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The Best Family Dog for Kids

Looking for the ideal canine companion for your kids? Today, our San Jose vets share some details about 8 breeds that can make excellent pets for families with kids of all sizes and energy levels. 

The Best Dog for Kids

When looking for a dog for your kids, choosing a breed with qualities that match your family's personality is one of the most important steps. So too is finding a breed that matches well with your child's energy level. Does your child want a dog they can run around the yard with, or a companion to cuddle up on the sofa with?

Also, consider the amount of space you have at home. Do you have loads of space for a dog to play or is your home on the tiny side?

Our San Jose vets want you to find the best family dog for your kids, so here are a few of our favorite kid-friendly dog breeds.

Bernese Mountain Dog

If your family is looking for a big dog, your kids will love this sweet-natured fluffy breed. Bernese Mountain Dogs typically weigh between 70 to 100lbs, and despite their size, have a reputation for being gentle with kids. One word of warning - these big beautiful dogs are major shedders.

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 small dog breed adapts well to apartment living and makes a great companion for children of all ages.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

At about 10-18 lbs, the compact size of this lively but gentle breed makes it a great 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

Still one of the most popular family pets out there - with good reason. Gentle, loyal and fun, the labrador retriever can be a great dog for kids! Labs just adore spending time with people - all people - and will become your child's best friend in no time. That said, it's important to ensure that labs get plenty of exercise or they can begin to get into mischief. These dogs vary somewhat in stature but generally weigh between 55 - 80 lbs.


The Beagle is one of the best medium-sized dogs for family life. This mid-sized pooch typically weighs in at between 18-30 lbs and adores spending time with its people, playing games, and going for walks. Beagles are smart and loving dogs that can make terrific family pets provided that they get plenty of family interaction and exercise. Beagles are not appropriate for families who are out of the house a lot. 


Your family will love these adorable little characters! Pugs are one of the best small dog breeds for kids with lower energy because they are pretty happy to just eat and sleep. A pug will be equally happy to play with your kids in the yard for a little while then curl up beside them to watch TV. 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.


Sweet, loyal and patient are just some of the words that best describe this fluffy giant. This delightful breed has a real affinity for kids and is often referred to as a 'nanny dog' due to its gentle patience with children. Weighing in between 100 -150 lbs you will need space if you plan to get a Newfoundland for your family, and it's important to note that as with many giant breeds, Newfs have a relatively short life expectancy of only 8 - 10 years whereas many small to medium dogs can live 15 - 20 years or in some cases even longer. 

The Mutt

The ideal dog for your family may be patiently waiting for you at the local animal shelter. Mixed-breed Mutts can make loving and loyal family dogs! These dogs can be as good with children as purebred dogs. Mutts also tend to be less susceptible to genetic diseases, and less expensive. 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 a doggie report card that lays out all of the known personality quirks of the pooch you're interested in. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Whatever breed you choose, our experienced vets are here to help you be a great pet parent. Contact our San Jose vets today to book your dog's first appointment.

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Burbank Pet Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of San Jose companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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