An important consideration of families with children is what kind of dog they should adopt. You don’t want a breed that is touchy or obstinate, or one that is too big. On the other side of the issue are the toy breeds, sometimes referred to as “teacup” breeds. These dogs are so tiny and fragile that they could be inadvertently injured by a small child.
There are some breeds, though, that are well-suited to family life. They are the best dogs with children. Here are the ones that ranked the highest in temperament, tolerance, and adaptability around children:
- The Beagle:
Beagles are sweet, smart, and love to cuddle and console. They learn quickly and are loyal to their people. They are brave and quite intelligent. On the downside, if they pick up a scent, they may wander off quickly and not even realize that they are lost. So leash training is important to engage in. Beagles also dig, but they can be trained not to. Aside from the two negatives I mentioned, Beagles are a very good choice of family pet.
- Border Collie:
This is one of my favorites because we own a border collie mix, and he is such a sweetie! Border Collies are highly trainable, and it is important for you to be your Border Collie’s pack leader. They live for praise and approval. They were initially bred to be herding dogs, and early on, need to be trained not to herd the rest of the family! This is why your dominance is important. They work well with active, older children and love to play ball and Frisby because they need a lot of exercise. Border Collies love their families.
- Bichon Frise:
These cute, fluffy, little dogs are great around children. They are intelligent and happy-tempered. They are gentle and animated. Because the Bichon Frise is self-assured and independent, he needs to be walked daily, where you, as the pack leader, make him heel at your side while walking. This establishes you as the “alpha” or leader of this cute little dog. Your leadership is what prevents this dog from becoming yippy and snapping. This is true of most small breeds. Once you establish dominance, a Bichon Frise makes an excellent family dog. He is social, loving, and loves to please. He would be happy to accompany you anywhere and everywhere and travels with ease.
- Cocker Spaniel:
The Cocker Spaniel is a sweet, loving, gentle breed. They are devoted to their families and good with children. Again, with this breed, the owner must become the alpha of the family “pack” (which – to the canine – includes humans and animals). Once you are in charge, the Cocker will be your friend for life. They, too, need to be walked daily in “heel” position. I’ve adopted a couple of Cocker Spaniels, and they were both sweet, loyal family dogs.
Sometimes referred to as “French” Poodles, these canines come in three sizes, toy, miniature, and standard. The Standard Poodle is very good around children. The other two sizes of Poodles are also good with children, but require the owner to be 100% their pack leader. Otherwise, they will not listen to you. Poodles are one of the most intelligent dogs and are easily trained. They need a lot of human-to-canine interaction, which means that they need to live inside with a family. We have a French Poodle that we got as a rescue. He is sweet and active and very loyal. Poodle is a good breed to have around children.
- Golden and Labrador Retriever:
These two retrievers make excellent family dogs. They do well around children, are gentle, and devoted to their people. Both breeds need outdoor activity and love to play ball. Give them plenty of toys so that they won’t damage shoes or furniture. They need a consistent pack leader and should be socialized early so that they will be able to go anywhere with you. If left alone too much, retrievers tend to dig. So these dogs need a family that is at home most of the time. They are such sweet-natured dogs that they are very popular family pets.
- Old English Sheepdog:
The Old English Sheepdog is a comical, happy-go-luck canine. He is great with children and must be a part of the family, in order to feel his happiest. He has a herding instinct and – unless trained not to – will bump and nudge family members to keep them as part of his pack. Your dominance is very important. He needs daily walking in the heel position and lots of romping in the back yard. We had an Old English Sheepdog, and he was such a lover and almost human-like in his desire to be a part of whatever was going on inside the house. The Old English Sheepdog is easily trained and a perfect, loyal family companion. Because of his size, you need to watch out for hip dysplasia starting at an early age, and he requires daily grooming.
There are many dog breeds that are good with children. But no matter which breed you decide on, it’s important to check into their genealogy to make sure that they have been responsibly bred to have good-natured dispositions and ongoing good health.