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Best Family Dogs

Best Family Dogs

While there are certain breeds of dog that come to mind when you first think of adding a furry friend to your family there may be some that you haven't thought of. Today our Crystal Lake vets share some of the best family-friendly dog breeds and what to consider when making your choice.

What to Look For in a Family Dog

When it comes to picking the best dog breed for your family there are a few important factors to consider.

No matter what breed of dog you are considering, our Companion Animal Hospital vets offer 3 of the top things to think about when you are picking out your new pup:

Temperament: The temperament of the dog is an important factor. This dog will be spending time around your children after all so a calmer demeanor is ideal.

Size: While size on its own is not really a deciding factor on whether or not a dog is good with children and families, certain breeds of certain sizes can have particular temperaments. On top of that, you will also want to be sure that the dog you choose fits the space that you have.

Energy level: The ideal energy level will depend on what your family can manage. If you want a dog that likes to lounge around with you all day then you should avoid higher-energy dogs such as Irish Setters. If you are unable to keep a high-energy dog entertained they could become bored and behavioral issues may occur.

Set Up a Visit With the Pup

The vets at our pet hospital recommend setting up a visit with your potential choice so you can get an idea of how the pup responds to each member of your family and observe it in an environment that it is comfortable in.

Keep a close eye on their behavior during this visit to watch for any possible signs of fear or possessiveness that could lead to issues or dangerous situations for your family.

Questions to Ask About the Dog You've Chosen

While you are visiting with the dog you can also take this time to ask the facility staff or breeder some questions about the dog and its preferences and needs. 

  • Will the dog be okay with all members of your family including small children?
  • What are the energy level and exercise needs of the dog?
  • Does the dog have any specific care needs?
  • What is the age of the dog? Are there any age-specific concerns?
  • How does the dog behave when around other pets?

What are some of the best dog breeds for a family?

Here, the vets at our animal hospital in Crystal Lake share some of our top picks for family dog breeds:

English Bulldog

English bulldogs weigh in at about 50-55 lbs and tend to be less energetic than many other dog breeds, making them suitable for apartments and smaller homes. These people-loving pups seek out social interactions with their family and are happy to just cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie and relax. English bulldogs are a sweet, gentle, and dependable breed that can make excellent family pets.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

At about 10-18 lbs, the compact size of this lively but gentle breed makes it the dog for smaller homes or apartments. Cavaliers tend to get along well with kids and other dogs. They can be both playful and cuddly making this sweet-natured pooch and a great pet for kids of many ages and energy levels.

Boston Terrier

Weighing in at about 25 pounds or less, these people-loving bundles of fun come with their own easy-to-care-for "tuxedo" coats. Happy to play with the kids and go for short walks, this charming dog breed adapts well to apartment living and makes a great companion for children of all ages.

Irish Setter

A slightly larger breed to consider is the strikingly beautiful Irish setter. This breed typically weighs in at around 65 lbs and can make a great family pet. These dogs are lively, intelligent, and have a great sense of mischief. Irish Setters love to chase balls, and go for long runs, but also enjoy playing in the backyard with children. If you have high-energy kids, they will love spending time with an Irish Setter!


The Beagle is one of the best medium-sized dogs for family life. This mid-sized pooch typically weighs in at between 18-30 lbs and adores spending time with its people, playing games, and going for walks. Beagles are smart and loving dogs that can make terrific family pets provided that they get plenty of family interaction and exercise. Beagles are not appropriate for families who are out of the house a lot. 


Your family will love these adorable little characters! Pugs are pretty happy to just eat and sleep. If your children are small, or lower energy and would appreciate a dog that will play with them indoors then curl up beside them to watch tv, A pug may be just the right breed for your family. Weighing around 15 lbs, this is a breed that doesn't need much space and only requires a couple of short walks each day to be content.

The Mutt

The ideal dog for your family may be patiently waiting for you at the local animal shelter. Mixed-breed Mutts can make loving and loyal family dogs! These dogs can be as good with children as purebred dogs. Mutts also tend to be less susceptible to genetic diseases, and less expensive. If you are considering a mutt for your family be sure to take your time to visit local animal shelters and be patient in your search for the right dog to fit in with your family life. Often shelter workers can provide you with a doggie report card that lays out all of the known personality quirks of the pooch you're interested in. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Don't forget to schedule routine care for your new furry friend with your primary vet. If your new dog is experiencing a veterinary emergency please contact our vets in Crystal Lake right away.

New Patients Welcome

Companion Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital is accepting new patients! Our specialists and experienced emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to animal companions in Crystal Lake.

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