You've decided you want a dog. Whether for the kids to grow up with or for individual companionship, before you head out to see the dogs and puppies at the shelters, or contact a rescue, it's a good idea to do your homework. Find out what breeds tend to have characteristics that will make for a long and happy relationship with your family.
Not all breeds are kid-friendly, and it may not be the ones you think. While raising a puppy gives everyone a chance to grow up together, do you really have the time a puppy takes for proper training to prevent him from becoming a problem dog that winds up back in a shelter? If not, then you'll want to look at adult dogs.
Adding a dog to the family is a lifetime commitment. Consider your lifestyle, time you have to give, and your future plans. There are thousands of heartbreaking photos of dogs left behind because the family's plans changed. For a dog, you are their life, their reason for being.
Keep in mind there is a rescue for every breed, and 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred, but you're most likely to find a mix that is two or more breeds (53% of all dogs owned are mutts).
Certainly there are other breeds that made different top 10 lists, and we all think our dog is the best dog to have. This list of the dog breeds that come out on top as family-friendly on lists from petMD to Animal Planet, gives you ones to look for on the shelter card.
10. English Bulldog--loyal, easy going, and generally a real couch potato, these so ugly they're adorable dogs have the laid back attitude that works well in a family with kids of many ages. Their medium size and low energy make this dog suitable for a large yard or small apartment.
9. Boxer--an energetic dog that loves to play, they make great jogging partners. Not recommended as a first dog because these happy dogs need something to do, they're easy to train, and will require plenty of play time. One of the very first movie dogs, they love to entertain and love to learn tricks. They also love to chase and hunt.
8. Beagle--outgoing and loyal, the words "happy go lucky" are often used to describe this dog which was originally bred for pack hunting. Their gregarious nature makes them good when there are several children in a family. As a hound breed, they do love to chase, and that can include the family cat.
7. Newfoundland--one of the giant breeds, "Newfies" rank as one of the gentlest breeds in the world. They are very patient and tolerate small children well. They are a higher maintenance dog with their thick coats and in Kansas, you need to be sure a Newfie is inside and kept cool during the hottest part of the summer.
6. Collie--the Collie is a working dog who will play and play and play. They like having a "job" to do and live to please their humans. The rough coated Collie is the one most people are familiar with (Lassie) and that coat requires care, but there are also smooth-coated Collies that don't require as much grooming.
5. Great Dane--Scooby Do and Marmaduke are two of the most famous Great Danes. Many people don't know that the Great Dane was originally a cross between a Mastiff and a Greyhound. As young dogs, they're active and playful, but they do like their couch time, especially if they can have any part of their body on their human.
4. Poodle--one of the smartest of the dog breeds, poodles are easy to train, like to work, are intensely loyal, and have a lot of patience. You don't need a fancy show cut, but regular combing and brushing and a "working cut" for the summer are needed. For families with smaller children, the larger poodles are recommended.
3. Labrador Retriever--Labs are busy dogs, with a lot of energy as they're always looking for something to do. This makes them more challenging to raise as puppies, but they are happy dogs who are eager to please. Plan to stock up on the chew toys and give them a job to do--they make great jogging partners.
2. Pug--these smaller dogs are easily recognized. Think "Frank" in Men In Black 2, and they are loaded with personality. One of the few toy breeds that are family and child friendly, Pugs are easy to train and adaptable whether you want a couch potato or a play partner. The folds on their face require regular attention and as a short-nosed breed, they are definitely an indoor dog.
1. Golden Retriever--Goldens have long been a top family dog as they are easy to train, anxious to please, and have a patient nature. Their long coats require brushing, and they can get eczema, especially during the summer months.