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Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Published January 31, 2012        by Sarah

If you had a beloved dog growing up, chances are that you want your own child to experience the love, joy, and fun of having a furry companion.  Pets are more than animals that your parents may have given you in a little pet gift basket when you were little; they are treasured members of the family – that is, they can be if you choose the right one!  Bringing a dog into your home requires more than an impulse trip to the pet shop.  You have to think about the needs of your family, as well as the needs of the dog.  One of the most important considerations is breed.  Here is a look at some of the best breeds for kids and families.

Bulldogs.

Believe it or not, these are ideal pets for kids.  Their short, sturdy build makes them a terrific match for any toddler who loves to climb, push, pull, and prod the dog.  Bulldogs do not tend to be excitable, another very important quality to look for.  They are typically not high energy and have a short coat of hair so they will not be terribly high-maintenance.  If you barely have time to bathe and play with your own kids, this dog won't add to your burden!  Bulldogs are generally obedient, gentle, and friendly to kids and other pets.  Plus, who can resist that wrinkly face?

Collies.

Though they require more grooming, and you will likely have more dog hair adhering to your clothing, collies are a great fit for families.  They are gentle and can be easily trained. They tend to be protective of their owners, and owners' children.  One caution: they may try to herd your family!  If you curb this behavior when your collie is a pup, it will not become a nuisance.

Newfoundlands.

Image by Micah Taylor on Flickr

This is the gentle giant of the canine world.  They are often referred to as “nature's babysitters” because of their wonderful, patient, and gentle demeanors.  One trait common to newfies is that they think they are lap dogs.  They love to hang inside and be with the family.  Newfoundlands shed, require grooming, and may bump into things in small rooms – but they are lovable, protective, and loyal.  This is a dog that will lie at your feet or jump into a lake to save you.

Irish setters.

If you have a lot of space and an active family, an Irish setter may be a great addition.  They like to play, run, and exercise every day, so they are not ideal for busy families who are gone for long periods of time.  On the other hand, if you have a yard and want to use it, this red-coated beauty is social, easy to train, and wonderful with children.

Golden retrievers.

Among the most popular of breeds, the golden retriever is also very energetic and requires exercise and space.  They are great for kids because of their legendary patience, kindness, and gentleness.  Retrievers are smart and have a great disposition.

Labrador retrievers.

These are also very popular, and for good reason.  They are smart, loyal, gentle, patient, dependable, protective, and gorgeous!  They are a bit bigger than golden retrievers, and both breeds will need brushing.

Poodles.

If anyone in your family has allergies, a poodle is a great choice. They shed very little, and they make wonderful playmates with their patience, good attitude, and love of playing.

The right dog for your family may be on this list – or it may not be. It may be a mutt.  Even more important than the specific breed is the demeanor of the dog.  Is he good with children? Does he mind if your toddler pulls on his fur?  Do you like him?  Does he like you?  Your family's dream dog may be a poodle or it could be a pit bull.  In any case, balance the breed’s tendencies with the dog's own qualities and behavior when making your choice, and always make sure he meets the family before you make any final decisions.

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