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The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Children

Owning a dog teaches responsibility and consistency. If you’re like most of us, falling in love with a dog can happen almost instantly. Dogs give us unconditional love and loyalty and provide constant companionship to every member of our family.

Getting a dog, however, is a big decision, especially if you have small children that will constantly be around. Dogs are living beings and require a considerable amount of training, and some dogs are not suitable for families with small children. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if it’s done in a responsible way.

Where do I begin?

If you’re looking to get a dog and have small children, there are some things you should know. At times, children can be unpredictable, which is why you are better off going with a breed that has a considerably good history with both infants and small children.

All dogs can interact well with children, especially if they're brought in as puppies to a home where children are around. However, many breeds have proven to be particularly more gentle and accepting of children over others. This is why you should go with a breed that can live in complete peace and harmony, even with your children around.

So, if you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, but don’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of ten of the best dog breeds for families with small children. Choose wisely, as some breeds may be better suited for both you and your family.

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10 The Golden Retriever

The golden retriever is one of the finest family dogs known to date. This breed is known for its playful, demonstrative and trustworthy manner with everyone, including very small children. This breed is also extremely forgiving of any mistakes made by inexperienced owners, which is a wonderful quality to have, especially with children involved.

It’s important to note that the nature of a golden retriever is sweet and gentle, but because his body is robust, you'll want to keep your children away from walking time until he is properly trained on the leash.

Other Benefits of the Golden Retriever:

  • Adapts well to any living situation
  • Excellent sense of smell and sound
  • Very trainable
  • High tolerance for being left alone
  • High tolerance for changing weather patterns
  • Friendly towards other dogs
  • Friendly towards cats
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Easy to groom
  • Not overly dominant
  • (Generally) very healthy 

9 The Labrador Retriever

Not only is the Labrador retriever one of the most popular dog breeds, it is also an extremely well-behaved breed around children. This breed is eager to please and enjoys playing with their family members.

The lab also loves to swim and bounce around both in the water and on the land. Their friendly nature makes them great companions for both adults and children. Though they have quite the hyper temperament, they know how to remain cool, calm and collected around children.

Other Benefits of the Labrador Retriever:

  • Excellent sense of smell and sound
  • Excellent swimmer
  • Very trainable
  • High tolerance for being left alone
  • High tolerance for cold weather
  • Friendly towards other dogs
  • Friendly towards cats
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Easy to groom
  • (Generally) very healthy 

8 The Boxer

Boxers have a natural love for human affection, especially from children. They are a very ‘people oriented’ breed and prefer to have their pack close by.

Lively and energetic, the boxer requires plenty of exercises and playful interaction. If you can manage to keep up with his active demeanor, the boxer is the perfect breed for any growing family. The more family members for the boxer, the happier he’ll be.

Other Benefits of the Boxer:

  • Very trainable
  • Good for novice owners
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Minimal shedding
  • Easy to groom

7 The Mastiff

The mastiff is one of the oldest breeds. Known for his incredibly affectionate nature, the mastiff is the perfect dog for families with small children.

This good-natured giant longs for the time spent with his pack members and can form an instant bond with them. Don’t let his size fool you. The mastiff is one of the gentlest existing breeds, specifically with small children.

The mastiff is also a very protective breed. If he feels that his family is being threatened, the mastiff will make sure that no intruder enters his territory.

Other Benefits of the Mastiff:

  • Easy to train
  • High tolerance for being left alone
  • High tolerance for cold weather
  • Minimal shedding
  • Easy to groom
  • Needs minimal exercise 

6 The Border Collie

Known for being protective, the border collie will do anything to keep his pack members safe. He is one of the most child-friendly, loyal breeds and despite his heavy shedding, the collie is actually a very clean dog.

The collie is also one of the most intelligent, easy-to-train breeds known to date. He was bred as a herding animal and though he may have some excess energy to burn, he does everything with extra care, especially around his family.

Other Benefits of the Border Collie:

  • Very trainable
  • High tolerance for changing weather patterns
  • Friendly towards other dogs
  • Friendly towards cats
  • Excellent sense of smell and sound
  • (Generally) very healthy 

5 The Beagle

Friendly, gentle and happy-go-lucky—the beagle has no enemies. Beagles can get along with just about anyone or anything: adults, children, and other animals.

Because they are hounds, beagles are known to howl frequently. If not properly exercised, the beagle can get his nose into trouble, and could possibly wake your sleeping child. However, as long as you can commit to maintaining a regular exercise routine for your beagle, you will have no problem with him being a part of your family.

Other Benefits of the Beagle:

  • Good for novice owners
  • Friendly towards other dogs
  • Friendly towards cats
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Easy to groom
  • Compact size
  • High tolerance of hot weather
  • Not overly dominant
  • (Generally) very healthy
  • Loves to cuddle

4 The Pug

It’s pretty much impossible not to love the pug. Known for his charming and charismatic personality, the pug is a friendly and playful companion that loves spending quality time with his family. Pugs require minimal exercise and enjoy cuddling with their loved ones. They are also known for being wonderful lap dogs that provide unconditional affection to anyone around them.

Because of their small size, the pug can easily adapt to a variety of living situations, even when living with small children. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the pug is a little on the delicate side. Unlike larger breeds, the pug needs to be handled with care; they are living beings, not toys. Although they like to play rough, you will need to tell your children that extra care needs to be shown during playtime with the pug.

Other Benefits of the Pug:

  • Adapts well to any living situation
  • Good for novice owners
  • Friendly towards other dogs
  • Friendly towards cats
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Compact size
  • Not overly dominant
  • Needs minimal exercise
  • Loves to cuddle

3 The Bulldog

People are often mistaken about the bulldog more than any other breed. From their history of being bred and used for bull baiting, they've had quite the reputation for being aggressive dogs.

The truth is, nothing could be more false. In fact, the bulldog makes an amazing family pet. Not only do they get along well with children, they are also extremely loyal to the ones they love. Though the bulldog can be full of energy as a puppy, they slow down as they become older. This makes them the perfect companions for young children, as they become calmer dogs with age.

Additionally, one of the characteristics that make the bulldog stand out above other dogs is his exceptional tolerance and patience with children. The bulldog is very docile and rarely ever barks unless he senses that his family is being threatened. So, if you want a gentle dog that is great with small children, and also very loyal, then the bulldog is for you.

Other Benefits of the Bulldog:

  • Adapts well to any living situation
  • Good for novice owners
  • High tolerance for being alone
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Very easy to train
  • Needs minimal exercise
  • Minimal barking potential
  • Loves to cuddle

2 The Newfoundland

Gentle, kind, and patient, don’t let his size intimidate you. The Newfoundland is one of the most genuine, loyal dogs you’ll ever meet. He also loves all children and is very protective of them.

The Newfoundland best suits a family who likes to cuddle. Rather than being outside and playing, this breed prefers to be inside with family nestled up on the couch. The Newfoundland also has great swimming abilities and has been known to save lives in emergency situations. If you have a Newfoundland in your life, you will not regret it.

Other Benefits of the Newfoundland:

  • Very responsive to humans
  • Very easy to train
  • Adapts well to any living situation
  • Good for novice owners
  • High tolerance for being alone
  • High tolerance for cold weather
  • Friendly towards other dogs
  • Friendly towards cats
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Minimal shedding
  • Easy to groom
  • Not overly dominant
  • Minimal barking potential

1 The Vizsla

Though the vizsla is not as common as the breeds in this list, it is one of the best breeds for small children. Known for his gentle disposition, the vizsla is loyal, affectionate and quiet—perfect for your little ones when it comes to play.

The vizsla is also extremely obedient and can easily form close bonds with his pack members. It is important to mention, however, that vizslas need lots of exercise and affection. If your family can give him that, then you’ll have no problem worrying about unpredictable behavior, even when he’s alone with your children.

Other Benefits of the Vizsla:

  • Good for novice owners
  • High tolerance for being alone
  • High tolerance of hot weather
  • Friendly towards other dogs
  • Friendly towards cats
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Very easy to groom
  • (Generally) very healthy
  • Low potential for weight gain
  • Not overly dominant
  • Very easy to train

Having a dog and a child can be an extremely rewarding experience. Think about it—dogs will show your children what loyalty means. They can also help them understand, at a young age, about responsibility.

Remember, however, that no matter the breed you choose, be sure to monitor the first interactions between your child and your dog. If you have the resources and time to care for a dog for the rest of his life, you’ll be rewarded with unconditional love.

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