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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 grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

1 Comment

  1. You’re so right about poodles that are smart and adorable. We have one in our house, it’s really fun to play with.

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