If you’re thinking of getting the first dog for your family, the right breed is of huge importance. You’ll want a happy and healthy dog that will be good with children.
To an extent, the right match for your family will be dictated by your home and lifestyle, which should suit the dog’s needs. For instance, some dogs need hours of walks a day. Equally, for larger and more active dogs, it’s important to have enough room at home to accommodate them.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to the breeds that fit your lifestyle it’s important to remember that you’ll have to do some of the work to nurture and train your dog to make sure it becomes and happy and healthy member of your family.
Getting a dog can be rewarding and valuable for families. When children grow up with dogs, it helps nurture their responsibility and compassion. It’s also likely to help prevent any nerves or hang-ups they may have about animals when they get older.
To find out more about introducing a dog to your children, read about how to socialise your dog here.
When thinking about getting a dog it’s also worth considering pet insurance, which can cover expensive vet bills. Find out about our award-winning pet insurance.
If you’re thinking of growing your family with an additional four-pawed member, here are some of the best breeds to consider – in order of ascending average size.
This toy breed packs ample personality for its diminutive size. And when you look into their big, expressive eyes, you’ll swear the Griff is almost human. While they’re a bit small for rough play, they thrive on mental stimulation.
The Brussels Griffon can live happily in a flat or smaller property. But be aware that, despite their size, they need a good, long walk every day.
With their scrunched yet adorable faces, the friendly pug is instantly recognisable. And if you like to lounge, you’re in luck – they’re big fans of sleeping and eating. They have a special affinity with children and don’t need a massive back garden.
Pugs are famously mischievous, which can be good or bad, depending on your point of view. You also need to watch their diet. But you’re likely to end up great pals.
If you’re after a small, low-maintenance dog, the French Bulldog could be a good option. This bat-eared buddy is playful, responds well to training, and isn’t too barky.
A laid-back breed, Frenchies don’t need a huge amount of exercise. As such, they’re a good companion for families with younger children. Equally, if you live in the city and don’t have a huge amount of space, this breed doesn’t need a vast amount of room.
Find out more about insuring your French Bulldog here.
Collies are a loyal breed, and great with children. They’re active and need a couple of good bouts of walking and exercise a day – but while at home, they’re happy to chill.
Collies are among the smartest dogs, so it’s important to keep them occupied mentally too. If you think your children will benefit from teaching your dog tricks or setting them tasks, then the Collie is a great breed to consider.
One of the most popular breeds worldwide, the Labrador Retriever is the best-loved dog in the UK. And it’s easy to see why. The loyal lab is an instant best friend and they are likely to adore and be adored by the whole family.
They’re also a lot of work. Most labs will need a few hours of high-quality exercise per day. In addition to frequent walking, swimming will help them burn off that energy. Playing an epic game of fetch is also a sure-fire winner.
Find out more about insuring your Labrador Retriever here.
If you have an energetic family, then you may well be complemented by the Irish Setter’s get-up-and-go attitude. These dogs are as affectionate as they are majestic, and love to spend time outdoors. They’re also eager to please, and eminently trainable.
If you’re considering getting an Irish Setter, it’s important to have plenty of room and time for boundless exercise. They also need regular mental stimulation.
Bernese Mountain Dog
While the Bernese Mountain Dog may be a big, powerful breed, its size belies its sweet nature. Great with small children, the Bernese truly is a gentle giant. While generally laid-back, they do enjoy a good frolic too.
Obviously, with their size comes the need for space. Plus, the downside of that lovely, shaggy coat is that it’ll shed everywhere.
The big-boned Newfie is sometimes known as the ‘nanny dog’, due to being patient and watchful. And their sweet temperament makes them the ideal family dog.
The Newfoundland is going to need a big car to carry it around, and plenty of room for romping. They’re also a bit on the slobbery side. But they’re devoted, seldom bark, and love people.
Other family dog tips
Sarah James – our Veterinary Relationship & Technical Claims Manager – has some useful things to bear in mind before committing to a new family dog.
“Think about your current lifestyle and hobbies. If you’re people that have an active lifestyle, go out every weekend, are into hiking and so on, you’ll want a dog that can keep up.
“Likewise, if you like spending time on the water, then look into a dog that’s OK being in and around water.
“Also, think about the size of the dog compared to your home and your car. You’ll need something with enough room to transport it, so it’s worth thinking about that before you get a dog – rather than finding out your car’s not big enough when it’s too late.”
You can read more about how to choose the right breed for you here.