Choosing a dog that will fit your family lifestyle takes some research. If you have kids, you want a dog that is patient, tolerant and blessed with a wonderful temperament. While in theory any dog given the right socialization and training has the potential to be good with children, there’s really no guarantee about how an individual animal may turn out. Even among dog breeds, there are individual variances and factors that will affect the dog’s ability to get along with the little ones, so how do you choose a breed that gets along with children? It helps to look for breeds that have a history of being naturally good with children and who ideally have been socialized well around them from an early age.
Best Breeds for Families with Children
Size, temperament and activity levels are some important factors you’ll need to look for. While small dogs look like a good choice, consider that many toys and other miniature breeds are frail and can get easily injured by a child. At the same time, consider that a large, gangly puppy can easily knock down a toddler. You want a dog requiring moderate activity levels and a good temperament. Following are some dog breeds that generally have what it takes to make great family dogs.
The family dog par excellence, the golden retriever couldn’t miss from the list. He is the perfect match for you if your favorite activity involves taking the dog and the kids to the park for a fun game of football. Goldens have a strong passion for retrieving, so they make great pals for a game of Frisbee or fetch. These dogs are also very easy to train, making wonderful companions for the whole family. Consider though that their long coats will need some TLC.
Next in line is the quintessential Lab. When he’s not utilized as a seeing-eye dog for the blind or a therapy pet in hospitals, the Lab makes a wonderful play mate for the kids. Yes, he can be hyper sometimes, but he makes a wonderful companion for all those open-air activities with the kids. Bring him along your fishing, camping and hiking adventures with the kids and he’ll be a happy camper. He’s also easy to train and his coat is short and easy to care for.
Snoopy can be your child’s best friend because he is the perfect, compact size and because he’s a charming, happy-go-lucky fellow that’s naturally social. Just like Snoopy though expect your beagle to get into trouble as his nose is very powerful and can lead him to mischief. Beagles love the great outdoors and will love to accompany your kids on their outdoor adventures. Just make sure he’s always leashed though as these dogs have a tendency to wander and they aren’t the best dogs to come when called!
These little fellows are blessed with a clown-like personality and will entertain their families with their tricks and antics. Selectively bred for companionship, these lovely pooches thrive to be with their families. Special attention is needed though in not letting these dogs overexercise especially when it’s hot outside; the brachycephalic features of this breed predisposes them to breathing problems.
Just like Lassie, the collie has the potential to make a wonderful companion for families with children. Calm, and tolerant, this breed loves romping in the great outdoors, but is also content when it’s inside the home spending some quality family time. Daily walks will keep the collie exercised and happy.
When socialized and trained well, boxers make goofy companions for children. They’re always up for running around and entertaining the kids. Despite being wiggly and quite animated, many owners report that they’re rather careful when they play and are quite gentle. Yet, as with all large breeds of dogs, there are always those chances they may accidentally knock down a toddler.
These are very intelligent dogs who are easy to train and eager to please. The best part is that they come in three different sizes: standard, miniature and toy. Another big plus is the fact that these dogs have hair instead of fur which makes them a good choice for children suffering from annoying allergies.
Another favorite among allergy sufferers, the Portuguese water dog has increased in popularity after President Obama received one for his family. These companions crave an active lifestyle and loads of mental stimulation. They can be great for children because they can be very tolerant; indeed, according to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, “some Portuguese water dogs may be tolerant beyond normal limits with overly rough physical play, but accidents can still happen.”
This breed has quite a sturdy build which makes it a good candidate for children who like to roughhouse. Yet, this breed doesn’t top the list of active breeds. He can be quite a couch potato so keep this in mind if you have children with boundless energy; he may perhaps do better with calmer kids, especially because just like the pug, this breed is predisposed to the effects of overexercising and overheating.
Remember Nana from Peter Pan? Newfies are often nicknamed “Nature’s Babysitter” and for very good reasons. For starters, Newfies are very gentle and patient. On top of that they’re also protective over children. Not to mention the fact that their soft coat and teddy-bear-like faces seem to just beg for cuddles.
As seen, there are many great dog breeds that have the potential to be suitable for children. As much as a purebred dog may appear appealing, it’s important not to forget about the average mutt. There are chances the best dog for your family may be waiting for you in your local shelter or in a rescue.
Regardless of the breed chosen to partake in family activities, it’s important to realize that as much as good and trustworthy a dog may appear to be, no dog and child should ever be left alone together unattended. An ongoing commitment to close supervision and training helps ultimately assures a safe and happy relationship for all.