While no breed of dog is inherently ill-tempered, some breeds are more patient, more gentle when they play and more tolerant of other pets and children. The best dog for you and your family is the one that best fits into your lifestyle, and any dog's temperament is a reflection of how it's treated at home.
One of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States is the golden retriever—and with good reason. Golden retrievers are widely hailed as the best dog for families with children, thanks to the retriever's naturally gentle disposition and legendary patience. These are the same qualities that make the slightly larger Labrador retriever so popular. Labrador retrievers are loving and sweet and highly intelligent, making them great companions and perfect family pets.
The energetic and playful beagle is a natural-born worker—and hunter—and that sense of duty makes the beagle an intelligent and obedient companion. Though they need lots of attention and play, beagles are generally happy and have a well-balanced temperament, especially in larger groups. Their energy and need to be part of a pack make them an ideal dog for families who stay home together.
The Newfoundland, or "Newfie," is nicknamed "nature’s babysitter" thanks to its patient demeanor and its drive to protect children. In fact, this lovable large breed was bred to rescue sailors who had fallen overboard, making the Newfoundland a natural swimmer and lifeguard for families with pools. Even with no children to protect, Newfoundlands are kind and loyal, and prefer to be indoors with their "packs."
The common image of the poodle is that of a wispy dog with a bizarre haircut. But perhaps the poodle's naturally gentle, patient temperament is what allows them to tolerate their owners' creative flourishes. Poodles are highly intelligent, loyal and attentive. They also are rarely bored, meaning they are unlikely to become destructive if they do not get a lot of play time. Their natural patience also makes them great companions for children.
As miniature dogs go, the bichon frise is one of the gentlest and happiest in the world. Popular among apartment dwellers, the bichon frise is a mix of barbet water spaniel and poodle, and its fluffy, curly white coat makes it look like a ball of cotton. A favorite of royal courts since the 16th century, the bichon frise is lively, cheerful, gentle, playful and affectionate.
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images