hungarian Vizsla is considered an excellent option for families with young kids. Loyal and loving, they’re also smart and obedient. Also, its short coat makes it relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Just remember that these are athletic dogs that require plenty of training.

10. Boxer

The playful boxer loves to play. A very active dog (yes, they actually do throw punches), this bundle of energy loves to entertain and craves attention, specifically kids. They might get a little excited in expressing its love, but they’re also protective and loyal. Their short coats make grooming a piece of cake as well.