The benefits of owning a dog have been established for decades. It all boils down to the fact that canines make people happy and keep them healthier. For kids, puppies are a source of unconditional love and help them develop a sense of responsibility.
But you have to pick the right breed. An active person may not do well with a dog that prefers to sleep, and a person who prefers to stay inside will not likely do well with a dog that is a ball of endless energy and loves to play outdoors.
So how do you decide who your child’s best four-legged friend will be for the next decade or so? It takes more than looking into a puppy’s eyes and falling in love with it. You may also want to consider how long a dog is expected to live. The American Kennel Club recognizes almost 200 official dog breeds. With so many options, choosing just one becomes a tricky and emotional journey.
You have to think about the type of family you are, including how much time you spend outside your home, as well as temperament. Whether you live in a small apartment or a house with a big yard also plays a role, as does the age of your kids.
Some important questions you should ask before taking home a dog include whether the breed is safe for everyone in the family (some love to hang out with the entire family, while others prefer just adults) and what is the dog’s exercise needs (some may need a lot of daily activities, while other are OK with a few days a week).
To create a list of the best family-friendly dogs to own, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed online sources focused on dog and pet care, such as the American Kennel Club, PetMD, VetStreet, and DogTime.