It’s easy to see why people say the dog is man’s best friend: A dog can completely transform family dynamics. Everyone develops their own special relationship with the pet and in return often receives unconditional love. Dogs have a way of lightening the mood with their antics. Kids learn responsibility, through feeding, walking, and helping to care for them. Those that are skilled watchdogs create an extra layer of security to make you feel safer at home.
All dogs aren’t created equal, though; some are better suited for children than others. Stacker compiled its list using data from the American Kennel Club’s Best Family Dogs list and considered breeds that were in the Top 200 most popular breeds in 2017. In addition, criteria such as friendliness, trainability, temperament toward other dogs, gentleness with children, and of course, cuteness, were other factors considered.
Here are the 16 best breeds to welcome into your home and make a part of the family.
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2017 popularity rank: #181
The massive mane on a Bergamasco sheepdog is a marvel. These dogs are chill, ideal for kids, and low maintenance. Don’t look for these sociable canines to start fights with others on the dog trail, but they are smart enough to protect you when needed. The good news, too, is that you only have to bathe them one to three times a year, according to the Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America.
2017 popularity rank: #144
When it comes to loyalty, the Icelandic sheepdog is likely to be your kids’ best friend. If you’re looking for a dog that will make you feel like you’re a king or queen, look no further. They are known for the special kind of tail-wagging gleeful greeting that is hard to resist. They’ll help get your kids from behind their computer screens, as Icelandic sheepdogs are energetic and crave outdoor fun.
2017 popularity rank: #125
Friendly, fun-loving bearded collies will always be ready to play, no matter the weather. They are so friendly they may not do much for scaring away burglars, but they surprisingly do have a mighty bark. You’ll love the fact that bearded collies have a reputation for "herding” children to safety.
2017 popularity rank: #118
The American Eskimo dog will kill you with cuteness: They have a sweet face and an angelic white, fluffy coat. They love to be smack dab in the middle of family activities. Eskies, as they are nicknamed, are so friendly they likely will be pals with the household cat. They’re also entertaining; some owners of these pets will tell you their dog "talks” to them.
2017 popularity rank: #94
Brussels griffons are around 10 pounds of charm. Something about these dogs will likely make you laugh. They are full of personality, are ever confident, and can exhibit a bit of a strut. They’re ideal for families with older children, as they are bold and up for mischief.
2017 popularity rank: #83
The American Staffordshire terrier is the breed of dog you may recall from watching Pete the Pup in the "Our Gang” comedies. While AmStaffs, as they can be known, are gentle with children, they can show their swagger with other dogs. You’ll need to do some training to keep him or her a member of the well-behaved club.
2017 popularity rank: #59
You want to get it right with an Alaskan Malamute from the outset. From the early days of puppydom, lay down the law to make it clear you’re the boss. Otherwise, the dog may think he or she can run the house. These dogs can be tough to fence in, as they are excellent diggers and climbers. Gain their respect and you’ve got an ideal family pet who will show you a good time.
2017 popularity rank: #55
This dog is known as the "king of terriers” because it is the largest of the terriers. Despite the size, it is still friendly, calm, and aims to please, according to the Airedale Terrier Club of America. The organization recommends you enroll your dog to "puppy or kindergarten classes.” The Airedale is a sweetie pie at heart, but don’t mistake him or her for a wimp: They will bark for just cause.
2017 popularity rank: #41
If you’re not up for an independent dog who wants what he or she wants, forget about a Rhodesian ridgeback. These dogs hail from South Africa and chase lions, making them great companions for active families. According to Animal Planet, they can give a horse a run for its money for 30 miles. Word is, they’re also immune to bug bites.
2017 popularity rank: #36
The Newfoundland is so big it’s reminiscent of a bear. But this gentle giant is beloved and called a "nanny dog” because it will watch children better than some babysitters. They are known for being calm, patient, and good not only with children, but other animals and strangers. Newfies aren’t big on barking, but they will do so when it’s called for. They also love swimming. One thing to note: they can be challenging to train.
2017 popularity rank: #31
Pugs are beloved for an expressive face that gets right to your heart. They are affectionate, and love kids and other dogs. Pugs are peaceable, laid back, and typically don’t go overboard with barking and chewing. They do, however, snore.
2017 popularity rank: #25
Bernese Mountain dogs can be sedate, but with a little nudging they’re down for play. They are friendly and amenable to training. Understand that with the dog’s size and energy, you could be challenged at times to keep up with your Berner. Their loud bark makes them ideal watchdogs.
2017 popularity rank: #6
Beagles are one of the most-favored hounds among American pet owners, according to the American Kennel Club. Those loving eyes suck you right in and the dogs tend to be particularly cuddly and loving. They are ideal for families as they are high energy and entertaining, and they like to play. Be sure you and your family have time to show your beagle the attention he or she craves and needs.
2017 popularity rank: #4
Maybe it’s the large bat ears or the face of a deep-thinking old man, but French bulldogs are among the most popular small-breed dogs in the world, according to the American Kennel Club. These dogs are fond of other dogs, so be prepared for the flirting and clowning around they will do with their furry friends. Don’t be jealous because they’ll shower you with affection, too. In fact, be ready to have an additional shadow as they love to follow you around.