Of all the dog breeds out there, a few are clearly ahead of the pack when it comes to their natural ability with kids. The best breeds for children are gentle, easy-going, and physically sturdy enough to take a few over-exuberant squeezes and occasional clumsy handling. If you’re looking for a great dog for your kids, here are of few breeds to consider plus notes on mixed breeds
American Cocker Spaniel
This variety of Spaniel is cheerful, even-tempered, and enjoys being around children of all ages. As a plus, their small size (less than 30 pounds) makes them unlikely to frighten younger children. Their long coat, however, means that they need regular grooming which can be inconvenient for a time challenged family.
Nearly always listed among the best breeds for children, Golden Retrievers have an exceptional love for kids and like to spend time playing with them. They’re intelligent, eager to please, and often exuberant, so obedience training is usually easy. There are a few genetic diseases present in the breed, so choose your pup carefully to avoid heartache at a later date.
The Lab is laid back, sociable with humans, and happiest when it can tag along with family members throughout the day. Its friendly look makes the dog’s size a little less intimidating, too. Although this breed is excellent with children, it’s often boisterous and high-spirited, and needs training to allow it to live harmoniously with young children.
When it comes to child-friendly dog breeds, small dogs do offer a lot of advantages. Children can walk and play with little dogs without fear of being knocked over and their size won’t intimidate shyer children. Small dogs are also easy for an older child to wash and groom. Here are a few dog breeds small enough to play gently with children, but not too small to stand up to a little rough-housing.
Sturdy and spunky, the pug dog is a lot like most kids. Pugs love people and will most likely follow your children around whenever possible. Playful by nature, they seem to enjoy entertaining their owners with silly antics. They’re also sensitive and intelligent enough to take to training without much trouble. The only drawbacks are that they’re prone to certain health problems and their wrinkles require special care.
With its compact size, solid build, and friendly demeanor, the Schnauzer makes a great companion for small children. Although they’re as rambunctious as terriers, they’re less aggressive, which makes them a better choice around kids. Schnauzers aren’t yappy, but they are natural guard dogs and will sound the alarm when any stranger approaches the house. They too need regular grooming to maintain those charming Schnauzer eyebrows!
Mixed Breed Dogs
Definitely consider shelter dogs. Sure, the dogs at your local shelter may not hold prestigious pedigrees, but many have already been socialized with babies and children.
Because there are adults as well as puppies, you won’t have to guess at their personality if you consider the adults. Remember, a lot of people give up their dogs because of a move or financial problems, not because there’s something wrong with the dog. Also, many shelter dogs will have been neutered and temperament tested before adoption.
While the best breeds for children are naturally even tempered, affectionate and patient with little kids, temperament’s not everything. You’ll also want to consider the dog’s exercise needs, grooming and clean-up requirements, and potential health problems. Take your time to read up on the breeds that interest you, speak to people, and you’re sure to find a dog that’s perfect for your family. Here’s a book that can help: