Best Family Dog in Australia
In Australia, it's no secret that we love our dogs! The 2019 Pet Ownership Report from Animal Medicines Australia showed that around 45% of Aussie homes had at least one dog as part of their family!
So if you're looking to bring a pup into your home, we've got you covered. We gathered all the information you need and the questions to ask yourself to make up your mind!
We're going to break down some of the breeds that Aussies love the most, and the best suited breeds for the most common Australian lifestyles.
What is a good family dog in Australia?
Before diving into the dog breeds and cute pictures of dogs, it's essential to understand what to look for when considering adopting a dog and what a 'good family dog' means to you.
- Your Family
Your family dynamic is unique to you! So a good family dog will change from family to family. Your family might include small children, older adults, teenagers, or other pets.
If you have small children, an ideal family dog would be a patient dog that isn't likely to snap at them if they tug the dog's ears or tail.
If you live with older adults or someone with a disability, a pup that likes to run around and isn't mindful of their surroundings is generally not ideal!
- Time and Cost
Also, consider how much time and energy you and your family can dedicate to training, walking and bonding with your pup. And the costs associated with desexing, vaccination, obedience school, pet insurance and making your pup feel at home in your home.
Larger dog breeds need bigger beds and more space to run around and play. While smaller, toy-sized breeds can be happy running around the house.
Some dog breeds value their own space where they can hide away from the hustle of the household. Other dogs want to stay with you at all times of the day.
Research the common traits and temperament of the breed you're interested in getting and see if they would suit the dynamic of your family and space.
Staffies are gentle & great for growing families
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (also known as 'Staffies') are well-known for their affinity with children and their playful yet gentle nature. Making them ideal for families and households with young children. Staffies are friendly and tolerant and love to play. They love to be around people and get involved with any activity, making them perfect for households with older kids.
Staffies have a slight stubborn streak to their personality, so Staffie owners need to be prepared to commit to plenty of training.
And because they like to be with their family so much, they can suffer from separation anxiety if they aren't accustomed to being by themselves when the household members leave for work and school. They're a fantastic breed.
Just be sure that you can commit to the training and be ready to give them lots of love.
Cavoodles are low-allergy & full of love
A mix between a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and a Poodle, Cavoodles are perfect for those looking for a small, fluffy bundle of love that will adore you. They're low shedding, so they're a good option for allergy-prone families and families that like to keep the dog hair on the furniture to a minimum. Their temperament is laid-back, intelligent and loyal, and although they can be lively, they're perfectly content lounging around with their owners. Making them a wonderful choice for families with young children and older relatives.
They're known to make good watchdogs, often barking at new people. But they are considered relatively easy to train when training is done early and with plenty of patience. They don't like being away from their families, so Cavoodles can be prone to separation anxiety. If you're away from home a lot, they may not be suitable for you.
They don't shed, but Cavoodles need to be brushed weekly and, like many smaller breeds, can be prone to skin issues, so keep this in mind.
Maltese Shih Tzu’s are loyal lap dogs & great with kids
A cross between the Maltese and the Shih Tzu, these are some of the most popular dogs in Australia for families and children, and for good reason. Loyal, loving and low-allergy, they're affectionate and perfect lap dogs, making them popular for families with young children. Their gentle nature means that it's easy to get the kids involved in training, and they're also relatively low maintenance and easy to train.
They tend to drool and can be difficult to groom, often getting grass tangled in their soft fur, so it's important to maintain their daily hygiene.
However, it would be an excellent opportunity to teach children about caring for a pet's needs, but be sure that the family is ready to commit to a regular grooming schedule to keep these dogs healthy and happy.
Greyhounds are low maintenance & sweet natured
You might not immediately think of greyhounds when you think of inner-city living, but these long boys take up surprisingly little room. They tend to be couch potatoes and are very happy to watch TV with their families before the zoomies kick in! Of course, like every other dog, they do need exercise.
Be careful to ensure that your apartment has sufficient room for them to walk around during the day and feel a sense of space. If they struggle with boredom or separation anxiety, they can begin to feel claustrophobic.
There are plenty of greyhound rescue associations around Australia, so you can also feel positive about making a difference in a dog's life by adopting.
Dachshund’s are fun loving & perfect for young couples
The sausage dog will always be a popular choice for inner city Aussies - and few can resist their adorable faces and short, stubby legs! They’re clever, courageous and friendly in nature and they love playtime, so although they’re very suitable in size to apartment living, you’ll also want to make sure that you have plenty of time and energy to dedicate to having fun with these pint-sized pooches.
They’re happy to stay indoors, but they do have lots of energy, so be sure to give them lots of outdoor time and exercise where possible to minimise the chances of them becoming bored and destructive when left indoors.
Golden Retrievers are easy to train & love to play
Gentle in nature, Golden Retrievers have been a favourite Aussie breed for decades - they're affectionate with kids and older people alike, love to play and are generally easy going. They're also very intelligent, easy to train, and can learn to perform complex tasks. If you're a household with multiple pets, a Golden Retriever will quickly adapt, as they're known to get along well with other animals.
They require regular grooming to keep their coats beautiful and healthy. If you have a backyard with long grass or grass seeds, you'll need to make sure they're well-groomed. They are also notorious hair shedders. So if your dog is coming inside of the house and the backyard, you'll want to factor this into your cleaning routine.
Border Collies are super smart & great for large families
Highly suitable for active households, these working dogs excel at performing tasks and are easy to train due to their intelligent nature. In fact, they're commonly known as one of the most intelligent dog breeds.
They've got high energy and love running, jumping, and playing, so they'll benefit most from a larger backyard and plenty of stimulation. They're happy playing solo, but they're a very friendly breed, so they'll love it even more if they have another dog or family member playing with them during the day.
Their working dog nature means that their instinct to herd can kick in, so you'll need to be diligent with your training (and hiding your socks). They can also become destructive when they're bored, so they need active owners who are ready to commit to making them a big part of their lives.
German Shepherds are active & ideal for outdoorsy families
The highly active German Shepherd loves to run and needs plenty of exercise. They're boisterous, intelligent and loyal, and playing chase and catch is one of their favourite activities. So along with taking them for plenty of walks and runs, you'll want to make sure that your backyard is a suitable size to accommodate their nature.
This breed can become restless without enough space or stimulation, so mental stimulation and training early on are essential.
German Shepherds are super affectionate and loving and will quickly become part of the family.
Before you get a dog
- What are the common health issues of the breeds that you're interested in?
- Do they have specific needs (such as lots of exercise or mentally stimulating toys to keep them busy when you're at work?)
- Does their temperament fit with your lifestyle (e.g. do you have children who prefer a gentler breed, or are you always on the go and would love a super active breed?)
If you're a first-time dog owner, it would be a good idea to learn about the basics of socialisation to make sure that your dog grows into a well-rounded pup!
Socialisation and training help reduce the likelihood of separation anxiety and behavioural issues such as excessive barking, digging and rough play, so the earlier you can teach your dog good habits, the better.
Any dog breed can make a loving and wonderful companion for your family, whatever your lifestyle - it's all about doing your research upfront to ensure that whichever breed you get will be well suited to your lifestyle's needs. And with the proper training, a little bit of patience and lots of love, your furry friend will thrive as part of your family.