While Lassie and Lady and the Tramp are fun to watch, they’re probably not the best way to choose a dog for your kid. So how do you go about picking a pup from among all the breeds out there? A good rule of thumb is to choose a breed by its disposition, temperament, size and energy level — all of which should suit your family’s lifestyle. We present 10 dogs that are especially suitable for kids.
Photo credit: altrendo images / Stockbyte / Getty Images
The bulldog has a sturdy build that is perfect for kids who like to roughhouse. The bulldog is comfortable living in large houses as well as in apartments. However, he won’t win any awards for “most energetic dog.” A docile, friendly and loyal dog, he gets along well with other pets and dogs too.
Originally kept as hunting dogs, beagles fit well in homes with active kids, as they are sturdily built and never too tired to play a game. Friendly, clever and cheerful, the beagle usually gets along with other pets too (except for a bit of chasing here and there). They do shed and require frequent brushing and bathing, however.
While your beagle most likely won’t have a bird named Woodstock as his best friend, you can by all means name him (or her) Snoopy.
8. Bull terrier
The bull terrier can get quite rambunctious and requires plenty of playtime. Therefore he is a perfect dog for a large family. The bull terrier will return your affection by being very protective of your children.
Often mistaken for the larger pit bull terrier, the bull terrier was bred to be a companion dog — friendly and loving toward grown-ups and kids alike. This well-framed dog also has a high threshold for pain, making him perfect for rambunctious children who are learning how to properly treat dogs.
This is the dog Lassie made famous. Collies are a very gentle and predictable breed, rarely biting his human family and easily trainable, perfect for families that are unfamiliar with dogs.
While this breed is typically mild mannered, it was originally bred as a herding dog, so he might try to herd your children. This might be amusing at first, but it’s probably best to discourage child-herding (no matter how handy you might think it could be). The collie’s long hair means he requires regular grooming to keep his coat in tip-top shape. Collies get along great with children and love to please their owners and protect their family.
Nicknamed “Nature’s Babysitter,” the Newfoundland dog loves children and is very protective of them. Gentle, kind and patient, this breed is almost like the Mother Teresa of dogs. The Newfoundland best suits a family living in large, open spaces.
Although the Newfoundland is known to drool and shed excessively, he is not considered a proper dog for the yard. This breed wants to be inside with his family. Wouldn’t you? The Newfoundland is also a great swimmer and has been known to save lives in emergency situations. Both young and old will quickly fall in love with this wonderfully sweet, large dog.
This may be a breed you haven’t heard of before, but it’s actually one of the best dog breeds for kids. The vizsla has a gentle disposition and manner and is loyal, affectionate and quiet, perfect for your little ones to play with.
Additionally, he is obedient, confident and smart, forming close bonds with his family and able to learn new tricks quickly. Best of all, the vizsla has very little “doggy” smell about him.
4. Irish setter
Known for his red coat, the Irish setter is playful, energetic, loves being around people and plays well with children. This dog needs lots of exercise and is a good match for energetic kids.
A smart and trainable companion, the Irish setter is perfect for people with lots of space.
Often given rather curious haircuts by their owners, the poodle is a very smart and gentle dog. He’s also great for kids with allergies, as he sheds very little. He does, however, require scheduled grooming.
This is a proud and elegant dog that is both caring and loyal. Seldom annoyed or bored, the poodle’s friendly demeanour, good nature and patience make him an excellent play partner for any child.
2. Labrador retriever
This is one of the most popular dog breeds, and for good reason — the breed is protective, playful, loving, patient and reliable. The lab’s beauty is matched only by his sweet personality and intelligence. What does this mean for you? He’s your perfect family pet.
1. Golden retriever
Not as big as the lab, the golden retriever is a kind, smart, confident and loyal dog. Neither aggressive nor timid, the golden retriever is extremely patient, which is perfect for kids. While he does need a lot of exercise, his love of play makes this an easy thing to achieve.
So now that you know a thing or two about kid-friendly dogs, choosing one for your home and your family should be a little bit simpler. Remember, high-strung small dogs are usually not the best choice for children. Also, keep in mind that mutts from the pound are fantastic options, as they are often more docile and well tempered.
Good luck finding the best dog for your family!