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Best Dog Breeds for Families

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After years of whining, cajoling and letter writing to Santa, you’re finally bringing home a puppy for the family. Yet just like every puppy is a unique being, every family makeup varies.

retriever-puppyBefore you head to a breeder or an animal shelter, take into consideration a few questions. Although one dog may be great overall for families, they may not be perfect for your family. How much will you and your kids be able to walk the dog? How much exercise will they get? What are their grooming requirements? Do they need a special diet for their size or age? What’s their temperament generally like? How well can they be trained?

For the most part, dog breeds that are more easily trained are more eager to please and tend to be more family oriented. The same goes for dogs in the sporting group, who want to work with humans and take direction. If properly socialized, all dogs will be fine with children, but they need to be properly trained.

Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers still remain among the most popular breeds, as they’re easy to train (they’re often used as service dogs) and love to please. They’re playful, protective and reliable, with an abundance of patience and high energy that is bound to be a match made in heaven for you and your family. Get ready to teach them new tricks, because they learn quick! Goldens, however, have a shorter life span – about 10 to 12 years – particularly compared to the Irish Setter, which will live to around 12 to 15 years. In fact, if you own a fairly large yard, Irish Setters are a wonderful alternative to Retrievers, as they’re just as playful and active.

Small dogs are not as great for small children, as they are more likely to suffer unintended consequences of play. If your child steps on the foot of a Chihuahua, for example, the dog could be injured, potentially even reacting violently by biting. As a result, larger dogs are a better choice because they’re more durable. If your kids are rambunctious, a bulldog is perfect – they’re so sturdy, they can take anything a kid throws at them. They’re also ideal for small and large living spaces.

Collies have a long coat, which will require a lot of maintenance, but beyond that they’re easy to train and love to help. Remember Lassie? It’s not that far off that they would help remind you that you’ve left your keys behind with a bark. If you don’t care much about brushing and bathing maintenance, beagles are another excellent option. They’re friendly and energetic, to the point where your kids will wear out before they do. The same goes for the equally lively and intelligent bull terrier (think Spud McKenzie) that can handle roughhousing.

And of course, there are mutts – go to your local shelter and rescue a mixed breed dog. What you want is a dog that has the same energy level as your family. Terriers, retrievers and bigger dogs are all good choices.

Now that you know which dogs are universally considered great for families, make sure they’re well taken care of by finding the best deals on dog medications.

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