Are you looking for your first four-legged family friend? Getting your first family pet is an exciting time for you and your children. But it’s imperative to find a pooch which will gel well with the family dynamic - here are the best dogs for kids!
Your kids have probably come across a fair few fluffy, friendly pups in the park or at their friend’s house. Now they’re desperate for one to call their own, and you’re not sure where to start - or if it’s even a good idea in the first place!
Why you should get a kid-friendly dog
Wondering whether you should get a dog for you and your kids? Dogs can be fantastic for children - it’s as simple as that! Often, a child-friendly dog will become more than just a pet. In reality, it will be your kid’s loyal and caring playmate, protector and best friend - though a slightly fluffy one at that.
As well as bringing bundles of fun and tons of love to the lives of your children, dogs can be great teachers of responsibility. You can give tasks such as feeding and watering your pooch to your kids, which can really help them grow, develop and even learn new skills.
And we all know that dogs can be a handful at times. They can slobber, chew, or scratch all over the house. But your kids will learn by example - and as you show patience towards your canine bestie, they will too. They’ll learn that they should never hit or shout at an animal who has done something wrong. Instead, they'll develop patience and understanding.
Oh, and there’s more! Your little ones will love your dog to the ends of the earth. One day, your pup’s life will come to an end, and your kids will have to deal with their loss. It might sound like a tough situation for them to go through - and you’re right, it is. But they’ll also learn critical life skills and coping mechanisms as they comfort their dog in its passing and cope with the loss of a loved one.
What are the best dogs for kids?
So, we know that getting a dog is a great idea - but does it matter which one you get? While all breeds of dogs make a fantastic pet for somebody out there, certain breeds are much better for families with children than others.
Little dogs aren’t a good choice for young kids, simply because they’re, well, little! Injuries have been reported because children don’t understand how gentle they need to be with small breeds. At the same time, big, big dogs aren’t ideal either - sometimes, it can be a struggle to get these breeds to be as gentle as they need to be with kids.
To help you out, we’ve picked our choice of the best dogs for kids - which will guarantee a playful yet gentle, fun yet loving pooch for your family.
Clever, caring, and calm? That’s the Golden Retriever for you! These gentle giants are undoubtedly one of the best dogs for kids. We can bet you’ll struggle to find an aggressive or feisty golden retriever - they’re pretty much nice to anyone and everyone they come across.
And while this popular breed is well-loved for its gentleness, they’re also very energetic and athletic. So you can expect these perfect pups to have the energy to play all day long with your kids - but they’ll be equally as keen to settle down to a good ol’ cuddle come evening.
No matter what colour lab you pick, you can bet on them being an incredible family dog. We’d say they’re particularly well suited to adventurous families or kids with bags of energy. Labradors love nothing more than a full day of games and adventures - so they’ll keep the whole family fit and healthy, too!
Like the Golden Retriever, Labradors are remarkably friendly creatures who get along with everybody, including other animals.
Your kids will love the quirky and fun looks of a poodle - and they’re super child-friendly, too! A standard size poodle is very obedient and trustworthy, so you’ll have no worries leaving them alone with kids of a certain age. Your kids will love trying to teach them new tricks. Plus, because poodles are rather intelligent, so they'll pick them up pretty easily.
Poodles are as caring and loyal as a Labrador, but they’re not quite as energetic and don’t need as much exercising. And although there’s no guarantee, poodles are often tolerated well by those with dog allergies. So if your children tend to get the sniffles, they could be the perfect breed!
We all know how cute Beagles look, but did you know they’re equally as sweet in their temperament? Beagles are incredibly energetic and love company - so they’re great in a house with lots of kids looking for a playmate.
Do bear in mind, though, that your Beagle will need a lot of exercise and don’t fare well with being left indoors all day. But if you can keep up with their energetic nature, you’ll have a loyal and fun friend for your children.
In general, Collies are a very gentle breed who are easily trained and rarely misbehave. This makes them a favourite for families with young kids because their behaviour is so mild and predictable. Collies tend to become quite protective and affectionate towards children, which is super cute, too!
Collies do require a strict grooming regime due to their long, luscious coat, so that’s something to factor into your decision. Plus, they’re a herder dog at heart - so they may even try and herd your kids. It may seem funny, but it’s best to discourage it as much as you can. Otherwise, it could get a little irritating.
Other things to consider
While the 5 mentioned breeds are undoubtedly some of the best dogs for kids, it's important to consider factors other than breed. Pet MD encourages families to think carefully about:
"Temperament – This is the dog’s personality. You should be looking for an agreeable temperament. For instance, a calmer dog has the ability to form strong bonds and be a great companion for your kids.
Size – Size should be looked at in relation to both temperament and energy level. Some larger dogs tend to be docile, while some smaller dogs can be excitable.
Energy level – This is a matter of preference for your family. Be realistic about the lifestyle you can provide to a dog that needs more exercise than average. If you can’t meet a dog’s needs, his excess energy can lead to behaviour problems down the road."