What Makes for a Great Family Dog?

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When you choose a dog, it’s always vital to make sure that you’re picking one that’s a good fit for the home that they’re going to get welcomed into. This means not just ensuring that you can meet their needs, but that their personalities are a good fit for the family as well. Here, we’re going to look at the vital qualities your choice of family dog should have.

Check out the pet dog chore chart for kids.


If you’re adding a dog to an environment with children then it is vital that you choose a breed that is known for being friendly. There are some grumpy and independent dogs that love their owners but still need space and time on their own as seen here.

These types might not be the case that you need. You also need to consider how easy it is for the breed to socialize, as some tend to be more vigilant around other dogs they are meeting for the first time, and so on.

That said, there are plenty of dogs who are particularly friendly, not just towards children, other pets, and people in the home, but also strangers that they might meet on walks. This is especially important when you decide to go on a family vacation with a dog, as these traits are required in order to be accepted in hotels that accept dogs.

This is especially crucial if your children are the ones taking the dogs on walks.

Gentleness and Patience

A lovable and loving dog is a crucial fit for the family home, but you want to make sure that they’re giving and getting the appropriate kind of care. If you have particularly young ids, such as toddlers, then you might want to make sure that you choose a fitting companion for them.

As such, there are some gentle and calm dog breeds (especially amongst the larger dogs as shown on this site such as the Bernese mountain dog or the Great Dane that are going to show the patience of a saint when your toddler comes rocking up to them and gets handsy.

Of course, you want to make sure that you’re teaching your toddler to be gentle and not to tug on their ears or pet them too rough on the face, but you also want a dog that is likely to be patient enough for them to get to that stage.


Of course, you want the dog to be ready to show plenty of affection to the people in the family, whether it’s from giving slobber-filled kisses or jumping up to lie on their laps. The good news is that almost all dog breeds are affectionate with their family members, though some, such as chows, might not be as willing to be touched all the time.

Of course, things can go the opposite way, as well. There are some dogs that are all too keen to hop up on people and if you have very small children, you might want to make sure that they’re not in danger of a little accident from a dog that is a touch overexcited to see them.


In order to make sure that you are able to rely on them in the family environment, as well as when you’re taking them out for walkies, you want to make sure that you’re choosing an intelligent dog that might be a little easier to train.

After all, you want to be able to manage them easily in different environments and for them to listen to commands like to stop and to heel.

There are training courses that can help you do that to a large degree.

However, certain breeds also tend to naturally be more intelligent dogs that are quicker to learn.

Allergy Friendliness

As you can read on this page, there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. All dogs leave a little hair and dander around, regardless of what breed they are.

However, if your child has allergies or is sensitive to changes in the air quality in general, then there are some dogs that are going to be particularly well-suited to them.

Some dogs with non-shedding coats, such as the Maltese, bichon frise, or the Spanish water dog, are going to be a lot more manageable.

Of course, you should have your child exposed to the kind of dog you plan on getting just to see if they are in any way affected by them before you make the decision to welcome them into your home.

The Right Energy Levels

Whether you go for a dog that is more energetic and playful or one that is a little more relaxed should depend entirely on what kind of family you’re inviting them into.

If you have playful and active children, then they might get along perfectly with the dogs that need a lot of exercise and playtime, like a labrador retriever.

However, there are some dogs that are better suited to being homebodies as well, such as the St. Bernard.

You want to have a proper think about how much energy your children are likely to expend in taking care of the dog’s needs for play and exercise and choose the dog to match it.


Dogs are bred to be loyal to their owners. As such, it’s definitely not difficult to find dogs that are going to be affectionate, kind, and protective of their owners and their families. However, there are some dogs that are particularly loyal to their families.

Dogs like a Great Pyrenees or a Rottweiler aren’t necessarily aggressive to others (unless they are raised that way) but they are always going to be quick to stick closer to those in their family.

Loyalty can also make them a little easier to train, especially when it comes to commands like having them heel to you. It’s also a vital personality trait if you want a dog that will act as a guard dog.

Maintenance levels 

All dogs will need some care. There’s no dog that doesn’t need to have their coat washed now and then or to be groomed, from brushing their fur to clipping their nails to cleaning their teeth.

Grooming your dog should become a part of your regular routine. However, that said, there are those that take a lot less time and effort to offer that care to. Short hair dogs, for obvious reasons, tend to be a lot easier to groom.

The dogs with non-shedding coats are a lot easier to clean up after, as well. It would be wrong to say that there is truly anything that could be called a no-maintenance or even a low-maintenance dog, but there are some that definitely take more work than others.

The Right Size

One thing that’s vital to consider, aside from everything else, is that you make sure that you have room for the dog that you’re welcoming into your home.

One of the worst problems with family dogs is that people can often get dogs that need more space than they have at home. There are big dogs that don’t need quite as much room as others.

St. Bernards can be famously quite content to just have their one corner of the home (or side of the couch) that they spend most of their day in. It’s vital, however, that you get to know the space needs of the dog that you choose and to ensure that you’re able to provide it.

Of course, aside from picking a breed that fits all of the needs above, you’re going to need to put the care in to make sure that you’re raising your dog right.

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