No single breed of dog is the "best" for every family. However, there are a few breeds generally considered great choices for families. These breeds are generally good with children and other pets, though not every individual dog will necessarily hew to its breed standard.
The greyhound might not be the first breed that springs to mind as a calm family pet, but believe it or not, it is. Animal Planet calls the greyhound “the world’s fastest couch potato.” When not outside running, the greyhound tends to be very calm and lazy. Greyhounds do like to chase small animals but will get along with other pets when trained from an early age.
The Newfoundland is a very large breed of dog that resembles a bear. Despite his size, the Newfoundland is known as a laid-back and gentle companion dog. Though the dog is very calm, his size means that he might be best suited in a house rather than an apartment. The dog also requires some grooming due to his long coat.
The bulldog is probably not the breed that pops to mind when you think about a family friendly dog. The bulldog is, however, a very good dog to have around children and other animals. The dog is very sturdy and can take the rough nature of small children without much notice. Bulldogs are calm almost to the point of laziness and will put up with most other pets.
The best way to ensure that your family ends up with a dog that is calm, friendly and good with other animals is to adopt a dog from a shelter. Many shelters test their dogs with other pets and children to determine what type of home they will do best at. Shelter staff will help you and your family select the dog that best suits you.
Other Good Family Dogs
Many breeds make good family dogs. However, many of these breeds are high energy or might not be good in a home with other pets. For instance, both the collie and the standard poodle are wonderful with kids but need lots of exercise and stimulus. The Labrador retriever and the golden retriever also fall into this category. Both make excellent family companions, but these breeds are considered high-energy dogs. Many terriers, such as the bull terrier, are known to be great family companions, but they generally don't get along with other pets.