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7 kid-friendly dog breeds for families

A family dog should light up when they see your kids.

Like humans, every dog has a different personality and traits built on life events, sights, sounds and smells. Regardless of breed, we can all agree that these special (and unique) dog personalities make them the best companions for people of all ages.

There is no one straight answer to the question: “Which dog is best for my family?” But, we spoke to a dog-training expert who has a few recommendations to help narrow down your search. Here’s what to look for when considering your next furry family member and the breeds that might be drooling for an afternoon with the fam.

What dog breeds are best suited for families and kids?

When considering introducing a new pup to the family, Courtney Briggs, the head trainer for Zoom Room, says there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule. And he reminds us, being small and adorable doesn’t always mean a pup will thrive in a particular household.

Instead, researching breed temperament for attributes like reactivity to loud noises and excitement should give you a good starting point. But, Briggs adds, don’t rely on breed research alone. “Bring the kids with you for the interview,” Briggs recommends, especially if adopting an adult pup. “A dog should light up when they see your kids and should give body language signals that they would enjoy a gentle, parent-supervised chin scratch. If the dog displays a complete lack of interest in your kids, this is probably not the dog for you.”

Bernese Mountain Dogs

The Bernese Mountain Dog is well-suited for family life, Briggs says. Trustworthy and easily trainable, this large-breed family dog will most likely keep wagging their tail while children roughhouse. Their cheerful and patient personality makes them the perfect guest at any make-believe tea party, too.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel‍

Your kids will love the flippy-floppy ears of this small dog, and we think you’ll love their sweet, calm demeanor. This family-friendly pup is the jack of all trades: adorable, easy-going and quick to make friends with any person or pet. Plus, this regal pup will happily live in a spacious abode or is one of our top picks for apartment living.

American Staffordshire Terriers

With the loveable nickname “original nanny dog,” Briggs would be amiss not to recommend a Staffie as your next kid-friendly companion. Gentle and kind-hearted, staffies are rumored to have been children’s playmates and guardians in their roots in England. Staffie’s excel in family environments when well socialized as puppies and continue to have positive reinforcement training throughout their lives.

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Beagles and basset hounds

Originally bred as hunting dogs, beagles and basset hounds retain their inquisitive nature in family life. Small and stout with a playful, mild temperament, Briggs says these pups will feel right at home romping around with the family in a fenced backyard. Their big brown eyes and floppy eyes are begging to be your new best friend!

Golden and Labrador Retrievers

For a pup that can keep up with your high-energy family and settle down for a snuggle at night, Briggs says to consider the ever-popular golden and Labrador Retrievers. These bubbly dogs rarely meet a person or another animal they don’t like and will happily spend their days splashing around with kids or playing fetch in the park. For a hypoallergenic addition to your family, consider meeting their cousins — the labradoodle and goldendoodle.

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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