The Best Dog Breeds for House Pets

By Jane Meggitt

The best canine breeds for house pets share several qualities. These dogs all have good dispositions, require relatively little exercise, like kids and other pets, and are easily trained. These dogs suit apartment or suburban living. While all require regular brushing, none need excessive grooming.

English Bulldog

Smiling woman with an English bulldog.

LWA/Sharie Kennedy/Blend Images/Getty Images

While the English bulldog is no athlete, he is an excellent housedog. He loves kids and is quite gentle with them. He doesn't need much exercise -- indeed, he can't tolerate much exercise, especially in hot weather. When it's hot out, he needs to stay inside in air-conditioned rooms. While his short coat requires little care, he does need his wrinkles wiped out a few times a week to prevent bacterial skin infections. Maturing between 40 and 50 pounds, the bulldog appears in a range of colors.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles spaniel sleeping on a pillow.

deborahcat/iStock/Getty Images

Good-natured and sweet, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel was once the favorite of the British aristocracy. It gets along well with children, cats and other canines. At maturity, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel stands between 12 and 13 inches high at the shoulder, weighing between 13 and 18 pounds. The breed appears in four colors. The classic Blenheim is red and white, while solid red and black and tan are also permissible. Black, tan and white combine in tricolors.

Papillon or Phalene

A papillion dog on grass.

stanfair/iStock/Getty Images

The lively, alert papillon appears in the classic "butterfly-eared" version -- "papillon" is French for "butterfly "-- or the long-eared type known as the phalene. They're the same breed, sometimes born in the same litter. Although the papillon's hair is long, they don't shed much and don't require much grooming because there's no undercoat. One caveat: While the breed is generally a happy pappy, some are also yappy pappies. They're good little watchdogs. At maturity, papillons stand between 8 and 11 inches high at the shoulder, weighing between 5 to 12 pounds. Papillons appear in a variety of colors, but that always includes a great deal of white.

Pug

Two sitting pugs wearing harness leashes.

Blue Artist management/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

The adaptable, affable pug is a house pet extraordinaire. Pugs don't need a lot of outdoor time, and while playful, aren't particularly energetic. They're part of the family and want to be included in all activities, especially any that involve hanging out on the couch and watching TV. At maturity, pugs stand between 10 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 14 to 18 pounds. Pugs are either fawn or black.

Great Dane

Woman patting a great dane.

Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you're looking for a big house dog, the Great Dane fills the bill. Although huge -- full-grown male Great Danes must stand at least 30 inches tall at the shoulder, with females at least 28 inches tall -- the breed doesn't need a lot of exercise and easily settles into couch potatohood. While Great Danes get along well with children, they aren't recommended for families with small children because of their sheer size. Acceptable colors include fawn, black, blue, brindle -- with a gold base coat and black striping -- mantle and harlequin. The latter shades are variants on black and white patterns.