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Best Dog Breeds for Every Kind of Kid and Personality

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Ask anyone with a dog which breed is best, and they’ll tell you theirs. (I’m partial to Greyhounds, myself). If you have kids or are planning on kids in the future, the question takes on more significance. Which are the best dog breeds for kids? Turns out the answer isn’t so easy.

Dogs and Kids

Owning a dog is great for children. Sharing a home with a canine companion teaches kids responsibility. Even the youngest members of the household learn respect and routine. In return, dogs provide unconditional love, loyalty, and understanding companionship. It’s a win-win situation!

Choosing the best dog breed for your kids involves a lot of thought.

  • What’s your family’s lifestyle?
    • Are you active?
    • Will your kids do better with a quiet dog?
    • Is a puppy a good idea, or is an older dog more ideal?
  • Consider your child’s personality traits. Are there similar breeds?
  • How much space is a dog going to need?
    • Do you have an apartment?
    • How often does your chosen breed need to be walked?
  • Look at the current sizes of your children. While large dogs aren’t necessarily bad, they have the potential to topple smaller kids.

If you want to know a dog’s personality, consider adopting through a rescue group. Foster parents are wonderful. They love everyone in their care, and they’ll be able to answer your questions. You can find rescue groups for every dog breed.

Dog Breeds for Quiet Kids

The stereotypical image is a child racing in a backyard with a puppy. The truth is, kids are just as varied as dogs. Luckily, there are breeds out there for quieter children. If you have kids who prefer reading, contemplation, or need time to themselves, these are the best breeds for them.

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Cavaliers aren’t dogs interested in a lot of raucous play. They prefer calm and quiet. Attuned to sensitive children, they’re fantastic family dogs. Cavaliers do well in any environment, even the city.
  • Cocker Spaniel: Cockers have the sweetest faces in the world. Those soft ears are impossible to resist. They make excellent therapy dogs, and they adore children. Cockers like to play, but they’ll also sit and listen for hours. They do well in apartments or the country.
  • Collies: Collies include the Rough Collie, Smooth Collie, Border Collie, and Bearded Collie. They’re all brilliant and sensitive to the emotions of those around them. Loyal to a fault (Lassie was a Collie), Collies love their family members and are among the best dog breeds for kids. They play, including herding anything in their charge. These dogs are straightforward to train – even for beginners.

Sturdy Dog Breeds

Have rambunctious kids? Kids who maybe knock things over? Don’t worry – not every dog is delicate. Several dog breeds are kid-friendly and capable of withstanding rough-and-tumble play.

  • Newfoundland: Referred to as “Nature’s Baby-sitter,” the Newfoundland is a gentle giant. Newfies adore children and are one of the most patient breeds. They’re also protective, and they’ve been known to rescue family members. (Oh, yeah – they swim, too!) Newfies do require a lot of space, though – inside and out. And you’re going to cope with A LOT of shedding and drool.
  • English Bulldog: The Bulldog is about as sturdy as you get. They’re also sweet and LOVE kids. Bulldogs aren’t very active, so you’re kids won’t be playing fetch for hours (more like minutes). They don’t need much room, and they’re happy in apartments. Bulldogs are known for health problems, so have pet insurance ready.
  • Bull Terrier: Crazy, right? The stereotype is that Bull Terriers are aggressive, but Bullies were bred as companions! They’re sweet little clowns, perfect for kids. Bullies can handle rough play – no problem. Training your Bully is a great exercise for them and your kids.

Dog Breeds for Active Kids

These are the breeds you think of when people mention “kid-friendly dogs.” They’re the most popular family dogs. If you have an active lifestyle, with kids always on the move, these are the breeds for you.

  • Golden Retriever: Goldens are all-around great dogs for kids. They have unlimited patience, even for ear- and tail-pulling. Goldens require a lot of exercise, and they love playing – especially fetch. Incredibly smart, don’t be surprised to find them training your kids!
  • Labrador Retriever: Labs – be they Chocolate, Black, or Yellow – share the top of the popularity list with Goldens. Bundles of love and energy, they make excellent family dogs. Labs also have a delightful penchant for swimming. They do require A LOT of room, though, so a big backyard is a must.
  • Poodle: Coming in Standard, Miniature, and Toy sizes, the Poodle has one distinct advantage over other breeds: they’re hypoallergenic. If you have a child with allergies, Poodles provide a way for them to have a dog. The Standard is the best size for kids as they’re the most active and adventurous. All Poodles are extremely smart and loyal. The size you choose determines how much room they’ll need.

Small Dog Breeds

A lot of small breed dogs are delicate, making them unsuitable for smaller children. However, some small dogs are made of sterner stuff. If you don’t have a lot of room, or if something more compact suits you better, these are the best breeds for your kids.

  • Bichon Frise: Bichons have the energy level to keep up with your kids. They don’t shed very much or need a lot of room. (Make sure you walk them regularly) Bichons love to play, and they’re extremely loyal.
  • French Bulldog: Frenchies are sturdy little dogs that don’t require much space. They love kids, and they adapt to any lifestyle. Have a fashion designer in training? Frenchies are one of the few breeds out there that tolerate dress-up!
  • Pug: The Pug is renowned throughout social media. They’re hefty dogs who love kids, though they’re not very active. Pugs don’t need much room (the couch will do). They have a high level of health concerns, so pet insurance is a must.

Choosing the Best Dog

Ultimately, the best breed for your kids will be the dog you choose. Researching your breed as thoroughly as possible is always a good idea. You want to make sure you know everything before you bring your new family member home.

Involve your kids in your decision. They might already have a dog in mind. Including them will encourage that first step toward responsibility.

And they’ll be tickled you wanted their opinion.

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician for 10 years, focusing on Emergency/ICU and later Cardiology, as well as volunteering at both the Philadelphia Zoo and Virginia Living Museum for over six years. She's now a freelance writer, but she gravitates toward writing projects with a focus on animals (once an animal-lover, always an animal-lover). She lives in Virginia with her husband, three cats (one "works" as her personal assistant), and a Greyhound who thinks she's a big cat — all of them rescues.

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