A New Brunswick family lost about 20 dogs in a fire at their home and dog-breeding business Saturday, but escaped unharmed.

Firefighters were called to the property in North Lake, near the Canada-U.S. border, at about 1 p.m.

North Lake fire Chief Roy Acott said the house was full of smoke and firefighters couldn't get inside.

He said the woman who runs the business brought the dogs inside before leaving the house.

"She told me they were just inside the door in kennels, but we weren't able to find anything at that time," he told CBC News on Sunday.

He said about 20 dogs were killed.

He said it appears the fire started in the kitchen.

"The house is totally destroyed. I'm not sure if we're going to find much this morning. We're going to go back and investigate."

The Canadian Red Cross is helping the woman and her two adult sons find a temporary place to stay, as well as clothing, food and personal-care items.

It could be a day or two before insurance adjusters visit the property, according to the Red Cross.

The property is about 40 kilometres southwest of Woodstock.