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12 Dog Breeds That Make Great Family Pets

Do you have plans to add a dog to your family? If so, it’s important to find a canine that fits nicely into your household. I’ve made a list of 12 dog breeds that would be a welcome addition to a loving family, just in case you’re not sure where to start.

Small Breeds

  • French Bulldog: A French bulldog needs a moderate amount of exercise and very little grooming. These canines are playful and fond of children as long as the kids are careful not to get too rough. Adult French bulldogs weigh about 25 pounds and are just 12 inches tall. These dogs should be kept inside on hot days because they can overheat very quickly.
  • Miniature Schnauzer: These dogs are playful, smart, and outgoing. Adults weigh up to 20 pounds and grow to be about a foot tall. They get along with children and adults alike. A miniature schnauzer will take on the serious responsibility of protecting your household! Whenever I see a schnauzer, its long, bearded muzzle always makes me chuckle.
  • Havanese: This small canine is gentle and good around children. It is easy to train, loves attention, and needs a moderate amount of exercise. This is the ultimate lap dog! Adult Havanese weigh up to 13 pounds and are about 8 to 11 inches tall.
  • Pug: This dog can be summed up in one word: “adaptable.” It’s happy in the company of kids or adults. Pugs are curious, clever, and full of life. Adult pugs weigh up to 18 pounds and are about a foot tall. You’ll find yourself looking at this dog’s expressive face and wondering what it’s thinking.

A note about small dogs: Some small dogs, such as Yorkshire terriers, Maltese, and Chihuahuas, aren’t the best choice for families with small children. They may snap at or bite a small child to keep from being stepped on or hurt.

Medium Breeds

  • Basset Hound: Many of the dogs on this list require lots of exercise, but the basset hound isn’t one of them. This dog needs a moderate amount of exercise and is low-key with a sweet, patient temperament. Bassets get along well with kids and other dogs. These hounds weigh about 50 to 60 pounds as adults and grow to be approximately 15 inches tall.
  • Standard Poodle: Standard poodles are popular dogs for families because they are intelligent, playful, and good with children. They are energetic dogs, so they need a daily walk or run at a dog park. A male standard poodle can weigh up to 70 pounds, while a female may weigh around 60 pounds. If you’re looking for a medium-sized dog that doesn’t shed much, then a poodle may be the best choice for your family.
  • Border Collie: An adult border collie weighs between 30 and 40 pounds. These are active dogs that are easily trained. They love to run, jump, and enjoy playtime with their owner. These dogs were bred to herd sheep, so a border collie may not be an ideal choice for a family with very small children.
  • English Springer Spaniel: Are you looking for a medium-sized dog that’s a people-pleaser? Introducing the English springer spaniel! These dogs love attention from their owners and enjoy daily walks. They are loyal, gentle, and good with children. An adult English springer spaniel weighs around 50 pounds.

Large Breeds

  • Golden Retriever: Are you surprised this dog made the list? Probably not. Golden retrievers are loyal, playful, and full of energy. If you’re looking for a dog that is good with kids, a golden is a good bet. Keep in mind that golden retrievers need lots of exercise and love to be with family members almost all of the time. As adults, these large dogs can weigh as much as 75 pounds.
  • Newfoundland: You say you’re looking for a large dog for your family? A Newfoundland definitely fits the bill. An adult Newfoundland can weigh as much as 150 pounds (male) or 120 pounds (female). Though they are one of the biggest dog breeds around, these canines are known as big sweethearts. They have a patient, calm temperament, which makes them good around children. Also, they are intelligent and easy to train. These dogs are ideal for active families who spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Labrador Retriever: These dogs love to run around, play, and have fun with their owners. They can weigh up to 80 pounds and are a bit more than 20 inches tall at the shoulder. Labs are smart and adaptable to different environments and love other dogs. They need lots of opportunities to stretch their legs and express their personality!
  • Collie: The collie is a beautiful dog with a sweet temperament. They’re sensitive, smart, and good with older children. They can weigh up to 70 pounds as adults. Collies are also good watchdogs and will alert you to strangers with a high-pitched bark. Keep in mind that these dogs do require regular grooming, especially if you get a long-haired collie like the world-famous Lassie.

Tips for Adopting a Dog

Visiting an animal shelter is a great way to find your next family pet. Here are a few tips to follow when evaluating a shelter dog:

  • Take a few minutes to visit with the dog in a quiet room. Is it coming up to you when you call it? Or is it wary and staying away?
  • Ask a volunteer at the shelter about the habits and qualities of the dog you’re considering. The volunteer works with the dog each day and is likely to know its personality very well.
  • Introduce yourself to the dog with a quiet voice and slow movements. Does it wag its tail at you and lower its head? These are signs of submission.

Though the dogs on my list are purebred, don’t dismiss the idea of getting a mixed-breed dog at an animal shelter. All dogs have their good qualities, and you may find a shelter dog with a personality (and face) that can’t be denied! Thanks for reading. – Alan

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