When you’re searching for a new dog, most of your criteria is emotional — does he like me? Do I like him? Does it feel right?
Sometimes — and you hear about this a lot — it’s magic. He runs over to you and your son, like he’s lived with you guys all her life. Perfect.
But it doesn’t always work that way! You might end up spending months looking for your soul mate.
Totally worth it, by the way.
This is one decision you don’t want to rush. Especially if you have kids running around and you are looking for a larger dog.
To bring the right dog into your family, you first need to evaluate what kind of family you have.
Are you guys outdoorsy? Always doing stuff? Are your kids really rambunctious and rowdy, or more introverted and laid back?
Are aesthetics important to you, or not so much? (For your dog, not your kids. Haha.)
What kind of dog life do you want? How much space do you have? Are you willing to take care of a dog with special grooming or exercise needs?
Below are some of the most popular breeds for families with kids. Whichever breed you decide on, it’ll be much easier to integrate her into the family if you’re well prepared. Pick up plenty of treats for training, and any other accessories you need, like leashes, car mats, and so forth.
High Energy Breeds
Golden Retrievers and Labs
These dogs are generally even-tempered, intelligent, and easy to train. And yes — they are two different breeds. They’re like… dog cousins.
Retrievers and labs have lots of energy, especially as puppies, and require daily activity to keep them happy.
They’re very social and will easily adopt all family members as part of their pack. Goldens are famous for their beautiful, flowing coats (which means they also shed a lot), while labs have shorter hair and tend to shed less.
Brittanys are especially athletic, and need continuous activity.
They’re easy to train, love to have fun, and have short hair. Plus they’re adorable.
They don’t like being left alone for long periods of time, though. They like large families and appreciate constant companionship.
Photo: Natalie Siebers
Also referred to as a Hungarian pointer, Vizsla are well suited for older kids, and love to be outside as often as possible. They’re hunters by nature, so a mixture of on- and off-leash activity is best.
Vizslas are affectionate, sensitive, and loyal, and easy to train relative to other breeds. They learn quickly and form close bonds with others. This is a short-haired breed.
They don’t love being left alone for long periods of time.
Calmer, Quieter Breeds
Photo: Instagram @northwestmommy
Gentle, kind, and patient, the Newfoundland is great for a family with some space (and a good vacuum:).
This is a very intelligent breed. They are generally wonderful with children and are very protective of them. Despite all the insulating hair, this breed shouldn’t live outside – they just want to be inside and spend time with the family.
These buddies are known as gentle giants, especially around children. They require socialization, but once that’s done, they’re often sweet and friendly to everyone.
Training is essential with every dog, but especially Saint Bernards. They are sometimes used as work dogs, but they’re better known for being laid back and sleeping a lot.
Bringing a new family member into the mix is always going to be an adjustment. The better informed and prepared you can be, the better. So do lots of research and talk to experts.
But when you find the right fit?
It is magic.