6 of the Best Dog Breeds for Families with Young Children
By Brooke Chaplan
Buying a dog can be one of the most life-changing experiences that a family can undergo, but if there are small children in the house, you might worry about their interactions with the newest member of the family. Luckily, this is a common enough problem that you don’t need to leave it up to chance—just follow this guide and you’ll have the perfect pup to serve as your family’s best friend.
1. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are some of the best dogs for pairing with small children, and that stems mostly from temperament—Labradors are smarter than many dog breeds and maintain a cheerful, high-energy attitude suited well to teaching your kids how to get along with an energetic dog.
Keep in mind, however, that Labrador puppies are prone to ‘mouthing’—the action of placing their mouth around something without actually applying pressure. This might scare particularly young children or lead to aggression in older dogs if the behavior isn’t corrected.
Beagles are small dogs, and that gives them an advantage over larger breeds when dealing with children. They’re energetic and friendly, harboring an innate curiosity that makes them well-suited to high-energy environments like a house full of kids, and playing with your children may even fill their daily needs for exercise.
Beagles are also very obedient when they’re properly trained. If a child is old enough to train the dog themselves, it will always respond to and obey their commands, making this family pet an excellent source of teaching responsibility.
Like Beagles, Pugs fall within the demographic of ‘small dog’—some people also call them toy dogs along with breeds like the Chihuahua and the Pomeranian. They’re not particularly easy to train, which might make you hesitant to pick them as your family dog, but they’re born cuddlers and well-suited to forming close relationships with your young children.
Thorough socialization is the key to reducing aggression in a toy dog like a Pug. Exposing your Pug to other dogs can teach it the proper way to interact with humans.
4. European Doberman
This is likely to be a surprise to some, given the reputation of Dobermans as guard dogs, but don’t hesitate if you see a European Doberman for sale while you’re searching for the family dog—they’re known for their quick acceptance of children and babies, often treating them with gentleness and affection if they’ve been properly trained.
You’ll have better luck if you buy a European Doberman puppy than a full-grown dog—this’ll allow you to make sure that it’s properly socialized and doesn’t have any aggressive behaviors.
5. French Bulldog
Like Pugs, French Bulldogs are naturally accustomed to cuddling and like to be touched. Their personalities are actually fairly similar to those of children—they like to play outside, snuggle up with their families and take long naps at the end of the day. These fill the slot of what’s known as a ‘companion dog’—if your child forms a close attachment to them, they’ll be inseparable.
Don’t let fears of your children’s safety get in the way of forming a life-long bond with man’s best friend—small children can be a benefit, not a detriment, if you choose from these beloved family breeds and train them properly.
6. Australian Shepherd
If you are looking for a highly trainable, super smart, and friendly dog who is eager to please and loves to be put to work, then the right choice is an Australian Shepherd. Rounding up kids for breakfast and learning wag-worthy tricks are his favorite things to do.
About the Author
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
*Photos courtesy of Brooke Chaplan