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The best breeds of dogs for the family

Updated on January 26, 2011

 If you are considering a puppy or adopting a rescue dog then you'll need to know which are the best breeds of dogs for the family. There is little doubt and plenty of evidence  that owning a dog can have considerable benefits for you and your family. Studies have shown that stress levels, blood pressure and heart rates are lower generally in dog owners.

Undoubtedly the increase in physical exercise that caring for a dog involves will have significant benefits to the owner and it is even claimed that dog ownership enhances social exercise and the stress busting benefits this can have.

However, it is crucial that you put some thought into the breed of dog that is most suited to your family and the environment in which it will live. Making the wrong choice can put unfair demands on both the dog and yourself leading to a lowered quality of life for you both. This article will guide you through the best breeds of dogs for families, explaining their traits and the kind of homes that they are best suited to.

Assess your environment

 Before choosing the best breed of dog for your family you need to seriously consider the environment in which your dog is going to live. This doesn't just mean the home itself but the circumstance of yourself and other family members. Here is a checklist to help you consider the important factors;

  • Sleeping. Where will your new dog sleep? Will it have free reign of the house?
  • Family. How many family members are there? Is everyone able to contribute to the dogs care? Are there young children that will need supervising with the dog?
  • Garden. Do you have a garden for exercising the dog? Do you have other parkland or open spaces that are ideal for exercise nearby?
  • Finance. Dogs that are bigger or live longer normally cost more. Higher food and vet bills can put a greater strain on the family finances

The best breeds of dogs for the family
The best breeds of dogs for the family

The best breeds of dogs for the family

1. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are well loved worldwide for their reputation as one of the best dog breeds for the family. If your Cocker Spaniel is well bred and socialised it will happily live as a versatile family companion. Intelligent and trustworthy, Cocker Spaniels can adapt to most living environments and are great with children. They are well known for being warm and affectionate and generally very cheerful. They also love to play. Cockers do still have the hunting gene they were originally bred for, so will often be found 'sniffing' out a variety of treasures, or digging! This can be a problem for garden owners. Training a Cocker Spaniel requires a lot of hard work and persistency due to their playful nature; keep training sessions short and playful, always ensuring you consistently follow good behaviour with a treat. Another feature of the breed is their lovely long silky coat that requires regular brushing and cleaning.

In summary they are a hard and healthy breed that are warm and affectionate; one of the best breeds of dog for the family. They are playful and loving, but do require persistent effort to train; as with most dogs.

The best breeds of dog for the family
The best breeds of dog for the family

The best breeds of dogs for the family

2. Labrador Retriever

With good reason, Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds. They have a remarkable mix of intelliengence, strength and gentlesness that makes them the perfect family companion. Their handsome good looks also make the puppies incredibly cute and hard to resist. If you train your Labrador from a puppy, you will undoubtedly create an incredible bond that will last a lifetime.

Labs are well balanced and strongly built dogs that are athletic and outgoing. They have short water resistant hair, suited to their original role of aiding fisherman in Newfoundland. Although you wouldn't think it; their hair still sheds. The recognised colours of this Lab breed are, yellow, chocolate and black.

The temperant of a Labrador is what sets them apart from other breeds and makes them one of the best dog breeds for the family. They are affectionate and gentle dogs that are excellent around children and other animals. Labs love nothing more than to spend time with their family. For this reason some Labs can suffer separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

Although Labs are strong and athletic dogs, they can be susceptible to hip and leg problems. It is important to ensure that before choosing your dog, they have gained hip and leg clearances. They can also often suffer from obesity; if given the wrong diet.

In summary, choosing a Labrador is like gaining a lifetime friend and family member.

The best breeds of dog for the family
The best breeds of dog for the family

The best breeds of dogs for the family

3. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a popular breed, known for its gentle and non aggressive temperament. They are fun dogs that love exercise and play, but when home, happily curl up on the sofa for a well deserved rest. Your King Charles loves to be part of the family, so needs dedication and time, but effort will be rewarded with an excellent companion.

They are good with other dogs and eager to please, adapting quickly to most household environments, but don't make good guard dogs, as they tend to regard all strangers as friends.

Unfortunately this breed can often suffer from heart related problems, although the most common cause of death is cancer or old age. It is traditionally a 'lap dog' so suitable for smaller households or flats. The breed comes in four colours, 'blenheim'; chestnut on pearly white, 'ruby' rich red, 'tri-colour' black, white and tan and 'black and tan'.

The best breeds of dogs for the family
The best breeds of dogs for the family

The best breeds of dogs for the family

 4. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small dog of meditteranean ancestry, related to the Maltese and the Poodle. It is affectionate and friendly and excellent for people with mild allergies, as it's curly coat rarely sheds. The cheerfull attitude of this breed is it's trademark, well liked for its playful yet affectionate character.

The Bichon Frise gets on well with people of all ages, being especially good with children as it enjoy play, without becoming hyperactive. This breed can easily adapt to a variety of living conditions and is a good watchdog, being very eager to please and easy to train.

Due to the curly white coat of this dog, it is necessary to keep it well groomed, as otherwise the coat can become quickly matted. Generally it is a sturdy and healthy dog that will live from 12 to 15 years.

The best breeds of dogs for the family

 5. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

'Staffys' are renowned for their affinity with humans and good behaviour around children. They are very keen to spend time with the family and will happily sit on your lap whilst a puppy, but you must remember that the puppy will grow into a large and powerful dog. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that your 'stafty' grows up following the 'firm hand' of its owner. It is also a consideration that due to the staffy loving human contact, it will be boisterous with strangers; not all visitors may appreciate this. You also must ensure they are kept on a lead in public places, as can often react to other dogs.

There are however a great deal of positives about a 'staffy' that make them an ever popular breed of dog for the family. They are well suited to close living arrangements with humans and they are highly intelligent, thriving on one on one attention. A great all round dog for a confident owner.



The best dogs breeds for the family
The best dogs breeds for the family


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      23 months ago


    • dosburros profile image

      dosburros 7 years ago

      Thanks for that- glad you are finding the hub interesting. Why a Doberman?

    • Radioguy profile image

      Radioguy 7 years ago from Maine

      Great article! Much useful info! Thanks!