Top Family Dog Breeds

I was introduced to my first family dog as a newborn.  His name was Timmy – a Staffie-cross who used to do crazy things like climb walls and run amok on neighbours roofs ( yes this really happened) followed by Lena – a gorgeous fox terrier cross that I chose from the SPCA with my dad when I was five. She was also my first love.

People love dogs and dogs love people. How can you not love dogs? They love you when you are down, they love you when you are up, they are there for you when nobody else is and they are especially there for you when you are cooking a great meal – preferably accompanied by the sweet smell of meat – any meat!  Dogs make amazing family pets and anyone who has seen the movies ‘Beethoven’ or’ Marley and Me’ or has owned dogs will agree that home life is just not the same without these furry creatures. The following are the top family dog breeds:


Labrador Retriever

adorable family labrador retriever puppy

The Labrador Retriever is a big dog that is smart and comes in three varieties – black, blonde or brown. They live up to twelve years and are easily trained. This breed is large with a happy-go-lucky attitude and enthusiastic nature; they also get along very well with other animals – so no reason to call Cesar Milan in to psycho-analyze your dog! They are easy to clean and love water and can spend the whole day with the kids in the pool. They need a lot of exercise and make a wonderful family dog to grow old with. Just remember this dog needs daily walks if you live in an apartment and lots of love and tender care.


Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier running

These little fellas are like jack-in-the boxes, they love to bounce. Well they love to bounce and jump and run and nibble and lick and jump again. It’s really hard to keep up. They live up to sixteen years. They are very friendly, love people and children, love to play and are highly affectionate. They are also easy to clean unless you have the long wire haired variety which takes a bit more effort and time. There may be ‘alpha-male-dog’ issues if there is another male dog in the house but within the family they are loyal and loving and great with kids – and sometimes have more energy than the kids themselves. This breed also needs a lot of exercise and if you don’t have a garden make sure they get daily walks. Watch out for their adorable stubborn temperament.


Standard Poodle

standard poodle family dog

This breed is amongst the most intelligent in the world. They are easily trainable and exceptionally affectionate – in fact they are such a sensitive breed of dog that they suffer from anxiety if not enough loving attention is headed their way. They are also protective dogs.  They live up to twelve years and are lively and playful and fun for the whole family. Their shedding is minimal but they are extremely high maintenance with regards to upkeep. They need to be groomed at least every 3 weeks but can wait up to six weeks for a shaggier look. They come in white, black and brown.


Border Collie

Border Collie standing on grass

The Border Collie is also one of the most intelligent dog breeds on the planet. They live up to 16 years and farmers still use them to this day to help them herd sheep. They are extremely trainable and very loving towards people. They are a really fun dog to take to the park with the children, throw frisbees at – which they will most probably catch and just keep around for good company. It’s important to brush their coat at least every second day as their coats tend to tangle at times. They are also very protective. They can live in hot or cold weather and they also are very sensitive and need a lot of love.


German Shepard

German Shepard dog running

These dogs are exceptionally protective and are often used as guard dogs for the home and the military. They are highly intelligent and exceptionally trainable. They are not very friendly towards strangers or other dogs – so if your plan is to have two dogs try to introduce them to the family at the same time. It’s best to have a female and male as there may be huge ‘alpha-male-dog’ issues and fights. They are very loving and wonderful with children. These are amongst my favourite of dog breeds bringing back sweet memories of playing with them as a little girl in my grandmother’s house.


There are so many dogs out there that need a good, loving home. Before you buy a puppy go to the local SPCA and see if they have any of these breeds that caught your eye. Bring him home and let the whole family fall in love.

If you are ever in the mood for a piece of fiction about a dog and his family I highly recommend the book ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ by W. Bruce Cameron – it takes you on a beautiful journey of the soul of a dog and the families he meets along his soul’s life time – simply exquisite.