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Top Dog Breeds for Children

Updated on January 5, 2013

A child's request for adopting a puppy is something that requires careful and serious planning. Before you give in to your child's request it is important to realize that the choice deserves a lot of research in order to find the perfect match. While there are many dog breeds out there that are great for children, it must always be remembered that not all dogs may be tolerant to being handled roughly. For this reason, really no dog can be trusted 100% and dogs and children should never be left to interact alone.

Generally, small children are not mature enough to understand how to handle a dog responsibly. A dog's ears and tails may be tugged at in a playful manner or a child may grasp a toy out of the dog's mouth. Children should be taught how to handle a dog gently and they should be aware of when the dog should be left alone. For this reason, sometimes it is best to wait and adopt a dog when the child is older (generally over six years of age) so to be better capable of understanding how the dog should be approached and treated.

Nowadays, there are hundreds of dog breeds out there and the choice can be quite overwhelming. It is important to consider however that even within a dog breed there are different personalities and therefore different tolerance and threshold levels. Just because a puppy is adopted from a breed known to be child friendly does not grant it will be tolerant of children. Even within a litter, there are puppies that are more submissive and puppies that are more prone to become dominant.

Generally, it is good practice to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder that has socialized the pups and raised them underfoot in a loving caring home. The parents of the puppy should be good specimens of the breed with a history of stable and friendly temperaments. Puppies should have been exposed to children from a tender age because exposure to children is a very important step in the short window of time that grants a well socialized pup.

Reputable breeders are generally not found in the Sunday paper ads section or on your super market's bulletin board. This is the place where back yard breeders tend to advertise to make some quick money especially when Christmas is around the corner. Reputable breeders are often found at dog shows or they may have their own internet website full of pictures of their breeding stock and their awards. While you will not need a show quality dog most reputable breeders will also produce pet quality pups backed up with a health guarantee and a contract.

Best Dog Breeds For Kids

As already mentioned, there are different dog breeds that have a reputation of being ''child friendly'' however, no general rule can be made as each dog develops its unique personality. Purchasing from a quality breeder will lower the chances of getting a ''bad apple from the batch'' because reputable breeders often temperament test their dogs and are able to determine which puppy will make the perfect pet for your child. You do not want the most hyper and boisterous puppy of the litter but you still want one that will withstand hours of play. Following are some dog breeds that have been considered particularly suitable for children.

~Golden Retriever

This family oriented dog breed has a great reputation of being a loyal and friendly companion so it deserves first place. It is a breed known to love just about everybody, child, adult, senior with unconditional love. They are easy to train, eager to please and very good natured dogs. Because of their size, this breed requires some basic obedience training so to be taught not to jump on children or be pushy, however, most are quite gentle by nature.

~Labrador Retrevers

Slightly larger than Golden Retrievers, Labradors are beautiful short coated dogs that are loving and devoted pets. They are naturally inclined to love water so they will enjoy sharing the pool with the kids. They are easy to train, loving and have a great demeanor being very patient. They do however require regular exercise and some basic training.

~Irish Setter

This dog breed characterized by a glossy copper coat is generally child friendly and very loyal. They are easy to train dogs however at times they may be a bit stubborn. They are energetic dogs but know how to be gentle around kids. They are of a quite sweet and affectionate temperament and are quite enthusiastic around people. Even full grown, they remain a puppy at heart, so this endearing trait will grant many playful romps with the kids.


Snoopy may make a great companion for your active kids providing ample time for play. They are are eager to move around and romp so they create great opportunities for play time. The breed is smart and happy and responds well to training. This dog fits generally well in active and busy families that encourage activities and daily walks.


For those looking for a dog on the large side but that is peaceful and family oriented, the Newfoundland maybe a great match. They are kindly, nicknamed ''nature's babysitter'' because they love children and can be protective of them. They are gentle giants that are very kind and patient and that loves to be involved with the family. They do not thrive being left alone all day in the yard. They also love to swim making them great swimming buddies for kids fond of water.


Poodles are often notoriously known for their curious ''hairdo's'' done by professional groomers. They make friendly dogs that are family oriented. A big plus is that their hair does not shed excessively, making them a good choice for households prone to allergies. However, their coat requires grooming. They are very good natured, gentle and playful dogs that make great companions for kids.


Schnauzers are family oriented dogs that make wonderful companions. They are generally quite calm if exercised enough which makes them a good choice for homes with children and other dogs. They are devoted, loyal dogs that will enjoy some playful sessions with kids. As any other dog, some basic training is recommended. They enjoy being part o family activities and will thrive on human companionship.


These short nosed dogs are very sweet and mild tempered. They love children and just about anybody. They love to be a part of the family and will make a wonderful and playful companion. After playtime, they make excellent lap dogs that will enjoy to curl up on your lap. However, because of their protruding eyes they should not be exposed to very small children because of risk of injury.


These dogs can be little goof balls that are good natured and family oriented. However, they may not like to be mishandled and may not take well being stepped over or too many loud noises. When treated well, they are playful and happy dogs that are quite peaceful. This breed is an aristocrat that will categorically refuse to get dirty so do not expects romps in the mud.


Boxers may appear a bit intimidating but they may be tolerant of children if raised right. They are not suitable for toddlers because they may be a bit too much on the exuberant side and can easily knock them over. While they are quite a stoic breed they may tolerate a bit of mishandling, but some may grow grumpy at times. Boxers make wonderful and loving companions for older children.

These are just a few of the many dog breeds known to be generally good with children. While each breed, has its own qualities it should be considered that even that mutt at the shelter may turn out to be your child's best friend. A great piece of advice is to adopt the dog as a puppy so it will be accustomed to children from an early age and learn to accept them as part of the family.


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      5 years ago

      i love beagles. there so cute, cuddly,playful and intellgent. they should have been no.1 of the list.


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