Home, Sweet Home! These 21 Breeds Make the Best House Dogs
Whether you're living on your own or with family members and looking to add a pup to the mix, you may wonder which breeds make the best house dogs. Ultimately, it depends on what your home situation looks like and how you can devote your time.
"Picking a dog who fits your lifestyle is extremely important," says Laura Robinson, DVM, lead veterinary advisor to Pawp. She explains that just because some breeds are cute or fun doesn't necessarily mean they're a great fit for your particular home. For example, if your schedule doesn't accommodate a Siberian husky's exercise needs, he may become bored and pick up some undesirable, destructive behaviors.
A few things to consider when picking a breed, she says, include:
- Shed level: Do you mind having a dog who needs regular grooming or frequent vacuuming?
- Activity level: How many minutes of playtime and exercise are you willing to give the dog each day? Research the energy levels of the breeds you want and pick one that suits your lifestyle.
- Barking level: Do you live in an apartment? A dog that barks a lot might not be the best fit (your neighbors will thank you!).
- Friendliness: Do you want a dog who is friendly to everyone and/or good with kids?
From charming Chihuahuas to mellow Newfoundlands, we've rounded up the best house dogs to fit your family.
Labrador retrievers have been known as the most popular dog for decades, and for good reason! "Labs make amazing family dogs. They are typically very friendly, happy, go with the flow dogs, and typically love all people," Robinson says. Because they are retrievers, they can be very active at times, so it's best to carve out about an hour for playtime every day. They do shed quite a bit but are definitely worth the extra time spent vacuuming!
The miniature schnauzer is bound to be your bearded bestie. Mini schnauzers are super affectionate and great with families and children, Robinson says. Friendly and courageous, mini schnauzers thrive when they get about an hour of exercise daily, consisting of playtime primarily inside combined with a nice walk. Miniature schnauzers don't shed much, making them a fantastic match for allergy sufferers—although, they do require regular grooming to keep their coat in tip-top shape.
Who can resist this cute bear face? Robinson describes the Newfoundland as a "calm, gentle giant" who does not require much to be happy. The Newfoundland is a laid back breed who is extremely easygoing and loyal to her family. A Newfie's favorite pastimes include going out for short 30 minute walks every day and observing the world around them. Because they grow up to be large dogs, it's important they have enough space to relax and roam. You'll also want to brush her long, thick coat regularly and have a towel ready for her drool. Prepare for some slobbery, wet kisses!
The Maltese is a darling breed devoted to her family. Smart and sweet, Maltese can spend time alone—although, they'd rather be in your arms! Robinson says they're "best with families who are home most of the day as they like a lot of attention." These gentle pups don't require a lot of exercise, but they do like going for walks or doing zoomies in the backyard. With a coat so flowy and glamorous, Maltese require routine grooming but do not shed much.
If you have children or other pets in your household, the adorable (and adaptable!) Japanese spitz will get along with everyone. Robinson describes these cloud dogs as "funny dogs with a sense of humor," who are also loyal and bright, making them wonderful companions. A playful breed, the Japanese spitz requires at least 45 minutes of interactive play and regular walks.
The Greyhound is an excellent family pet. Nicknamed "40-mph-couch potatoes," Greyhounds are graceful and loving. "Their intelligence and breed make them great house pets—clean, calm, and an affectionate companion," Robinson says. Although they're considered to be the fastest dog breed, Greyhounds are happy to lounge in the house or go out for long walks.
Meet your new cuddle buddy! The shih tzu is always ready for some rest and retreat with you. Robinson describes shih tzus as being "quite outgoing and friendly" and will get along with the entire family, both two-legged and four-legged. They have beautiful, long locks, which as you can imagine, do require some brushing and regular grooming.
"Loyal" might as well be the Chihuahua's middle name. This tiny but mighty breed loves being around their family and may be an ideal fit for those who work from home or are retired, Robinson says. Chihuahuas are smart, affectionate lapdogs who might not need much exercise due to their small size but do appreciate short, daily walks.
This hot dog-shaped pooch makes a wonderful addition to any home. Robinson says Dachshunds love to be close to their family and prefer inside play (try one of these interactive toys for endless fun!) with short walks. These spunky dogs will love being anywhere as long as they're with you.
If you think "obviously" when Netflix asks if you're still there in the middle of your Ozark marathon, the French bulldog will be right there on the couch with you. Gentle, quirky, and smart, Frenchies love attention and will happily play with any member of the family. Because they're prone to heat exhaustion, it's best that Frenchies spend most of their time indoors. Keep them entertained with dog puzzle toys or KONG toys.
American Hairless Terrier
Are you or a family member allergic to pets? The American hairless terrier might just be the best dog for your household. American hairless terriers are not only downright adorable but also extremely playful, loyal, and courageous. A great fit for active pet parents who can shower them in love and attention, these pups will jump for joy at the chance to burn off some energy, whether inside or outside. Since they don't have fur, it's important to apply dog sunscreen to protect their skin and dress them in the appropriate clothing to keep them warm.
Collies are sweet, calm, and gentle-mannered, Robinson says. They're an empathetic breed who enjoy spending time with children and other animals, making them a great house and family pet. They love to play, and while they don't require constant exercise, they make the perfect running buddy on your morning or afternoon jog! Collies do shed a lot, so it's important she's brushed and groomed often.
Pugs are here for all the cuddles! These wide-eyed cuties cherish their companionship with their humans and love to be the center of attention, Robinson says. They have a moderate amount of energy and don't bark much, which is a big plus if you live in an apartment. A silly breed sure to make you laugh, pugs can't think of a better place to be than right beside you—and will gladly take a snooze in your lap.
Coton de Tulear
An affectionate and loyal breed, the Coton de Tulear is just as sweet as she is fluffy. Cotons are outgoing, energetic, and will get along with everyone from children to older adults, as well as other pets in the household. Cotons prefer to be with company so they can entertain and play as much as their hearts desire.
The little floof known as the bichon frise is an amazing family dog who gets along with people and animals alike. A winning match for owners with pet allergies, bichons are low-shedding pups. Robinson says this breed needs playtime but is happy to do so inside along with some short walks outside.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
While he may have the regal name, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel will treat you and your family like royalty. Robinson considers the breed to be one of the best apartment dogs, as all it takes are some short walks for them to be happy. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is incredibly sweet and friendly and loves to be around his people!
Bred to be a companion, the Japanese chin is a small, rare breed proud to be your lapdog. This breed is sometimes described as "cat-like," Robinson says, and will generally do better in a calm, quiet home. She describes the Japanese chin as intelligent, good with families and older children, and best suited to be indoors. These pups are easy to care for as they don't need much exercise or playtime but do need some weekly brushing.
Mastiffs are massive sweethearts who are easygoing and low maintenance. Consider yourself a couch potato? The mastiff will love to lay with you and watch TV! "While mastiffs are very large and can be big droolers, they are great family dogs and have a very gentle nature," Robinson says. "They are typically very affectionate with their family and don't require that much exercise."
Lovingly nicknamed a Velcro dog due to his loyalty and devotion, the Havanese is a total sweetheart sure to steal your heart. Havanese are friendly dogs who prefer to be in your lap and showered with affection and attention. Intelligent and charming, they are a bouncy bundle of joy who make wonderful companions to all humans and pets in the household. While his lovely coat is considered to be low shedding, you'll want to invest in a good brush since it does require regular grooming.
Fun, feisty, and devoted—that's the Yorkshire terrier! These pint-sized pups make fantastic house dogs and prefer to be where you are. They have tons of personality, are playful (they'll take every squeaky toy you've got!), and like going out for short walks. Yorkies are a low-shedding breed, which is ideal if you or a family member have pet allergies.
These intelligent teddy bears are just as clever as they are loving. Miniature poodles are gentle, easy to train, and friendly with children and other pets. Robinson says they "do need a little more exercise than other small dogs but are very happy inside as long as they get some exercise." Since these little athletes tend to have higher amounts of energy, you can keep them active and content with games of fetch, long walks, or swims. (They'll also benefit from enrichment toys and puzzles.) Miniature poodles require daily brushing and frequent grooming to keep their coats from getting matted.