Though they are nearly 200 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, not all of these canines are well-suited for family life. Just as rambunctious puppies need patience when they are young and in training, children require the same as they learn the proper way to interact with animals. During the early years of a child’s life, it is best to be paired with a dog who can handle the mistakes and mishaps that often accompany child rearing. Below are some of the safest bets when it comes to deciding which dog breed would best mesh with a family’s own herd of little humans.
Labradors Retreivers & Golden Retreivers: As noted on every “Best Dog” list, the Labradors and Goldens are both universal favorites. These are known for being the ideal family dogs, since both retrieving breeds are perfect blends of athleticism and gentleness. Retreivers work well with children of all sizes, have reliable temperaments, and are always up for an energetic romp. They are fast swimmers, runners, hikers, fetchers, and the coziest of cuddlers. These retrievers seldom show any sign of aggression, and are loyal companions to all ages.
Bulldog: Both English and French Bulldogs are hilariously entertaining pets for kids. They are the right size for children, and they are inclined to merely keep up with the pack, rather than outrunning or roughhousing the kids. On occasion there have been incidents where Bulldogs get snappy and defensive when provoked, making them best suited with older children. These sturdy dogs are happy to be both inside and outside, and their coats are low-maintenance and easy to take care of.
Border Collies: Ranking as the smartest of all dog breeds, Collie dogs are as active physically as they are mentally. They rarely have ever bitten or attacked their humans, and are known for having predictable temperaments. Collies may however, try to herd children when things get out of hand, since they were bred to herd sheep. Collie coats to shed, making them great animal to have when training children to take care of pets with regular walks and daily brushing.
Newfoundland: These shaggy heroes have been described as the world’s most natural babysitter. Like the famous dog “Nana” from Peter Pan, both Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards are indoor dogs who prefer to be close to their families. Though these big pups often drool, they also are strong swimmers who have rescued family members in a moment of crises.
Beagle: There is a reason why Snoopy became one of America’s iconic dogs. Beagles are mild-mannered, easy-going and affection-seeking. They love playing in the park, as much as they enjoy short-training sessions where they can win tasty treats and cuddles. A happy-go-lucky Beagle is a great first-time dog for kids.
Standard Poodles: Though the miniature and toy Poodles cam be yappy and high strung, Standard Poodles make great family pets. They are intelligent and friendly, and their hypoallergenic coats are great for kids who suffer from allergies. If you are worried about owning a purebred Poodle, you could always try a tempered-down Poodle hybrid, like a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle!
Bull Terrier: Though this dog has made it onto our ugliest dog list (because of its beady eyes and oddly- shaped head), they do make ideal companions for children. Their unthreatening size and stocky stature make them great playmates for kids who like to climb, sit or lay on dogs. Bull terriers are protective family pets with a high pain tolerance, meaning they are less inclined to retaliate if your child accidently pokes them in the eye or holds onto their tail.
Bloodhound & Basset Hounds: Bloodhounds are gentle dogs and even-tempered, who would come in useful if the need would ever arise to track a lost child. Another family-favorite hound breed is the Basset hound, a friendly and playful pup that is patient with children and typically tolerant of other domestic pets. Both hound dogs show little agitation when prodded, pulled or seized by children, though Bassets are a better size for smaller kids than the sizable Bloodhound.
Jack Russell Terriers: This little breed is a great match for children older than 5-6 years, since Jack Russells tend to be less patient with the little ones. However these terriers are great for energetic adolescents who want a spirited pooch to wrestle around with or take on long daily walks. The Jack Russell will be sure to keep up with whatever adventure your kids can throw at them.
Mutts: Mutts have long been family favorite pets, since they tend to be easy-going dogs with balanced demeanors. Choosing a mutt is a great option for those who might want the strong qualities of one breed, while diminishing other less desirable qualities down by blending it with another dog. Another good reason to choose a mutt, is that each one is unique and will become an unforgettable family member.
Other breeds that are great for kids: Boxers, Vizslas, Irish Setters, Australian Shepherds, Flat-Coated Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.