Best Dog Breeds For Families
In Australia, it’s no secret that dogs really are man’s best friend.
According to the 2019 Pet Ownership Report from Animal Medicines Australia, it was estimated that around 45% of Aussie homes had at least one dog. And whether it’s tagging along on the back of the ute, running along the surf with us, playing with the kids at the park or lounging around in our suburban backyards, there’s a dog breed to suit all Australian lifestyles.
Every dog breed comes with its unique temperaments, needs and requirements - so what are the best dog breeds for Aussie families?
It’s important to consider a dog’s temperament and needs before making the commitment - those French Bulldogs you see all over Instagram might not be the ideal choice for your lifestyle!
Today, let’s break down some of the breeds that Aussies love the most, and the best suited breeds for the most common Australian lifestyles.
Staffies are gentle & great for growing families
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (affectionately known by Aussies as ‘Staffies’) are well known for their affinity with children and their playful yet gentle nature, making them an ideal choice 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, which makes them perfect for households with older kids, too.
Staffies do 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 properly trained and 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. This makes 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 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 can also be prone to separation anxiety… so if you’re away from home a lot, they may not be right for you.
Although they don’t shed, they do 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 do tend to drool and can be a bit difficult to groom, often getting grass tangled in their soft fur, so it’s important to keep on top of their daily hygiene - this again can be a sound 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.
Pugs are full of personality & ideal for apartment living
With their signature pushed in faces, Pugs have long been a favourite with inner city dwellers and Aussie urbanites. They’re small in size but big in personality and their adorable wrinkly faces make them popular with young couples who love taking their dogs out around the neighbourhood. They’re low-shedding and low energy, which makes them a great choice for apartment dwellers who don’t have the luxury of a big backyard. As they’re also not prone to digging, they’re a perfect breed for renters too - no need to worry about them destroying the house!
They’ll spend the majority of their day sleeping and have a tendency to be lazy, so make sure to take them out for plenty of fresh air and exercise around the park whenever possible. As they’re content with their own company, they don’t often struggle with separation anxiety, so they’re a breed worth investigating for those who work full time.
Their wrinkled faces also make them prone to breathing issues, which is an important factor to keep in mind, especially in warmer weather - so you’ll want to make sure that your apartment has good air flow and temperature control to keep them comfortable.
Greyhounds are low maintenance & sweet natured
You might not immediately think of greyhounds when you think of inner-city living, but these lanky dogs take up surprisingly little room and quickly become accustomed to indoor life. They have a tendency to be couch potatoes and are very happy to watch TV with their families over running around at the park. Of course, like every other dog, they do need exercise, but their lazy nature makes them well suited to apartment living.
Do be careful to ensure that your apartment has sufficient room for them to walk around during the day and feel a sense of space, though, as 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 to 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.
Rottweilers are protective of big backyards & surprisingly sweet
Outdoorsy Aussies love their Rottweilers! Known as great guard dogs, these pooches are perfectly suited for bigger backyards, farms and suburban homes and despite many misconceptions, they’ve got a super sweet personality and love spending quality time with their families.
They’ve got a solid build and are very strong, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re physically fit and active and can keep up with their pace when you take them for their daily exercise. These dogs are happy to keep themselves entertained, but love to have a bit of space around them to move, so you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a decent sized backyard where they can roll and play.
They can be prone to digging and barking when they get bored, so good early training and plenty of stimulation is key to keeping these beautiful dogs happy.
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Golden Retrievers are easy to train & love to play
Good natured and gentle, 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 and easy to train, and can learn to perform complex tasks. If you’re a household with multiple pets, a Golden Retriever will quite easily adapt, as they’re known to get along well with other animals.
They do require regular grooming to keep their beautiful coats healthy, so if your backyard has long grass or grass seeds, you’ll need to pay extra attention here - and they also are notorious hair shedders, so if your dog will be coming inside the house as well as the backyard, you’ll want to factor this into your cleaning routine. They’re not known to be a top performing guard dog and are more of a gentle giant type - but the flipside of this means that they’re unlikely to struggle with excessive barking!
Border Collies are super smart & great for large families
Highly suitable for active households, these working dogs are known to excel at performing tasks and are easy to train due to their intelligent nature - in fact, they’re commonly regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They’ve got high energy and love to run, jump and play, so they’ll benefit most from a larger backyard and plenty of stimulation. They’re happy playing solo, but they’re a very sociable breed, so they’ll love it even more if they have another dog or family members who will play 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. They can also become destructive when they’re bored, so they need active owners who are ready to make the commitment to making them a big part of their lives.
German Shepherds are active & ideal for outdoorsy families
A highly active breed, German Shepherds love to run and need 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.
Without enough space or stimulation, this breed can become easily restless, so stimulation and training early-on are essential.
Along with their playful nature, this breed is super affectionate and loving, and will quickly become part of the family.
Before you get a dog
Before you begin your search for your new furry friend, there are a number of important things to consider. You should start by asking yourself how much you can commit - how much time you can dedicate to training, walking the dog, spending time with the dog, and of course the associated costs of pet ownership such as vaccines and pet insurance.
Make sure to consider what sort of energy levels and temperament will be the best fit for your household.
Questions to ask before you get a dog
- What are the common health issues and dietary needs 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 that would prefer a gentler breed, or are you always on the go and would love a super active breed?)
- Are you looking to rescue a slightly older dog or would you prefer to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder?
If you’re a first time dog owner, it’s also a good idea to brush up on the basics of socialisation and training to make sure that your dog grows into a well rounded pet - 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.
Ultimately, 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 right training, a little bit of patience and lots of love, your furry friend will thrive as part of your family.Need help selecting the right training products for your dog? Our friendly customer service team will be happy to help you. Contact us now.