If you’re like over 70% of American households, you likely have a pet; if you’re in the majority, that pet is a dog. Whether you’re looking to add a new four-legged family member or exploring your options for your family’s first dog, there are things to consider, especially if your family includes children. Of course, you’ll want to consider other things like the size of your home, your ability to exercise the dog, and your family’s schedules and lifestyle, but children in the home are one of the most influential factors. Keep reading to learn how to choose the best dog breeds for families with children.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beloved family pet that is loyal and playful with children but enjoys plenty of quiet time napping too. They’re not quite a toy breed but are small enough that even babies and toddlers feel comfortable with them. Their big, loving eyes are a hallmark feature, as well as their luxuriously soft and long coat. They come in several colors, from tri-color, Blenheim, ruby, black, and tan. This breed is perfect for virtually any size home, activity level, or children’s age.
The labrador retriever is easily known as one of the best and most loyal family dogs. While these dogs can grow rather large, around 80 pounds, they are dedicated and sweet breeds with which you can feel safe leaving your children. They have high energy levels, so labrador retrievers are best for families with larger yards or who enjoy outdoor activities and are looking for a dog to accompany them on long walks, hikes, or beach days.
Generally speaking, Shih Tzus do fantastic in homes no matter the children’s age, including infants. They are affectionate, and when it comes to longevity, the Shih Tzu life span is around sixteen years, which means your family can enjoy your pet for many years and make lifelong memories together. This breed is happiest indoors, so they work well in small family homes or apartments and are excellent lapdogs, so if your children are mild-mannered, the shih tzu is the perfect fit.
If you’re a fan of the look of terrier breeds, the Boston Terrier is the best terrier breed for families with kids. These dogs don’t get much heavier than twenty to twenty-five pounds, requiring minimal living space. Their low-maintenance short coat means teaching the responsibility of grooming to your kids will be a manageable chore. Boston Terriers don’t require much exercise, and while all dogs enjoy walks, simple games of fetch with the kiddos will satisfy their exercise requirements.
Another retriever that makes a list of the best dogs for children is the Golden Retriever. This iconic American breed is recognized for its constant smile and beautiful golden coat. They’re great learners, so if your family is looking for a dog to teach tricks or be a service animal for someone in the family, the Golden Retriever is an excellent choice. Goldens require lots of physical activity in the form of running, swimming, and of course, playtime. The Golden is your best bet if you have an active lifestyle and want a dog that can keep up with you and your kiddos.
The English Bulldog’s affection and protection are worth the investment for families that don’t have time to commit to routine exercise but budget for frequent vet visits. They require regular vet appointments as this brachycephalic breed is prone to health issues and routine grooming appointments for all their skin folds. But when it comes to unconditional love, loyalty, and the best napping partners, you can’t beat the English Bulldog.
Finding the perfect family dog is a difficult decision and one that requires careful consideration, especially when your family has children. The above breeds all bring plenty to the table when it comes to completing your family with the addition of a pet. Other breeds worth mentioning that are great with children are the gorgeous Bernese Mountain Dog, Pugs, Beagles, and Newfoundlands. Good luck with your decision-making, and congratulations on your new addition!