What are the best dog breeds around kids?

What are the best dog breeds around kids?

Thinking of bringing a four-legged friend into your home? Becoming a ‘doggy family’ can be a fantastic experience and your new ‘pack member’ will be a lifelong friend and companion for both adults and children alike – if you get the right breed.

We know full well that our furry friends come in all shapes and sizes, and each breed has its own set of characteristics, some of which are better suited to being around kids than others.

Just make sure you do your research beforehand, and remember to compare dog insurance so you can get a realistic idea of how much this new dog is doing to cost.


Precautions before getting a family dog

There are some general factors that you should consider when choosing the best family dog for you including their temperament, energy level, age and size.

If you have children and are looking to get a dog, this should not be a decision that you simply rush into.

Take the time to talk to your family, and involve children in selecting your new companion.


  • Space

Take the time to truly consider whether you have the space for your new pet.

Bigger dogs need more, and smaller breeds not so much. If you cannot give them the area that they need to run around, you should reconsider getting a dog in the first place.


  • Figure out your time commitments

Can you dedicate enough time to giving them at least two walks a day?

For some families this may prove a challenge.

Generally, dogs should never be left alone for more than a few hours at a time, and you should really evaluate whether they will have a sufficient amount of company.

A lonely dog is often a misbehaved dog.


  • Consider the age and energy levels of your dog

Have you got the time and energy to train a puppy?

Or are you better suited to adopting an older pooch, who may need less exercise but who might have more health problems?

These are all questions you should be asking yourself before taking on the responsibility of a pet.


  • If you already have a dog…

Then remember that introducing a new canine into your home will change the family dynamic, for both human and canine members of the pack.

Conduct thorough research into the dog breed and its affinity for other pets, and have the dogs spend some time with each other before committing to taking them on full time.


  • Keep your child’s development in mind

Is this a dog that will grow old with your kids? Thinking in the long-term, for your children and your dog, is a wise decision and can help you understand exactly what you’re looking for in a family pet.


  • Calculate the cost of keeping a dog

Some dogs are more high maintenance than others, and can rack up higher vet bills than average.

Make sure that you are getting a dog that is well within your financial means, particularly if you have more than one child.

Compare dog insurance, too, to find the best deal for protecting your pooch.


  • Consider any allergies

If some members of your family are prone to allergies, look for short-haired breeds or dogs with a hypoallergenic coat.


What is the best breed of dog for a family?

A black Staffordshire Bull Terrier sitting on the grass in a garden on a sunny day

Choosing the best dog breed for a family pet depends on a range of factors: the size of your family, where you live, the age of your children and how you like to spend your time both collectively and individually. There is no ‘one size fits all’. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about certain dog breeds.

Here are 16 of the best dog breeds around kids.


  1. Irish Setter


If you’re looking for a medium-large sized family dog with boundless energy and a happy-go-lucky demeanour, the Irish Setter might be a great choice for you.

It’s virtually impossible to tire them out, and they are very loving and affectionate in nature.

While they can be a little rambunctious with smaller tots, they’re ideal for teenagers and older children who like to rough and tumble.

Irish Setters get along famously with other animals and are known for being good-natured with everyone they meet.

It’s important to keep in mind that such high-energy pups thrive off companionship, and can get lonely if not entertained.


  1. Newfoundland


Despite being colossal in stature, Newfoundlands are gentle giants. If you’ve got the space, or perhaps you live in the countryside, then this breed couldn’t be better suited.

Even better - if you have access to a pond or lake then it’s good news with Newfoundlands, as they love to swim and doggy paddle to their heart’s content.

Their kind, well-behaved and quiet nature means that they get along with children very well - particularly if they take them on long walks daily.

Newfoundlands also respond well to training, so if you’re an active family with kids that love to get out and about, then certainly consider this dignified breed.


  1. Bull Terrier


Many Bull Terriers have unfortunately been used for dogfighting, but what a lot of people don’t know, is that they are naturally very sweet-tempered and affectionate dogs - particularly with young and old members of their human family.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, for example, is a muscular dog that is strong and sturdy, yet very loving with the human members of their pack.

They love nothing more than cuddling and playing in the garden, and love to go for a brisk run.

While Bullies often greet strangers by enthusiastically bounding towards them and licking their face, this can be controlled with early socialisation with an energetic family, and the correct training.


  1. Cocker Spaniel


A properly socialised Cocker Spaniel will be the most affectionate of family pets.

If you want a smaller dog, with gorgeous silky fur and a gentle disposition, then a Cocker Spaniel is a wonderful addition.

Although keep in mind they can be very high energy, so make sure this matches the needs of your family.



  1. Mixed Breed


It’s important not to forget that there are plenty of delightful mongrels out there that are perfect family pets.

There are so many mixed breeds waiting to be homed in shelters, and their cross-breed nature often makes them far better suited to living alongside children than some pure breeds.

They’re not as prone to genetic health conditions as certain pedigrees, and for that reason don’t need as many trips to the vet.


What is the most gentle dog breed?

A Labrador Retriever panting with its tail up while out on a walk in a field on a sunny day

While some dogs are more boisterous in nature and suited for older children, there are breeds that are a little softer and more tolerant of children.

All of this depends on their training, of course – even the most stereotypically aggressive dog can behave well around kids with proper obedience exercises.


  1. Labrador Retriever


Considered to be one of the hallmark dog breeds for families and children, you can’t go wrong with a Labrador Retriever.

When provided with sufficient exercise to keep them busy, these are terrific dogs to have around kids. They love playing fetch and swimming if possible.

They are very tolerant dogs that are friendly with little ones - from the smallest right through to the biggest - and don’t mind a bit of rough and tumble.

People love them for their tail-wagging, happy-go-lucky nature that wins over so many owners.

While they may be gentle and easygoing, they can easily gain weight if not exercised enough.

Keep their mind ticking over with mental challenges such as ball games, and agility trials, and they’ll love you and the kids forever. If not, they may become destructive and boisterous.


  1. Golden Retriever


Popular family dogs with a fantastic demeanour, the Golden Retriever is a cheerful and gentle giant.

They are extremely forgiving dogs, so any accidents with children are soon forgotten about.

Golden Retrievers are highly adaptable, and should you have new arrivals in the family, they are quick to settle in and find their place.

Make sure that they have plenty of stimulation or they will begin to chew on things – two long walks a day and some mental challenge such as playing fetch, an agility exercise or some training and they’ll be your best friend.


  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


The King Charles has got to be one of the snuggliest of dog breeds. They love comfort and curling up in their owner’s lap, so they are wonderful to introduce to younger children.

That said, they really do depend on human interaction and can suffer terribly from separation anxiety if they’re left even for short periods.

For that reason, they should ideally have company throughout the day.


  1. Beagle


Neatly sized, the Beagle is a good-looking doggy companion that is peaceful and good natured. They are very easy to groom, however many Beagles end up quite fat without enough exercise. They are hunting dogs, after all. They are generally calm and well behaved around children, with the right training and mental stimulation, of course.


What is the easiest dog to take care of?

A French Bulldog puppy out on a walk in a wooded area

Are you looking for a family dog that’s low maintenance? There are some breeds which require very little looking after, and can be left on their own for a short period of time while parents tend to their little humans.


  1. Pug


If you’re looking for a pooch that doesn’t need as much exercise as most, then the pug will be your best doggy pal. Those large, expressive eyes make humans at any age go weak at the knees, and they’ll get along famously with children.

Keep in mind that they do come with their own set of health problems, and their lifespan isn’t the longest.


  1. French Bulldog


For an entertaining family pet that is relatively easy to care for, there is the French Bulldog. They will be the household entertainer as they are often grunting and snorting, and are generally pleasant with everybody. Also their tendency not to bark makes them excellent around babies.

French Bulldogs are highly adaptable to their environment; they will be as happy living in a flat as they would be in a large house in the countryside. They’re livelier than they look - and love nothing more than a good ball game, but they are also quite content sprawling on the sofa. 

As with English Bulldogs, they tend to suffer from genetic health problems and shorter life spans.


  1. English Bulldog


An amiable breed with a sensitive soul, an English Bulldog is, in theory, very easy to take care of. If you’re particularly busy with the little ones, Bulldogs will happily while away the day snoring and snoozing.

Their short-haired coat makes them easy to groom, and they tend not to bark, which can be a plus around newborn babies and toddlers.

One downside is that they tend to have a shorter lifespan, and while they tend not to need as much attention nor lengthy dog walks, this breed often has its fair share of health problems.


  1. Shih Tzu


As with other toy breeds, a Shih Tzu doesn’t need a whole load of exercise. If you’re looking for a pint-sized pooch that isn’t as yappy as other small dogs, they are generally peaceful.

Shih Tzus enjoys nothing more than curling up on a pillow and cuddling on laps, and their happy, sweet nature makes them an easygoing family pet.


What breed of dog is least likely to run away?

A Vizsla running through a barley field with its ears in the air

There are some dogs that eye up a door left slightly open, and might seize the opportunity to bolt outside. However, there are some breeds of dogs that are perfectly suited to living alongside children, and also behave well when let off the lead.


  1. Vizsla


If you’re looking for a dog that is athletic, difficult to wear out and great around children – it’s worth considering this gentle and sensitive breed. Known as Velcro dogs, they thrive on human attention and like to stay around the family. But beware, they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long.


  1. Poodle


Poodles have been tarred with the reputation of being fussy dogs, but in fact, they are more than ready to get involved with the family. They vary in size: from the Toy, Miniature and Standard, and so can be adapted to the size of your pack.

They are very much a working breed, and can be classed as a ‘thinking’ dog that requires mental stimulation to be happy.

If your children have allergies, they are low-shedding dogs that can be low maintenance if you keep them clipped regularly.


Top tips for introducing a dog to your kids

A young child crouched with his arm over a damp dog on autumn leaves while out on a walk

  1. The number one rule to remember is to supervise your children and your new canine friend at all times. It’s better to be safe than sorry.


  1. Allow the dog to approach your children first, as opposed to the other way around. This way they won’t feel threatened and are less likely to snap.


  1. Teach your children to encourage their new pooch to approach them by sitting down quietly, and waiting for the dog to come and sniff them first.


  1. Teach young children not to place their face close to the dog’s face.


  1. Show your children how to approach, pet and interact with dogs properly. Teach them by doing - stroking their head and neck, and avoiding their ears, eyes, tail, feet and stomach. Some dogs don’t like to be approached when they’re eating or sleeping.


  1. Advise your kids not to hug or cuddle your new dog until they are more familiar with it.


  1. Tell children to remain quiet and calm around the dog to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. High-pitched screams and squeals can upset a dog.


  1. Be careful with older dogs and children. For example, a dog with impaired hearing or vision might be startled if you approach them suddenly, causing them to nip or bite.


  1. Use a lead initially when teaching the dog commands, and show your children at the same time.


  1. Involve older children in caring for the new canine member of the family, whether that’s taking them for walks or giving them food.


Compare dog insurance today

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