Dog breeds that are great with kids

When choosing a dog breed for your family, the temperament of the breed is important to consider.


There are a few reasons why it is essential to find out what breeds of dogs get along well with children. 

First, it may be important for someone who owned a dog as a child to provide their own offspring with the same experience.  It might also be vital for a person who already owns a dog to find out if that breed is likely accept a new human addition to the household.  Before discussing some key qualities that should be taken into consideration, you must remember that dogs and children should always be supervised, because no breed (or child) is completely predictable.

It is usually easier to predict the future behavior of a pure bred dog because, in most cases, you will be able to observe the dog’s parents.  But don’t discount a pound puppy completely.  Animal control officer or volunteers at the humane society spend a lot of time with their “guests” and can usually recommend specific dogs for people with children.  In fact, most pounds or adoption facilities will post comments about all the dogs in a central location.  One of the top concerns is whether they believe the dog can tolerate children.  There are certain breeds, or mixed breeds, that they will never adopt out to families with children or other pets.   

Temperament is usually the best indicator of a dog’s ability to tolerate a child.  The three major words used to describe a dog’s behavior are: dominant, balanced and submissive.  

Dominant dogs tend to be the leaders of the pack.  They will sometimes try to bully their owners into allowing them to assume the position of head of household.  These types of dogs do not mix well with children simply because they will see a child as weak and will take advantage of their vulnerability.  Chihuahuas, often prized because of their small size, are dominant dogs and do not do well in households with small children.  Interestingly enough, although many parents choose a small dog breed because they feel it will be safer for their children, many small canines are anything but tolerant of kids.   Dachshunds, Pekinese, Rottweillers and Chow Chows are also dominant dog breeds and will not, normally, put up with children.  

Dogs with a balanced temperament fall between the two other extreme types of behavior.  These breeds will allow the owner to be the head of the household, but will sometimes step in to fill a void if a position of leadership is left vacant.  Balanced dogs normally do have the patience necessary to tolerate children.   A Border Collie falls into the category of balanced dogs because they have the tendency to “herd” children where they would like to go.  Border Collies are not bullies, but boredom can lead them to challenge the minimal authority that a child holds.  Cocker Spaniels can also be placed in this category.  However, Cockers must be purchased from a reputable breeder to ensure that your puppy does not have the bad habits that are common with over breeding.  These habits include spontaneous urination that can eventually move into dominant biting, in response to fear or aggression.  Other types of balanced dogs are Labrador Retrievers, Boxers and Boston Terriers.    

Submissive dogs do not want the responsibility of pack leader.  These gentle dogs do well with small children as they will usually accept anyone.  They do not mind a low ranking position in a household and will sometimes even hide to avoid new people or situations.  It may be said, occasionally, that submissive dogs are born without brains.  And in some cases, it may appear to be true as you watch the antics of your submissive dog.  Beagles are a good example of a submissive dog.  They are very energetic and love to play.  Beagles tolerate a lot of physical loving and are often very affectionate in return.   Golden Retrievers, Basset Hounds and Irish Setters also can be categorized as a submissive breed.  

If your favorite breed falls into the dominant category, it may be best to wait until your children are 10 years of age or older before investing in such a dog.  Most of the breeds that are of a balanced or submissive temperament are good choices for families with children of all ages.   Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to determining the future behavior of any breed.  Also, the atmosphere that a dog is living in does much to determine a dog’s temperament.  If you do not neglect or abuse your dog, you will at least be guaranteed a loyal friend.