We recently went on a search for a new dog for
our family of four which includes two small children, a 6 and 2 year old, plus
a 13 year old grouchy Shepherd mutt. We put our adored 11 year old Labrador
retriever down two years earlier and we were ready for a new dog. We looked
at the local shelter but really wanted a puppy and they never seemed to have
any during the months we were looking.
After having experienced the sheer work and energy
a Labrador requires (especially early on), my husband wasn't up for the task
again and was pushing for a Pug. He wanted a small family dog and thought they
were cute and funny.
We were also particular about the breed the dog
was (or was mixed with) because of our family and lifestyle. We knew we needed
a dog that required less physical energy from us daily and could chill at home,
because we were busy with work and kids. But, we also needed a breed that could
keep up with our active, outdoor lifestyle. Basically, our ideal dog needed
to be able to keep up with us on our hikes or camping trips, but chill when
we needed him to.
We took the plunge and purchased a puggle
(Beagle and Pug mix). He's a stout, proud little guy that seems to have more
hound than pug in him at this point and will get to be a comfortable 20-25 lbs.
We're still working on dealing with puppy behavior, but he's added another level
of life to our family and he's keeping the kids busy while they wear him out.
He's even showing some retriever signs in him with his vast fetching skills.
It's going to be fascinating to see what traits
he develops from which breed and how we settles into our family dynamic. My
hope is that my kids will find a new childhood friend in him and that maybe
he'll be cool enough for me to truly enjoy over the next who knows how many
It took us months of research (and years of discussions)
to find the right dog for our family and the process can be daunting, but it's
important to know what you are looking for in your dog and what lifestyle the
dog needs to fully thrive.
Below are interesting tidbits about 20 of the more
popular dog breeds for families:
Golden Retriever. Golden's were originally
developed as a hunting dog for hunting birds, but quickly gained popularity
and the breed proved to be a devoted and trustworthy companion. Golden
retrievers are full of energy and are an excellent choice for families that
enjoy lots of outdoor activities.
Labrador Retriever. Labs are another extremely
popular retriever amongst active families. Labradors
seem to have boundless energy for active families and playing with children.
Labs were developed to help hunt birds, love to swim and, much like the Golden
Retriever, quickly became a popular choice of breed.
Irish setter. The Irish
Setter was initially developed for hunting, but shows a natural tendency
to be an eager and loving companion. Their beautiful red coats require some
grooming in order to keep out tangles. These dogs are highly popular and loved
by many families.
Pembroke Welsh corgi. The Pembroke
Welsh corgi is another popular family pet and is a good sized dog (25 pounds).
This breed needs regular exercise and is excellent with older kids (6 years+).
West Highland white terrier. These small
white terriers are fun and lovable, but don't let their size fool you - they
do still require exercise to keep happy and need grooming to keep its coat free
of tangles. Westie's aren't
recommended for households with younger children (under 10 years), but can be
an excellent choice of dog breed for older children.
make wonderful family pets. They are always on guard keeping the family safe
and are eager to please. They require regular grooming and daily exercise and
are bred in three sizes (miniature, standard and giant). Schnauzers flourish
on the interaction they receive from their human companions.
Airedale. These solid curly haired terriers
are a loyal friend and protector. Airedales
can be care free and fun family dogs as well as dominant dogs, so it's important
proper training and socialization is done in Airedale puppies. This breed was
originally designed for hunting badgers and otters and has gained popularity
in families everywhere.
Basset hound. Don't let the Basset
hounds sleepy eyes fool you – they are full of energy when kids are around
and make great family dogs. Similar to the rest of the Hound
group, Basset Hounds historically hunted many animals including trailing rabbits
are a surprisingly active breed that fits in well with active families. Beagles
are notorious for their bark in hunting while trailing rabbits and fox. All
a Beagle really needs is a good place to sleep and games to play and they can
blend into any family.
Shih tzu. Originally bred as a companion
animal for royalty in Tibet, this breed enjoys a pampered life. Shih
Tzu's are excellent around kids and enjoy spending time with their people.
Boxer. First encounter with a Boxer
may be intimidating but they are actually very sweet and lively dogs. Boxers
are working dogs, and are natural guardians and people dogs, and prefer the
company of its companions over other dogs. Boxers are well adjusted and usually
do well in both quiet homes and with active families.
Cairn terrier. Just like any other terrier,
the Cairn Terrier
requires regular exercise and play time and thrives on human interaction. These
terriers are small (average weight is 10-15 lbs), but aren't timid. Cairn Terriers
are notorious rodent dogs and can help keep the mice out of the family home!
Collie. The Collie
is a loving family pet in households all over the world. Always associated with
the famous "Lassie", Collies are even-tempered, loving and patient dogs with
energy to play with the kids and enjoy the family. Collies require regular grooming
of their fur.
Boston terrier. Boston
Terriers are small (10-25 lbs) black and white dogs that play well and sleep
well. Boston Terriers make excellent watch dogs and are especially great for
the less active families.
Poodle. The Poodle
is notorious for being highly intelligent and a great pet for hyper-allergenic
individuals because they don't shed. Poodles love to play and run and, like
Schnauzers, Poodles come three different sizes.
Bichon frise. The Bichon
Frise is a great little white dog to add to any family who will go along
with the flow and put up with almost anything. This is a very faithful and obedient
breed, but the bichon does require regular grooming to keep his coat looking
Pomeranian. Another little white dog that
fits well into the family is the Pomeranian.
Usually weighing around 5 pounds, the Pom is an adorable breed that thrives
on human companionship. Pomeranians are great for families with older children.
Newfoundland. The Newfoundland
is a very large breed of dog that may drool a little too much for some people.
But, this breed makes a wonderful addition to any family that has the room and
is looking for a larger breed. This is a great dog for the family that lives
around water. Newfoundland's are excellent in and around water dogs and have
historically saved countless lives by saving drowning victims.
Pug. Part of the toy group, Pugs
are one of the oldest breeds and their primary function has been as a lap dog.
Pugs are affectionate, loveable, and even-tempered and enjoy being part of a
family. Pugs can also be mischievous and gets along great with children.
Whippet. A sporting
dog designed for racing, Whippets
are fast dogs that should be kept on a leash or in a secure yard when outside
because they love to chase things. Whippets are quiet and gentle and are excellent
with children and are wonderful dogs indoors as well.
No matter what breed or mutt a family chooses it's
important to remember that the dog should fit well within the family dynamics,
lifestyle, home and any other pets that may be living in the home.
Find out more information on Dog
Groups and Choosing the
Right Family Pet. For specific dog breed products, visit our dog