Nothing better for family than labs, the most loving dogs I've ever owned. Really good duck/goose and upland game birds as long as flushing at close range is ok for you. There are some expensive labs that are bred with pointing instincts but costly. I've had 4 shepards, 4 labs, 2 shorthairs. Problem with all dogs is no garranty of having any brains. Sometimes you get lucky and a really smart one pops up. My black lab Raven is way too smart almost scary, Gunnar is not so brainy but makes up for it with love. A golden retriever is a really good looking dog but its hard to find a smart one. Puppies and kids go hand and hand. Good luck on your purchase.