A lot of thought goes into getting a family dog, but if you have kids, you need to put even more thought into getting
the best dog for kids. Not all dog breeds are good with kids that might want to play with the dog or lay with the dog and not all dogs are patient with kids.
Luckily there are several breeds that are great with kids and can just be an extension of your family.
Having a dog for kids is great to teach them responsibility, compassion, and make a great friend for them to play with.
I’m going to show you what to think about before picking your new dog to make sure it is a breed that fits your lifestyle, and list several small breeds, medium breeds, and large breeds that really love being part of a family with kids.
Things To Consider Before Picking Your Family Dog
Size: If you live in an apartment or live in the city with little to no yard, you probably should consider getting a dog that is smaller. They won’t need as much space to run around, and will be more content in a smaller environment.
Smaller dogs are more fragile though, and might not do as well with really small children. Large dogs are great for kids that want to be rough and tumble with the dog.
Energy: Larger dogs love to run and go on hikes and will rather play fetch than lie around. If you are looking for a dog that you and your kids want to be active with, a larger dog is the right choice for you. If you are looking for a dog that mainly wants to snuggle with you on the couch, a small dog will be the best choice for you.
Personality: You are going to want to pick a dog that can fit right into you family by having a similar personality or temperament. Silly families should look for a silly breed, and believe me, there are very silly dogs. Happy go lucky that go with the flow.
Care Responsibilities: Who is going to be responsible for making sure your dog gets a walk every day, feeding the dog, and grooming your dog. You will want to make sure you figure out how these activities will fit into everyone’s schedule before getting a dog. Dog’s take lots of time to care for, but what they give you back in love is well worth it.
Best Small Dogs For Kids
Pug: Pugs are charming, mischievous, loving, docile, stubborn, clever, sociable, playful and attentive. They are happy in the city or country, with kids or elderly, and as an only dog or with a pack of dogs. It is said, “they live to love and to be loved in return.”
Pugs love kids, and even though they are small, they are not delicate. They are a great breed choice for families with children. They will need daily walks and outdoor play time.
A Pug will be 10″ – 13″ tall, weigh 14 – 18 pounds and live 13 – 15 years.
French Bulldog: French Bulldogs are adaptable, playful, smart, alert, affectionate, keen, lively, sociable, athletic, patient, easygoing. They have an even disposition and are one of the world’s most popular small dog breed, especially for city dogs.
They are a compact and muscular dog that doesn’t require much outdoor exercise. A French Bulldog will get along well with other animals and enjoy making new human friends. A French Bulldog will get along great with children.
They are considered companion dogs and thrive with human contact. They are not a breed that can be left alone for long periods of time.
A French Bulldog will be 11″ – 13″ tall, weigh under 28 pounds and live 10 – 12 years.
Dachshund: A Dachshund is friendly, curious, spunky, smart, vigilant, stubborn, clever, devoted, playful and courageous. They have a bold and vivacious personality.
Although they aren’t great for distance running, leaping or hard swimming, they are tireless dogs that are game for anything. Good watchdogs.
They can be aggressive toward strangers and other dogs, but as a family dog, they are loyal companions. They are good with children if they are treated well. Probably a better dog for kids 10 or older that would know not to tease the dog.
A Dachshund will get 8″ – 9″ tall, 16 – 32 pounds, and live 12 – 16 years.
Bichon Frise: A Bichon Frise is playful, curious, peppy, sensitive, feisty, charming, affectionate, cheerful, gentle and intelligent. They are considered among the world’s great “personality dogs.”
They are sturdy and resilient and their confidence and size make them great city dogs. They are easy to train and enjoy performing their tricks. They are adaptable companions that get along well with other dogs and children.
They operate under the assumption that there are no strangers, just friends they haven’t met yet.
Hypoallergenic coat, they will get 9.5″ – 11.5″ tall, weigh 12 – 18 pounds, and live 14 – 15 years.
The Best Medium Sized Dogs For Kids
Beagle: Beagles are loving and lovable, happy, excitable, intelligent, determined, curious, clever, gentle, even tempered and energetic. They are the most popular hound dog among American pet owners.
They are very good with children and very playful. They will need lots of attention and exercise.
A beagle will be 13″ – 16″ tall, weigh under 30 pounds, and live 12 – 15 years.
Poodle: A Poodle is active, proud, very smart, eager, loyal, athletic, gentle, alert, and faithful. My recommendation would be for a Standard Poodle for a family with children as Miniature and Toy Poodles are more high-strung.
A Standard Poodle will make a great family dog and they will get along with other dogs. They are easy to train, but are very energetic and will need daily exercise.
A Standard Poodle is hypoallergenic, will be 18″ – 24″ tall, weigh 50 – 70 pounds and live 10-18 years.
Cocker Spaniel: A Cocker Spaniel is gentle, smart, happy, energetic, loving, trustworthy and an all around great companion. They have a sturdy and solid body, with a merry and frolicsome personality.
They are eager playmates for kids and easily trained with positive reinforcement. Pugs love play time, and a daily brisk walk, as they have lots of energy.
A Cocker Spaniel will reach 13″ – 16″ tall, weigh 20 – 30 pounds and live 10 – 14 years.
Vizsla: A Vizsla is affectionate, gentle, energetic, loyal and quiet. An expert of this breed has stated, “if you don’t have the time to encourage this breed’s full use of its brain, you’re wasting a good dog.”
They are very attached to their family and are great with kids. They form tight bonds with their owners and hate to be left alone. They are known for possible separation anxiety issues because of the closeness they feel, and this might be something that you would have to work with them on.
They will need at least an hour of exercise every day, and do make great jogging buddies.
A Vizsla will reach 21″ – 24″ tall, weigh 45 – 60 pounds, and live 12 – 14 years.
The Best Large Breed Dog For Kids
Golden Retrievers: A Golden Retriever is friendly, intelligent, kind, devoted, reliable, confident, outgoing, energetic, trustworthy and eager to please. They have a playful approach to life and remain having a puppyish behavior well into adulthood.
This breed will put up with almost anything your kids throw their way, and are always happy to play with children. They will want to be included in everything that the family is doing. They will love you to death, and are eager to meet everyone they come across.
They are an absolutely fabulous dog for kids.
They like receiving lots of attention and will need daily walks and plenty of mental stimulation in order to not get bored.
A Golden Retriever will be up to 24″ tall, weigh 70 – 90 pounds and live 10 – 12 years.
Labrador Retriever: Labrador Retrievers are kind, friendly, outgoing, agile, gentle, intelligent, active, even tempered and good-nature. They will have plenty of affection for the entire family.
They are a great dog for children of all ages and socialize well with other dogs. They are friendly to all that they meet.
They are high-spirited companions and will need plenty of daily exercise and activities.
A Labrador Retriever will reach 22″ – 24″ tall, weigh 65 – 80 pounds, and live 10 – 12 years.
Newfoundland: This large dog is sweet, patient, devoted, trusting, trainable, gentle and a great companion. They can be very protective if the situation arises.
They are very friendly with children and almost keep a watchful eye on kids making sure they are OK.
A Newfoundland will respond best to gentle guidance. They can be aggressive to other dogs, especially males. They will need long daily walks to stay fit, and love to swim.
A Newfoundland will reach 25″ – 29″ tall, weigh 100 – 150 pounds and live 9 – 12 years.
Irish Setter: An Irish Setter is active, outgoing, sweet nature, affectionate, energetic, independent and playful. They are eager to please.
They are a sweet-tempered companion and rollicking playmate for the kids. They are actually big kids at heart, and will love playing with the kids.
They will require patient positive training and will require lots of daily physical activity.
An Irish Setter will reach 22″ – 26″ tall, weigh 65 – 75 pounds, and live 12-15 years.
Collie: Collies are devoted, graceful, proud, kind, reliable, confident, loyal, intelligent and athletic dogs that thrive on companionship and regular exercise.
There are the Border Collies and Rough Collies (also known as Lassie). I am recommending the Rough Collie. The Border Collie will herd your kids as they are running around the yard or out the door. The Rough Collie might also try to herd your kids, but not to such a degree as the Border Collie.
A Collie is very fond of children and they love to please their owner and protect the family. With gentle training, they will learn happily and quickly.
The Rough Collie will reach 22″ – 26″ tall, weigh 50 – 75 pounds, and live 12 – 14 years.
I feel strongly that dogs are a great addition to all families. The right dog for the right family will just become an extra family member, as I have found that most dogs just want to be loved and part of your group.
Make sure when you are choosing a dog, that you choose a family dog that it is the best dog for kids and that it is a dog that will fit your lifestyle. Make sure you have enough room for the size of dog you are choosing and that you will be able to provide enough exercise and activities for what your breed of dog requires. That will make life easier for all of you.
I have found that if you have smaller children, generally speaking, larger dogs are more patient with smaller children. Your child might get pushed around a bit, but they will all adjust and be able to handle it, and as they grow together, they will become best of pals and always have a playmate ready to go.
Good luck with your decision. I hope your family dog will bring you as much joy as mine always have.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Also, if you have any stories you would like to share about your family dog and your children, please do. I always enjoy reading fun stories about dogs and kids.
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