Dog Breeds
best family dogs uk

Best Family Dogs UK - Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Families

Written by Steph McCulloch


Getting a dog is a super exciting decision for any family. Is there anything on this Earth that compares to the feeling of bringing home a dog for the first time?
A family and their dog


Getting a dog is a super exciting decision for any family. Is there anything on this Earth that compares to the feeling of bringing home a dog for the first time? The sweet pitter-patter of tiny puppy feet is enough to make any heart swell.

However, understanding what breed fits in with your family and lifestyle is very important before you take the leap. The good news is that we’ve created this guide on the best dog breeds for families so you can decide with confidence.

Picking a breed that suits not only you but the rest of your family is sure to result in a positive experience for everyone. After all, a dog is a shared responsibility which means you might have to scoop poop every now and then, sorry bout it.

Things to consider

If you and your family love dogs but currently don’t have one, you may all feel as though there is a four-legged-shaped hole in your hearts. Did you know that having a family pet can actually improve family bonds and effective communication?

This means that not only do you get to enjoy fluffy cuddles and the sweet smell of puppies but happy times with your family, win-win.

Alternatively, you might decide to rescue an older dog, providing them with a stable and loving home in their senior years of this thing we call life.

Before you make your decision, it’s important to become familiar with the temperament, energy level, size, and possible health conditions of the breed your family favours.

What is temperament?

A child swimming with a dog

Temperament simply refers to the attitude of your dog, are they sassy, quiet, or a mixture of the two? Do they like to sit on your lap or are they happiest when outside alone?

A fancy way of thinking about dog temperament is the innate differences in behaviour that are based on their biology. These behaviours cannot be eliminated or learned but can be influenced in certain instances.

Textbook back on the shelf, temperament just refers to the types of behaviour dogs of certain breeds exhibit. This is very important to consider beforehand as you don’t want to end up with a pooch you and your family aren’t compatible with!

Does size matter?

A family with a small dog

Size is one of the first things to consider when getting a family dog. Whilst a German Shepherd puppy may look like the cutest fluffball you ever did see at eight weeks old, they grow fast and usually up to around 26 inches tall. Wow.

If you have young children, a larger breed may not be a suitable choice as they require a lot of room and space to exercise. If this is your first dog, you may want to opt for smaller breeds for kids as they are generally easier to handle i.e., when pulling on their lead or jumping up.

However, if you live in a more remote area, a larger dog often has innate tendencies to protect the family home which can be reassuring.

Why are health conditions so important?

A young girl and two puppies

Like humans, dogs can get poorly too. This could be by catching a bug or due to a predisposition to certain conditions. This is where researching your breeds for the best family dog comes in handy!

Not every dog lives to the same age. Usually, larger dogs have a shorter life expectancy than their smaller counterparts. Large dogs are also more likely to develop arthritis and hip dysplasia due to their big joints and bones.

On the other hand, smaller dogs are likely to suffer from temperature sensitivity and IVDD - a nasty disease where discs in the spine rupture or herniate leading to pain walking or even total paralysis.

Top 10 Dogs for Families

So, now we’ve gotten all that out of the way, let's take a look at the best family dogs UK.


A beagle

Beagles have been a popular family dog breed for decades and for very good reason. Beagles are lovely little dogs that have an acceptant nature meaning they’re lovable and tolerant, especially around children.

They make great pets due to their small size and affectionate character.

Welsh Corgi

A happy corgi

Adored by the Royal Family for decades, Corgis have certainly earned their place in the best family pets category.

Loyal and affectionate, these tiny cuties have oodles of energy making them the perfect addition for children who love to play.


A black labrador

We’ve all seen Marley & Me, right? These lovable and mischievous dogs have huge personalities perfect for family life. Labradors also love to build unique bonds with each family member meaning they’ll fit right into your pack.

Great, we’re crying again. Can someone pass us the tissues?

Golden Retriever

A golden retriever in a field

One of the most popular breeds and a great addition to any active family is the Golden Retriever. With oodles of energy, these dogs are easy to train and have a calming nature but need plenty of exercise. Regular walks and taking advantage of their sweet nature are key with golden retrievers.

One of our founders, Ross, and his beloved Golden Retriever, Sailor, have been best buds since day one and it’s not hard to see why!


A close up of a pug

Looking for a small dog who is social and playful? The Pug may be just the dog for you and your family!

These little companions have excellent temperaments with a sweet disposition and are great around children.

If you get more than one Pug, you earn the right to call your group - drum roll please - a grumble! A grumble refers to two or more Pugs, awww.

French Bulldog

A french bulldog in a field

These small but sturdy dogs are unique and often hilarious, quite literally epitomising the meaning of small dog, big personality.

With their huge ears and playful energy, it’s not hard to see why the French Bulldog has gained such popularity in recent years.


a collie dog

A true favourite for the dog lovers of the world, the Collie is gentle and family-orientated, though they can’t help you with the dishes or laundry.

Known for their top herding abilities and protection, Collies make great dogs for kids and are quite truly an all-rounder cementing them firmly in the list of best family dogs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the best dog breeds for families due to their extreme friendliness and easygoing nature.

Often excited to see total strangers, the King Charles Spaniel tends to get on well with other dogs and children - a true companion of the animal world.

The King Charles Spaniel has a medium activity level so one walk a day is fine, making them one of the more popular dog breeds and a perfect match for busy families.

Bichon Frise

a Bichon fries

If you’re looking for a cloud on legs, you’ve come to the right place. The Bichon Frise is a great choice for any first-time owner. Gentle and friendly, they adapt to home environments with ease.

The Bichon Frise is hypoallergenic, meaning they’re less likely to cause an allergic reaction too! This hypoallergenic coat makes them perfect for kids with allergies.


A labradoodle surrounded by autumn leaves

A cross between two of the most well-loved breeds; Labrador and Poodle. Labradoodles are high-energy and kind dogs making them the perfect choice for families who are fans of long walks and hours of playtime!

Though they grow to quite a large size, they are gentle giants so cuddling up to them is like receiving a hug from a real-life teddy bear. A truly loveable breed.


Deciding on the right breed for your new family dog isn’t a decision to make lightly!

However, we hope that by reading our top 10 list of best family dogs you’ll feel a lot more confident in choosing your new furry friend.

Remember, temperament, size, and health conditions are the most important factors. We all want a dog which has patience with children and is a loyal breed.

Understanding your chosen dog breed beforehand can help you to decide if they’re likely to be a good fit and the best family dog for you.

Looking for more breed information? Check out our other guides such as dogs that don’t shedCavapoos vs Cockapoos, and the list of top Spaniel breeds.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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