All too often I hear people describe a specific breed as the perfect family dog. The top three I usually hear are labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and beagles. But to be honest, I have heard a lot of breeds named over the years by people who are adamant the breed they are identifying is the best dog a family can get.
While I do agree to a certain extent that some breeds are predisposed to being more tolerant of children and their naughty behaviors of pulling tails, laying on the dog and stealing toys/treats away, it really all comes down to the raising and training of the dog (surprise!). There are some great labradors out there that indeed are amazing pets, but I have also seen some labradors do some serious damage to people and other dogs.
And in regards to bully breeds, while we constantly hear in the news that American Staffordshire Terriers and all their similarly looking mix breed friends are vicious, it was only a few decades ago they were considered the nanny dog, being great with children. How does this happen? The raising and training of course! Any breed of dog – yes ANY – can attack a person or other dog. It all comes down to socialization and training the dog so they are acclimated to the family life.
So when you are considering adding a dog into your family and all your friends start making their suggestions as to which breed is the best, I recommend this: go to your local shelter or rescue group with your entire family, tell them what your family lifestyle is like, and have the entire family interact with the dogs the shelter/rescue group recommends as being a good fit for you. This way, you will find the breed/breed mix that is best for you and your family.