Resource Center Dog Ownership The Best Big and Small Dogs For Families With Kids

The Best Big and Small Dogs For Families With Kids

David Mead is the Vice President, Head of Marketing at PuppySpot. Dogs have been an important part of his life since his early childhood. He has a passion for dog training and believes that dogs make the best companions as long as you treat them right.

While the phrase "best family dogs" instantly recalls a couple of popular Retriever breeds, there are fantastic family dogs in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We know that adding a dog to your family is a big decision, and with so many different options out there, deciding on the perfect breed can be a challenge. To make your research a little easier, we've put together this list of some of the best family dogs around!

Each of these breeds has its own distinct personality, but they are all social and adaptable pups that do well with kids. For some families, small dog breeds are the most appealing and appropriate choice. They are portable, take up minimal space, and you don't have to worry about them knocking over your youngsters. They also eat less, which can save on food costs and amounts to less cleanup!

For others, it's comforting to have a sizable companion who makes you feel safe (even if they're ultimately a lover, not a fighter). You may think that owning a large dog means you need to have a large space for them to roam, but you might be surprised. There are big dogs fit for all kinds of different living situations, it's just a matter of getting to know them!

Of course, size isn't the only factor to consider. Ultimately you need to find a pup that fits your family's lifestyle, activity level, and overall tastes.Is your new best friend waiting in the list below?

Labrador Retriever

The Lab just might be the ultimate family dog. Labradors are social, easy to train, and loving companions. They adore kids of all ages and have the energy to play all day. Labs adapt quickly to any situation, which is what makes them such a dependable addition to the family. As long as your Labrador can exercise daily, she'll be a breeze to live with.


The Poodle's intuition mixed with the Bernese Mountain Dog's loving nature make the Bernedoodle one of the best dogs for kids of any age. Possibly the ultimate playmate, this goofy pup is up for anything her family wants to do. Though their energy is boundless, they are easy to train and want to make you happy. The Bernedoodle is social and adaptable, meaning you can take them anywhere and trust them to behave.

Golden Retriever

The fact that they are so patient with children is likely why the Golden Retriever is one of America's favorite dogs. Goldens are family oriented and happy to be part of the fray. They are athletic enough for an active family but don't mind lounging around the house either (as long as they get their daily walk). Mostly these social pups just want to be with their loved ones. They have an even temperament and make friends with humans and pets anywhere they go.

French Bulldog

French Bulldogs are energetic and athletic breed with couch potato tendencies. They are sturdy enough for any type of activity, from hiking to playing ball, and get along well with other pets and kids of any age.


The Dachshund makes a devoted snuggle buddy and a potential jogging companion. These pups are cheerful, energetic, and easily adaptable pets. Despite their small size, they make excellent watchdogs. But beware, if you miss your Dachshund's walk they may take it out on you by digging a hole in your yard! It is also important to socialize Dachshunds with kids from an early age. Children need to be made aware of how to handle a Dachshund, as their long backs make them susceptible to accidental back injuries.


The social and eternally goofy Havanese is one of the best family dogs out there. While they do appreciate some outdoor playtime, your Havanese is content just to be by your side. They are highly trainable and love to be the center of attention. Your Havanese is likely willing to learn all kinds of tricks in hopes of receiving a treat!

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Affectionate and friendly, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel gets along with everyone and doesn't mind going with the flow. Their versatile and accommodating nature makes them one of the best dogs for kids! They are just as happy to lounge around at home as they are to accompany you on a morning walk, or a trip to the park!

Yorkshire Terrier

The scrappy Yorkshire Terrier makes a devoted pet and a reliable watchdog. Your Yorkie won't mind if you're always on the go, as these busy Terriers are happy to accompany you anywhere: kids' soccer matches, carpool duties, grocery shopping, they don't care! They are fragile and may be impatient with young children, but make a loving companion for families with older kids.

Great Dane

The ever-patient Great Dane can be very sedentary, and thus adapts easily to living in small spaces, and even apartment buildings. As long as they have the opportunity to stretch their legs a few times a day, they will be happy. Danes are renowned for their patience and kindness with pets and kids of all ages; thus they make great family dogs.

German Shepherd Dog

For more active families, perhaps the intelligent and courageous German Shepherd Dog is a more apt choice. This energetic pup will gladly accompany you and the fam for a run, walk, or a hike. Their impressive train-ability and patience with children are what makes them one of the best large dog breeds for families!

Bernese Mountain Dog

If you're looking for a large dog breed with more moderate energy, the Bernese Mountain Dog is hard to resist. As long as you have the space to accommodate a 120-pound eternal puppy, life with your Berner will be a breeze. They are eager to please, fun-loving, and incredibly gentle with those smaller than them.

Siberian Husky

Known for her endurance and athleticism, the Siberian Husky will have no problem keeping up with a family that is always on the go. They are a pack dog, so the bigger the crew, the better, as far as they're concerned. They can be stubborn when it comes to training, but their affection for children makes them one of the best family dogs out there for active households!


This fun-loving hybrid breed has boundless energy and a sweet and social personality. As long as they have plenty of opportunities to work off their energy, the Labradoodle makes an easygoing, docile pet for just about any family. They are easy to train, and bond quickly with their people. They are happy to go anywhere, or do anything, as long as they can be with you!


Poodles are great family dogs because they are intuitive and loving. Your Poodle will know when it's time to run and play and when it's time to settle down. The Poodle is one of the easiest dogs to train due to their exceptional intelligence. This social pup needs lots of exercise to burn off their excess energy, but they are not picky about what form it comes in!

Reviewed by: Theresa Miller

Theresa is a tenured PuppySpot employee and breed expert. She is currently the manager of our Profile Approval department and interacts with our breeders on a daily basis. Theresa has been involved in the pet industry for over 19 years and has hands on experience with many dog breeds. Theresa is also the proud owner of Marta, a German Shepherd Dog who is a trained service dog, and a 12-year-old Maltese named Colonel!

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