The Top 10 Best Dogs for Kids – Choosing the Ultimate Family Dog

Picture of two girls with a Golden Retriever

If you have children and are thinking about adding a puppy to your family, you have an added element to consider when making your decision. Though all puppies are adorable, not all of them grow up to love children, and if kids are a part of your family, needing a dog that can at least tolerate them is non-negotiable. Certain breeds are better suited to life with kids than others. While it is never a good idea to choose a breed based on looks or popularity alone, it is even more vital to make an educated decision when children are involved. Combining children with a breed with a low tolerance for indiscriminate handling is a recipe for disaster.

If you’re in the market for a dog, what breeds are best suited to families with children?

Things to Consider
So, you’re ready to commit to a dog? Congratulations! You are on the cusp of beginning what will become one of the most deep and meaningful relationships in your adult life!

If you are like most families, the decision to obtain a dog precipitates any thought as to what kind of breed they might like to add to the household. Since every family’s lifestyle is slightly different, it is important to consider ahead of time how busy your home is and how much time you have to commit to your new canine pal. Since different dog breeds have different requirements to remain healthy and happy, it is important to ascertain what you are looking for in your ideal canine companion BEFORE you go shopping. This is the best way to avoid disappointment and even heartbreak.

Here are some important questions for you to ask yourself:

Is this a dog breed that likes children?
This quality is absolutely mandatory for homes with children. Many people make the mistake of thinking they will train their dog to like children. Certain breeds are predisposed to preferring the company of adults only. You will not change years of purposefully bred genetic traits simply because you want your dog to behave in that manner. No matter how you may love the look of a breed or even its fun and quirky personality, you are best to walk away and find a breed better suited to co-habiting with children.

Is this dog a breed that is considered “high energy”?
Many people love the charming good looks and amiable nature of the Border Collie. Others marvel at the intelligence of the Belgian Malinois while still others get a kick out of the crazy antics of the Jack Russell Terrier. What do all of these breeds have in common? They are high maintenance! Intelligent dogs were often bred to do a job, and in the absence of a job to do, they will create one of their own. Unfortunately, the job they select is rarely one that you appreciate. High energy dogs require a big commitment from an owner. Are you prepared to walk a dog an hour or more a day without fail? Are you willing to attend training classes or to participate in dog sports to engage the brain of your high drive dog? High energy dogs will never thrive as couch potatoes; no matter how hard you try to make them one. Instead, they will resort to nuisance behaviors and may even begin to suffer from medical and emotional conditions because their basic needs are not met. No one is happy under these circumstances; not Fido, and certainly not you.

What type of grooming and activity requirements will this dog have?
Even seemingly hairless dogs require regular and consistent grooming. It’s important to know ahead of time what grooming and activity requirements the breed you are considering has. This will help you to determine if you have the time to devote to it.

Grooming and exercise needs are just that—NEEDS. Dogs who require frequent brushing become matted if neglected, a condition that is painful for your dog, and one that will cause your groomer to want to stab you.

Failure to properly exercise your dog is also cruel. You need to make an honest assessment of how much time you have and how much of it you are willing to devote to a dog before making your final breed selection. Failure to be truthful with yourself will only hurt you, your children, and your dog in the end.

How old is this dog?
Puppies are not always the right fit for every family. Some families would do better with an adult dog that has been retired from a breeding program or even a well-trained older pet from a shelter.

Is this breed known for its dog and cat friendliness?
If you already have a pet in house, it is important to find out up front if the breed you are considering gets along with other pets. Bringing home a Bull Terrier only to have him take a chomp out of Frisky, the family’s favorite feline, is not the best way to find out the puppy you have chosen is ill-suited to life with a cat.

Here is a list of the top ten dog breeds suited to life in a family with children

Just as certain people are better suited to certain work, so too are certain breed types better suited to families with children. Families who fail to consider all aspects of a breed’s personality and characteristics can end up with a dog that is simply the wrong fit for their family, and when that happens, it leads to heartbreak for all.

Golden Retriever

Picture of a boy and his Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers earn high marks for their easygoing, gentle natures. They are intelligent and courageous but never aggressive, making them the ideal family companion.

Golden Retrievers do have high exercise requirements. Owners must be prepared to fulfill them. Their coats also require regular grooming and brushing.

Labrador Retriever

Picture of a young girl and a Labrador Retriever

This water loving breed makes an ideal family pet! Exceptionally easy to train as well as committed to their families, a Lab fits well into nearly every home and assumes the role as beloved and faithful friend.

Due to their shorter hair, Labs require very little grooming. Combing and the occasional bath is all that is required to keep the Lab looking and smelling his very best.

Standard Poodle

Picture of two girls with poodles

Often overshadowed by their flashy show coats, the Poodle is often overlooked as a potential family pet. Poodles are a very smart breed who excel at basic obedience and other types of dog sports. Poodles love to play and go on adventures, making them a perfect fit for active families.

Poodles have extensive grooming requirements. It is wise to find a quality groomer and set up regular appointments to keep your Poodle’s coat in good condition.

Irish Setter

Picture of a girl and an Irish Setter

The Irish Setter stands out from the crowd with his distinctive flowing red locks. He is the picture of elegance and grace. The Irish Setters is known for his playful energy, and he truly shines in the presence of his beloved family.

Irish Setters do require regular daily activity to help satisfy their high energy needs. The Irish Setter’s coat also requires regular bathing, brushing, and grooming.


Picture of a boy and a Vizsla at home

This lesser known breed makes an ideal dog for children due to their gentle natures. Viszlas crave affection from their family and enjoy daily adventures with them.

Vizslas come in two coat varieties: smooth and wire.

 Newfoundland Dog

Picture of a boy and a Newfoundland Dog in the leaves

The Newfoundland is truly a gentle giant. Characterized by his overt intelligence and docile nature, the Newfoundland is the perfect dog for a home with children.

Newfoundland Dogs are easy to train and require less exercise than other family friendly dog breeds. However, they have very high grooming requirements as well as a penchant for drooling.


Picture of a Collie and a baby in a high chair

Collies come in a variety of coat types and variants. From the very active Border Collie to the gentler natured Bearded Collie, there are many different personalities and “looks” to choose from.

A herding breed, the Collie is happiest when doing a job, so families must take care to ensure this intelligent breed receives sufficient daily mental and physical stimulation. All coat types require daily maintenance.

Bull Terrier

Picture of a young boy and a Bull Terrier

One of few terrier breeds with the patience and disposition for dealing with children, the clown-like Bull Terrier is a great addition to any family. His exercise and grooming needs are both moderate, making him an easy pet to live with. However, Bull Terriers do not always get along with other pets and can be known for dog aggression.


Picture of a boy and his Beagle

The Beagle is an amiable, loving breed who is easy to live with. Known for their lower energy levels, they are suitably gentle enough to be a child’s perfect companion.

In spite of their short hair, Beagles do shed a great deal. Beagles are also particularly prone to mischief and love to get into garbage. They must be kept sufficiently engaged and exercised in order to avoid nuisance behaviors.


Picture of a boy and a Bulldog

The Bulldog is a calm, gentle dog known for having very low energy. Bulldogs have very low exercise requirements, making them an excellent choice for families with little time for daily walks. Bulldogs also love other animals and can co-habit peacefully with many different domesticated species.

The largest problem with Bulldogs is the plethora of health problems which can plague them. For best results, consult with a breeder who does all of the requisite health testing for the breed. This will help ensure that the pup you bring home is as healthy as he can possibly be.

Choosing a dog for a family with kids can be a daunting task. Consider one of these great family breeds today!



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