Choosing a Dog: The Best Breeds for Families

An ancient Portuguese proverb suggests, “A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel.” Harsh criticism perhaps, but if this adage holds true, the United States is decidedly devoid of scoundrels.

Best in Show
Six films featuring dogs to watch with your kids.

1. Old Yeller
2. Lady and the Tramp
3. 101 Dalmations
4. My Dog Skip
5. The Incredible Journey
6. The Adventures of Milo and Otis

Americans have a longstanding love affair with canines—more than 21 million households own at least one dog, according to the latest research from A.C. Nielsen. An estimated $8 billion a year is spent on pampering pooches, which includes everything from routine veterinary visits to grooming to chew toys. A dog’s life, without question, has become one of luxury.

The Kids-and-Canines Bond
For many children, the family dog is a best friend—a loyal companion who offers unconditional love while teaching them invaluable lessons about responsibility, friendship and trust. Recent canine-centered films, such as “My Dog Skip,” remind us that the simple wag of a dog’s tail can brighten our spirits and bring much-needed order to our often chaotic lives. They are special animals, indeed.

No wonder the phrase, “Mom, Dad, can we get a dog…please!” is so popular among American households, especially during the spring months when puppy season is in full bloom. But before you add a furry friend to the fold, do your homework (you can’t cop out by claiming the dog ate it…at least not yet!) and determine what breeds are most compatible with your family’s personality.

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