Best Dog Breeds for Kids

best dog breeds for kids

What Makes a Dog Breed Great for Kids?

Various factors make a dog breed great for young children. A great companion for your kids will be a dog that suits your unique family set-up, activity levels, and capacity for pet care.

A good family pet has a high tolerance and patience with children’s behavior and has a family-friendly nature. Loyalty, rather than aloofness, is desirable in a family pet as it will encourage bonding.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Family Dog

Below you’ll find the primary considerations when looking to bring a new pet into your home.

Energy Level

Some dogs need plenty of exercise, while others will be happy with indoor play and a short run in the garden. If your kids need a playmate who can race on the beach or romp in the yard with them, a dog with equally high energy will bond with your children.

Calmer, low-energy pets will suit a more introverted and indoor family. Perhaps you need a great companion that will calm your children and cuddle with them at the end of the day.

A good family dog will suit your family’s energy levels. Your busy family schedule should allow you the time to walk a dog who needs lots of exercise. Bored and unstimulated pets often succumb to destructive behavior.


Most dog breeds are known for certain characteristics. Agreeable and friendly dogs are usually favorable for families, as are personality traits like patients, tolerance, and loyalty. What is your family looking for in a family pet?

If your family needs a guard dog, many breeds are highly protective and intimidating yet affectionate with their human family.


The sizing of a dog does not determine whether it will be a good family pet.

All breeds are different, and the size of pet you choose on largely depends on personal preference. A large dog is more cumbersome to put into your family vehicle, while a small size or medium-sized dog may be more manageable for your family to take everywhere.

Some large dogs, like Great Danes, are lovely with kids but need large properties for running, jumping, and playing. If your family likes larger breeds, ensure you can offer them the indoor and outdoor space they need.

Tiny dogs may be fragile and better suited to older children who understand how to handle dogs. However, others, like the bichon frise, are sturdy and resilient and known for their lovey-dovey nature.

things to consider when choosing a family dog


Low-maintenance dogs are usually better suited for families with busy schedules. Pets need medical checkups and grooming. To avoid neglecting your pet’s care, look into the following breed traits and consider the impact they can have on your household.

  • Shedding levels can range from hair everywhere to zero hair loss. Breeds who fall into the high shedding category need to be brushed more frequently. You will also need to spend more time vacuuming and cleaning surfaces where your dog likes to lie.
  • Coat types in pets can be curly, wiry, rough, double, or smooth. Your family pet’s coat type and length will come with its own grooming needs and allergen potential. If you want a hypoallergenic dog, consider its coat type.
  • Trimming your dog takes money, planning, and time. Some dogs need regular trimming, while others will never need a haircut. Consider how much of your budget you can allocate to professional grooming for your family dog.
  • Drooling level should be considered if your pet will be indoors or engaging in playtime with your kids. Are you up for wiping surfaces and faces after your small children have come close to your drool-prone dog?
  • Breed-specific health conditions should be considered in purebred pets. Educating yourself on potential problems can prepare you for preventative care and/or treatment. Older dogs require more frequent veterinary visits, so if you’re adopting an older dog, consider the costs and ensure you’re able to offer your pet the health care they need. Similarly, you may adopt a mixed-breed dog who has existing conditions. Speak to your vet so that you’re prepared for medical costs and are willing to take them on.

To research a specific breed, visit the American Kennel Club. The AKC website offers helpful insight into each breed’s typical characteristics and needs.

Family Dynamics

The family dynamics in your home may decide the best family dog for you. How old are your children? Are there existing pets and should a new pet be used to cats and other dogs?

The age of your children can be a massive decider in your breed of choice. Teenagers could do well with most fun-loving temperaments, while toddlers learning how to treat animals need a companion dog who will be patient and gentle.

Some dogs may prefer certain ages or genders when it comes to children. Organize a meet-and-greet with the breeder or animal shelter to determine whether they will be a good fit.

The Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Explore the most popular dog breeds for families with kids below.

the best dog breeds for kids

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers make great furry family members. They suit active families who enjoy the outdoors and can offer ample space for exercise. Labradors enjoy swimming and playing and will bond with your kids and other pets. This popular breed is tolerable and adaptable to a busy household. While high-energy, Labs are also peaceful and devoted family pets.

Labs are relatively large dogs, and their energetic and sturdy bodies may knock small children over. They are also heavy shedders, so be prepared for regular brushing.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers tick all the boxes for family-friendliness and will enthusiastically adjust to life with you and other pets in your home. They suit outdoor lifestyles and are perfect for older kids who love a little rough play with their pet.

Golden Retrievers are serious workers and will dedicate all they do to your family. They are easy to train, showing obedience and intelligence while aiming to please.

The double coat of a Golden Retriever sheds a lot. If you are on the search for a watch dog, then this is not it, as the Golden Retriever will only try befriending strangers.


The Newfoundland is a big dog with an even bigger heart. This gentle giant makes a great nanny dog and will be equally protective and loving in your home. Due to their massive size and tendency to drool, they may be better suited to older kids. But will be gentle and patient towards toddlers who are learning how to behave around pets.

Newfoundland dogs offer the perfect balance between being playful and easygoing. They will run and play ball, but are also be happy at your feet (with a kid lying on them) during family movie time.


Do you need a pet to herd your rowdy children? Then a Collie may be the perfect family pet. This beautiful Lassie dog is devoted and caring. They are intelligent, easy to train, and will protect those they love. Collies may show suspicion towards new people and pets, so slow introductions are necessary.

Border Collies are less tolerant towards kids, but can also be great family dogs if introduced as a puppy. This related breed requires high stimulation, space, and exercise.

the best breeds of dogs for kids

Cocker Spaniel

If the Cocker Spaniel doesn’t steal your heart with its adorable looks, then its friendly and fun nature will. The Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog with loads of energy and bounce. They are good with children, although, without training, they’ll push the boundaries.

The Cocker Spaniel is easygoing and lively. This popular breed will make a good addition to your home.


If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic dog for your allergy-prone family then a Poodle is a good choice. You won’t have to contend with constant vacuuming; instead, your children will find a lovable companion in their new pet.

Poodles come in all sizes so you can choose a Poodle to suit the size dog you’d prefer. Poodles are easy to train and intelligent. After a busy day expending their high energy with the kids, they will cuddle up for some affection.

These proud pets need professional grooming, and may need training to reduce their tendency to bark.


A Labradoodle is a hybrid canine between the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle. This combination presents a lovable, energetic, family dog that has a low-shedding coat. The Labradoodle is social, fun-loving, and offers all-around friendliness to those they meet.

For a playful and enthusiastic pet, the Labradoodle is a good choice for allergy-sensitive households.

Irish Setter

The Irish Setter will suit an active family that wants their dog to accompany them on hikes and adventures. They are boisterous and energetic pets who will need a daily energy outlet, whether it’s joining you for a jog, or playing fetch in the garden.

These popular breeds are sweet-natured, outgoing and lovable. They require a moderate amount of grooming that is manageable.


Beagles are friendly and curious hunting breeds that are devoted to their human families. They will adjust to your family lifestyle, without being too demanding for physical stimulation. While they can enjoy an occasional walk or adventure with the family, they also cope well with short bursts of exercise or indoor playtime with a tug toy.

Overall, the Beagle is easygoing but may howl and experience separation anxiety if left alone. They are very sociable animals and will want to be around their loved ones a lot.

best dog breeds

Bernese Mountain Dog

These large and powerful dogs have a gentle and kind nature. For their size, it’s surprising that they have moderate to high energy needs, love to play, and devote themselves to their family. Berners are particularly tolerant, patient, and gentle around children.

Having a Bernese Mountain Dog in your family will be rewarding as they are easily trainable and family-loving. Some considerations before taking a Berner home is that they are heavy shedders, require a lot of grooming and are susceptible to cardiac and joint issues due to their hefty body weight.


If you’re looking for a cute pet that’s more easygoing, a Bulldog may be the perfect fit. They are docile and loyal and will do fine with the short brisk walks to stay in good health.

If you love these short-snouted and roly-poly pets, then their relative, the French Bulldog, is particularly great with families and kids. Frenchies are a great small dog breed, and you’ll find them to be adaptable, playful, and watchful (without too much barking). They have moderate grooming needs, but their flat faces can make them prone to breathing problems if you live in a warm or humid climate.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Are you looking for a spunky and adorable addition to the family? The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a cute breed that is sweet and devoted to its family. They easily adapt to all family lifestyles, from a laidback indoor crew to a more active family. Small children will enjoy this small dog breed and its ‘joie de vie’ nature.


Pugs are sweet and silly and wonderful with kids. This brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog has low energy requirements, so it will not be joining you for a run, but they do need a lot of exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Short bursts of interaction, a romp in the garden, or small games indoors make this a great family dog if you live in a smaller home with minimal outdoor space.

You may find that Pugs are rather mischievous, but their charming and social nature will get attention wherever you go. Read up on how to care for brachycephalic breeds if you’re considering purchasing this dog from a breeder.

dog breeds best for kids

Bull Terrier

They may look hard, but Bull Terriers make great companion dogs for families and children. They are playful, naughty, and devoted dogs. To keep them out of trouble, ensure there is a routine of mental and physical stimulation.

These muscular dogs are easy to groom with their short coats. Terriers excel in sports, and early training and socializing will enforce family bonding and disciplined behavior.

Mixed Breeds

Mixed breeds can make very devoted family pets. Adopting a mixed breed pet may require a little more research as to their history, breed mix, or previous home set-up. Oftentimes, mixed dog breeds combine some of the best traits. Sometimes you’ll find the most soft-hearted and timid pet, who will quickly perk up with family love and attention.

Upon meeting shelter pets, avoid dogs who may seem too fearful or skittish or small mutts that may be impatient and snappy towards kids. Speak to the staff at your local animal rescue to find out what they’ve perceived about the dog’s energy levels and personality.