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The Top 5 Furry Friends Experts Suggest As The Best Dog Breeds For Children

The big question when it comes to getting a dog is what breed is right for you and your family. Finding a dog you can trust around your kids is a big step. Most people will go for a puppy because they feel like they can control and develop the puppy into the kind of “good” dog that they have in mind. But there are actually some great breeds out there that, no matter their age, will be wonderful around your kids. Let’s take a look at the best dog breeds for kids to welcome into your home and make a part of your family. 

People are on the right track when they consider starting with a puppy. The way you train your dog does make a difference in their behavior. A study found that dogs tend to be more social when away from their owners, and more persistent problem solvers if their owners “have high expectations” and are highly responsive to the pup’s behaviors and needs. “We found that pet parenting style does predict patterns of dog behavior and cognition,” says Monique Udell, an associate professor at Oregon State and an expert on dog behavior, in a university release. “This an important finding because it suggests that dog owners who take the time to understand and meet their dog’s needs are more likely to end up with secure, resilient dogs.” 

If you have kids, part of your dog training will be how they behave around them, especially toddlers. But did you know that dogs and toddlers have similar levels of social intelligence? A study, published in the April 2017 edition of the journal Animal Behaviour, finds that dogs and two-year-olds display comparable levels of social intelligence — even more than that of human children to chimpanzees, our species’ closest relatives. “What we found is that there’s this pattern, where dogs who are good at one of these social things tend to be good at lots of the related social things, and that’s the same thing you find in kids, but you don’t find it in chimpanzees,” says Evan MacLean, director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at AU, in a university release. Good to know!

Not only can getting a dog improve your life, but it can bring a new best friend to your children’s lives as well. How can you deny them the extra love and affection from a new puppy? Maybe it’s time to find your perfect canine match! Below are the top five best dog breeds for kids. Don’t see your pal on the list? Let us know in the comments below which breed is your number-one pick!

The List: Best Dog Breeds for Kids, According to Canine Experts


1. Golden Retriever 

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You probably had some inkling that the Golden Retriever would be on the list of best dog breeds for kids, never mind being number one. “Golden Retrievers make great service dogs and therapy dogs. They are very sensitive and good around babies, kids, and older adults. They are known for being gentle, being a soft-mouthed retrieving breed. They are often tolerant of being crawled on, cuddled, tugged, and loved,” says Pet Helpful.

a family washing a golden retriever
A family bathing a Golden Retriever (Photo by CDC on Unsplash)

Due to their kind temperaments and friendly attitudes, this breed is commonly depicted as “the family dog” in many TV shows and films. “Golden Retrievers have bags of energy and adore playing with kids, and have even been known to follow them around, patiently waiting for the next opportunity to play (or cuddle),” states Purina.

Golden retrievers are known for their intellect and loyalty making them the ideal family companions. Daily Paws is another supporter of the Golden’s popularity. “With their gentle nature, shining coats, and charming smiles, they are considered one of the most popular breeds in America.”

2. Labrador Retriever

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Labs are also one of the most popular dog breeds around, and for good reason. “Labs are affectionate and loyal and can be patient and gentle with children. PetMD does have a word of caution, though: “They require a lot of exercise (they love swimming!), so be sure your family is up for the challenge, and a little extra room for them to run around and play in would be optimal,” says Southern Living.

adult yellow Labrador retriever
Labrador retriever (Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash)

They also need lots of enrichment and exercise. Good Housekeeping warns, “Labs sweet demeanor makes them instant BFFs with whomever they meet, but don’t underestimate their high energy levels. This exuberant breed needs daily exercise and can grow up to 80 pounds.”

Even though Labs look large and in charge, they are child-friendly, making them one of the best family dogs. “The Labrador retriever is a reliable family pet. This breed has an insatiable appetite for games and play and is well suited for an active outdoor lifestyle and a child who likes to run, throw balls, and play Frisbee,” advises Reader’s Digest.

3. Beagle

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Not only is the Beagle an excellent hunting dog and loyal companion, but also happy-go-lucky, funny, and cute. “There are two Beagle varieties: those standing under 13 inches at the shoulder, and those between 13 and 15 inches. Both varieties are sturdy, solid, and ‘big for their inches,’ as dog folks say. They come in such pleasing colors as lemon, red, white, and tricolor. The Beagle’s fortune is in his adorable face, with its big brown or hazel eyes set off by long, houndy ears set low on a broad head,” explains the American Kennel Club.

A happy Beagle outside
A happy Beagle ( Photo by Marliese Streefland on Unsplash)

They were bred to hunt in packs, so they enjoy company and are generally easygoing. “Down to train your dog? When the Beagle is properly trained and has enough opportunities to release their pent-up energy, they can be great family dogs. Without ample training, Hartstein says they can be major howlers,” advises Apartment Therapy.

Beagles need a lot of exercise. They can be trained to perform all sorts of tricks and are generally incredibly sweet-tempered pals. “Their compact size, short, easy-to-care-for coat, and intelligence make the Beagle an excellent family dog,” writes Southern Living.

4. Cavalier King Charles

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If you’ve ever encountered a Cavalier King Charles, you know they are sweethearts. “Cavalier King Charles are known for being social, patient, playful, affectionate, and easygoing. They have cute, floppy ears and beautiful coats (black and tan, ruby, tri-color), and they are nothing but a forever-puppy. The breed has a life expectancy of 9–14 years. Males and females typically range from 13 to 18 pounds, and they reach around 13 inches in height as an adult,” informs Pet Helpful.

brown and white long haired small dog on white textile
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Photo by Tracy Anderson on Unsplash)

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are affectionate and loving dogs who are not only great with children, but with other pets too. “This small dog breed adores attention and is always up for a good play session with its family members. Additionally, they’re quite easy-going, laid-back dogs which are very forgiving with children. Plus, it’s thought to be very rare for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to show any kind of aggression,” explains  Purina.

“The Cavalier King Charles is a gentle, calm dog, who is happy to be combed and brushed. “The Beagle is one of the best dogs for kids and best family dogs, period. This breed is, however, less enthusiastic about games, such as tug of war, and rough-and-tumble play. King Charles Spaniels are a good match for a more urban lifestyle and a sensitive child. Cavs are also one of the cutest dogs with floppy ears,” says Reader’s Digest.

5. Boxer

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Boxers are extremely protective of their family, and keep in mind that they are high-energy and require a good amount of exercise. “Boxers require decent training, or else they can be all over the place. Having a short coat, they really don’t need to be groomed. This breed, however, is prone to cancer and knee issues. Make sure you work with a reputable breeder to rule out hereditary health conditions, or you might face heartbreak from a shortened life expectancy,” states Pet Helpful.

Boxer smiling in the grass
Boxer smiling in the grass (Photo by Anita Peeples on Unsplash)

“Bright and alert, sometimes silly, but always courageous, the Boxer has been among America’s most popular dog breeds for a long time. A well-made Boxer in peak condition is an awesome sight. A male can stand as high as 25 inches at the shoulder; females run smaller. Their muscles ripple beneath a short, tight-fitting coat. The dark brown eyes and wrinkled forehead give the face an alert, curious look. The coat can be fawn or brindle, with white markings. Boxers move like the athletes they are named for; smooth and graceful, with a powerful forward thrust. Boxers are upbeat and playful. Their patience and protective nature have earned them a reputation as a great dog with children. They take the jobs of watchdog and family guardian seriously and will meet threats fearlessly. Boxers do best when exposed to a lot of people and other animals in early puppyhood,” boasts the American Kennel Club.

They say if you make a boxer part of your family, you will never feel unprotected again. “Fiercely loyal and protective of those who love them, these energetic, medium-sized dogs have calm dispositions but love to play, making them one of the best dogs for kids with high energy. They need lots of exercise, but beware of driving them too hard in hot weather. Like all squish-faced (Brachycephalic) dogs, they tend to overheat,” informs Reader’s Digest.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


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