So, you finally caved. The kids have been begging for a dog, and you’re thinking it may actually be time to grant their wish. But with a large, busy family, and a sometimes-hectic household, you might wonder: do dogs like having large families?
Just like people, some dogs love a high-energy home with lots to do, and some prefer a quiet, laid back environment. Pethelpful.com noted that some of the best dogs for families with children are standard poodles, labs, and Golden Retrievers — all like exercise and active lifestyles, while also bonding with the entire family instead of taking up with just one person. The site also mentions breeds like Dalmatians and Chihuahuas as examples of dogs which may not do well with large families with kids. Dalmatians are known to have issues with deafness, which can make them feel vulnerable and more prone to bite, and Chihuahuas are known for nipping when nervous.
Robert Cabral, Wag! Advisory Board Member and dog behavior specialist, tells Romper via email interview that, yes, some breeds are more cut out for high-energy packs than others. But whether a dog can thrive in a large family also varies by individual.
“This will depend on the particular dog, as with people. Some dogs like lots of activity, some dogs prefer to be loners,” he said. “Depending on the activity level of your family, my favorite breeds tend to be Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and some poodles.”
When choosing a dog for your family, take into account how many people live together and what you like to do as a group. How athletic or relaxed your family tends to be when everyone is in the same place should inform your choice.
“This will depend on the activity level of your family. If you are pretty mellow and enjoy get-togethers involving sitting around, chatting, and eating, then I'd get a more mellow dog, like a Bulldog. If your family is all about games and activity, then think Border Collie,” says Cabral.
Parents looking to add a dog to a family of any size would likely wonder, is it best to adopt an adult dog, or get a puppy so it can be raised with children? For Cabral, the larger the family, the more important it is that the dog has already been exposed to large groups and can thrive in that environment.
“I would suggest trying to get a dog that has been acclimated to large groups, such as a rescue dog. If that isn’t an option, get a well-bred puppy from a breeder that breeds for temperament. Research your breeder first and don't buy a dog over the internet,” he explains.
Ultimately, any family looking to add a doggo to their bustling family life should really take their time and find the perfect fit. Not only will they be happier with their choice, but their dog will be healthier and happier, too. “Be cautious when choosing a dog. It's a long-term commitment," Cabral says. "Chances are, your dog will still be around when the kids go off to college, so you'll be left taking care of him or her. Get a well-bred dog or a rescue dog that has good social skills.”