A Best Friend for All Ages: Which Dog Breeds Are Best with Children?

What are the best dog breeds for children? As you’ll soon see in the list below, there are a lot of great options, really. But finding which is best for your family depends mostly on your lifestyle and how old your kids are. 

Do you need a gentle, low-energy dog that’s safe around toddlers? Or do you need one that’s tough enough to wrestle with teenagers?

Do you go outside a lot or spend most of your time indoors? Will your dog need to be okay with spending a lot of time alone?

Each of the breeds on this list is best suited for a specific type of family. To learn which one is best for yours, keep reading.

dog for kids

1. Labrador Retriever

First up, we have the most popular dog breed in the U.S. Labradors are very friendly and tend to love people and other animals. 

They like to play but not to play rough. They also love to just relax and hang out with their people quietly.

These gentle playmates are great companions for toddlers and young children. They’re less suited for stronger kids who want a pet to roughhouse with.

Labradors are very trainable for learning tricks or just proper behavior. And, like people, they each tend to have their own unique personality.

2. Golden Retriever

It’s hard not to love a golden retriever. They’re best known for their smiling faces and relentlessly positive attitudes. 

They’re as friendly as their labrador cousins but somewhat more energetic. They often love people so much they want to jump up to give kisses and hugs. You may need to train them to restrain their affections until given permission.

But training won’t be much of a problem because goldens are such people-pleasers. They love learning new tricks, that is, new ways to please their owners.

Also, their energy makes them great playmates outside for catching balls and frisbees.

3. Standard Poodle

Poodles aren’t merely the show-dog stereotype many have come to believe. They’re actually a wonderful family dog.

Standard poodles are friendly, loyal, and have a longer lifespan than most big dog breeds. They’re perfect if you want a dog who will be in the family for a very long time.

They’re also the best choice for families with allergies. Poodles shed significantly less than other dog breeds, hence less pet dander.

Furthermore, there is a very good reason poodles are so often in dog shows. Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds there are. For a friendly companion, you can train like no other, get a standard poodle.

4. The Cavoodle

The cavoodle is arguably the most adorable dog you can get. They’re a cross between a cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle. But, to your kids, they look like a cross between a stuffed animal and a puppet from Sesame Street.

Cavoodles are even more hypoallergenic than poodles as they shed no hair whatsoever. But they need a family who will be very actively involved with them.

They are very energetic and need to be played with a lot. They’re also prone to separation anxiety if away from their people for too long.

If you’re willing to give them the attention they need, they’re a loving and affectionate companion to you and your kids.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Sporty and small, the cavalier King Charles spaniel is a fun choice for families with energetic kids. They have as much energy as your kids and can run around with them in the yard for hours.

Plus, they look like a toy and are extremely soft to the touch. Besides, if your kids take one look at a cavalier, they probably won’t let you choose anything else.

6. Basset Hound

No breed gives the “sad puppy eyes” better than the basset hound. One look at those big eyes and floppy ears and you can’t help but give them some affection. And they’ll be glad to give some right back.

Since they’re prone to tripping over their own ears, your basset hound won’t be too fast for your kids. They have just enough energy for the average family and enjoy companionship. Basset hounds are a great, low-maintenance family dog breed.

7. Bulldog

The bulldog is a pretty easygoing choice for families with kids. It has two favorite activities: walking and napping.

Also, they’re tough dogs, great for kids who like to play rough. But they’re also very loving and loyal. That is to say, they’ll roughhouse just fine without hurting anyone.

8. French Bulldog

For apartment families without access to a yard, Frenchies are likely the best choice. These small dogs don’t mind small spaces and don’t need a lot of time outside.

They are playful whether outside or in. But they are very easygoing and will happily adapt to any situation. They’re content to just enjoy life with you no matter what you’re doing.

9. Newfoundland

For lovers of big dog breeds, they don’t get much bigger than Newfoundlands. Newfoundlands are as gentle as they are large, the perfect recipient for your kids’ biggest bear hugs.

Originally, Newfoundlands were bred as rescue dogs. All they want is to love and protect their people with all their might.

But because of this, you need to make sure they are properly socialized when they’re young. If they’re not, they may learn to see strangers as a threat and become unfriendly toward new people.

Best Dog Breeds For Children

The best dog breeds for children are ones that are loving, intelligent, and a good match for the child’s energy level. But choosing the best dog for your family depends on more than breed and lifestyle.

No matter what breed you pick, it takes careful training and socialization for them to fit properly into your family group. And not just for the dog—your kids will need to be trained as well. It takes time and effort to establish proper communication between your family and your dog.

In conclusion, use this list to choose the best dog breed for your family, but also be prepared for an adjustment period.

Find out more pet tips on our Pets Blog.


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