The Best Dog Breeds for Families

The coolest dog breeds for families aren’t always the best ones as they’re not always the most “Pinteresting” or “Instagramable” breeds, but that’s for a reason. You need a safe breed that’s easy to take care of that you can count on anyone taking care of. That’s why we used part of the the top 10 dogs for children to build this list, because it should include dogs that any part of the family should be able to care for.


  • Size: Large
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Great for: Retrieving, swimming, guarding, hunting

Long-limbed and energetic, Vizslas are highly athletic, drawing upon their instincts as hunting dogs. Families that enjoy activities like running and hiking are a great match with this breed.
Obedience training should begin early for Vizslas so they understand the family dynamic and learn correct behaviors while they are still puppies. With their short hair, Vizsla’s require very little grooming.

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 English Springer Spaniel

  • Size: Medium-large
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Great for: People-pleasing, long walks, fetch

English Springer Spaniels are playful and obedient, getting along well with children. These dogs become easily attached to their families, and they are eager to be trained. In fact, English Springer Spaniels are least happy when not given enough attention; they love being included in all family activities. A medium-sized dog, English Springer Spaniels have a lifespan of about 14 years.

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  • Size: Medium
  • Lifespan: 14-15 years
  • Great for: Companionship, exercise, hunting, and canine sports

Friendly and eager, the Brittany relishes spending time with its humans, especially when outdoor activities are involved. These dogs are known for their trainability in canine sports, but they can also be trained for domestic family life and socialization. Their short coat needs to be groomed a few times a week.

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  • Size: Small
  • Lifespan: 13-15 years
  • Great for: Socializing, relaxing indoors, giving affection

Havenese are usually less than a foot tall, making them ideal for urban families without close proximity to large outdoor spaces. These dogs tend to be loyal companions that are just as happy on the couch as they are going for long walks outside. Cheerful and intelligent, Havanese responds well to positive reinforcement when being trained. Havenese should be groomed every few days to prevent their long hair from getting matted.

Photo Credit: Judith Dzierzawa / Alamy Stock Photo

 Boston Terrier

  • Size: Small-medium
  • Lifespan: 13-15 years
  • Great for: Agility, companionship, relaxing quietly at home

Boston Terriers are small, lively dogs that thrive in urban, suburban, or rural environments. They are friendly and amusing, and their size can make young children feel comfortable with having a pet. These Terriers are eager to please, which makes training them fairly easy to handle. Weekly brushing and occasional baths are sufficient for grooming. These dogs also shed very little.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Size: Small
  • Lifespan: 9-14 years
  • Great for: Sitting on laps, playing with children, napping on the couch

Named for British royalty, this breed lives up to its royal heritage. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is equally gentle and athletic, and as such is versatile with families that are either active or more laidback. These dogs are affectionate and easily trained, due to their desire to please their owners. This breed requires little grooming and only sheds occasionally.

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  • Size: Large
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Great for: Guarding, playing with children, running loose

In addition to their initial purpose as loyal watch dogs, boxers are fun and affectionate. Their outgoing nature is perfectly suited for family pets, assistance dogs, as well as canine athletes. They can be trained well, though their intelligence means they can be easily bored by repetition. Boxers have short coats that need little attention.

Photo Credit: Andrew Chastney / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo

 German Shorthaired Pointer

  • Size: Large
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Great for: Hunting, running outdoors, socializing with people

This medium-sized dog is friendly, intelligent, and loves spending time with its human friends. These highly energetic animals need frequent exercise and thrive with families that enjoy outdoor activities. Although this breed might not be as well behaved in their younger years, they take well to gradual socialization and obedience training. The German shorthaired pointer’s coat should be brushed every few days but does not require extensive grooming.

Photo Credit: Mikkel Bigandt Oehlenschlager / Alamy Stock Photo