Animal lovers would readily agree that a dog can be a wonderful addition to any family. Smart animal lovers, though, would go a step further and say that the right dog can be a great family companion, depending on the household. A breed that would be content in a home with an older retired couple, for instance, might not necessarily do well in one with a new baby. And when it comes to finding the right kind of dog for a busy family, not every breed of pup is created equal.
Even among families with busy lifestyles, needs vary. Some households are active outdoor types who want a dog that can come with them on nature hikes or play frisbee for hours in the park. Other families are the kind who spend their days dashing around to school, errands, and sports tournaments, and don't have a lot of time to spend on long walks and grooming. For them, a laid-back breed that's content to stay home alone would be a better bet. In both cases, advised The Spruce, it's probably best to avoid getting a young puppy, which requires additional care and training to become a well-adjusted family pet.
"It's important to note that all dogs, regardless of breed, benefit from quality time with their humans," says Lauren McDevitt, co-founder of Good Dog. "When thinking about getting a dog, everyone should consider whether they have the time and energy required to meet a dog's basic needs. Even low-maintenance breeds will need at least 30 minutes a day of direct stimulation. That being said, there are certain breeds that tend to be lower energy and are happier to hang out at home or daycare, making for a better match with a busy family."
Although each dog's personality is different, even within the same breed, McDevitt tells Romper that certain breeds are generally less likely to match well with a household that's always on the go. Among them: Border Collies and Australian Shepherds ("they need a job to focus on and a lot of stimulation"); Shiba Inus, Akitas, and Jack Russell Terriers ("they're less social dogs with independent spirits") and "dogs that are stubborn and need a lot of attention through training and socialization, such as Rottweilers or Chow Chows."
These are some of the breeds that are most likely to adapt well to a family on the go. But don't forget that mixed breeds are also an excellent option, depending on the dog. Do your homework, visit shelters and breeders, and take your time before deciding which pup is best for you.
McDevitt recommends this sweet-natured, sociable breed for families on the go. The American Kennel Club reported that owners consider the Pug "the ideal house dog": It gets along with everyone, is easy to train, doesn't require much grooming, and is just as happy lounging on the couch as it is romping in the yard.
2. Boston Terrier
McDevitt also gives thumbs-up to this stocky little breed, which is a gentle, humorous, family-oriented dog. According to the AKC, the Boston needs minimal grooming and not much exercise, although once you do get home, they'll be happier playing with you than simply being let out to romp in the yard.
3. Basset Hound
Droopy-eared and sad-eyed, the Basset is actually a loyal and mellow family companion. Although they need a brisk daily walk or two to keep their weight in check, they're content to settle in for a snooze when you and the kids are out and about.
4. French Bulldog
Another breed that consistently ranks among the AKC's most popular, the Frenchie is "playful, alert, adaptable, and completely irresistible," attests the AKC. They don't need much more than a daily outdoor walk or play session to stay physically and mentally fit, but you'll have to be cautious in hot weather, because the Frenchie's flat face makes it prone to breathing problems. While you're out, your pup will probably spend much of its time napping (some folks have all the luck).
5. Bernese Mountain Dog
One of the gentle giants of the dog world, the Bernese "is adaptable and happy with moderate exercise," says McDevitt, and isn't likely to tear up the house while you and the kids are at work and school. Still, added Doggie Designer, this breed does need quality time with the family it loves, and is best for households with a yard to play in once you do get home.
6. Bichon Frise
This lovable fluff of a dog also makes McDevitt's list, and the AKC concurred that the Bichon makes a wonderful family pet because of its friendly disposition and easy trainability. They're easygoing enough to wait for you at home, but once you do return, they'll want to spend some time bounding in the yard or at the dog run.
7. Cocker Spaniel
The breed made famous by Lady and the Tramp also happens to be a great match for busy families, says McDevitt. Cocker Spaniels do need more grooming than some of the other breeds, per the AKC, but they'll reward your attention with plenty of love. Dog Care added that these spaniels love playing with children, but are also content to snuggle. Bonus: Cockers also get along well with other dogs, as well as cats.
8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Another spaniel on McDevitt's list is the Cavalier, which adapts to its family's lifestyle easily, according to the AKC. They were actually bred to sit on the laps of royalty, so spending a lazy day suits them fine — but expect to get a lot of love and attention when you get home, and like all dogs, they do need at least a daily walk or two to stay in peak form.
The Bulldog practically wrote the book on mellow. Despite their tough-guy looks, this breed is friendly and low-energy, and, as AKC vice president Gina DiNardo told Fatherly, Bulldogs are great for busy families because they don't need much more than a good walking every day (though, as with all the flat-faced breeds, you'll have to take it easy in hot weather).
McDevitt gives a nod to this Cocker Spaniel-Poodle hybrid, which also gets high marks from Dogtime for being great with kids, good for apartment dwellers, and only moderately energetic. When you're home, though, be prepared to be adored: "Your lap is theirs," said Dogtime.
11. For Busy Families Who Want To Take Their Dog Everywhere: Golden Retriever
On the other hand, if your busy family is the kind that doesn't mind including their pet in the chaos, McDevitt says the Golden is a good fit. This beautiful dog ranks among the most popular breeds on the American Kennel Club list for a reason: They're easygoing, great with kids, eager to please, and, according to I Heart Dogs, a "take anywhere" dog that's all too happy to join you in the car for daily errands or for a run on the beach during warm-weather days.