What Is The Best Dog for Kids?

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

Home » Blog » What Is The Best Dog for Kids?

Adopting a dog for your kids is a big responsibility to take on. It’s almost like having another child in the house. It is important to consider specific dog breeds that are well suited for a life with children. 

A pet that is raised into a family, especially with children, requires a lot of disciplining and training to live cohesively and hygienically with the family. You’ll need to adopt a dog that will be easy to discipline. You want one who will be good to your children. 

A girl and a puppy in the middle of the forest

What’s the Best Dog for Kids?

There are certain dog breeds that are more suitable for a young child. This is because of their personalities, characteristics, their grooming needs, and their overall care needs. You need a breed that will be easy for both parents and kids to handle.

While these pups are great family dogs, even with the best dog breeds for families, it’s important to work on socialization and consistent training so that they become good pets.

Best Small Dogs for Kids

Toy Poodle

Toy poodles are hypoallergenic dogs. They are ideal for children who want a dog but suffer from pet allergies. They are incredibly sweet, affectionate and smart. Getting a toy poodle is ideal for their smaller size as they only weigh 5-9 pounds, but a normal sized poodle is fine too.

Unlike Beagles, they do not shed any fur, and they do not need a lot of grooming (this is if you’re okay with their thick curly fur). Poodles also like seeking attention and affection. This is great for your kids if they want a pet to cuddle with all day.

A beagle dog breed looking upwards

Border Collie

Border Collie is a family-friendly pup and one of the best dogs for kids. Collies are a smart, intelligent, and loyal breed that rarely misbehaves. Weighing 12-20 pounds, they’re also easily trainable and have a gentle temperament.

Additionally, Collies protect their families and get along with children. However, this breed is not as good as Newfoundland dogs because they tend to be stubborn. Collies also require regular cleaning to keep their coat in good condition. 

Best Medium Dogs for Kids


Are you looking for the perfect lap pet who can lounge around with your kids? Do you want a dog your kids can constantly bother without ever getting angry or annoyed? If so, the bulldog is the breed for you.

Similar to Beagles, Bulldogs are extremely calm and relaxed. And they are happy to both play and just be a great dog to cuddle with all day. They are also great companions for kids as they’re sweet, patient, and quiet. Weighing 18-25 pounds, this medium-sized dog doesn’t require excessive grooming or maintenance.


Beagles are extremely calm and weigh 20-25 pounds. Similar to Bulldogs, they are always relaxed, and rarely get angry. They are also extremely patient and absolutely love to play indoors and outdoors. This makes them a great companion for a young kid. 

They are a gentle breed and are raised to be hunters. This means they can keep up with your children’s energy. Just be aware that they are known to shed their fur. When it comes to a playful attitude, they are a perfect choice. 

Irish Setter

Irish setters are known for their beautiful red coats and weigh 24-32 pounds. This breed is one of the best dog breeds for kids as they interact well with children. They also love being around people and don’t like to be alone. Irish setters are also gentle, playful, and high-energy pups, making them the perfect match for energetic children. 

A trainable and active companion, this breed is ideal for families with a yard as they need a lot of exercise. Unlike Beagles, Irish Setters require regular brushing as they have a longer coat. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves companionship and weighs 26-35 pounds. This pup is gentle and calm and enjoys being brushed and combed. While this child-friendly pet doesn’t require a lot of exercise, it loves to explore and play outside.

Similar to Golden Retrievers, this breed is also one of the best dogs for kids as they’re the perfect match for sensitive children. Spaniels are also ideal for urban lifestyle and love pleasing their owners.

Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is a child-friendly pup, making it one of the best dogs for kids. This mixed breed weighs 22-38 pounds and is loyal, affectionate, and very intelligent. However, Terrier pets are not as good as Collies as they tend to be mischievous when playing with other small dogs or animals.

So ensure your pet gets enough exercise every day to avoid problems. When it comes to shedding, their short, flat coat requires brushing twice weekly.

Best Large Dogs for Kids

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are one of the most popular family dogs all over the world. Weighing 55-80 pounds, they can help you protect and care for your children. They are affectionate, playful, loving, and easy to train. 

The labrador retriever may be large, but they are gentle and are very aware of how fragile children are. You’ll enjoy raising your little ones with them. Labs also have parental instincts and can double as your babysitter during those hectic parent days.

Golden Retriever

Neither timid nor aggressive, the Golden Retriever is a loyal, smart and confident dog. In terms of size, it’s similar to the Labs as it weighs 55-75 pounds. This puppy is also extremely patient, making it one of the best family dogs. While Golden Retrievers love to play frisbees, they require a lot more exercise.  

This breed is also a perfect match for children as they’re obedient, affectionate, and get along with kids. Note that their smooth golden coat requires grooming twice weekly. 


The Newfoundland pup weighs 45-70 pounds and is loved by most families as it is one of the most intelligent and friendly dogs in the world. These gentle, active, trainable, and energetic pets tend to be very protective of children and get along with them. 

The dog is also a good family pet. It’s also better than Spaniels since it can save lives during emergency situations as it is a great swimmer. However, they tend to shed a lot plus their long coat requires regular cleaning.  

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Dog

Before choosing a breed of dog to adopt, consider these 5 factors to help make the choice easier for you. 

The Dog’s Personality

The most important factor to consider when choosing the right dog breed for your kids is understanding what dogs have the best personalities for your kids. There are some dogs that have calm and relaxed personalities. Others have short tempers. You’ll need dogs who are patient, playful, and are easy to discipline.

The Dog’s Size

You’ll want to adopt a pet that will fit into your space at home. You shouldn’t get a dog that’s too big for your living space. It’ll be really difficult to expect a big dog, such as a pit bull, to live in a small studio apartment. 

The Dog’s Grooming Needs

Different dogs have different grooming needs. It’s ideal to adopt a pup that does not need constant grooming. Avoid dogs with excessively thick fur that needs constant washing and shreds a lot. You should also avoid pets that are known to drool a lot. It’s easier that way.

The Dog’s Health

There are dogs that are more prone to getting sick more often than others. It’s ideal to choose a breed of dog that’s used to the climate/weather you live in, to avoid any constant health problems. For example, it’s not good to have a husky when you live in a tropical country. 

Energy level

The best family dogs differ depending on the family lifestyle. Due to this, consider if your family wants a furry snuggle dog or a hiking pup. Some pets also prefer cuddling on the couch over playing fetch while others love running and roaming. Note that if you can’t meet their needs, their excess energy can cause behavior problems later on.

A toy poodle dog breed wearing a pink collar

Arrange a Meet and Greet Session

To understand a new dog’s energy level and temperament, do several meet and greet sessions to observe their response to different family members before making the decision. It’s also crucial to pay attention to the dog’s body language. Check if the pup is willing to share or play with your family. 

Some pups are possessive of their items and this can be dangerous for young children who like picking up things, including the dog’s toys. Also, check if the dog approaches you with a wagging body or tail or cower in a room’s corner.

Questions to Ask Before Picking a Family Dog

After having the meet and greet session, there’s a lot of questions to ask rescue workers to make sure you choose between them before you can make the right choice for your family’s future pet. 

  • What Age Range Do You Prefer Do you prefer a potty-trained adult dog who requires more time to get used to your home’s routine or a puppy who needs lots of training and is likely to socialize well with your family? 
  • What Energy Level Does This Dog Have? Do you want a pet you’ll be carrying in your arms most of the time or one that will accompany you on long walks?
  • Will the Dog Interact Well With Other Dogs? You’ll want to pick a pup that’s social with other pets, especially if you’re keeping other animals at home. 
  • Is the Dog Safe for My Family Members? This is very crucial because some dogs only like one gender or adults while others socialize with everyone.
  • What Continuous Care Will the Dog Need? If it is an adult dog, it will require frequent veterinary visits while long-haired dogs will need regular brushing.

Related Questions

How Can I Train These Dogs to Be Around Kids?

If you want to train these dogs to be around kids, focus on positive training methods like giving rewards to encourage good behavior early and strong socialization. You can also work with a trainer so that your dog knows how to follow commands and the limits of her boundaries.

What Type of Dogs Should I Avoid?

It would be best if you avoid dogs with aggressive tendencies as it can be difficult to train them. Some of the toughest pups to train are the malamutes, huskies, and Akitas. Their big attitudes and higher levels of aggression can be harder to tame and may see small children as prey.


These are the best dog breeds for families because they are great with children and are easy to take care of. But don’t let this limit your choices. Different dogs have different personalities. The choice all boils down to what dog suits you and your kids best.