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Top 10 Best (and Cutest!) Dog Breeds for Families

Kathryn has been an online writer for over 12 years. Her articles focus on everything from fashion to crafts to pet care.

10 cute and family-friendly dog breeds

10 cute and family-friendly dog breeds

10 Cute Dog Breeds and Best Family Dogs

So, you’re ready to get a new dog, and you’re trying to figure out which dog breed is the best for you and your home. There are many different factors that you will want to take into consideration when choosing a dog breed. You’ll want to think about the size of the dog, whether it’s long-haired or short-haired, and what its typical life span and health are likely to be.

However, I think that the most important thing to take into consideration when choosing a dog is the temperament that is associated with the breed that you are choosing. Although there are some people who will want a dog that tends to be more aggressive, usually because they are using the dog as protection for their property, the average dog owner is probably going to want to get a dog with a mild temperament.

For that reason, it is best for all people to look first at those dog breeds that have been identified as being best for families with small children. Even if you don’t have children (or even anyone else living with you in your home), these dogs tend to be great companion animals. They are loving and kind, they get along with guests that come to the home, and they are typically easy to train.

Here is a closer look at 10 of the top dog breeds that are typically recommended for families that are choosing a new dog to live with them in their homes:

  1. Golden Retrievers
  2. Labrador Retrievers
  3. Irish Setters
  4. Beagles
  5. Shiba Inus
  6. Australian Shepherds
  7. Pugs
  8. Newfoundlands
  9. Poodles
  10. Collies

1. Golden Retrievers

This is the first dog breed that comes to mind when I try to think of good family dogs. Perhaps that is because several families that grew up around me all had golden retrievers that were practically members of the family themselves. Golden Retrievers are considered to be one of the most loyal dogs that there are. Families like this because the dog is friendly with the family, but it will also be there to protect the children if they are ever in danger from strangers.


2. Labrador Retrievers

The Golden Retriever isn’t the only retriever that tends to be a great dog breed. The Labrador Retriever is another retriever that does well in almost any home. This is a really laidback kind of dog that tends to get along with other dogs and pets fairly easily. The one negative thing that people say about this dog is that it can be a picky eater, but that may be a small thing to deal with in comparison to some of the other dog problems that are out there!


3. Irish Setters

The Irish Setter is a dog that, like the Golden Retriever actually, was originally a hunting dog. Over time it has changed to be a dog that is often associated with being a family dog. The main reason that this dog is loved by families is that it’s a really accommodating dog. It truly wants to please people, so it’s fairly easy to train and definitely easy to love. It’s also a really beautiful dog!


4. Beagles

The first thing that I have to say about this dog is that I think it’s one of the cutest dog breeds out there! It’s not always considered to be a family dog because it’s a really active breed. The Beagle is a dog that wants to be out and about. But if you have the kind of home that is active and you’re willing to get outside and play with your dog a lot, then a Beagle can be a really terrific companion to have around. You certainly won’t be bored with a dog like this. The one drawback is that they tend to chew things up, so you will have to invest time in training if you get this dog.

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5. Shiba Inus

This isn’t a very common dog breed, but it’s one that I fell in love with after spending time with a pet of this breed that belonged to someone with whom I was working. Like the beagle, this is an active animal and only good for homes that are willing to be active with their dogs.

The great news with this animal is that it really loves to keep itself neat and clean, so you don’t have to go out of your way to do extra grooming of it, and it’s a breed that’s fairly easy to housetrain. It may not be the best dog for a family with very young kids, but it’s a good choice to at least consider when looking at adding a dog to the home.


6. Australian Shepherds

This is the kind of dog that I had when I was growing up, so I can attest to the fact that it’s a great dog. The breed is really smart, which is a positive thing to see in an animal that is your pet. It’s also a loving and loyal breed that is very affectionate. This tends to be an active dog, although perhaps not as active as the Beagle or the Shiba Inu depending, of course, on the individual temperament of the dog that you get. The main thing with this breed is that it does best under guidance, so you need to be willing to train the animal and give it lots of love and attention.


7. Pugs

People who are looking to add a small dog to their home may be turned off by many of the dog breeds on this list. The solution could be to get a pug. These are hardy dogs that can hold their own with kids, but they are small in size. They are really social dogs that love to play, play, and play. They can be a bit rambunctious in their younger years, but they are fairly easily trained.


8. Newfoundlands

At the other end of the spectrum from the pug in terms of size, you’ll find the Newfoundland. This is a really large creature, but it’s often called a “gentle giant” because it’s so calm and nice. In fact, this dog is SOOOO laidback that the biggest complaint about it tends to be that it’s lazy. If you’re looking for a dog that isn’t going to require excessive activity but is going to make for a good companion in the home, then you may consider this pet.


9. Poodles

Most people think of Poodles as frou-frou show dogs, but the truth is that this breed makes an excellent pet for many different types of homes. They like to play with people of all ages, and they can generally adapt their behavior suitably to playing with children even though they are intelligent dogs enjoyed by adults. They can be mischievous when they don’t get enough attention, so they do need more care than some of the other breeds discussed here, but they’re basically an easy breed to have around the home.


10. Collies

This is the quintessential family dog if for no other reason than it’s a breed that will always be associated with the famous dog Lassie. It’s a dog breed that does well as a herding dog as well as being a good show dog. This tends to mean that it’s a breed that’s easy to train and that gets along well with others. They’re really calm dogs that are patient with children, and they’re also considered to be really smart dogs, so adults will like them as well.

That said, however, you may just want to look around and find the dog that really seems right for you. Sometimes the best dogs are the mutts that we don’t even know what they are!

Additional Resources


Erika Moreno Ruiz from West Jordan on March 14, 2019:

What about chihuahuas? I own 2 and they are friendly!

Martine Wright on August 31, 2016:

You are obviously not familiar with Beardies!

XXawesomeXX on November 30, 2015:

I own a pug. They are not easy potty trained. they are crazzy funny and awesome dogs She is 8 weeks old love her On Instagram Pickles_The_Pugg_19

CCW on November 15, 2015:

i have a mini goldendoodle, yet she is not so mini.

She is almost 9 months old and sometimes can be the most loving and wonderful baby ever, however "at the drop of a hat" she does a 180 and bites, growls, rips up everything, jumps on the center island in kitchen, etc...

She is really starting to scare my 4 yr old and jumps on him to the point it knocks him down. This has become a nightmare; my sweet loving puppy (she still is) has become this bipolar manic overly hyper schitzzy monster who holds us captive and makes me feel utterly guilty like I am not doing something right.

I spend so much time with her and she has all the toys, snuggle blankets, & truly lives in a doggy paradise yet she's uncontrollably vicious at times.

She is ripping up and tearing down our beautiful home.

I have sent her to obedience school twice that was collectively over $2400.

She is also causing a huge strain on my marriage to the point where we don't even sleep in the same room.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

haven m on September 27, 2014:

Like OMG that was one of the cutest puppy pictures

ever .thanks for showing I love this site. now I

know all about dogs but LOL # yellow labs!

Megan Haulbrook from North Georiga on August 24, 2014:

I loved your list. I've grown up with Golden Retrievers and Labs (mostly Yellow labs), in fact I currently own the last puppy we ever bred between our Golden Retriever and Yellow Lab. He has a the wonderful qualities of both breeds. He is so brilliant, although a little stubborn at times. He was a bit of a picky eater when he was young but growing up we had lots of fruit trees in our yard and he loved to eat the apples that fell from the trees. Retrievers and Labs are by far the favorite of all the breeds of dogs I've owned, and I've grown up with everything from a teacup Yorkie to a Newfoundland and lots of things in between.

lilcupcake on January 11, 2014:

A golden retriever was my first ever dog. and to deal with very yougn child like while be a puppy herself, those dogs really are brilliant creatures lol. She's a mutt, mixed with what we don't know. something astronomically lazy though lol. I don't agree with the shiba inu, I've known them to be a bit bitey. every dog is their own person, though.

oldiesmusic from United States on October 11, 2013:

Great list, I prefer retrievers most of all. But I also like poodles, most especially toy poodles -- they're fun to be with. :)

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on August 12, 2013:

I love many of the breeds listed on here, however, I have to choose golden retrievers as my favorites as we rescue them almost exclusively (except for our duck toller)! Such beautiful, loving and fun dogs. I can't imagine my life without one! Fun hub!

alannahbale from Rugby, Warwickshire on July 26, 2013:

Labradors and poodles are my favourite breeds! This is a really interesting post!

pug&lablover on January 28, 2013:

Labs are not picky about food but they wouldn't eat furniture like golden retrievers do. Labs & pugs are great family dogs. I have 2 pugs and a lab. They get along great!

pug&lablover on January 27, 2013:

Pugs are so cute. Labs are sooooooooooo much cuter than goldens

Liz on September 11, 2012:

Your picture of a labrador retriever is not a labrador retriever, it is a silver lab.

Sara on June 18, 2012:

The mini golden retriver is way cuter than any dog they are the size of a corgi and do sheed

shivi agarwal on May 12, 2012:

hi i really luv dogs and want to buy a pup.any1 knowing a well known pet shop in vadodara pls contact me on 9726586115 or

saad on May 11, 2012:

the siberian husky is the best

Malorie on April 14, 2012:

That is not the top ten dogs! you need to include ckc spaniel, maltese, mini foxy and probably no one knows what breed this breed is but the lhasa apso is the best dog breed. They are like shizhus but even more cute. Lhasa apsos are famous for their long hair and are always in dog shows winning many awards. Google them to find out.

Clo_TheDogLover_ on April 06, 2012:

Cavalier king charles spaniel beats all those especially the pug, irish setter and nefoundland

nino lucero on March 27, 2012:

I Tink that's GOOD because im dOg Lover i want to collect a dogs but i don't think so if that is a top 10 dogs.....^_^

emilybee on March 18, 2012:

That Irish Setter pic is adorable but I've always wanted a beagle, like Snoopy :) Thanks for sharing this informative hub! Voted up!

Dachshunds Rule!!! on March 17, 2012:

What about Dachshunds,Boston Terriers,mutts and Cocker Spaniels. They are perfect for families and are very cute.

Brennan on February 07, 2012:

Yeahhh what the hell is with not having boxers on this list. A real machine when it comes to energy and companion. But then again how can you ever judge a dog breed when it really comes down to training. I am one of 4 boys and one girl all in close age and we grew up with our boxers and they loved us and we loved them. I'm now 20 and the last one is on its way out. Acts as though she were still a pup. Wouldn't hurt a fly.

Valerie Y. on February 06, 2012:

My top 5 :)

1.German Shepherd


3.Yorkshire Terrier

4.Australian Shepherd (Mini or big)

5.Border Collie.

dutchhunds on February 01, 2012:

i also love dogs but you see, like dutchhunds is very beuitiful.when we arrived from giong shoping she always behave.her name is PACKY.a lovely name.

smurfy on January 29, 2012:

Where is Huskeys??

sophie on January 28, 2012:

dogs are on the top of my list

Kaylie Champine on January 25, 2012:

im good with my dog wich is a American Bulldog half Boxer! But yours are good to.

LURCHER GIRL on January 21, 2012:

Why not a whippet, greyhound or sighthound

junemano on January 19, 2012:

i like shitsu

Jada on January 10, 2012:

sooo cute

GoldenCaleb on December 29, 2011:

I have a 3 months old Golden, and i love him so! (even though he's so naughty and always jumps up on me) :P I'm planning to have another dog, maybe Labrador or Pitbull, cause I think they are both good family dogs base on your comments. Anyway, for those who are questioning this hub, I guess you should also do your own research and not just rely on one website, right? :)

hubber088 from Baltimore, MD on December 17, 2011:

I have a half beagle, half lab. Great family dog!

Shine Lee on December 14, 2011:

Laborders are smart and best and the CUTEST!!! Laborders are the best. I have no idea why pug is there pugs are really dumb, ugly, and lazy. I don't really like pugs but I JUST LOVE LABRADORSSS!!!! LAborador are the best!!!!!!!

I LOVE DOGS on December 11, 2011:

I love labradors! I have one and it's really perfect!

joe on December 08, 2011:


sujith Ramachandran on December 07, 2011:

I think pugs are the best breed for families

erika on December 05, 2011:

i disagree the dogs above are all pretty ugly the cutest dog is eather a caliver king charels or a purese dog but not a chwowa thier ugly

RayeRaye on December 01, 2011:

What about Pitbulls!

ShaniaRaye on December 01, 2011:

Okay list, but Why isn't there a Pitbull on the list?!?!

J on November 28, 2011:

And pit bulls! I know it sounds crazy because the media makes them out to be so devilish and this and that but I adopted a little pix boxer mix of sorts about a year ago and he was been loyal loving and friendly to literally everyone. He shares food water and toys with other dogs, and when it comes to kids.. These breeds are ideal! They are strong so when kids pull their tail and ears and jump on them they really dont mind! My dog has been around 7 kids at once, the oldest being 8 and the youngest being 2 (I have a lot of cousins) and they loved him! My aunt was really nervous about it but it was obvious that Tucker dog meant no harm! I highly suggest any bully breed for a family pet, just be sure you socialize and train them with love and they will be your best buddy ever!

DogsRgreat on November 23, 2011:

Labs are anything but picky!

They would eat you out of house and home.

My labx eats everything. (Flowers, toys, salads, any fruit, any dog food, etc...)

They are known for getting over-weight easily.

lilash84 from TX on November 21, 2011:

Attention all TRUE ANIMAL LOVERS... does it not bother anyone that I have 4 rescues who have illegally kept my dogs from me that are now going to have to be taken to court? What if it was your dogs? PLEASE HELP MINE TO COME HOME! PLEASE! THIS IS NOT A JOKE... PLEASE HELP MY DOGS TO GET HOME ? please read this it explains everything... I have an attorney now and we are suing the rescues in court as well as animal control they have been sent demand letters to return my dogs.. Who for FIVE MONTHS they have refused to return and adopted out dogs that didn't belong to them so they are TRAFFICKING IN STOLEN PROPERTY WHICH IS A FELONY

christinepurr on November 07, 2011:

While informative on the dog breeds themselves, I would have to disagree with some of the dogs on this list. Like the shiba inu. I find goldens and labs to be on most lists because of their cutesy and "good family values" factor, but many families get these dogs and assume these dogs will be the perfect family pet, and many times over, are fooled. Especially labs, as they are active, energetic, and can be clumsy knocking down kids. I've personally known much more labs that have bitten people than the "vicious" dog breeds.

I think Collies should be higher on the list too! And to the person who wanted chihuahuas on there... are you kidding? Those dogs are easily agitated and not shy to bite! Children beware! Lol.

As for a golden's protectiveness... they're not really a protective breed. They're more likely to greet an intruder than fight one off.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on November 07, 2011:

I have to say that the Shiba Inu is definitely not a good family dog. The rest on this list I would fully agree with, and while you mentioned that the shiba inu isn't good for families with small children, they tend to not be good with children at all from what I've seen over the years. Very protective of their owners and are a bit aggressive towards children. Thanks for sharing though, wonderful list!

small dogs rule on October 30, 2011:

Way too many big dogs on that list. How on EARTH could you forget Cavalier King Charles Spaniels?!!!! Chihuahuas are awesome too, followed by dachshunds, pit bulls, mini fox terriers, pugs, west highland white terriers, TOY poodles, Yorkshire terriers and small mixed breeds. Those are the REAL top ten cutest dog breeds! When buying a dog, remember, bigger doesn't always mean better, and, less is more!

covY P on October 24, 2011:

Wow!! Cute dogs but if i were to get a dog i would get it from the rescue centre... It just seems like the right thing 2 do


Kim Morgan Gregory from The Coast of The South Carolina Lowcountry on October 21, 2011:

I love my golden retriever. All the hair is worth every minute of spend with her. At first, I never thought I would want one because everyone else has one. But now that I have one of truly believe that I will always have a golden retriever. Get one there a great!

jeremytorres on September 30, 2011:

Wonderful hub again. Really cute breeds. I love Shiba Inu and Poodle has unique figure.Haha.I enjoyed looking at them.

Tom on September 13, 2011:

You forgot to include doxies

kalli albi on September 10, 2011:

i love all these dogs. but i think you should add yorkies they are very great companions

coolness on September 10, 2011:

thanks. i really want a dog, so this website really helped out

michaela on September 09, 2011:

this is amasing

MICHAEL on August 08, 2011:

I can not believe you do not have a boxer listed. The boxer is all i will own because they have raised 5 kids and they do nothing but protect them and put up will all the madness in the house. My experience is that the boxer is the top rated in my book.

Annie on August 01, 2011:

i really love the golden's my dream dog ever since..

llll on June 29, 2011:

adorable luv em

Carmen Beth on May 31, 2011:

Golden still tops the list!

Blame it on May 06, 2011:

Can't take your or any list serious that doesn't include the wiener dog

Hannah on March 24, 2011:

very nice, why didn't you include lab x pointer and boxer... i have just got a pup.. so cute!

case on March 03, 2011:

some of them r cute

racerboy on February 15, 2011:

Go doxies

Liz on February 15, 2011:

I totally agree. I am getting a new dachshund puppy- the "weenie" dog's proper name- in March. It will be my third. They are so cute! Dachsies 4 eva!

Dachsiewiz on February 15, 2011:

How could you ever forget the weenie dog? It is so cute, and a great family companion. It does not bite little children- what a rumor. It is the perfect lap dog. It follows you around, because they love you so much. Who ever thought that they were not the prefect dog is psycho! Really. It's a funny shaped dog with short, skinny legs, big brown eyes, and lots of love. It is the best dog ever.

bob on February 08, 2011:

honestly, i have a beagle and he barks way too much... its kind of frustrating. He also jumps around and tears up the fruninture...

Ben on February 06, 2011:

Goldens and labs make great dogs!

danielle on February 05, 2011:

I think they are not cute exept for golden retriever and pug THIS IS MY LIST

1.Lhasa apso





5.Golden retriever

6.Yorkshire retriever



9.Chow chow

10.English Springer Spaniel

Multiman on February 04, 2011:

We have two pugs, and they are wonderful companion dogs.

jesse j on February 02, 2011:

love them i love all of them:)i mean the astrailian sheperd to die for

Karen on February 01, 2011:

You should have put Havanese. They're kind, friendly, and they are very easy to train. They are small but sturdy so can handle some rough-housing but not too much. My Havanese is so sweet and docile and he barely sheds! I never notice that he sheds and they are "hypo-allergenic." No dog is really hypo-allergenic they are close. ANAZING DOGS!

Realist on January 31, 2011:

What are your sources for this list and what qualifies you to educate others? Have you just chosen these dogs because they are cute? Some of these dogs are working dogs and is a dog that can 'hold their own' with kids a good thing? Sounds to me like you are telling us that if kids hassle this dog (and you can bet your money that they will when your back is turned) the dog will snap and hurt the child. This is your choice of good family dogs, but obviously it all depends on each family. I'm no cesar milan but i've owned sighthounds, poodles and terriers and found from personal experience out of the three, my klein poodle was almost my perfect dog, with the whippet in 2nd place. The jack Russell and the staffie were defiant sods that were stubborn until old age. To end this, I'm so pleased that you rate the poodle as a normal dog, they have such a bad rap that they could do with losing. It's not their fault that they look a bit silly sometimes.

gitanjali on January 25, 2011:

I don't understand which dog is best for us.

ferretcarrot22 on January 25, 2011:

Iused to live with a cavalier king charels but he did not live long and the vet said that was normal for that breed

selly543 on January 23, 2011:

collies are cute and nice

renee on January 14, 2011:

love border collies

Jerry on January 10, 2011:

English golden doodles from r#1

craftybegonia from Southwestern, United States on January 06, 2011:

I always wanted a Collie, but we wound up with a Great Pyrinee/Australian Shepherd mix. A gentle giant who stole our hearts. He died a few years ago. He was a wonderful, wonderful dog. Now we have two Aussies and they are very loving and intelligent!

kailey on December 30, 2010:

pitbulls! FTW

Jasmyne on December 29, 2010:

#7 is 100% correct pugs are great dogs!

climb20082008 on December 25, 2010:

i am a dog lover,i like ur dogs very much!thank u for sharing,good job!

courtney 263 on December 09, 2010:

i agree collies are absolutly great my big girl is so fun and loving she is great with my fammily and with everyone else aswell please dont be fooled collies are very high matinence

Dani on December 04, 2010:

Why not a bishon Frise or a Cavalier king Charles Spanial or both as a mixed breed. If you want to see my pouch Chloe go to google images and type in this case they have given me the name CHLOE. It should be the first image there and or the only dog and that is her

Annie the Sheltie on December 03, 2010:

Jeez, I cant believe u forgot shelties.

Jennifer A on November 21, 2010:

I am wondering why the Boxer isn't on this list. I believe them to be quite adorable and fantastic family dogs as I have one myself and she is the sweetest dog I've ever had.

me on November 12, 2010:

Shiba Inus are not dogs for a first time dog owner.

Sunny Barb on September 25, 2010:

Really enjoyed your hub, especially as another lover of the fur children. Loved the pics.

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on September 21, 2010:

Great info and great list. Of course, not everyone will agree with your picks but I think you've done very well. Photos are just toooooo cute. Well done Kathryn

ForMomswithLove from New York on August 28, 2010:

Thank you for the information. I grew up with dogs and I want the same for my kids. This helps a lot to make a choice.

xres55rummerxr on August 28, 2010:

What?! Are you serious 763 hubs! PERFECT HubRank and still able to create high quality hubs (HubScore 98)! I can tell by the way you write that you are really passionate about this topic but at the same time, you must be making bank! Congrats on 700+ hubs, so close to 800 I am sure you can do it!

dave on August 20, 2010:

what is the best breed for eight to ten year olds

Rocky Priapus on August 01, 2010:

So how do you people reading this feel about those 'crush' videos by 'Pit Boss' Stevens of Pittsville, VA and the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on them?

Australian Shepherds on July 19, 2010:

Glad my Australian Shepherd is on your top ten! There is no doubt that Australian Shepherds are smart. They are playful and energetic too, right? I have a Golden Retriever and a Lab, so two more hoorays for they're #1 and 2! :)

By the way, how did you come up with the list?

Marie on June 27, 2010:

I love it!!! I was trying to find a doggy when i get older and living alanoe when im 20 or something, I wanted a little dog and I thick i want a Begle!!

Maybe but thank you It was great

Leptirela from I don't know half the time on June 07, 2010:

great hub :))))

Sarah on June 03, 2010:

Good list although my fave is still a chow chow

chardee42 from Orlando, FL on June 01, 2010:

That's funny, 10 years ago we started with a Golden Retriever and now have a Labrador Retriever. You're right, they are wonderful dogs. We have 3 kids and have never had a concern with either dog.

retirementvillage from Philippines on May 26, 2010:

Wow the dog's picture are so cute! Nice Hub!

blackhatworld from Belize on May 26, 2010:

wow great hub! i love dogs myself! nice photos that you used too.

Guy on May 04, 2010:

What aboutBoston Terriers or French Bulldogs?

Girl on May 02, 2010:

uh, hello? You missed one of th most adorable dogs in the world: the dachshund. Their eyes are the same even when they are many years older! Trust me, I have experience. They can be awesome when well trained as well. I have a boy named Nike and he acts like a pit! Well, he isn't bad as one, but you should make it top 20 and add the dachsund because of their cute eyes and ears, funny, long body, and great temperament.

Amber on April 23, 2010:

I was looking to adopt a dog. I seen a pitbull terrior mix and she was so cute and good with my three year old son. Although when I went dog searching I was going for a lab or golden retriever hearing they are best for kids. Then I found one in a shelter an hour away but after seeing the pit ter mix with my son I had to get her. She would jump on me but not him even when he calls her or plays with her. He loves playing catch with her. She gets ruff with me but not with him. I didn't train her be like that she just is naturally.

Carrie DeSha from Atlanta, GA on April 19, 2010:

I was disappointed pit bulls were not included. They are loving, loyal dogs that are smart and easily trained. Raised properly, they are great with children due to their high pain tolerance. A toddler can pull ears and poke eyes without reproach (unlike smaller or more sensitive breeds). Also, their short hair makes grooming super easy - just brush out dirt between baths!

Just like families, all dogs are different, even within their breed. It is my wish that all dogs and people have happy, healthy homes.

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