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Recommended Child’s Age: 4+

Lifespan of Pet: 10 – 15 yrs.

Required Care: Medium

Pet Interaction: Highly Social

Costs: Medium to High


About Dogs

Dogs are one of the most popular family pets, and it’s no wonder with their cute faces, fun personalities, and loving loyalty. However there are many things to consider when getting a dog as all breeds are not created equal. Some of the things you will want to think about are:

  • Size – Dogs can range from a few pounds to a couple hundred pounds.
  • Temperament – Dogs have different general attitudes and characteristics, often categorized by breed.
  • Activity Level – Dogs need plenty of exercise in addition to being walked regularly but some are even more hyperactive than others.
  • Health – Most dogs are predisposed to various health conditions, but many are generally healthy, its important to understand the common health concerns for the breed you are considering.
  • Training Ability – Most dogs are smart, but some are easier to train than others.
  • Grooming – As with many factors, grooming depends on the breed. For example long haired dogs will need constant grooming and may shed frequently, and dogs with saggy skin around the jaws will need constant cleaning to remove build up and prevent infection.

General Considerations and Responsibilities

Dogs can also be a lot of work. They need constant attention, eat a lot of food, must be taken to a vet regularly, and will need arrangements made whenever someone cannot be home to care for them. This not only includes vacation, but also typical work and school days.

Dogs are smart, and it is easy to think they won’t need much training. However, all dogs need to be trained or they will use those smarts to get into trouble. They also need regular exercise or they will focus all their extra energy running around your house, especially puppies.

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When getting your new puppy, it is important to gauge how comfortable your kid(s) are around dogs first. Then, be sure to check with the current owner, or shelter about a dogs temperament and personality when you find a dog you’re interested in. It can be helpful to ask to take the dog for a walk around the owners property to see it in a more natural state. This allows your kids to interact with is and see how the dog’s energy level matches that of your family. Check out our article on Adopting a Dog.

Some Common Family Dog Breeds

Labrador Retriever
Labradors are one of the top choices for family pets. They are a medium to large breed and can typically weigh between 55-80 lbs. They tend to be very well tempered, affectionate and great for families. They can constantly be seen wagging their tails and are known to be some of the cutest puppies. They typically love water and are good swimmers. The lab needs lots of exercise and space to run.

Golden Retrievers
Like Lab’s, Golden Retrievers are known for being easy to train, adaptable, friendly, and playful. They get along well with children, and tend to be great with other pets as well. They are water dogs by nature, and their soft coat is water proof. They are a medium sized breed and as their name states, Retrievers are great at retrieving things, and love to play ball. As much as they love putting things in their mouth, they have a surprisingly soft grip and it’s said that they can carry an egg without breaking it.

Poodles are also great with children, and tend to be easy to train as they are very intelligent.They are very lively and may tend to bark more than some other breeds. They can be found in varying sizes from small to large and in a variety of colors.They have many similar characteristics to retrievers and can also be water dogs. Their coat is thick and curly and they do not shed as often as many other dogs making them a better choice for kids with potential allergies.

Boxers are one of the most popular American breeds. They are a medium sized playful dog with short hair. They are a strong breed and loyal breed making them great watchdogs. They have a higher activity level and a little stubbornness making them fun for families but requiring additional exercise and training to keep them from getting into mischief.

English Spaniels
English Cocker and Springer Spaniels are smart, energetic and good with kids. They are on the smaller side of a medium breed with medium to long hair that is water resistant and needs regular grooming.They can be hyper and bark often when excited, but they are also gentle, quick to learn and often well behaved with children and other pets.

Mutts and Mixes
Mixed breeds are often the best of both worlds combining multiple breed personalities they tend to be well balanced. If you look back in history, even purebreds were mixed as some point to form the breed. Research suggests that mixed breeds are also less disposed to genetic health problems and disorders and therefor may tend to be healthier than purebreds.

Great Dog Resources

  • Cesar Millan Dog Whisperer – Cesar is the dog master, and this site has tons of great tips on finding, understanding, and especially training for that perfect pet.
  • Next Day Pets Dog Breeds – A great easy to scan listing of many dog breeds with some additional information including a Q&A section and pictures.
  • Terrific Pets Dog Breeds – Another great site filled with lots of information about dog breeds including pictures, and history, grooming, temperament, exercise and training.