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The Top 10 Dogs for Kids & Families

The Top 10 Dogs for Kids & Families

Getting a new dog is exciting for the whole family, but you might be wondering which breed will be best for your situation. Today, our Capitola vets share their top picks for the best dog breeds for kids and families. 

How to Choose a Family Dog

When deciding on which type of dog to get it is important to look past the cuteness factor and consider how the dog will fit into your family situation. It is important to consider things like the size, weight, temperament, exercise, and overall health requirements of the dog breed.

Take the time to do some research to figure out which dog breed will best suit your family. To help you get started, here are a few of our top picks:

English Bulldog

English bulldogs weigh in at about 50-55 lbs and tend to be less energetic than many other dog breeds, making them suitable for apartments and smaller homes. Bulldogs are people-loving, enjoy social interactions, and are more than happy to chill on the couch while you watch a movie. If you're looking for a lower-maintenance dog with a sweet and gentle temperament, an English Bulldog might be the right choice. 

Golden Retriever

The classic family dog. If you have active kids that will love throwing a ball and playing with the family pup, or taking the time to teach the dog new tricks, this could be the breed for you. Ranging in weight from 55-75 lbs Golden Retrievers are confident, friendly, smart, kind, and loyal, making them perfect for family life. 


The lovable giant dogs are great for houses with a lot of space. Newfoundlands are extremely intelligent and love children. They're also very protective of them which makes them very loyal family pets. Their long coats do shed quite a bit and they require regular grooming and upkeep. They are easily trained and task-oriented and love a challenge. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

At about 10-18 lbs, the compact size of this lively but gentle breed makes it the dog for smaller homes or apartments. Cavaliers tend to get along well with kids and other dogs. They can be both playful and cuddly making this sweet-natured pooch and a great pet for kids of many ages and energy levels.

Labrador Retriever

Labs have stayed a popular dog throughout the decades for a reason. They love other people (of all sizes) and typically get along with other pets. They are a high-energy breed so are best suited for active families with space to play. They have a sweet demeanor and make a great family pet. 

Boston Terrier

Weighing in at about 25 pounds or less, these people-loving bundles of fun come with their own easy to care for "tuxedo" coats. Happy to play with the kids and go for short walks, this charming dog breed adapts well to apartment living and makes a great companion for children of all ages.

Irish Setter

A slightly larger breed to consider is the strikingly beautiful Irish setter. This breed typically weighs in at around 65 lbs and can make a great family pet. These dogs are lively, intelligent and have a great sense of mischief. Irish Setters love to chase balls, go for long runs, but also enjoy playing in the back yard with children. If you have high-energy kids, they will love spending time with an Irish Setter!


Beagles are a great choice for a medium-sized dog. They require a lot of attention so they are best suited for families that spend a good amount of time at home or enjoy bringing their pup with them when they go out! They typically weigh in between 18-30 lbs and love playing games and going for walks.  


Your family will love these adorable little characters! Pugs are pretty happy to just eat and sleep. If your children are small, or have lower energy and would appreciate a dog that will play with them but is also more than happy to curl up with them on the couch, a pug may be the right choice. Weighing around 15 lbs, this is a breed that doesn't need much space, and only requires a couple of short walks each day to be content.

Our Top Pick: The Mutt

The best dog for your family may be patiently waiting for you at your local shelter. Mixed-breed Mutts can make great family dogs! These dogs can be as good with children as purebred dogs and also tend to be less susceptible to genetic diseases than their purebred counterparts. If you are considering a mutt for your family be sure to take your time to visit local animal shelters and be patient in your search for the right dog to fit in with your family life. Often shelter workers can provide you with information about the temperament and requirements of the dog you're interested in. 

Have you found the right pet for your family? Be sure to set them up for a lifetime of success with a Wellness Plan from Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital. Contact our Capitola vets today to learn more!

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