GENERAL BREED INFO

Best House Dogs: The Best Canine Companions for You And Your Household

Best House Dogs
John Walton
Written by John Walton

We all know that dog is man’s best friend, and over the millennia we have come to know and love them almost as much as they have come to know and love us. So much so that dogs have their vital roles in our lives. There are military dogs, search and rescue dogs, hunting dogs, even traction dogs that pull sleds and heavy objects in order to make our lives easier, however we tend to get a little carried away.

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Sure, dogs make for great assistants, and even heroes when their time comes, they are our colleagues, our brothers in arms, but we tend to forget that deep down inside, at the root of our love for dogs, stands the reason why we have always wanted a dog, a pet.

Yes, it is indeed easy to glance over this aspect, and it is far easier to talk about dogs which fulfill certain roles, and we tend to simply overlook simple house dogs.

Dog for houses

That being said, let us take a bit of time and look over the best house dogs out there and how you can decide which one is the best choice for you and your household.

What makes a good house dog

Before delving any further into the subject, we must first understand that all dog breeds can be great house dogs, but only a few are the best house dog breeds. Only the ones that have been bred for this very purpose, the ones that will never bite regardless of their surroundings, the ones that do great with children and with elderly family members, the ones that will never challenge you and your position as leader of the pack, can be the true house dog champions.

It goes without saying that this rules out quite a few breeds off of our list. That being said, there are a few boxes that must be ticked before deciding whether or not a dog breed belongs in the winner’s circle.

  1. The dog must be active and playful
  2. The dog must be able to socialize with ease
  3. The dog must not display any signs of aggression
  4. The dog must not become overprotective
  5. The dog must be easy to handle
  6. The dog must not be expensive to feed
  7. The dog must be easily kept in an apartment
  8. The dog must not require much daily exercise
  9. The dog must not require much grooming on a regular basis
  10. The dog must be able to fit perfectly in a domestic environment.

Ok, the list is not exactly the shortest one out there, but it’s easy enough for a lot of breeds to fit the requirements.

Of course, big and giant dog breeds are excluded from the start because of points 6 and 7.

Do keep in mind that any and all dog breeds can and in fact do make for great house dogs, and there is no such thing as the wrong choice when choosing a pet dog, what we are trying to do here is pick out the best out of the lot, however we are not excluding any dog breed as being a great house dog.

The best house dog breeds

Out of all the breeds out there, only a few can really call themselves the best of the best when it comes to being a house dog.

Being a pet is not exactly easy, the poor dogs need to have a metric ton of patience, an instinct for handling children, as well as the ability to learn tricks and entertain the family with their antics.

There are, however, certain breeds that do this in spades, and the presence of certain breeds on this list might come as a shock to you.

The Labrador Retriever #1

Not to be confused with its cousin, the golden retriever, the Labrador lives a longer life, has a lot more fun, and is generally a lot more pleasant to have around the house.

Fun fact, the Labrador retriever is the only dog breed that can be trained as an arson dog, due to the large amount of patience and the extreme attention to detail that the breed sports.

So what makes Labs so great at being house dogs?

Labrador Retrievers at the porch

For starters, they have a lot of patience, almost an endless amount. That being said, they can put up with a lot of things and never run out of patience when it comes to kids and their antics.

Another great thing about Labrador retrievers is the fact that they tend to learn a lot of tricks on their own, and another fun fact about these dogs is the fact that they love to show off.

They love the attention, and pleasing their masters, so don’t be worried if your lab starts acting goofy all of a sudden.

The Collie #2

Remember Lassie? Yeah, that is basically the poster child for Collies everywhere, combining beauty, grace and a really high degree of cleverness.

Something to be noted about a Collie is the fact that the coat might cause some issues. It needs a bit of maintenance every once in a while, and you will have to take the dog to the vet for a trim every now and again, but other than that you have yourself the perfect dog.

Collie drawing

 

First off, they love children, and will generally hang around with them, however that is not what makes them great.

What makes them truly awesome is the fact that they pretty much train themselves simply by observing their environment. They will fetch your phone if you forget it in another room, they will alert you if something is wrong, they will even pick up on things like forgetting the bath or leaving the lights on, and all that by paying a lot of attention to you.

One thing lets it down though, they cannot be taught how to drive a car… yet.

The English Bulldog #3

Why are bulldogs considered to be amongst the best house dogs?

First of all, they are not picky about where they live. They do well in small apartments, small houses, large settings, literally everywhere.

Second of all, bulldogs are great with kids, especially more rambunctious and mischievous kids, because they are as sturdy as a tank and they are generally to lazy to do anything about them, so the end result is a dog that will take anything that a kid can throw at it without ever wanting to fight back.

The English Bulldog puppies in front of the house

Another great thing about bulldogs is the fact that they really teach kids what determination is all about, because of the fact that they are very stubborn and at the same time very strong, making it very hard for a kid to try and control the dog.

This tends to lead to some hilarious moments when the kid tries to walk the dog in a certain way, but the dog is having none of it.

One thing to watch out for with this breed is the fact that they tend to have some health issues, and if their health is not regularly tracked, it could escalade out of control.

The Beagle #4

Made famous by Charlie Brown, this lovable little hunting dog is one of the best additions that you could make to your family.

They are clownish, they are loving, they are fun loving and they are generally a good time all around. They are also incredibly cute and it is incredibly hard to find something wrong, or in fact go wrong, with a beagle.

Fun fact, the Beagle is also considered to be one of the 5 must have dogs if you are looking to score a date.

The Beagle on the couch

An added bonus to the Beagle is the fact that they were initially bred to be hunting dogs, so you may find it amusing but you will see your beagle more or less corralling and maneuvering your kids to their respective rooms at bed time.

The beagle also sports a great amount of energy, usually outlasting your kids and making them too tired to be rambunctious.

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The Beagle does not do particularly well in small apartments, however it should be noted that they tend to get very attached to their owners. So much so that if they are left alone for too long, upwards of a day or two, they tend to start chewing on things.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that Beagles are, historically, one of the hardest breeds to train because of their stubbornness and general attraction towards exploring new things.

The German Shepherd #5

And so, the superstar of the dog world makes its way on to our list.

Fair enough, the German Shepherd is one of the best dogs in the world, gracing the silver screens and combat theaters alike, however it is surprisingly good in a family setting as well, however the reasons for it differ drastically.

The German Shepherd is known to have a high tolerance of children, to the extent where the dog becomes their guardian by choice, protecting them from harm at all cost, and going as far as to take a bullet for them without any hesitation.

The German Shepherd in the house

Another key thing that helps this dog out with family life is the dog’s remarkable intellect. It is able to assess the surroundings and actually predict how and when a kid can get injured, jumping in at the right moment in order to make sure that the kid is unharmed.

It does well in houses, ok in medium and large apartments, and it tends to struggle in small apartments.

The German Shepherd needs exercise daily, and they need to be trained from an early age in order to make them submissive, otherwise you have a rather smart and at the same time mischievous dog on your hands which will prank you and make fun of you.

The American Pit Bull #6

Yes, the Pit Bull is on this list.

Despite the bad rep that this breed has been getting, people tend to forget that they need a special kind of training to become the ravenous beasts that the vast majority of people imagine them to be.

Without that training, they are probably the most loving and adorable dogs in the world, despite their massive jaw and muscular body.

If they are raised in a good home, they become good dogs, and even the ones with a violent dog fighting past can easily be rehabilitated.

The American Pit Bull

These are the kind of dogs that want to love and be loved, they love kids and will often cuddle next to them, the bigger individuals going as far as to allow young kids to ride them around like little ponies, with a smile on their faces.

They live long lives, don’t generally have health issues and they do well, just like their ancestor the bulldog, in any kind of setting, even in small apartments.

They do need exercise and they need to stretch their muscles by running around and playing around, and they are generally great with a family.

Some people will go as far as to call the ones that have a pit bull as a family dog irresponsible, however they fail to see how great these dogs really are.

They are great guardians and they will always defend the family if need arises. They can be trained to be great guard dogs and even to improve on their physical performances, and they can and will be some of the greatest dogs that your family ever had.

The Border Collie #7

The slightly scruffier cousin of the Collie, the Border Collie also carries the nickname “The 4 legged nanny”, and for good reason.

First off, they adore kids, and kids tend to adore them. They are more approachable than other dogs, and often times they will be the ones doing all the approaching, with a wagging tail most of the time and a big smile on their faces.

They are fun loving dogs, and particularly love looking after the small ones, often times acting as a full time baby sitter, taking care of them, guiding them and even watching over them.

The Border Collie and boy

They do well in all settings, even in the smallest of apartments, however they do need their daily exercise in order to remain upbeat and playful, not to mention the fact that it shares a common trait with its cousin, it’s a very clever dog.

The Border Collie is one of the dogs that lives to please its masters, often going to extremes to put a smile on your face. Rolling around, howling, making cute faces, doing tricks, doing improvised tricks, even acting like a circus animal just to please you is normal.

There is something to keep in mind though, they are prone to blindness when they age, and they tend to live slightly shorter than average lives.

The Shiba Inu #8

From movie stars to hunting dogs, from the misunderstood to the overly-appreciated, this list has had almost all of them. Now it even has royalty.

This is a Japanese dog breed, and it is held in high regards. These dogs used to be royal dogs, owned solely by the royal family, however now they are available to everyone, and coincidentally, they make for some of the best family dogs that you would ever have.

Shiba Inu is a great breed, with next to no health issues or risks, however they tend to get a little bit on the clownish side. They love to make a fool out of themselves, and they even became famous over the internet thanks to Doge, probably one of the most famous Shiba Inus out there.

The Shiba Inu

They are loving, playful and above all else, incredibly adorable. They love being in a family setting, they are great for apartments and houses alike, they are easy to handle and quite fun.

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Shiba Inus typically do great with children, having a lot of patience with then and often times resorting to playing with them to calm them down and avoid tantrums.

The Shiba Inu has only one downside, it is very quick to anger if someone or something threatens the family. Unlike other dog breeds that simply protect the family, often backing down if the danger subsides, a Shiba Inu will not only scare and harass the attacker away, but will continue pursuing until the threat is neutralized, often resulting in the attacker being knocked to the ground and a very angry dog sitting on top of him growling and drooling on him.

In conclusion

The debate over the best house dog breeds is one that will never end. Each and every dog breed is a great house breed.

There is no such thing as a bad dog without a proper cause for it, and there is no such thing as a dangerous dog, especially if the dog receives the bare minimum training, which is required in most countries. This list serves as a helping hand, giving you some tips and pointers in helping you pick out the best house dog breed for your household.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Charlotte Queens

    My beagle makes a great house companion…so I definitely agree to this article! They’re sweet, adorable and have tons of energy — amazing! They’re like Energizer bunnies…:o)

  • Anna Tomson

    Should my sister get a beagle when he has small children and lives near a highway? I’ve read that beagles like to dig, and this might cause a problem. And, how are beagles around children? They seem too frisky.

    • This will still depend how the dog will be trained. It is true that they belong to the hound family, but this comes as secondary factor if they will dig often. Digging is also indicative of stress in dogs so you can discuss this with your sister if she really wants a beagle.

  • Albert Dorell

    My Lab is really a house dog. He is the friendliest among all the dogs I own. He even loves watching cartoons and stares for a long moment. When my mom calls him, he adorably runs toward her. I am thankful I made the right decision of adopting him.

    • That’s a very cute experience having your Labrador around the house, Albert. Thank you very much for sharing!

  • They are simply adorable dogs that aim to please. Simply irresistible!

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