Many parents are often cautious when it comes to getting a dog when they have a small child at home. The two most common reasons for this hesitation is concerned over kid’s allergies and the safety of a small child. While the myth that dogs can cause allergies in kids has been thoroughly debunked, the fear that a dog might harm your toddler is a valid concern that must be addressed.
When adopting a pet into a family with young children, you’ll need to not only properly train your dog but also educate your kids on how to behave around dogs. It’s also wise to adopt a dog from an, especially child-friendly breed. Fortunately, there are plenty of dog breeds that do great with kids of any age, from babies to toddlers to small kids.
Some of the personality characteristics you need to look for in a kid-friendly dog are:
- Intelligence. You need a dog that’s easy to train and is not particularly stubborn. People may be smarter than dogs, but dogs are generally smarter than toddlers so in the first few years of a kid’s life the dog will have to be “the smart one” in their relationship.
- Energy. Small kids can vary in their energy levels – more extroverted kids love to play with their pets during every waking moment, and more introverted kids can be calmer and more laid back. Understanding dog’s energy levels is vital, and choosing a pet from a breed that matches your child’s energy is the best way to ensure that the two will get along.
- Obedience. Intelligence is important but so is obedience. When it comes to dealing with kids, you need to be 100% certain that your dog will obey every word that comes out of your mouth. A lot of this comes with proper dog training, of course, but some breeds are much more obedient than others.
- Patience. As some dogs would probably agree, small children can occasionally be annoying if you are a four-legged pet in a family – they love to climb on you, pull your ears and tail, slap you on the head and body, bother you when you sleep, and so on. That’s why it’s important for parents to supervise and teach their kids how to treat dogs, but it’s also beneficial to get a dog from a more patient and tolerating breed pool.
Finding a dog that checks all four of these boxes at the same time can present some challenges, but here are seven dog breeds that more or less fit these factors and are ideal for families with young children:
Beagles are known for being a very child-friendly breed and there are plenty of reasons for that. They are very friendly and social so a Beagle will certainly love interacting and playing with the smaller members of your family as well as with you. Beagles are also very energetic so there’s no risk that a more playful kid will tire a Beagle out. They are also a very intelligent breed, however, they can be a bit stubborn as most hounds, so obedience training can present some issues for the more unexperienced dog owners.
Another hound, this one with a much calmer and low-energy nature, the Basset Hound also makes for a great family pet and children’s companion. They are very loyal and intelligent, but like the Beagle and like most hounds, Basset Hounds can be a tad stubborn and hard to train. Still, they are very loving and gentle, making the great for children, particularly if the children are not too hyperactive and energetic.
The Boston Terrier may have been bred for a fighting dog, but they are anything but fighters when it comes to interacting with their family. A typical Boston Terrier is very loving and gentle, making it a very suitable and non-threatening breed for small children. These dogs are also very intelligent so training them and playing with them can be a lot of fun. Lastly, they are also highly energetic, so if you child is always up and looking for interesting things to play with, a Boston Terrier can definitely be a great companion.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Right back to the other end of the “energy spectrum”, here we have the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Bred as lap dogs, these Spaniels have a very calm quiet and low-energy nature. If you have a more introverted kid that loves more quiet and peaceful games, a King Charles Spaniel can be an amazing companion for him or her. These dogs are very intelligent and easy to train, plus their gentle, loving and loyal nature ensures that your child will have a faithful companion for many years to come.
One of the absolute best family dog breeds out there, the Golden Retriever has everything you might want in a family and kid-friendly dog. They are highly intelligent and obedient to a fault. They are very gentle and loving, so with them your child will be in good paws. They are also very patient and tolerating, which doesn’t mean that you should let your kid torment them, but that you can feel comfortable with just giving the light supervision.
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the U.S. exactly because of how good they are with children. Like the Goldie, the Labrador Retriever is highly intelligent and very easy to train. These dogs are friendly and social, they love to play and they love to cuddle as well. The only possible thing to consider is whether they are not too playful and social for a more calm and quiet child, but hey – you’ll get to play with the dog as well.
Similarly to the Retriever breeds, this hunting dog breed is also very child friendly. Intelligent and obedient, they are very easy to train like most other hunting and gundog breeds. These fluffy pets are also gentle and careful, which makes them an easy choice for any parent.
While it is important to find a dog breed that is known to be good with children, that’s not the only thing that you should be considering. You need to choose a breed that will fit in well with your family. Think about your normal daily routine. Will an active dog fit in well with your brood? Do you have the time to invest in training a puppy or would adopting an adult dog be a better fit?
There is much research to be done and lots of questions to answer before choosing the dog that is right for your family. Consider the breeds above, and if you think one would be a good match for your family continue with more in-depth research. The more you learn about the breed you intend to adopt, the better prepared you will be to become the best owner possible.
Author bio: Samantha is the Editor-in-Chief at Top Dog Tips. She has been writing about all things pet-related for the past 10 years. Through her work at TDT, she has had the opportunity to learn from many experts in the pet industry and stay updated with the most recent research on animals. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys spending time with her family in the Maine outdoors. Some of her favorite activities include hiking, skiing and exploring with her husband, her three children and her dogs.