Although different families have different needs, poodles, Labradors and golden retrievers often make excellent family pets. Adult mixed-breed dogs from shelters are also a good choice for many families.
Other popular family dogs are beagles, Irish setters and bulldogs. Bulldogs may be more suitable for less active families or younger children. Herding dogs, such as collies, can be good family dogs too, but they need to be raised very carefully. Puppies often instinctively try to herd children, and this can escalate to nipping or other dangerous behavior if their owners do not correct it immediately.
Families need to choose dogs with good temperaments and an appropriate activity level. Retrievers are often a popular choice because they are usually friendly, energetic and trainable. Standard poodles may be more aloof but are also smart and active.
Shelter dogs can be a safe choice because shelters generally test dogs for temperament and suitability. This lets the family choose an appropriate dog for their needs and may be more reliable than buying a puppy. Families that do buy puppies need to select the breeder very carefully to make sure the dog is healthy and has a good temperament.
Due to the work and time involved in raising a puppy, they may be more suitable for homes with slightly older children. Young children are also more likely to accidentally hurt or scare the puppy by playing too roughly, so they need to be carefully supervised during interactions.