20 Worst Dog Breeds For Families

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When you bring home a new puppy, you’ll likely fall in love with how cute they are. But have you thought about whether they’ll be more than just adorable? Sometimes, we assume that if we get a dog when they’re a puppy, they’ll fit into our family and get along with everyone. While that’s partly true—different dog breeds have different qualities that might not always match well with families.


brown chihuahua puppy on brown textile
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A Chihuahua might look cute and innocent, but don’t be fooled—they can have an aggressive side. They usually form a strong bond with one person and often don’t care much for anyone else. This makes them a considerable bite risk for small children, especially if a child gets too close for their comfort. Chihuahuas can be very moody and dislike being disturbed or annoyed. 


Pekingese Brown Dog
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Just like Chihuahuas—Pekingese are small dogs that can act tough when they’re scared, often by biting or yipping. It doesn’t take a lot to trigger these behaviors. Pekingese don’t like being poked or pulled at, and they can get possessive over their stuff and their favorite human. They want your attention and might get jealous if they do not get enough.

Chow Chow

A Chow Chow Dog Peeing in a Park
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It’s super hard to resist the charm of a Chow Chow puppy. But as cute as they are, a Chow might not be the best fit for a big family with kids and seniors. The main problem with Chows is their extreme loyalty—they’re not very good at warming up to strangers or other pets. Even with kids around, they might keep their distance and be a bit standoffish.


Photo of Person Patting A Dog
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Akitas are strong protectors, always watching over their families. But because they’re so serious and don’t like silliness or teasing, they might not be the best playmates for kids. Akitas might not know how to react properly if children are too energetic or unpredictable. Plus, while they may be protective of your own children, they might not be as welcoming to strangers, which could be risky for visitors.

Siberian Husky

White Siberian Husky Puppy on Green Grass Field
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Siberian Huskies are super energetic and love rough play. Even though they mean well, they might accidentally hurt a child because of their strength. Training them can be tricky because they like to do their own thing and can be stubborn. They might get worked up if kids act like they’re prey—like crying loudly or running around. Plus, they still have some wolf-like traits beyond just looks.


Close-Up Shot of a Dog
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The Weimaraner is a lovely and lively breed, but they may not be the best match for families with young children. They were originally bred to hunt big animals, which can sometimes make them see kids as similar-sized prey. This doesn’t mean they’ll always be hunting at home, but they might play rough—especially if they’re not exercised and played with enough.

Alaskan Malamute

Close-up Of An Alaskan Malamute
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Alaskan Malamutes love rough play and can get even tougher if they don’t exercise enough. Like huskies, they can be really stubborn and hard to train. They’re not the best on a leash, either. They might pull, jump, and tug during walks, which could be risky if a child is holding the leash or walking beside them.

Shih Tzu

White and Brown Short Coated Puppy
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Many Shih Tzu breeders won’t sell puppies to families with little kids. Shih tzus love zooming around and might accidentally trip up both grown-ups and kids if nobody’s watching closely. This could be very dangerous for everyone involved. When you’re playing with a Shih Tzu puppy, you’ve got to be very careful. Older Shih Tzus might be better because they’re usually more relaxed after they grow up.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd Puppy On Dry Leaves
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Australian Shepherds are natural herders, which means they might try to round up young kids or nip at their heels to keep them in line. They’re really smart, but because of that, they can be challenging to train. Plus, they need a ton of exercise and personal attention, which can be hard in a busy household with little ones who need a lot of care.


Black Rust Rottweiler Showing Tongue Lying on Concrete Pathway
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Rottweilers are protective guard dogs, always watching out for anything that threatens their home. They might react strongly if they see kids running around or making a lot of noise, thinking it’s something dangerous. Even if the kids are just playing nearby—the dog might have trouble telling the difference between innocent fun and a real threat.


Greyhound Sitting on the Bed
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Greyhounds are very speedy, but that doesn’t mean they’re always energetic. They’re more like big couch potatoes, preferring to relax and nap rather than being in constant excitement. Too much noise and chaos can make them unhappy and stressed out. Because they’re great runners, they might even chase after you like they would chase prey.


dog lying on bed
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Mastiffs are huge dogs, which might make parents hesitant to choose them. But despite their size, they’re usually very loving towards children. They’re also protective, especially over kids, which is great. However, this protective instinct can be a problem when you have visitors. Mastiffs are super strong and heavy, so they could accidentally hurt you or anyone, even though they don’t mean to.


Tan American Pitbull Running on Water
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It might seem clear that a pit bull wouldn’t be the best pick for a senior citizen, but some folks still choose this breed to keep their elderly loved ones safe. However, Pibulls generally have an aggressive temperament, which obviously isn’t ideal for older folks. They need lots of exercise and space to run around, so they wouldn’t be happy stuck inside an apartment or assisted living community.

Border Collie

Selective Focus Photography of Adult Black and White Border Collie
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Border Collies were first bred for herding, but they also became popular as family pets—especially for families with energetic kids who can keep up with them. However, it might be tough for seniors to match their high energy levels. Border Collies enjoy a bit of excitement and shed a lot, needing regular grooming and care.

Jack Russell Terrier

Side view of adorable Jack Russel terrier in black collar with metal bone holding toy in teeth on blurred background of green lawn in park
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Some folks compare the Jack Russell Terrier to a cat rather than a typical dog. They’re natural hunters and might bring their owners “gifts” of hunted squirrels or birds, just like cats. They need lots of space to roam and don’t do well in apartments. Despite their size, they can be pretty stubborn and sometimes aggressive. Training from an experienced person who can handle their stubbornness is usually needed.


black and white dalmatian dog on green grass field
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Dalmatians are known for being tough to train and needing a ton of outdoor activity—which might be too much for seniors. They can be stubborn and might cause trouble if they don’t burn off enough energy outside. Plus, their size, strength, and frenetic energy might be too much for little kids. They’re also guard dogs by nature and can be distant, which might not mix well with how children play.


Tired Pug Resting on Floor
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There are several reasons why a pug might not be the best dog breed for a family. Pugs often have breathing problems and other health issues, and they shed a lot, needing more grooming than some other breeds. Pugs can also be tricky to potty train, leading to extra cleanup for anyone who owns one. Overall, they’re known for being hard to train.


Close-Up Photography of Beagle
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Beagles are like perpetual puppies—they never outgrow their self-centered and stubborn ways. They have a distinct smell and tend to whine and howl often. They need regular grooming to handle all the shedding, and keeping them leashed when outside is very important. Because they’re so independent, they might not be the best choice for elderly people as pets.


Close-up of Black Dog
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Dachshunds are well-known for their long bodies and floppy ears—like little sausages! Their long backs make them prone to spinal problems, especially if they get overweight, which strains their backs. Even though they’re not super athletic, they have bold personalities and can be quite lively. They’re also known to be loud and might act defensively around people they don’t know.

Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel Puppy Sitting On Ground Beside Grass
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Cocker Spaniels are wonderful pals for kids and love cuddling in laps. But their beautiful coats, especially their ears, need a lot of care and cleaning. They must be groomed regularly, and it’s very tough to catch up if an appointment is missed. They’re also more likely to get ear infections than other breeds, so regular check-ups are a must for their owners.