Deciding to get a puppy is a big deal but what breed of puppy can be essential too. The list of breeds is long not to mention the cuteness factor in seeing each one. The size, grooming, activity level, and if the breed is good with kids, are just a couple factors to consider.
Then add in the opinions of your friends, co-workers, or family members they will give and the choice may become even more difficult to make.
I wanted to write a blog post on choosing a puppy for a family with kids to touch on the things to think about outside of cuteness.
It is after all a group decision and everyone has to agree on the breed, as this new addition will bring so many wonderful things to your lives.
When you read my list keep in my mind that I wanted to give both the good and bad of each breed so your decision will be easier. Every breed has traits that were meant for a purpose.
Think about how those traits would affect your life and your family. Busy lifestyle may not be the best for a very active breed of puppy. At the end of this post your decision will hopefully be easier for that choosing that puppy.
1.) Labrador Retriever
Pros of Labrador Retriever:
This breed is in the hunting group. Therefore, they are very energetic dogs and like to do a lot of activities like retrieving, fishing, hunting. If you get them socialized and in dog training at an early age that will help in the type of labrador retriever you have.
Labrador Retrievers are loyal, devoted, playful dogs as well as people oriented and very hardworking. They can be a great walking or running dog as well. If they are socialized and get started with puppy training classes right away you will have a better foundation with this breed.
Cons of Labrador Retriever:
They need lots of exercise and if you are not an active person or family then this breed may not be the best one for you. Their energy level as well as training need to happen consistenly which means everyday. Taking them out for a quick walk will not do.
I have a client who has had many labrador retrievers but her current dog was a challenge when she brought her home as a puppy. She did dog training classes and trained her at home. That was not enough and she need to get private lessons with a dog trainer.
I am glad she knew to get more help as well as hire me to walk her dog and since I apprenticed with the dog trainer (that is how I started in dog training) I was able to reinforce all the changes and training with this puppy who is now nine years old and a well trained dog. I love her to pieces.
The reason I share this story about my client is to remind you it can be challenging with any breed, even if you have experience with them or not. Also, you may need more help then you realize and being open to getting it rather then waiting until it is bad with your puppy will save your time and give you skills and confidence to keep building that bond with your puppy.
Tip: Some great dog toys like a Kong will help to keep your puppy busy, especially the Labrador Retriever.
2.). Mix Breed/Mutt
Goldendoodles are just one breed of the many mixed breeds that you may have heard about from your internet research or breeders out there. These breeds are grouped in the Hybrid Dogs. Make sure you consider which breed combination will work for your lifestyle, family, as well as grooming them too.
You get two breeds in one dog and he/she might be have the traits you wanted. They are affectionate and gentle dog. Furthermore, they are versatile working dogs as they have achieved success as guide dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs to name a few.
They are highly social and can get along with everyone. Also, they can be easy to train and are a good match for first-time or timid owners.
Goldendoodles are considered to be non to light shedders and may be a good match for people with allergies.
These dogs are not well suited for apartment living since they do better with space that a house can provide.
They require weekly or biweekly brushing to maintain their coat. They can be prone to ear infections, hip displasia, patellar luxation
The goldendoodle can suffer from separation anxiety if left for long periods at a time.
Goldendoodles and the grooming situation was more than she expected. The hair around the face as well as his coat needs more than weekly if not daily care. Now she is trying to figure out what to do since she has a busy work schedule.
The reason I tell you about my client above is what you may expect from each breed may not actually be true. That does not mean your new puppy is not going to be a great addition. On the contrary, knowing what to expect, good and bad of both breeds, will help you to recognize it and take action to help them.
Pros of Shelter/Rescue Dogs:
Like the other category of mixed breed above you have two breeds in one dog. However, they were not designed to be mixed rather having dogs that are not fixed lead to these puppies.
You are getting a opportunity to give a second chance to a puppy that may have not had the best start. Also, choosing a rescue or shelter that has breeds you are interested in will hopefully make the chances of find a puppy to add to your home go better,
Usually the puppy has been dewormed, spayed or neutered, before you adopt them. Plus if you are paying an adoption fee it is to help the shelter or rescue be able to keep helping those puppies who are not as lucky.
Cons of Shelter/Rescue Dogs:
You may not be able to know the history of the puppy you get from their parents to their living arrangement, as well as if they were around other puppies and pets. This just means it will be essential to get your shelter dog or puppy socialized but to not push it.
Important tips when choosing a Shelter/Rescue breed
Tip 1: Make sure to get as much information from the rescue or shelter you get your puppy or dog from and ask if they were fostered. The more information you know as a new puppy or new dog parent the better you will be able to make better adjustments to give this new bond a better chance to succeed.
Tip 2: Here are some common questions to ask:
- What is he/she breed?
- Have they been socialized?
- What was the home life like with kids, cats, other dogs?
- Does this dog have medical issues?
- How recently was their las medical issue?
I am sure you can come up with more questions geared to your lifestyle as well to see if the puppy or dog you chose will be comfortable and can fit easily into your family life.
3.) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Pros:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are in the toy group. They are charming little dog that adapts well to most living environments. This breed can be wonderful with kids as they are intelligent, happy, playful, outgoing, and always willing to please.
They are energetic and need to have exercise daily which would be great for a family to take this breed on a walk in the neighborhood or in a park.
Coat care is fairly easy but making it routine to do a thorough brushing should be given at least once a week.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cons:
They are sporting and playful in nature and they are apt to chase anything they see so a secure exercise area is important.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are sturdy and healthy dogs but health problems to watch out for are mitral valve disease (often with an early onset), syringyomelia, an inherited condition, eye problems, and ” episodic falling” also known as collapsing syndrome (often misdiagnosed as epilepsy).
Also, this breed does have a tendency to become obese as a result of overeating or lack of exercise.
Related Post: Bringing Home Puppy Guide
Pros of a Greyhound:
Greyhounds are in the sighthound group. When not racing they are quiet, gentle breed that thrives on human companionship of which he/she should never be deprived.
They love attention and is affectionate to those he/she knows, making them a wonderful family companion.
Also, this breed does not need an enormous amount of exercise, but they do love to run and must be provided with that opportunity.
When exercising greyhounds you need to do it in a safely enclosed area for he/she is always ready to give a chase and can run up to speeds of 45 miles per hour. Therefore, greyhounds will make a great running partner on runs by yourself or with the family.
Grooming is simple, but regular brushing is important to keep the skin and coat healthy.
Cons of a Greyhound:
Greyhounds can be a little aloof to strangers, but is usually friendly when introduced.
Care should be taken when socializing with other family pets.
Both these traits above should make any owner go slow, make it short, and use rewards like a treat to make each experience with people or a cat for example be positive one.
Since greyhounds are deep-chested dogs, bloat can be a problem. Also, they are sensitive to a number of anesthetics, so it is important to discuss this with a veterinarian prior to surgery.
Pugs are part of the toy group. They are charming, mischievous, loving, outgoing, and were bred to be companions.
These traits above can make a pug a good watchdog who will alert the family to strangers. Pugs make excellent companions and want nothing more than to please his/her family.
Pugs need moderate exercise but should not be over-exerted in the heat or when it is humid. If your pug is panting that means it is time to go back home as he/she has overdone it.
Occasional brushing is needed to remove dead hair, and bathing can be done when necessary.
Pugs can be a little stubborn and the snoring may not be appreciated by everyone.
The pug is also prone to obesity, so his/her weight should be kept in check.
Problems to look out for in the Pug are: Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE), epilepsy, eye problems, hemi-vertbra, hip dysplasia, Legge Calves Perthes disease and luxating patella.
Pugs are brachycephalic ( their head is short) and sometimes that can pinch the nostrils and an elongation of the soft palate.
The wrinkles of pugs need daily attention to keep them perfectly clean.
6.) Boston Terrier
Pros of a Boston Terrier:
Boston Terriers are in the Non-Sporting Group. Nicknamed the “American gentleman” this is a friendly, lively dog, noted for his/her excellent disposition and high intelligence.
Kind, gentle, and affectionate, the Boston Terrier is a devoted companion to adults and children and usually gets along well with other dogs and pets.
Boston Terriers need moderate exercise and no long walks are necessary.
The short, smooth coat does not require a lot of attention, just occasional brushing.
Cons of a Boston Terrier:
Their short, sleek coats do not protect them from the cold and in the hot weather their short muzzles make them susceptible to heat distress.
Health problems that Boston Terriers are prone to are: hypothyroidism, eye diseases, patella luxation, deafness, and demodetic mange.
As Boston Terriers short head it can be affected by brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS); apart from snuffling and snorting, some may experience increasingly noise breathing, coughing, gagging and collapsing episodes, with a decrease in tolerance to exercise.
Pros of Beagle:
Beagles are in the Hound Group and they are specifically scent hounds. They are excellent hunting dog and loyal companion.
They were bred to hunt in packs so they enjoy company and are generally easygoing.
The Beagle is a wonderful family companion and is generally very good with children.
They are bright, friendly, outgoing, active, and inquisitive.
Beagles are an energetic breed, so daily outdoor exercise is essential. They could make a great walking or running partner.
Shedding is minimal and many say that the Beagle has no doggy odor. Brushing once and twice each week is recommended to keep the coat healthy and clean.
They can usually live up to 14 years but 17 years is not unusual.
Cons of Beagle:
Beagles are prone to ear infections so they need to be checked and cleaned regularly.
Beagles are inherited problems that have been known to occur are epilepsy, thyroid abnormalities, hip dysphasia, eye disorders, and disc disease.
Make sure they stay on a leash or in a secure yard as Beagles have a highly developed sense of smell and a rather independent nature, he/she has a tendency to roam.
Poodles are in the Non-Sporting Group. They are very intelligent dogs and that means they need training to help build that relationship you want with them.
There are three sizes of Poodles: Standard, Miniature, and Toy.
They are a calm, steady breed and should never appear shy or sharp. All size Poodles generally get along well with children.
The Poodle is well known as good-natured breed that is amusing and eager to please, making a wonderful companion.
The amount of exercise a Poodle needs is largely determined by his/her size, but all like a good walk and an enjoyable game.
Poodles require more brushing and professional grooming trips to keep the coat from having matts.
The health problems of this breed is lengthy and a couple of them are: epilepsy, Legg-Calves Perthes disease, patella luxation( for Toy Poodles) – hip dysphasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Von Williebrand’s Disease (Miniature) – Addison’s disesase, bloat, cancer, Cushing’s disease (Standard).
Regular attention to their ears must be paid to make sure they are clean and reduce the chance of ear infections.
One of the dogs I have worked with for a couple years is a Apricot Poodle. He is very smart but it takes time when training him to have him relaxed and interested in learning. I have worked on him liking his ears touched as Poodles need to be groomed often and if you can make it a positive experience, that will help them with the groomer.
Pros of Newfoundland:
Newfoundland are in the Working Group. A sweet, devoted, and patient dog that is neither dull nor ill-tempered.
They are multipurpose dog, equally on land and in water. His/her wonderful temperament is a hallmark of the breed.
Newfoundland is not particularly active but does need regular exercise and of course they love to swim.
A dry shampoo is considered by many to be more suitable for this breed than bathing.
Cons of Newfoundland:
When outside in the hot weather they must have access to shady areas and plenty of drinking water.
Newfoundlands need brushing several times each week and need particular attention at shedding time usually autumn and spring.
It is important to not let Newfoundlands put on excess weight as he/she is susceptible to the inherited heart condition, sub-aortic stenosis. Hip dysphasia is another problem that can be encountered in Newfoundlands.
10.) Bichon Frisé
Bichon Frisé Pros:
Bichon Frisé are in the Non-Sporting Group. They are playful, curious, and peppy.
They love to play but are not overly energetic, although Bichon Frise is a delightfully entertaining personality.
Bichon Frisé is not overly demanding but loves a good walk with his/her owner and enoys the company of games.
This is a generally healthy little breed with a good life expectancy of 14 to 16 years, sometimes longer.
Bichon Frisé Cons:
The coat of a Bichon Frisé does not shed it mats, so regular grooming is essential as well as regular bathing.
Trimming is another thing that needs to be done to maintain and keep the coat in tip-top shape. If you the owner cannot do it regularly then this breed needs to go to a professional groomer.
Health concerns to watch out for are: patella luxation, ear infections, eye disease, skin allergies, dental trouble, bladder infections, and bladder stones.
11.) Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel Pros:
Cocker Spaniels are in the Sporting Group. They are gentle, smart, happy, and sweet personality making them a great friend for children.
This is an energetic breed with a good dose of stamina, so he/she will need daily walks and exercise to keep fit and to provide mental stimulation as this dog is bred to work.
Cocker Spaniels are well suited for life as a companion or a gundog.
Cocker Spaniel Cons:
Cocker Spaniels are gentle and trusting dog, but socialization at a young age is advisable to avoid any possible timidity when older.
The coat of the Cocker Spaniel needs to be gently brushed regularly and eye care is important too.
They are susceptible to some health problems such as: deafness, autoimmune thyroiditis, chronic hepatitis, hypothyroidism, skin problems, and autoimmune haemolytic anemia (AIHA) which the dog’s own immune system attacks its blood cells.
Are other breeds off limit for Families?
You may be wondering why other breeds are not on this list or not like some of the breeds on this list. I am not saying that the breeds on this list are the only best ones to choose.
On the contrary, if you decide on one of the breeds I mentioned above you still need to take action right from day one to train them, socialize your puppy to the new world, and give your kids guidelines with the puppy.
Finally, if you choose a breed that is not on the list above then really research and learn about the pros and cons of that breed so you can make the right decision for your family.
How to Raise a Puppy Successfully
Often as parents we think it is cute and want are new puppy and kids to bond but remember you need to supervise them at all times. It is not your puppy’s fault if your children do things like grab the puppy’s tail or ear and they growl. If a puppy growls it is a warning and you as the adult should tell your children to stop what they are doing.
Also, I encourage you and your family to learn dog language. Dogs communicate in a nonverbal way that is different from us humans who are verbal communicators. Moreover, a book called How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language will give you a better understanding of what your puppy is saying and how to help them interact with other puppies or people in a positive way.
Having a puppy gives you instant attention from everyone and that makes it is even more important to say no if someone wants to say hello to your puppy. It may seem like the opposite thing to do but a cute small puppy will not have the same positive reaction from people or you, when they are a full grown adult doing the same behavior, like jumping up on people.
I would recommend seeing if a local dog trainer who teaches puppy classes has a puppy play class too, Sometimes it is free or you have to pay and it is well worth it. Puppies learn so much from play and one another.
The more your puppy has positive experiences with other puppies will give them the confidence to enjoy seeing other puppies and not be scared of them. Plus you will get to see the type of play style that is good and what is bad or you need to intervene when seeing with other dogs your puppy may encounter with you.
Final thoughts on Best Breeds for Families
I hope this blog post has helped you decide what breed of puppy to bring into your family. Having a puppy is a wonderful time in your life, but make sure everyone is on the same page about what puppy they want, as well as reading up on how to take care of them.
It can be a lot of work but once you do your homework and narrow down the breed you want can give you confidence to be a great puppy parent.
If you have any questions about which breed is best for your family please leave a comment below.
Related blog posts about raising dogs
put links to related blog post I have here