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14 of the Best Small Dog Breeds for Families

Updated on January 12, 2022
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Having lived my entire life around dogs and served in the K9 Corps in the military gave me the experience and understanding of dogs.

Deciding on a dog for your household.

First let’s be perfectly clear about one thing any size dog can be great with children, however, this list is for someone that is looking for a smaller breed dog.

Maybe it is because of the living quarters or the type of children, there are numerous reasons why someone would prefer a small dog for their kids.

Just because a particular dog breed is small it doesn’t mean they will be ideal for children, there are several factors to consider when looking at the various breeds.

How they get along with other dogs?

Do they have a temperament that will go well with children?

Are they head-strong and hard to manage?

A dog can be a wonderful companion for a child that will provide unconditional love and even indirectly teach a child the idea of responsibility.

When selecting a dog to consider what type of environment the dog will be in, the age of the children and the time commitment it will require.

Some of the small dog breeds for children.

The list of dogs represented here is by no means the only dogs that are good for children this is merely a suggested list based on feedback from The American Kennel Club, other dog owners and the desire for a small breed dog.

There may be dog owners that have a Great Dane or a German Shepherd that is amazing with their children (they are btw).

There is no blanket situation, I can speak from experience I have two rescue dogs that came from an abusive environment and they would not do well with children because they still have emotional scars.

That being said here is the list below:

The little lion Shih Tzu

These dogs are just little puffballs that are loyal and affectionate, their small size makes them perfect for a small household like a condo or apartment living.

They are very kid-friendly and will take to a household quickly, they have the unique ability to follow the leader rather than be the leader.

The intelligent Pomeranian

The Pomeranian appears to be smiling all the time and they have wonderful fluffy coats which make them one of the most popular toy breeds.

They are very vigilant, so no one is going to get away sneaking around the house and they are extremely intelligent.

Bonus points the Pomeranian is an ideal lap dog that is ideal for children.

The obedient Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Don’t let the regal name throw you the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a gentle, lovable dog that will love horseplay with the kids.

It has a reputation as being well behaved, yet ready to play at the drop of a hat which makes it ideal for high energy kids.

The elegant Maltese

What the Maltese lack in size it makes up for it with high energy and playfulness, it may be a big ball of fur but the kids will love its playtime attitude.

Maltese features a beautiful silky coat, elegant gait, and tremendous poise.

The adaptable Pug

Everyone recognizes the Pug with its very expressive face and its feisty personality. The breed will adapt well to home life and knows when it needs to behave.

They are the ideal house dog, they get along very well with kids and can mix it up with anything feisty thrown at them.

The snuggle- able Bichon Frise

At first blush, the Bichon Frise could be mistaken for a kid’s toy instead of the loyal, tiny and cheerful pup that it is.

The Bichon Frise is very enthusiastic and will want to play and ideal for a child that wants to play and give love to this tiny beautiful dog.

Bonus points, this dog loves to snuggle!

The gentle Boston Terrier

Oddly enough this dog was bred to be a fighting dog but not the case! This lovable pup is very affectionate, easy to train, adaptable to different situations and great with kids.

Why anyone would want to breed a dog to fight is beyond me!

The pat-able Yorkshire Terrier

Also known as Yorkies this breed makes a great lap dog but it doesn’t stop there, the Yorkie is also very playful, eager to please and you will never want to stop petting one once you start.

The Yorkshire has a history in most cases of longevity and being hypoallergenic so ideal for family members that may have allergy issues.

The playful Dachshund

This dog is very recognizable with its oversized floppy ears, low slung elongated bodies and pointed snouts. There is a short hair variety as well as a long hair variety either one is bundles of fun.

This breed would fit right in with the tribe because it is very playful, high energy and with a great personality.

The Dachshund gets high marks for kid-friendly!

The high energy Papillon

Also known as Paps according to the American Kennel Club don’t let the dainty appearance fool you the Papillion is high energy eager to play and join in any family fun.

They are athletic and perfect for active children that like to spend time outdoors playing.

The loyal Havanese

The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba and has a long history of being a loyal companion.

It is a small dog that is friendly towards everyone which makes it ideal for children, is affectionate, loyal and easy to train.

The happy go lucky Border Terrier

Border Terriers are often recognized for their spunky attitude and wiry coat. They are mild-tempered, easy to train and very affectionate.

They will thrive indoors or outdoors and can roughhouse with the children.

The adorable Beagle

The beagle is recognizable and is usually on the top of the best dog for the family list. They will adapt to the family tribe quickly because it is an environment they thrive in.

The more the merrier, whether the tribe is more dogs or humans the Beagle with fit right in.

These sweet-tempered fellows always seem to top the list of best dog breeds for families, and it’s no wonder. They prefer company and thrive in a pack—whether that’s made up of humans or other canines.

Good to Know: Beagles have strong instincts to follow their noses, and need a lot of exercises. They can also be stubborn and single-minded if they catch a particularly interesting scent.

The affectionate Keeshond

The Keeshond borders on the medium size from the Spitz breed they are very intelligent and eager to please their owners.

They can be affectionate and attached to their families and make ideal companions for children. Keeshonden have done well in agility training, obedience, and even guide dog work.

6 Reasons for adopting a shelter dog.

Besides the Captain Obvious reasons for adopting a dog from the shelter, there may be some things you are not aware of that may encourage you to think of a rescue dog first.

Of course, the obvious reasons are you will have a large selection of dogs to choose from, you will have the support of the staff and the shelter going forward and you can “test drive” their personality before taking them home.

  1. The potty training – Many of the adult dogs at your local shelter have already been house trained this may be very helpful if you lead a busy life and may not have the time necessary to train a puppy to use the outdoors as their potty station.
  2. Not supporting a puppy mill - If you purchase a puppy rather than getting a dog from a shelter you may be supporting a puppy mill so do your due diligence.
  3. Rescue dogs are grateful - Speaking from experience (2 rescue dogs) shelter dogs know when they have been saved and they will show gratitude their entire life unless you give them a reason not to.
  4. You may have to spend less -There is a strong possibility a shelter dog will already be spayed or neutered plus there is a good chance they are current with all their shots, as a bonus they may be micro-chipped.
  5. You are saving more than one life – You may not be aware of it but when you support your local animal shelter you are not just saving one life you are actually saving several lives.
  6. Helping with the overpopulation – When you adopt a pet you are also helping lower the population of pets that may end up on your streets which is not good for the pets or your community.

© 2020 Steven


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