Choosing a dog for your family is not a task that should be taken lightly. Your new canine will be a furry sibling to your kids and a cherished companion for the entire family. Dogs are also a lifelong commitment, so you never want to rush this decision. Instead, take the time necessary to educate yourself on different breeds and find the best dog for your family.
What To Consider When Choosing a Dog
Too often, people pick a dog because they like how it looks or because a friend has one. While this sometimes works, it can also be a recipe for disaster. For starters, humans have purposefully bred each breed to have certain features and characteristics. If these traits aren’t compatible with your lifestyle, problems may arise.
For instance, some sporting dogs, such as the Bluetick Coonhound, were bred to “bay” loudly, so they could be heard for long distances while hunting. That may be fine if you live in the country, but it could be upsetting for neighbors in an apartment setting. Other dogs, such as the Queensland Heeler, were bred to herd sheep by nipping at their feet. Unfortunately, some Heelers will also nip at the heels of children — not out of mean-spiritedness, but because it’s their instinct.
The following are some of the factors that you should consider before choosing a breed for your family:
- Activity level: Does your family enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping? Then an active breed, such as a Dalmatian, may be perfect for your household. On the other hand, if your family prefers chilling on the couch, you might be better off with a dog that requires less activity, such as a Bichon Frisé.
- Allergies and hygiene: Although no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, low-shedding breeds like Doodles are the best choice for people with allergies. Low-shedding breeds are also a great match for “neat freaks,” as these pooches are less likely to leave fur on clothing and furniture.
- Your living arrangements: Where you live, and the type of home you have can be big factors when choosing a breed. For example, some apartments and homeowners associations do not allow certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Interested in a large or active breed? Then it’s best to have a fenced backyard where a dog can play and burn energy.
Four Great Family Dogs
The following are four breeds with a reputation for being great with kids and excellent family dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were originally bred in the 19th century as lapdogs for the British nobility. These small canines are known for being even-tempered, affectionate, and generally good with children. Another big plus? Unlike some toy breeds, Cavaliers are not yappy or excitable. This eye-catching toy breed made the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) list of nine calm dog breeds.
A Goldendoodle is a designer dog combining two popular breeds into one delightful package. These dogs have the sunny personality of the Golden Retriever and the intelligence of the poodle, which is one of the smartest dog breeds. Goldendoodles also have a reputation for being good with children and easy to train. They are also low-shedding dogs, which makes them an ideal choice for families with allergies. Another positive? Goldendoodles come in a wide range of sizes, from petite to standard.
Labrador Retrievers are easy-going and affectionate. They love being around people and are very tolerant of kids. This breed also has a reputation for being easy to train. It’s probably not surprising that the Labrador Retriever was the AKC’s number one breed for over 30 years, from 1991 to 2021. These dogs do have one drawback. They tend to be big shedders.
Like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Shih Tzu was bred to be a companion for royalty, this time in China. They are small, low-shedding, and affectionate dogs known to be good with children. Shih Tzus don’t require a lot of exercise so they can thrive in small settings, such as apartments or condos.
Best Friends Forever
By understanding the traits and characteristics of a breed, you’ll have the best chance of finding the right dog for your family. Remember, great family canines don’t just happen. Most also require attention, training, and, of course, lots of love.
Author bio: Erin Ruppe is the owner of Doodles of NC. With nearly a decade of experience in breeding goldendoodles, Erin focuses on providing exceptional care, genetic health, and loving environments for these delightful companions. Her passion lies in breeding and ensuring these wonderful dogs’ well-being, bringing families joy and happiness far and wide.