A dog that is affectionate with kids and is generally friendly with other dogs and new people is a great pet for a family that enjoys social activities like going for walks, visiting the dog park, and even bringing their dog along to farmers markets and dog-friendly events. As dog lovers, we know there’s a long long list of breeds that are great for families and kids. Here, we’ve explored 10 breeds that have earned a reputation for themselves through the years as dogs that are great with kids.
Pugs are sturdy, compact dogs, often described as “a lot of dog in a small space.” These dogs have a great sense of humor and love attention. Since Pugs were originally bred as lap dogs, they thrive on human companionship and enjoy physical contact. They adapt very well to apartment and small-space living, they have a low-tendency to bark or howl.
The beagle is an intelligent and merry hound originally bred to track small game. When the 1996 family film Shiloh hit theatres, the demand for beagles as family pets skyrocketed, and for good reason. This small dog breed is affectionate with family and has proved itself as a great dog for kids. The energetic, pint-sized hound is the perfect companion for active families, since beagles require a high level of exercise and playtime.
With long, silky hair and expressive eyes, the Havanese dog breed has captured many hearts. These energetic, playful companions are known for sticking closely to their owners’ sides. They’re highly trainable and are known for their intelligence along with their quiet demeanor. Havanese enjoy walks and playtime, but their lack of intensity means they are not prone to pull on the leash or plow through obstacles making them a good fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail.
The collie is a sensitive and intelligent breed of dogs that are known for their strong loyalty. With plenty of daily exercise, collies adapt well to a variety of home environments. Collies require regular brushing to keep their coats free of tangles, which can be a great responsibility for young family members.
Cavalier King Charles
The Cavalier King Charles has all the sporty nature of its spaniel relatives in a small package. These lightweight dogs are as content running on the beach and hiking as they are sitting on a lap and getting belly rubs. Incredibly affectionate with people and other dogs, the Cavalier King Charles thrives in an environment where they receive plenty of attention, regular playtime, and positive reinforcement.
These attentive and watchful dogs have exuberant personalities and bask in the attention of their families. Boxers are intelligent dogs that respond well to consistent, fun training and excel in obedience and agility. Known for their clownish personalities, the high-energy breed needs plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation.
America’s most popular breed, the Labrador Retriever is a loving companion and a smart working dog. Their gentle demeanor and desire to work makes them ideal therapy and assistance dogs for those with special needs. Hopeless watchdogs, Labradors happily greet anybody who enters the home. Large dogs at 55-80 pounds, the Labrador still plays gently with children and small dogs.
This great family pet is known for his friendly, tolerant attitude. Goldens excel at retrieving and tracking, as well as working as therapy and assistance dogs. This sweet, sensitive breed does not tolerate being alone well and wants to be in the company of his family. Golden Retrievers’ intelligence makes them easy to train, and they enjoy interactive play and exercise with their people.
Newfoundlands are gentle, friendly, and protective of the children in their families. A thick fur coat means the breed requires plenty of cool water and AC during Florida summers. This large, strong breed enjoys swimming, plenty of outdoor activity, and a moderate amount of playtime and exercise with his family.
The largest breed on this list, Mastiffs are incredibly kid friendly and have docile, good-natured personalities. Exuberant as puppies, this breed calms down to a quiet dog that loves being with his people. Mastiffs may seem like outdoor dogs, but they love the comfort of home and will try their best to be lap dogs.
While many dog breeds are naturally great for kids, all dogs require proper training and boundaries so that they can safely and happily interact with children and other dogs. Likewise, when bringing a dog into the family, it’s important to teach children early on the safe and respectful ways to interact with dogs. Together, these boundaries can guide a strong bond between children and the dogs that grow up with them.