Finding your first family dog is a daunting process—one that's up there with dating and house-hunting. And like parenting, when it comes to raising a dog to be perfectly well-behaved, successful, and sociable, well, let's just say practice makes perfect. But, these breeds, while they appeal to different interests, are easily trained and friendly (especially with children), leaving a little wiggle room for an amateur owner. Still not sure? Try our Breed Matchmaker quiz.
If You Want a Play Buddy:
The English Springer Spaniel possesses the "eager to please" attitude common to most spaniels. Long walks, games of chase and fetch, and swimming are favorite pastimes of these rugged spaniels. Cheerful and affectionate, Springers love their families and like to stick close to their owners. They make excellent house pets, but require daily exercise and need regular brushing and trimming to keep their coats neat and free of mats.
If You Want a Gentle Guardian:
While they are instinctive guardians, the Boxer loves to be with his people. One of the breed's most notable characteristics is its desire for human affection, especially from children. They are patient and spirited with children, but also protective, making them a popular choice for families. The Boxer requires little grooming, but needs daily exercise.
If You Prefer Active Animals:
Although a large, high-energy dog, the Collie is loyal, affectionate and a devoted family dog, especially with children. Although they require daily walks, they can also be couch potatoes. Despite the Rough Collie’s immense coat, they only need to be brushed about once a week, although the need for brushing may increase in shedding season. Collies are also a very clean breed and are noted for not having a doggie odor.
If You're Allergic:
The Poodle is an exceptionally smart breed that excels in all kinds of dog sport activities. The Poodle can accommodate nearly any size living quarters. His hypoallergenic coat may reduce allergic reactions, but requires grooming knowledge to keep maintained. Bonus: This breed comes in Toy (small), Miniature (medium) and Standard (large) sizes.
If You Like the Little Guys:
The Papillon is a small, friendly toy dog named after its big, wing-like ears (papillon is french for butterfly). They are known to be happy and alert little dogs that are not shy or aggressive. Papillons are a happy breed whether living in an apartment, out in the country, or anywhere in between. They love to play outdoors, but they can be easily entertained and exercised indoors as well.