Family Life

What Kind of Dog Should We Get? Dog Breeds for Kids

Wondering what kind of dog your family should get, or if your own furry friend is top dog? Based on hundreds of reviews submitted by our readers, we’ve compiled a list of the best child-friendly dog breeds along with some real-life anecdotes from parents.

Dogs make great pets for families with kids of all ages. The trick is picking the right kind of dog; the one that will fit right in with your family’s lifestyle. Not sure where to start? Check out our readers’ reviews. We came up with the top 10 kid-friendly dog breeds based on your feedback!

Bichon FriseThe bichon frise makes a great kid-friendly dog

These little white puffballs can be a lot of fun. They love being around kids and have plenty of energy to keep up with them.

Average weight: 10 to 18 pounds

Pro: doesn’t shed

Con: requires regular grooming

One parent says: “I have lots and lots of children coming and going through my home… playdates every day. It was important for me to have a dog that was both tolerant and fun. I trust her completely with every child. The kids love to dress her up in her little dresses and stroll her around in a doll stroller.”

DachshundThe dachshund is a great kid-friendly breed, too

“Weiner dogs” or “doxies,” as they’re sometimes called, pack a spunky personality in their little bodies. They tend to be loyal lap dogs and cuddlers who love to give kisses.

Average weight: 8 to 20 pounds

Pro: doesn’t shed and requires minimal grooming (short-haired/smooth-coat variety)

Con: some can be high-strung and unfriendly, especially to strangers

One parent says: “He snuggles with my big girl in bed all the time, and plays tag with my boy. They grew up together and so they act like brothers. Sometimes he barks more harshly when the boy is too rough.”

MalteseThe maltese dog breed is also kid-friendly

Maltese dogs are generally known to be sweet and gentle pups that aim to please. While they enjoy playing with kids, they are also content to spend downtime inside. The Mal-Shi or Malt-Tzu, a Maltese-Shih Tzu mix, is a hybrid breed that also scored great reviews for its good balance of energy and gentleness.

Average weight: 6 to 10 pounds

Pro: doesn’t shed, careful with kids

Con: delicate dog, requires regular grooming

One parent says: “They will teach your children to be gentle. These dogs are very fragile as puppies. I would be more worried about the children hurting the dog than the other way around. Maltese are really easy for a child to walk and tons of fun for them to groom.”

Boston TerrierBoston Terriers are very kid-friendly

These black-and-white buddies have the “big-dog” feel of a boxer in much smaller package. They tend to have a playful yet patient personality and are pretty sturdy dogs despite their small size.

Average weight: 10 to 25 pounds

Pro: easy grooming, minimal/average shedding

Con: prone to eye problems and breathing problems/snorting due to short nose

One parent says: “They are patient, smart, loyal, quick to learn, and hardy. They can spend all day hiking or snoozing. Because they are on the smaller side, they are great for lots of environments, but they can keep up with kids without a problem.”

PugReaders love the pug as a kid-friendly dog

That squishy face! Most pugs love human attention and clowning around but are also low-key and gentle enough with kids. Just be ready for some snoring and snorting due to their short nose.

Average weight: 13 to 20 pounds

Pro: easy grooming, average shedding, not barky

Con: prone to colds, allergies, and breathing problems

One parent says: “Our pug loves children big and small. Our toddler is very rough with our pug, and he just takes it and walks away. He runs around to entertain our toddler and gets going even more when our toddler is laughing. He goes out to the playground and waits for the children to come and play with him every morning.”

KeeshondA keeshond is a unique, kid-friendly dog breed

The fluffy Keeshond is an attention-craving, family-friendly breed that looks like a smaller version of a Samoyed or Husky. Keeshonds quickly become a part of the family and are generally great playmates for kids.

Average weight: 35 to 65 pounds

Pro: moderate activity level

Con: requires regular brushing and grooming

One parent says: “Keeshonds are extremely loving. They live to please their human family. This breed requires more attention than most and will do anything to get that attention. They refuse to be ignored.”

Labrador RetrieverThe labrador retriever is a well-known kid-friendly dog

Black, chocolate, and yellow labs are another family favorite. They’re a good fit for active families who enjoy a lot of outdoor time swimming and playing in the snow. While generally gentle, their big, wiggly bodies and strong, waggy tails may knock small kids over. Another popular new family dog breed that has emerged is the Labradoodle, a lab/poodle hybrid that tends not to shed because of its curly poodle-like hair. Because labs are so popular, there are many labs and lab mixes available in shelters.

Average weight: 55-75 pounds

Pro: enjoys outdoor play

Con: needs a lot of exercise; sheds, especially in warmer weather

One parent says: “I didn’t start having kids until my lab was almost 5 years old. He had always loved kids. When I became pregnant, he knew it and treated me differently by becoming more protective. After I had my son, he was so excited. The only problem I had was that he would forget about his tail and accidentally knock down my son.”

Golden RetrieverThe golden retriever also makes our list of kid-friendly breeds

Surprise! This “top dog” scored a lot of praise from our parent reviewers. Although the Golden Retriever may not be the most original pick for a pet, it is thought of as one of the most friendly, fun and sweet breeds, making it a great pal for kids. Its sometimes boisterous personality can make it better for slightly bigger kids. You might also consider the Goldendoodle, which sheds minimally.

Average weight: 55 to 80 pounds

Pro: enjoys outdoor play

Con: needs a lot of exercise; sheds, especially in warmer weather

One parent says: “I will never own another breed. I grew up having many different breeds of dogs, and, hands down, the Golden is the most loyal, patient, tolerant, and friendly. Ours has never growled or snapped at any of the many children that visit our home. He hasn’t even looked as if he might. To put it simply, he is a big bundle of golden love.”

BoxerA boxer is a great kid-friendly dog breed

Boxers have a tough and muscular look but are gentle giants, overall. Multiple reviewers say that Boxers tend to bond so strongly with children that they seem to think of the kids as their own. They do need plenty of walking and exercise but generally like being inside, unlike some other large breeds.

Average weight: 55 to 70 pounds

Pro: moderate activity level, average shedding, not barky

Con: can be boisterous if not exercised enough

One parent says: “I think that Boxers are one of the very best medium to large dog breeds to have with kids. They’re often overlooked because they don’t have that sweet, soft face like a Golden Retriever or a Lab, but don’t miss out on these guys. They are gems.”

MuttMutts are a tried and true kid-friendly dog breed

We couldn’t leave mixed breeds off our list. Most mutts are a scruffy pile of love. There are always adorable mixed-breed puppies and dogs available at local shelters. They come in all shapes, sizes, activity levels, and personality types.

One parent says: “We have found a much better temperament with mixed breeds as opposed to pedigrees. They are better adjusted, and they seem to be healthier.”

If you’re looking for a new four-legged pal, keep in mind how much work it is and that every dog is different. Try to meet your potential dog (or its parents) face-to-face with your kids, and start training your dog early on.

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