Family dog breeds
Are you looking for a friendly and gentle playmate for the kids? Family-friendly dog breeds have been steadfastly loving and caring for their human pack for generations, and today there more choices than ever when it comes to choosing the right breed for your family.
To make it easy for you, we have put together a list of family dog breeds in Australia that are regarded as suitable for children of all ages. We’ve excluded many of the tiniest breeds as they are just too fragile for young kids to play with, as well as the very big breeds which can accidently knock over and injure small children. However, many of the breeds we haven’t included may be well-suited to families with older kids.
Before bringing a new member into your family, it’s important to do your research and make sure they are a good match for your lifestyle. Learn more about each breed’s history, temperament, common breed diseases and conditions and lots of other interesting facts to guide you to choose the right family dog for you and your family!
If you’re interested in looking at the most popular breeds for families, see Top 10 Dog Breeds For Families.
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Australian Cobberdogs are loving and highly intelligent dogs that descend from the original Labradoodles. They work as therapy and assistance dogs.
The Basset Hound is a medium-sized domesticated dog with short, muscular legs and a pair of long drooping ears.
Beagles are famously gentle, even-tempered small to medium size dogs that are very popular with families. They are very social, love kids and make great companions.
Beagliers are cute, smart and energetic small to medium size dogs that are ideal for families with kids. They are highly trainable, love people and make great companions.
The Bichon Frise (or simply “Bichon”) is a small, sturdy dog famous for its curly, fluffy white coat. They were popular in France as performing dogs and companion dogs.
Border Terriers are good natured and energetic small sized dogs that love to hunt and dig. They have a have a scruffy, wiry coat that gives them a cute, ‘junkyard dog’ appearance.
The Boston Terrier is an American breed of domesticated dog, small to medium-sized with a muscular and heavy-set appearance similar to the English terrier breeds.
The Boxer is a medium-sized domesticated dog with a very muscular and stocky build, short shiny coat and a long powerful tail.
The English Bulldog is iconic for its wide-set frame, muscular physic and compact stubby legs.
Cairn Terriers are cute, scruffy looking small size dogs with loads of energy and personality. Best known as the dog in The Wizard of Oz, they love being part of the family and being busy and active.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgis, affectionately known as ‘Cardis’, are named for Cardiganshire in southwest Wales, an area of rough, rocky terrain and they were bred to work with farmers to herd cattle and guard the farm.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are toy dogs with a kind and loving nature. They are wonderful companions and are very popular with families and the elderly.
Cavoodles are cute, smart and energetic small to medium size dogs that are very popular with families. They are highly trainable, love people and make great companions.
Cocker Spaniels are affectionate, loyal and energetic medium-sized dogs with distinctively large ears. Great with children, the elderly and other pets, they make fantastic family dogs.
Rough Collies, also known as Long-Haired Collies, are a medium-large sized dog that were originally bred for herding.
The English Pointer (or simply “Pointer”) is a large breed of dog originally bred as a gun dog. They are one of the oldest breeds in England, dating back over 3 centuries.
Affectionately called the ‘Field’, she bears a familial resemblance to Cocker, Springer, and Sussex Spaniels. She has a well-balanced, upright carriage, a docile, unassuming attitude and an intelligent expression.
French Bulldogs are cute and energetic small to medium size dogs that are very popular due to their unique appearance and clownish, good-spirited behaviour.
Golden Retrievers are smart and friendly large-sized dogs that are very popular with families. They are highly trainable, love people and make great companions.
Groodles are intelligent and energetic large sized dogs that are very popular with families. They are highly trainable, love being involved with people and make great companions.
The Havanese is a small toy breed of domesticated dog. It has a thick coat of either long and straight or curly fur, ears that droop to the side of its face, and a great deal of personality.
The Irish Terrier is a medium-sized dog and one of the oldest breeds of terrier. This handsome bearded dog is active and adaptable, suitable for life both in the country and in the city.
The Keeshond, or ‘Kees’ to those on more affectionate terms with the breed, is a beautiful, eye-catching dog that is most recognisable by its long, heavy coat.
Labradoodles are friendly, affectionate, intelligent and energetic large sized dogs that are very popular with families. They are highly trainable, love people and make great companions.
Labradors are sociable, intelligent and energetic large size dogs that are extremely popular with families. They are highly trainable, love people and make great companions and assistance dogs.
Maltese Shih Tzu
These are cute, friendly and outgoing toy size dogs that are one of the most popular cross breeds in Australia. They are highly trainable, love people of all ages and make great companions.
Miniature Poodles are highly intelligent, cute and energetic small sized dogs that are very popular with families. They are highly trainable, love people and crave companionship.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a popular small dog with a huge personality and loads of energy.
Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog (OES) is a large breed of dog known for its long, shaggy coat. Originally bred to herd sheep and cattle, the modern OES is a very popular pet who adapts well to home life.
Pugs are cute, small size dogs that are suited to a wide range of owners, including families with young children and the elderly. They are are well suited to apartments and small homes and make great companions.
The Schnauzer is a medium-size dog of German heritage whose popularity led to the development of two more breeds – the Miniature Schnauzer and the Giant Schnauzer.
The Schnoodle is a cross between a Schnauzer and a Poodle, bred to combine the Poodle’s eagerness with the sturdiness of the Schnauzer.
Shih Tzus are cute, toy sized dogs that are popular amongst older adults and those living in smaller households. Loyal, playful and very affectionate, they make great companions.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier (simply referred to as “Wheaten Terrier” or “Wheaten”) is a medium-sized breed with a distinctive silky coat.
The Spoodle is a low-shedding hybrid breed that comes from crossing the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. Intelligent and loving, they are popular with families.
The Springer Spaniel, also known as the English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized gun dog, originally developed for the flushing-out and retrieval of game.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also known as an English Staffy, is an English terrier. Breeders originally the English Staffy from the English Bulldog and a number of Old English Terrier breeds resulting in a very muscular, tenacious and loyal animal.
The Standard Poodle is a large and lively dog, known for its thick, tightly curled coat, high intelligence and enthusiastic nature.
The Welsh Terrier (a.k.a. Welshie) is a small-medium dog similar in appearance to the Airedale Terrier and some claim it is the oldest breed native to the UK in existence today.
The Whippet is a medium-sized domesticated dog of the sighthound type. Lean, long-limbed with a short coat and highly athletic, it is often mistaken for its cousin the Greyhound.