Looking for a good pet for your child? These 20 dog breeds typically do well with kids.
By Jackie Brown, Andrew DePrisco, Allan Reznik and Ernie Slone for DogChannel.com
You might know that caring for a dog can help children learn to be more responsible, but studies show that dogs also boost self-esteem in children, enhance social skills, and help them to be more cooperative and share. Whether you're looking for a purebred dog or mixed-breed dog, here are a few that typically do well with children. Remember, an adult must always supervise interactions between any dog and children, and the kids must be taught to treat dogs gently and respectfully.
The “King of the Terriers” is hugely versatile, performing successfully as a hunter, guide dog for the blind, livestock herder, elegant show dog, and loving family pet. Airedale Terriers are smart, sensitive, and playful, making them fabulous companions for children.
Australian Shepherds are active, intelligent “people dogs” who want nothing more than to be a part of the family. Happy to travel to kids' baseball games, join in on fun outings like trips to the beach, and herd the kids around the yard, Aussies make wonderful companions for respectful children who are taught to behave properly around the dog.
It's hard to deny the Beagle's rightful place in a fun-loving pack of “Peanuts,” though Beagles are more engaged and sincere than the ever-famous Snoopy and just as entertaining. This short-haired miniature hound loves to be a part of the family and to be involved in everyday things. He will follow little ones around the house and yard, keeping one eye on them and the other on mischief of his own. He needs a good parent to train him and teach him manners since he's naturally a curious little fellow with big-dog ideas of his won.
Described as bouncy and exuberant—ideal for keeping happy kids active and moving— the Bearded Collie lives to be around children. With its long, easy care, unkempt coat and athletic build, the Beardie loves to participate in fun activities and sports, like jogging, running alongside a bicycle, hiking, and chasing sheep (get some!). The Bearded Collie's strong sheepdog instincts can lead to its gathering (herding) young people or even nipping at their Nikes: parents must train the dog to know the difference between kids and ewes and supervise so that the dog's nanny instincts are properly channeled.
Bernese Mountain Dog
For the family with children seeking a large dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes a docile, sweet-natured companion. With its long, silky black coat marked with characteristic white and rust, the Bernese stands up to 27.5 inches at the shoulder. It is a versatile outdoor dog whose smart and confident demeanor recommend it for the job of child's companion. They are known to be able to do anything from pulling carts, herding cows, guarding the home, yard and farm, and even babysitting the kids.
This animated powder puff is a lovely companion for older children, and fits perfectly in any household, from suburban living to big-city apartments. The beautiful, plush, snow-white coat is low shedding dog breed but needs regular professional grooming to maintain. The Bichon Frise might be suitable for people with dog allergies.
Playful, gentle, and affectionate, the Boston Terrier makes a great pal. Sturdy enough to enjoy rough play, they want to be with you and are not backyard dogs. This compact, smart breed is easy to care for, requires minimal exercise, and does best when his humans show gentle leadership.
The handsome Boxer is as loyal and dignified as he is affectionate and energetic. When trained and socialized, Boxers are tireless and downright silly companions for youngsters. Supervise to make sure 50 to 85 pounds of Boxer don't knock over your kids and their friends.
The lumbering, gentle Bulldog is both sturdy and slow—a great match for families with kids. Often referred to as the English Bulldog, this dignified dog breed is typically an even-tempered and agreeable fellow, and tends to form tight bonds with children.
Created using a blend of 60 percent Mastiff and 40 percent Bulldog, the powerful Bullmastiff combines the best of both dog breeds in a large, strong package. This dog breed is devoted to his family, adores children, and possesses a protective but mellow outlook, making the Bullmastiff one of the better extra-large breeds for city living.
Like all terriers, the Bull Terrier is active and full of personality, and this sometimes comical breed is especially ready for fun. This is a substantial dog, weighing up to 70 pounds, and can be headstrong like a stubborn child. But with positive training, socialization, and inclusion in family activities, the Bull Terrier thrives as a loving companion.
An active and super bright little dog—the breed once followed the skipping Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road—Cairn Terrier loves to be the center of attention…in real life and movies! They've been described as rugged and resourceful and do best as family dogs, provided they have a dog-smart parent to teach them right from wrong. Since they will chase small animals, like squirrels and chipmunks, they must always be on lead when not in a safely fenced area.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Nicknamed the “Comforter Spaniel” by British royalty who favored the dog breed throughout history, today's Cavalier makes a devoted pet for gentle children and does not require a castle to keep him happy. Cavaliers can adapt to a little exercise or a lot, and the beautiful, silky coat is easily maintained with regular brushing and combing, so no professional grooming is required.
Even though most kids today haven't heard of Lassie, the Collie remains the proverbial children's dog due to the breed's instinctive protective nature and the intelligence of a ten year old child. Collies like to take walks and run in the backyard, but they adapt to the family's lifestyle and can be happy in any size home. The rough Collie requires more grooming than the smooth coat, but it's essentially amounts to just a few minutes a week.
The bright, smiling Golden Retriever is a medium-sized sporting dog, weighing in between 55 and 75 pounds, with a long, lustrous coat in various shades of “golden.” This breed has never met a stranger and views all youngsters as his designated playmates. The Golden is always ready for play, whether it's galloping in the backyard, swimming on the beach, or hiking on a trail.
Lead a Lab to water and it will retrieve all day: balls, sticks, and even children who happen to go for a swim. Whether black, chocolate or yellow, the Lab's kid-friendly nature has helped make him the most popular dog breed in the United States. Patient and gentle by nature, the Lab excels in a home with respectful children, and craves regular play and exercise to channel his exuberance for life.
A devoted family companion dog with a sweet and even temperament, the Newfoundland has proved himself reliable around kind, well-behaved children. Although kids should never be allowed to climb on top of or ride on the backs of these gentle giants, Newfies are robust and engaged playmates, and delight in hauling children around in carts.
Poodle (Miniature and Standard)
Although Toy Poodles are too fragile for young kids, Miniature Poodle and Standard Poodle are excellent playmates for respectful children. Well-bred Poodles are active and intelligent, and revel in learning fun tricks or playing endless games of fetch in the yard. An added bonus: Poodles are dogs that don't shed and might be suitable for people with dog allergies.
The Pug is as sturdy and big as a Toy breed gets. Weighing in at 14 to 18 pounds, the Pug is a compact, little dog with tons of personality. Most Pugs are easygoing and playful, enjoying the attention of sensible children who recognize that the Pug is no plaything. In cool weather, Pugs are animated and entertaining friends for kids, but tire easier than larger dogs.
No reason for the kids to be afraid of this ghost, the Weimaraner (called the “grey ghost” because of its distinct color) is an easygoing, tolerant family dog whose above-average intelligence makes him easy to train. Weims are naturally graceful and know how big they are, even if they attempt to snuggle with owners on small chairs on laps. Ancestors were bred to hunt, and today's Weimaraner likes to be a member of the family pack.