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Best Dog Breeds for Kids
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Before You Get A Dog
Considering getting a pet pup? Owning a dog can have significant emotional and physical pay-off. Not only does pet ownership teach children a lot about responsibility and companionship, but the activity it requires to take care of a dog (tons of walks!) is a great way to keep your family moving, and dogs can bring so much laughter and joy to your home.
Adding a dog to your family is a huge commitment. Along with the extra time, money, and attention you’ll need to spend, it’s important to think about which dogs will blend with your family the best. There is no one-size-fits-all answer—some breeds work better for certain families than others.
Even if you aren’t considering getting a dog right away, it’s important to talk to your child about pet safety. It’s best to research breeds on your own and find ones compatible for your unique household, so to make things a little easier we rounded up 10 dogs generally considered to be best for kids and families.
Dachshund: The Spunky Companion
Your kiddos will love the memorable weiner dog for more than just its unique shape. Dachshunds are incredibly loyal, goofy dogs who are great with kids when socialized properly. They also have tons of energy to help them keep up with a family that loves to play, making them one of the best small dogs for kids.
Labrador Retriever: The Most Popular Family Dog
Labs are known for their friendly, outgoing temperament—it’s what makes them the most popular dog in America. Labrador Retrievers get along well with other dogs and are a great pick for families. They’re an athletic dog that requires tons of exercise and attention, so they’re ideal for a family that loves to spend time outside.
Golden Retriever: A Family’s Best Friend
Often used as service dogs, Golden Retrievers are known for their loyalty and trustworthiness. This breed is incredibly loyal and family-friendly, with a puppy-like personality that lasts their whole life. If you’re a family with a silly streak, this is a great dog choice.
Beagle: The Easygoing Pup
Beagles are laid-back dogs who love company. They’re also curious, cute, and loving, which makes them great for families with young kids who might be overwhelming to a less relaxed breed.
Boxer: The Family Guardian
Looking for a dog that’s as smart as it is loyal and lovable? Look no further than the Boxer. This breed is intelligent, brave, and athletic. They willingly step into the role of family guardian and protector, which makes them an excellent choice for a family with kids.
Collie: A Devoted Dog Breed
Collies are known for loving children and because of that, they make wonderful family pets. They’re a devoted and loyal dog that learns quickly and longs for companionship. They require a lot of exercise, so they’re perfect for a family that loves to move.
Irish Setter: Fiery Red Coat on the Outside, Sweet on the Inside
Irish Setters are another breed famous for getting along with children and being a spectacular family dog. These lovable dogs make friends easily, are eager to please, and outgoing. This gentle-tempered dog is great for a family with lots of kids.
Poodle: The Hypoallergenic Dog
The Poodle may seem like a high-maintenance dog, but this breed is incredibly smart, active, and great for kids. They love swimming and fetching, and their hypoallergenic coat is an added bonus for families that are prone to allergies.
Bichon Frise: The Playful Urban Dweller
The Bichon Frise is another one of the best small dogs for kids. Petite and pretty, this breed packs major pep and playfulness. They get along well with other dogs and children, and they’re loving and loyal companions who make great family pets. Their size and attitude make them just right for city-dwelling families.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Affectionate and Athletic
These pups are adorable, gentle, and get along well with kids and other dogs. They’re perfectly suited for almost any type of family—their temperament can change with their owners, so they’re active and playful when the mood calls for it, but don’t mind lounging around with a family that likes to take it easy.
Honorable Mention—Newfoundland: The Gentle Giant
The Newfie’s sheer size doesn’t make it the ideal pet for all families—full-grown males can weigh up to 150 pounds! But if your family has the space for this gentle giant, it will be a loving, patient companion. Newfoundlands are actually known for their affinity for children and have earned the nickname of “the nanny dog.”
Honorable Mention—Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (PBGV): The Happy Hound
Low to the ground and sporting a shaggy coat, the PBGV is a happy-go-lucky hound that does great with kids and other dogs. Bred to work in a pack, these dogs love company and tend to have an extroverted personality.
Honorable Mention—Bergamasco Sheepdog: The Hairdo Herder
Easily recognizable by its iconic coat, the Bergamasco Sheepdog is a loyal breed that low-maintenance and trainable. These patient dogs generally do well with kids and other animals, but they have a protective streak. It may take them a while to warm up to strangers, so be sure to socialize them properly.
No matter what breed of dog you end up choosing for your family, be sure to do your research. Different dogs require different levels of activity and attention, so make sure your future pet complements your family’s lifestyle. You can find more information on these breeds and others from the American Kennel Club.