All families that want to get a dog have an important conversation before making the big decision to welcome a new pet into their home. You and your family members may spend days, weeks, even months discussing questions, such as: 

  • What are the best family dog breeds? 
  • Should we get a small, medium-sized, or large family dog? 
  • Who will take care of the new pet? 
  • Can the particular dog breed live in an apartment? 
  • Does our family have any special needs we may need to consider, for example, pet allergies?

These are all worthwhile questions, which, with a little caution, don’t need to turn into a heated argument. Since you will be asking many more, you need to account for important factors that may affect your final choice. 

Best Family Dog Breeds: Characteristics to Consider When Choosing One

Taken by the excitement of the new event, you can make a heart-driven decision. For maximum benefits for both you and your new beloved dog, include a bit of head thinking. It is not the same to carry around, bathe, pay for the food, and groom a super-sized Bernese Mountain Dog or a small poodle, although they are both adorable, affectionate and family-friendly dog breeds. 

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To avoid making common novice mistakes people make when choosing the best dog breed for their family, take your time and look into the following breed characteristics:

  • Adaptability: can live in an apartment or thrives when spending time outside, can stand the heat or cold, can spend time alone.
  • Friendliness: good with kids and other animals, including other dog and cat breeds, as well as strangers, affectionate with family members.
  • Energy levels: playful, needs a moderate amount of physical activity or needs serious exercise. 
  • Health: prone to specific breed disease, weight gain, shorter or longer life span. 
  • Grooming needs: drooling, amount of shedding, easy or difficult to groom.
  • Size: miniature (2-7 kg), small (7-15 kg), medium (14-25 kg), large (25-39 kg), or extra-large (39-45 kg).
  • Trainability: working dog, a tendency to prey, howl, bark and wanderlust, mouthiness, easy to train, intelligent. 

Once you have decided the important dog characteristics for your family dog, check out the most common dog small, medium, and large dogs that are typically chosen as family dog breeds.

Large Family Dog Breeds

Nothing is as heart-melting as a huge dog with a heart of gold. Here are the best large dog breeds to be taken care of in a family:

Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever  

Sensitive, playful, and great with kids, labs and goldies make for a fabulous family pet. They have a double coat and shed a lot, so they require quite a grooming, including combing on behalf of the owner. With high energy levels, they can get anxious when sedentary and when separated from their owners.  

Australian Shepherd

A cousin to the beloved U.S. breed Border Collie, an Australian Shepherd is good for families with a house and a yard. It is a working or utility dog that can get trained, so it needs space to “work” or run and roam around. Therefore, it will be unhappy in an apartment.

Siberian Husky

Affectionate with almost everyone, beautiful huskies are a fun and energetic family pet that love spending time outdoors and enjoy a colder climate. You can keep it in a large house provided you give it a proper amount of exercise every day. However, if one of your family members has allergies, this may not be the best choice, as these wolflike dogs shed heavily. 

Medium-sized Family Dogs

Medium-sized dogs include breeds that shed the least so if you want to house a low maintenance hypoallergenic dog, they can be an ideal family companion.

Terriers: Various Breeds, Including Schnauzers

Terriers are entertaining dogs that require attention and can have quite a temper and a hunting instinct. 

When selecting the right terrier breed or your family from a wide selection of lovely and funny short and long-haired canines in a variety of colours, such as an Airedale, Standard Schnauzer, Staffordshire, Scottish, or Bull Terrier keep in mind that they can be quite a handful without training due to their independent, mischievous, and cheerful spirit. 

Small Family Dog Breeds

If you decide to pick one of the smaller breeds such as a Jack Russel, Yorkshire Terrier, a Maltese, a Bichon Frise or a Poodle, you will get plenty of spirit in a small body, which can still require a lot of your energy. They need engagement to be happy, but you won’t spend as much on food as for large family dog breeds. However, keep in mind that many smaller breeds suffer from the “small dog syndrome” which makes them unaware of their tiny body. They can act cat like a strong powerful, large dog and show signs of disobedience.


Also known as wiener or sausage dogs, dachshunds thrive in families that provide order, bond closely with one person, and can live in apartments. Wire-haired, long-haired or short-haired dachshunds can be quite a diggers and need time to adapt to other dogs. 

Pug (Chinese Pug or Dutch Mastiff)

This cute, flat-faced breed with a Chinese origin is exceptionally gentle and affectionate towards family members. As they have homebodies and low maintenance, they will do well in apartments. 

When it comes to best family dog breeds, there isn’t a single perfect solution for all families. Even dogs from the same breed have different characters. Hopefully, the above list will clear some of your concerns. Keep in mind that the dog will adopt the manners of its first-time dog owners, so be prepared to act on time as soon as the arrival takes place.     


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