Mother to a teenage stepson, a young daughter and a newborn.. I am taking one step at a time.
When you are thinking about adding a dog to the family, there should be some thought behind the addition. Adding a dog to the family is like adding another family member to the household. Besides the new costs that come with it, (vet bills, food, etc.) a pet will need to be fed daily, always have fresh clean water, walked daily, and shown attention regularly. One must also take into consideration that you are taking responsibility for another living being, and it’s solely dependent on you.
You must understand that dogs are different in the sense of how they react to different environmental stressors. For example, some dogs don’t like to be around a lot of noise and chaos (any household with small children), while others feed off the energy that a small child brings every second of every day. If your household has small children, then research needs to be done to find what breed of dog will work best in your home. The dog must be patient. It must be willing to endure some hard pats and be understanding of the loud noises that they will never escape no matter how hard they try.
But, having a dog is a great way to teach your children about responsibility. They would help with feeding and making sure that their loved one has water. It would also teach them about compassion because there is no better love in the world compared to the way a dog loves its family.
Lastly, it will also teach them cooperation, because they will need to “share some of their toys” (dogs love anything that has a familiar smell especially stuffed animals and blankets).
How to Choose the Right Dog
Here are a few things to look for when choosing the right dog for your family:
- Temperament: This is a dog’s personality. Look for a calmer more even-keeled temperament. These dogs will bond much easier with your family.
- Size: This should be taken into consideration especially in combination with a dog’s temperament and energy level. It may not be a good idea to have a big dog that is full of energy living in a small apartment.
- Energy level: Be understanding of the need for certain breeds to exercise and be more active, in order to release their excess energy. Failure to do this can lead to lots of destroyed furniture and shoes. It may also lead to behavior or problems in the future.
Important: If you decide on adopting a slightly older dog, please be understanding what the best situation for the dog is. A dog’s personality develops over time based on experiences both good and bad.
For example, any dog that has had an abused past could greatly affect their present personality and takes time for it to heal over its old wounds. While I don't recommend new dog owners to do so, I am mindful of the plight of abandoned dogs. It would be best to seek the opinion of the shelter volunteers who will give you the best advice based on your experience as a dog owner.
Below, I have compiled a list of the top kid-friendly dogs by breeds. Now, you must remember that a dog is always subjective to its prior experiences.
Small Kid-Friendly Dogs
Beagles may be small, but they are big in heart. They are very energetic and very friendly. The hound in them can make them can come across as a little stubborn but are great companions no matter the ages of the family members. They are very intelligent, happy, and very friendly. They get along with other pets as well. They do shed so they will need to be brushed regularly.
Originally bred for hunting, they are a very curious breed, so it is best that they have room outside to explore. They are a great breed that has a pack mentality making them easy to bond with their family.
The Maltese is the perfect lounging partner. They are small in stature but full of enthusiasm and a zest for life. They are very easy to train and love to learn new tricks. They enjoy running around chasing or just sitting and cuddling while your kids watch their favorite movie. They do require frequent brushing which may be a bit much for a small child, but overall the Maltese makes a great option for the family.
Medium Kid-Friendly Dogs
3. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is by far the most popular breed and for very good reason. They are very playful, loving, protective, and very loyal. They are very intelligent and very easy to train. They are high energy so they will need plenty of exercise, they love water, so swimming is a good option. So, make sure there is plenty of room for them to run and burn off that energy.
They get along well with other pets and tend to love everyone they meet. No matter if it’s chocolate, black, or yellow, their coat will only require once a week brushing to make sure their coats stay clean.
The Bulldog is the perfect pup for kids. Its stocky frame is perfect for children who like to roughhouse but be aware that they do run out of steam fast, so be prepared for plenty of naps.
They are a loyal breed who is not only friendly with the family but with other pets as well. They are perfectly content in a large house or a small apartment.
Bulldogs come equipped with drool and snoring that will make anyone laugh. There will be additional upkeep in the form of teeth cleaning due to their compressed jaw. The folds around their face and tail need to be cleaned often to prevent dirt buildup.
Big Kid-Friendly Dogs
5. Golden Retriever
Just like a Labrador, the Golden Retriever is a smart, confident, and very loyal breed. They are extremely patient and have such a mild temperament which makes them a perfect fit for kids. They are also very loving and obedient which makes them a perfect addition to a home.
They love to play and exercise so again make sure that there is plenty of room for them to run and explore. They love to play fetch and catch with a frisbee. Even though they love to be outside they would much rather be inside with their pack.
6. Rhodesian Ridgeback
This gentle giant has a very easy temperament, so easy that some may consider it for a lazy breed. But the Ridgebacks were bred for hunting and to provide protection for its owners. The Ridgeback is very patient, and easy to train. Their size may make for a bit of a challenge, especially with smaller kids, but they are a minimal energy dog that will bring love to your family.
Dogs That Are Low Maintenance
7. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier brings a tough dog attitude to the family. This breed is essentially a mini-Boxer with its toughness and strength. Originating from Boston, the Boston Terrier is one of the few dogs that originated from The United States.
They are high energy and great around kids. They can also be stubborn, especially when it comes to training. Their coats require very little grooming which makes this a perfect low maintenance option.
Whether they are running around in the yard or jumping into your lap on the couch the Daschund is the perfect family dog that requires very little maintenance. Daschunds are great with kids in their pack’ but be cautious of your kid’s friends since they are very protective.
Unfortunately, due to their small legs, too much running and jumping could pose spinal issues as they get older.
Dogs That Don’t Shed
9. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is as close to a cloud as you will get. Look at some paintings of early 16th Century Royals, and you would probably see this cotton ball. This high-energy breed is a perfect fit for a busy family. They are loyal and very affectionate which makes them a welcoming addition to the family.
It is important to train them young, that way they will not find themselves getting into too much trouble as they get older. Even though the coat requires frequent grooming, the Bichon Frise does not shed leaving your couches and rugs fur-free.
A cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle, this breed is both very intelligent and affectionate. Their intelligence makes them very easy to train. They are highly energetic and need vigorous exercise which will keep your children busy and active. They need plenty of space to run and burn off all that energy and if not, say goodbye to your sofa and furniture.
Labradoodles do not shed but do need to be brushed daily to keep their coat healthy. They are a great addition to the family and get along great with other pets.
Getting a dog is a wonderful way to start to teach your little one’s responsibility. What makes it even more special is if they grow up together, the bond they will share will be unmatched. It will not only keep your children active but teach valuable lessons as well. The responsibility in remembering to feed them and the companionship they will need to show them are all part of developing those valuable social skills that they will need when they get older.
If the family is ready for the additional responsibilities, then what are you waiting for? Go on and find your new 4-legged companion to join the family.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Muriel B Tewes
Muriel B Tewes (author) on November 14, 2020:
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 13, 2020:
Very cool as we are talking about a family dog. Thank you.