Are you thinking about getting a dog? There are certain breeds that are particularly good with small children – and others that aren’t recommended for families. If you have kids, you’re looking for a breed that’s tolerant and easygoing because they may need to withstand the occasional pulled tail from a child who’s still learning to respect animals.
It’s really important to remember that a dog’s overall temperament is determined by a lot of factors that aren’t all breed dependent – but it’s wise to research a breed thoroughly before welcoming a new dog to the family. Take into consideration the dog’s energy level, size and common characteristics to decide if they’d be a good fit for your family.
These are, of course, generalisations but here’s a list of the breeds that are generally accepted to be the best for families – and those that are better avoided if you have kids.
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The best dog breeds for children and families
This playful small breed is a popular choice for families because they’re easy to train and tend to have gentle, loving natures. They’re patient and enjoy playing but can require a lot of attention – and they can be quite loud.
This breed is boisterous and playful – they’re likely to love your kids as much as the kids love them! Be warned, though, beagles can be a bit of a handful and are known for their ability to escape their homes and go exploring.
Labs have a great reputation for being family-friendly dogs, and for good reason: they’re friendly, loving and eager to please – and they’re adorable to boot! These social creatures love spending time with their human families and form strong bonds with their owners. The downside to getting a labrador? They’re notorious hair shedders.
Border collies are smart, playful and sociable, although they do have a natural tendency to ‘herd’ small children and other animals. They’re happiest when they’re a part of the family ‘pack’ and they need to be exercised regularly to keep their high energy levels in check.
These squash-faced fur friends are popular with young families due to their temperament and small size. They can be stubborn but are generally affectionate and sociable.
Combining the intelligence of a poodle with the sweet nature of a lab means the labradoodle is an energetic large-breed dog that’s great with kids (and everyone else for that matter!) but they do need a fair amount of attention. Bonus: they were bred to limit allergies so are a safer option for families who have kids with allergies or sensitivities.
The worst dog breeds for children and families
As cute as this tiny toy-sized breed tend to be, they are also famously feisty and may not tolerate any rough play, poking or prodding from small humans. They are great companion animals to grown-ups but are better avoided for households with small children.
While rottweilers are a loyal and loving breed, they can be overly protective of their humans. They may view a visiting child (or even your own child) who is screaming or throwing a tantrum as a threat to ‘their’ family or chosen person. Their size alone is often enough to put potential owners with young families off this breed.
They’re gorgeous and wrinkly with irresistibly squishy faces but this breed can be bad tempered. In fact, most shar peis are happiest when kept as only pets.
A husky’s size, boundless energy and their love for rough play means this intelligent, powerful and usually gentle breed can pose a risk to small children who could easily get knocked over when the dog gets overly excited.
While their compact size makes them appealing for families, these furry friends can be quite protective when it comes to food and toys, which means they have a tendency to nip when they feel threatened.
Despite their appearance, these dogs aren’t necessarily soft and cuddly in nature, and certainly don’t enjoy being treated as lap dogs. As such, they’re not the best option for families with kids.