Beagle Puppy by Thomas McMahon
While many people worry about getting their children a dog, scientists almost unanimously agree that keeping a pet is beneficial both for the mental development and for the health of our kids. Taking care of a dog can help the little ones to be more responsible and nurturing, as they realize that their cute puppy fully relies on them. Studies also show that dog ownership has the capacity to enhance social skills and teach children the virtue of cooperation and sharing. Furthermore, a study from the University of Cincinnati found out that children who interact with a dog in an early age,have a significantly lower risk of developing eczema. Knowing all of this and seeing your kids’ eyes when they ask you for a puppy over and over again, maybe it’s high time to start considering getting one.
Main Criteria When Choosing the Right Puppy
What should be the main criteria when choosing a dog for a family with small kids? Most importantly, the dog should be gentle with children and should have a laid-back character to accommodate kids running, screaming, or potentially hugging, kissing, tail tugging, or attempting to ride the dog. That’s also why it’s good when the dog is a bit sturdy, so that children’s displays of affection don’t hurt the new member of the family. Avoid small, delicate dogs, as for example Chihuahuas tend to get a bit snappy when there’s too much happening around them. Regardless of the dog breed and character, one thing should be remembered at all times: any dog can hurt your children in stressful circumstances (I myself was bitten by my aunt’s otherwise super-friendly dog as a kid, after I tried to kiss him while he was having his lunch…) so make sure not to underestimate supervision.
Check out our list of some of the most child-friendly dog breeds and feel free to share your own experience:
Bulldog by LisaAuch
There are many special types of bulldog breeds, but one thing is common to all of them: they love children. Bulldogs are highly advisable as a pet for families with small kids due to their sociable character. It’s also believed that most bulldogs are exceptionally smart and have a penchant for fun. Despite their genetic disposition towards bravery and fighting, bulldogs are seldom hostile to anyone, but always remain protective of their owners. Because of their relaxed attitude and sturdy figure, bulldogs are better for kids, who won’t expect these class clowns to jog around with them every day. On the other hand, their thick skin protects them from possible overly rough interaction with kids. The possible negatives of bulldogs are that sometimes they can get a bit competitive with other dogs, but shouldn’t usually be the ones to provoke the fight, and potential troubles with health due to overbreeding in the past.
2. Golden Retriever
The golden retriever is believed to be one of the best breeds that families can choose. These dogs were bred to work with people and their sweet and calm nature is their trademark. Due to their extraordinarily amiable character, golden retrievers almost never behave aggressively towards strangers and generally show very few signs of predatory tendencies. Furthermore, they are known to be very tolerant, so occasional outbursts that other dogs wouldn’t withstand don’t trouble or anger them at all. Since golden retrievers are a rather big breed that appreciates food, it’s very important to deliver enough daily exercise by taking them for at least an hourly walk or playing a game of fetch. Otherwise they can easily get a bit overweight. They are certainly not suitable for small apartments, since their playfulness sometimes results in slightly rowdy behaviour that could hardly be contained within limited spaces.
Collie by Chris Leung
Developed in the United Kingdom as a herding dog, collies were made famous by the amazing Lassie in the popular TV show. Although the fictional Lassie was a bit of an exaggeration, they really are unbelievably intelligent. Collies are always full of energy and love playing with children. Their sociable nature makes it very difficult for them to spend time home alone, as they always prefer to stay close to their owner. Collies also demand lots of exercise, so they’re perfect for active families. Their natural tendency to herd has both good and bad aspects. On the one side, they are very protective, patient, and caring, but on the other, they may show tendencies to nip small children that are shouting and running around. The collie has a rather long anticipated age, ranging from 14 to 16 years, but often suffers from genetic illnesses, just like all pure breeds.
If you need something to distract your extremely active bunch of children, a beagle is the right way to go. This charming, shorthaired breed is known for its playful and inquisitive nature, so adventurous kids will find a caring companion. While beagles are merry and fun-loving most of the time, they are still hounds, so sometimes they can get a bit full of themselves and stubborn and require a bit of structured obedience training. Especially if they are left alone in an apartment without proper exercise and enough walks every day, your shoes might suffer… If you’d like to get both a pet and a protective dog, don’t choose beagles, since they’re usually immediately friendly to everyone they meet (including other dogs.) Also, if you draw your education about beagles from stories about Charlie Brown’s lazy friend Snoopy, get ready for a huge surprise!
5. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever by Andrea Arden
For its good nature, intelligence, and loveable appearance, the Labrador retriever has become one of the most popular breeds in North America (their origin can be traced to Newfoundland and Labrador). Sometimes nicknamed as “canine ambassadors of goodwill,” Labrador retrievers often develop a close bond with children and become their true best friends. It should be noted that they not only tolerate the commotion children bring, but they also join in the action themselves! For their amiable character, they make excellent therapy dogs that cheer up sick or old people and their intelligence ensures their position of reliable assistance dogs for the handicapped. Just like most dog breeds listed in this post, they would totally fail as guard dogs. Another important thing to know about Labrador retrievers is that they love to eat and if they don’t get plenty of exercise and reasonable amounts of food, it won’t take them long to get overweight.
6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles spaniels (what an unbelievably fancy name!) make friends with everyone anywhere, if only the person is willing to offer them a lap to sit on. While they are not as active as some of the other dogs mentioned here, cavaliers can still act as decent playmates for your children and just like every dog, they would never say no to a ball thrown towards them. Even though cavaliers are one of the largest toy breeds and generally don’t mind being tugged or shoved a little, children still should be instructed on how to interact with them in a way that doesn’t harm or bother either side. One possible danger about choosing cavaliers is that when not trained properly and socialized at an early age, they can easily develop small dog syndrome and become unbearable. The typical life span of Cavalier King Charles spaniel is 9 to 14 years.
Poodle by Jon Ross
Poodles are famous as a symbol of elegance and extravagance, but once surrounded by kids, they quickly lose their refined manners and become cheerful companions. The breed is very even-tempered, charismatic, and loves playing games. Poodles also become friends with people and other dogs very quickly and aren’t afraid to create strong bonds. Since the breed is used to spending time with people and even though they are very patient and seldom bored, they hate lonely periods at home. It’s also advised to have poodles grow up with a family from the very beginning, as they’ll not only get used to kids but also suppress some of their possible attitude. Surprisingly, poodles are capable of guarding your place if trained well, since normally they are quite friendly towards strangers. If you decide to get yourself a poodle, you’ll have an endless list of different varieties to choose from. There’s also some good news for family members who suffer from allergies: poodles shed very little.
Pug By Sam Lavi
Many say that this pint-sized breed can be described as a big dog in a little body and those who’ve gotten to know pugs can only agree. Pugs possess amazing spirit and are known as the clowns of the canine world for their profound sense of humour and strong tendency to show off . Sometimes this can get a bit annoying, as they ply for constant attention, so choose pugs for kids who never get tired of their adventures. Generally, pugs feel so great with kids that they even consider them their siblings and their sturdy, compact bodies are perfect for endless games with your children. Just like any other pure breed, pugs are prone to several genetic health conditions. Fun fact in the end: Even though it’s hard to believe, this breed was originally used as a guard dog in ancient Chinese temples.
Brittany by Wikimedia Commons
Bred as a notable hunting dog in France, the Brittany is super friendly towards children. Their hunting past keeps them alert, curious, and independent, but they do their best to please their loved ones. Brittanies are also very smart and they should be provided with enough mental stimulation along through physical exercise every day. While the dogs are ordinarily tender towards new people and don’t have any particular trouble with meeting other dogs (or cats as well!), it’s very important to start to socialize them at early stages. Curious and playful, Brittanies can act as irreplaceable friends for your kids, but bear in mind that their stunning energy level might be too much to handle for smaller children.
10. Sussex Spaniel
Developed in England to flush birds into the air during hunts, the Sussex spaniel is a versatile and affectionate dog whose personality still draws a lot from their past. Although they are known for being rather slow and sedate, Sussex spaniels love walking outdoors (at least 20 or 30 minutes of daily exercise is recommended for them not to get overweight) and happily chasing any kind of prey they focus on with an amazing energy and endurance. To let the hunter know about their position, they are used to barking a lot, so be prepared to endure their talkative tendency or get them proper training to avoid unpleasant arguments with neighbours complaining about night howling. This breed loves socializing with people and dogs alike, so ignoring them can lead to anxiety or destructive behaviour.