Many individuals consider the dog as their best friend. That is why some devote their lifetimes to understanding the unique relationship between humans and their canine friends. And while dog psychologists believe that everything is inherently tied to the fact that dogs are members of a social group, more and more families are considering dogs more as cherished members of the family than they are merely pets. This is also one of the reasons why many families consider introducing dogs to the youngest members of the family at the earliest time possible.
If you are like these families who cherish the companionship and loyalty that dogs bring to the family, then you know that you have to choose the right breed of dog for your kids.
The Best Dog Breeds for Kids
Here are the top dog breeds that you and your family, especially your children, will surely love.
It has one of the calmest temperaments of any dog breed. The Beagle is also very playful and is full of energy. They love to please their masters and as such are very easy to train. Their small bodies make them the ideal choice for families who may live in apartments or smaller dwellings. But don’t be misguided by their small size as these dogs are very sturdy. They will never tire of playing games with your kids. Their energy is infectious and can provide tons of joy to young children. It is therefore important to provide them with plenty of exercise and lots of playtime to help use up their energies.
Despite its rather unusual appearance, the Bulldog is one of the best dog breeds for children. They are very sturdy and devoted that they actually don’t mind getting roughed up by their little masters. The bulldog is very docile yet very friendly dog breed. And despite what you may have read about them in the media, they get along pretty well with other breeds of dogs as well as other types of pets. Bulldogs don’t require much exercise simply because they prefer lazing around. But if you do require a dog that will be affectionately loyal to your kids, then the Bulldog is your best bet.
With its characteristic golden brown coat and that enigmatic smile, the Golden Retriever is one that any family with kids should have. This is particularly true if you live near bodies of water as they make excellent water dogs. The Goldie is very patient that no other dog breed can match its forbearance. This makes it ideal to have around children. Even if your kids will be playing rough with the Goldie, it will never snap. That is just the nature of this dog breed. Moreover, they are very easy to train particularly because of their eagerness to please their masters.
A cousin of the Golden Retriever, the Labrador is also one of the world’s most popular breeds of dogs highly valued for its playfulness, reliability, patience, love, and protective nature. Labradors are highly intelligent making them easy to train. This also helps make sure that they will never snap at children who may be roughhousing them. While their coat is not as thick and long as the Goldie, they do enjoy water play and as such are fun to have during the summer when everybody is out and having a great time in the beach or even by the lake.
Contrary to what media portrays, the Boxer is one of the best dog breeds to have around children. In fact, if there is one very distinct quality of Boxers that would be their unparalleled love for children. Like the other dog breeds in this list, Boxers are people oriented and are very social animals. They prefer to be close to their pack and as such will be often seen snuggling up to their masters, both large and small. However, they are full of energy and as such will require plenty of exercise and physical activities.
Old English Sheepdog
While the natural instinct of the Old English Sheepdog is to herd its family, it is nevertheless one of the best dog breeds to have around kids. These working dogs are very affectionate and loyal companions of families. Their natural herding tendencies can come in handy if your child is already late for school and he or she is still tucked in his or her bed. You can expect the Old English Sheepdog to be the alarm clock of your kid. It will never leave your kid’s bed until he or she has already stood up. The American Kennel Club describes the Old English Sheepdog as fiercely loyal, very athletic, but with a clownish energy.
Known as highly people-oriented, the Dalmatian is a lovely addition to any family. It is naturally gifted for fun and play making it ideal for families with children. When duly trained, their energy levels can only be matched by the playfulness of young children. They can run around the playground or the park all day long. At night, they can snuggle up to their little masters. If you have horses in your house, then Dalmatians will be more than welcome addition as they do have a symbiotic relationship with members of the equine family.
There are quite a number of breeds of the Collie family. Perhaps you can recall the most famous Collie of them all, Lassie. These dogs are very intelligent making them highly trainable. They are also a very predictable breed and are gentle around kids. There is nothing they would love more than to please their families and as such would make really good companions for young children. For families with children, the Collie is always an excellent choice.
Known as Mother Nature’s babysitter, the gentle giant Newfoundland is one of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds. More than that, they are natural around children. They are very protective of children especially the younger ones. You can actually leave your baby behind under the watchful eye of the Newfoundland and you can always return fully confident that your baby is safe and sound. Newfoundlands are kind, patient, and very gentle. There is nothing that the Newfoundland loves more than being with its family.
Who doesn’t know the Poodle? If you are going to get a Poodle for your family, it is important to choose the standard size Poodle and not the miniature size. This dog breed is very gentle and because they don’t shed that much dander, they are considered relatively safe for kids who may have asthma or pulmonary allergies. Standard Poodles are smart and highly obedient. They are also adventurous and very playful making them the ideal companion for kids.
Things to Look for in a Family-Friendly Dog
If you are living alone then choosing a dog will take more on a personal preference. However, if you have a young child in the family, their safety is the absolute concern. As such, in choosing the right kind of dog to bring home to your family, you need to take a look at the following.
The Dog’s Temperament
For the most part a dog’s temperament should be the primary consideration when choosing a dog for your family, especially if you have young children. This simply means looking at the dog’s personality whether it is calm and composed around kids or is very anxious whenever someone will be tugging at its tail or ears.
Unfortunately, there is no fool-proof way to know whether a certain dog has the correct temperament or not. Nevertheless, some breeds of dogs are naturally more docile in the company of children. For example, despite their fearsome reputation, German Shepherds are known to be very friendly to children. The point is that even before you purchase or adopt your next dog for your family, you need to brush up on your knowledge of breed standards particularly their temperament.
The Size of the Dog
Unfortunately, size does matter when you are talking about a 1 year old baby. However, when looking at the size of the dog it is very important to consider it within the context of the dog’s temperament as well as energy level. You know that there are very large breeds of dogs like the Saint Bernard and the Newfoundland yet are very gentle when in the company of kids. There are also very small dogs but their energy levels, temperament, and playfulness may be too much for a young child. So, while size does matter in the choice of dogs, it is equally important to look at it together with temperament and energy level.
The Dog’s Energy Level
Aside from the dog’s temperament and size, you will also need to look at its energy levels. Highly energetic dog breeds require lots of playtime and physical exercise. This means that you will have to walk them every day; lest, they vent their energies on playing with your kids. If they cannot dispense of this energy, they grow frustrated and can snap at any time. This can be a frightening scenario especially if you have young children at home.
Ensuring Child Safety in the Company of Dogs
It’s not often enough to choose a kid-friendly dog. It is also crucial to train your dog as early as possible as well as teach your kids to respect dogs in pretty much the same way as you would want other people to respect you.
Here are some tips you can observe to help make sure that your child is safe while he or she is in the company of your beloved and trusted dog.
- Pamper you dog with love and affection. The point is for it to feel that it is a cherished member of your family. This means that you will have to give it nutritious food, plenty of physical exercise, ample play time, and training.
- Make sure to train your dog early on especially around kids. This is important so they know how to behave properly. To help train your dog you need to brush up on your use of positive reinforcement to teach your dog to focus on things that bring it pleasure.
- Teach your kid not to play very aggressive games even with a puppy. Teaching your kids not to play rough with puppies will help discourage the use of aggressive behavior even during play time.
- Teach your kids not to put their faces right up close to the face of his or her puppy unless it was the dog that initiated the close contact. Just like humans, dogs do require some form of personal space which they would like respected at all times. If they initiate the close contact, then it is perfectly okay.
- Teach your kids not to coerce or force your dog to play. You need to teach your kids to call your dog over to play and to respect your dog if it clearly is not in the mood to play. Sometimes, dogs can be feeling sick that they don’t necessarily feel like playing. You need to teach your kids how to recognize these subtle signs to prevent any untoward incidents.
- Dogs have the innate tendency to chew and bite on things. If you don’t have a chew bone for them, make sure to teach your kids to keep his or her things tidy otherwise your dog will be chomping on your kid’s toys and other belongings.
- Teach your older kids, preferably those who are already at least 10 years old, to take care of your dog outside your house. You can teach the how to walk your dog as well as how to train with your dog.
- Teach your kids to always ask for permission from the dog’s owner if they can pet it. This is crucial as it conveys understanding and respect for the person’s relationship with his or her dog.
Dogs can be very invaluable members of any family. And if you have children at home, it is crucial to choose the right dog breed for the whole family.