18 Best Dog Breeds for Kids
Looking for a child-friendly fur baby to bring home to your family? Kids and dogs have an almost-magical connection with each other—provided you’ve landed on the right breed. These dog breeds are a great place to start.
First things first
Dogs have personalities and quirks, no matter what breed they are. Children also differ in their needs, energy levels, and personalities. No matter which breed you hone in on, it is important to take a common sense approach, when choosing from the best dogs for kids and introducing a new pet to your household. “When searching for a pet dog for the family, parents often consult friends or relatives, or rely on their own personal experiences,” says Janelle Emmett, DVM, veterinary technology program director at Carrington College‘s Sacramento, California, campus who has practiced for 12 years in companion animal medicine. “Ideally, people should select a breed based upon the anticipated lifestyle of the dog, being mindful to match the personality and age of the child and the traits of the breed.” Additionally, parents must remember that nothing can replace careful monitoring of the child with the pet and good training, she notes. Before you bring a dog home, make sure you have all the items on this puppy checklist.
Cavalier King Charles spaniel
“The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a wonderful family pet; a gentle, calm dog, who is happy to be combed and brushed,” says Dr. Emmett on why this pup is one of the best dogs for kids and best dog breeds for families, period. “This breed is, however, less enthusiastic about games, such as tug of war, and rough-and-tumble play. King Charles spaniels are a good match for a more urban lifestyle and a sensitive child.” Kids will always love dogs, but some things do change–these are trends kids loved a decade ago that they don’t like anymore.
“The golden retriever is one of the most well-known dogs because of their gentle, caring temperaments. They are able to lounge around the house for an afternoon or take a hike through the woods,” says Pete Lands, DVM, director of emergency and critical care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. Goldens are very bright and easy to train. They’re also stoic when it comes to kids. “While they may not like it, golden retrievers tend to be apathetic to young kids pulling on their ears or tugging at their tails. This makes them one of the best family dogs you can find,” he adds. Not only are they one of the best dogs for kids, but they’re also one of the smartest dog breeds.
They look large-and-in-charge, but Labs are famously child-friendly, making them one of the best family dogs. “The Labrador retriever is a reliable family pet,” says Dr. Emmett. “This breed has an insatiable appetite for games and play and is well suited for an active outdoor lifestyle and a child who likes to run, throw balls, and play Frisbee.”
Don’t let worries about their past turn you off to shelter dogs. Many rescue dogs, who are waiting for their forever home, are gentle, loving, and grateful to be found by a wonderful family with kids, plus, some have even already been potty-trained. “Most shelters arrange ‘meet-and-greet’ times, where you and your child can interact with prospective pets so you can find the right fit for your family,” says Dr. Emmett. Many shelters also allow you to foster a dog for a day or two, providing an extra layer of comfort, so you don’t have to rely on the love-at-first-sight rush you may feel at a shelter. If you’re debating between getting a male or female dog, first learn about how they are different.
Cute as a button, sweet, and gentle, these pack animals thrive on companionship. According to the American Kennel Club, these charmers are among the best dogs for kids and best dog breeds for families because they are loving by nature, love to play, and have goofy personalities. If you want a dog who wants to be with people, this is a great breed for your family. Pass beagles up, however, if your house is always empty during the day.
Does your family love a good group jog or a game of beach Frisbee? If so, an Irish setter will be the perfect fit for you. Regal to look at and energetic beyond words, this breed grows to be large, around 50 to 70 pounds, and has a long lifespan, so they can grow up with your kids. Irish setters are one of the best family dogs, make great companions, are wonderful with children, and have lively dispositions. They also love to play with toys and balls. Don’t miss these secrets dog trainers won’t tell you.
Frenchies, as they are affectionately known, are diminutive in size, but big in personality. Known for their affectionate natures and silly “bat” ears, French bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs. One of the best family dogs for apartment dwellers, Frenchies do well in small spaces and love being around kids. French bulldogs also love getting dressed up for Halloween.
Make a boxer part of your family, and you will never feel unprotected again. Fiercely loyal and protective of those who love them, these energetic, medium-sized dogs have calm dispositions, but love to play, making them one of the best dogs for kids with high energy. They need lots of exercise, but beware of driving them too hard in hot weather. Like all squish-faced (Brachycephalic) dogs, they tend to overheat. Make sure you know these 14 common health problems in the most popular dog breeds.
These little bundles of low-shedding fur are some of the friendliest dogs on the planet and is one of the best dog breeds for families. Sweet, affectionate, and playful, the bichon frise is a fantastic playmate for energetic children. Their small size makes them a great city dog, provided you give them lots of walks. According to Animal Planet, they’re loyal to a fault and do best with consistent training and moderate amounts of activity.