Best Dog Breeds for Kids

By Dorian Wagner

Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Are you at last ready to get your children that puppy they’ve been begging for? While all dogs can be good with kids if they’re raised around them and trained correctly, there are some breeds that have proven to be the best matches.

In general, larger breeds do better with children because they tend to be more durable and sturdy. Kids can learn to be careful around Chihuahuas and teacup poodles, but a bigger dog comes with significantly lower risk of getting squished or over-squeezed.

Easy-to-train breeds are also typically better in households with kids. You likely have enough mischief with the kids, so a well-behaved dog can be a blessing.

Here are a few recommended breeds for families:

These energetic, smart and playful dogs are never too tired for a good romp with the kids. This sturdy little dog does shed, however, so you’ll need to brush and bathe him often.

Labrador Retriever

There’s a reason why this is America’s most popular dog breed. Labs are protective, patient, sweet pups with plenty of intelligence. Their even temperament and high trainability make them a perfect match for active families.

These plump, wrinkly dogs are known for their gentle disposition and hearty frame. Bulldogs make great apartment- or house-dogs, and they tend to form strong bonds with kids.

This large dog is known as “Nature’s babysitter” because of its patient, docile personality. Newfoundlands love children and can be very protective of them. They have even been known to use their great swimming ability to save lives in emergency situations. Just be wary of drool and shedding.

Irish Setter
These dogs require plenty of exercise, so be sure to have a yard for them to run around in. They have silly, clown-like personalities, love to be around people and are a good match for highly energetic children.

More important than breed choice is the individual dog itself. Keep in mind that mutts may have ancestors among the abovementioned breeds, so a shelter mutt could be a perfect choice. Spend time with your future pup and make sure its temperament, personality and disposition are a good fit before you bring your new furry pal home.

Dorian Wagner is the founder of "Rescued" is her favorite dog breed. Dorian's articles have previously appeared in The Dog Daily.

Posted on August 16, 2011

Lynn says: I have had only German Shepherds around my child. Wonderful termperment and really smart. They just seem to know to protect kids. Surprised you didn't mention the breed in your story above.

Posted on August 17, 2011

Groundtoapulp says: Huh? Newfoundland over Standard Poodle?  There goes your credibility.

Posted on August 17, 2011

steve says: Irish Setter ? they were put on earth to make Cows look intelligent. I can't think of a dumber animal, it's like a dead goldfish with a hangover...

Posted on August 18, 2011

sally says: rottweiller, they are the most loving, patient and loyal breed. my grandchildren love my roxie and she returns the love ten fold. she follows them everywhere and i know they will never be snatched from my yard as they play.

Posted on August 18, 2011

Diane says: BullDog-Not recommended as this breed has many health issues such as breathing problems, can get over heated in hot weather, & the physical make up of this breed will cause problems . You will be spending lots of money on vet bills.

Posted on August 19, 2011

Rob says: Rottie? Poodle? You have got to be kidding me, right? Both are breeds with appeal to certain people, but certainly not the kind of dogs I would want around small children. Both are way too tempermental. Try the same dog breeds that are used as therapy dogs: ie; Greyhound, Lab, Retriever.

Posted on August 23, 2011

Jenn says: My father, the Veterinarian says Boxers are one of the best breeds for children..

Posted on August 24, 2011

Carolyn says: I cannot believe anyone would actually recommend a Rotweiller for children...seriously??

Posted on August 24, 2011

Lu01 says: What about the west highland terriers?

Posted on August 25, 2011

Dan says: Definitley a Pug...may even make your kid look

Posted on August 26, 2011

anonymous says: listen to some of you..its all opinion any dog can have a good temperment..its all in how you raise them..i had a red nose pitbull that was awesome with my kids..she played with them took the abuse dished out by them and loved them every second of the day until she passed from mouth cancer at 11 yrs old..

Posted on August 26, 2011

Mark says: Pugs are also a great breed for families with chlidren. But be warned they are VERY spoiled, worse than a baby!

Posted on August 27, 2011

Lynne says: I have to agree with Sally. Rottwielers are wonderful with children. While I would never condone allowing a child to hurt a dog, rotties are extremely tolerable of being climbed on, dressed up, etc.

Posted on August 30, 2011

petuniacupcake says: It's not necessarily the breed/s that matter, it's more about temperment/behavior.

Posted on August 31, 2011

Atticus says: Funny not to see Bernese Mountain Dogs on this list. Hard to imagine a more gentle breed.

Posted on September 1, 2011

anonomous says: My pitbull is wonderful with children,and if you research them you will find back in the day they cared for children as thier parents worked in the fields.If you train a dog to be mean,any dog can be mean.Don't discriminate,educate.

Posted on September 2, 2011

Kim says: I have a boxer mix and he is great with all kids he just loves them and I think I read before that boxers make a wonderful family pet very loyal and sweet, my dog seems to know that little people are little and his whole behavior changes when he is around kids and my friend has a 3 month old and the dog is great with him very gentle, he just seems to know that he is a baby. Boxers are great with kids

Posted on September 2, 2011

Kim says: PS Newfoundlands are know as gental giants they are great with kids as for standard poodles no so much!

Posted on September 2, 2011

anonymous says: Dog is a dog never trust any animal alone with a child period, but certain breeds are better and more patient, and others are more unpredictable then others you never know what they will do, remember the dog is still an animal!

Posted on September 2, 2011

Jen says: The perfect family dog is a goldendoodle!  Intelligent, loyal and smart as a whip.  Not an aggressive bone in their body. All round great family dog; best decision we ever made.

Posted on September 2, 2011

Leese says: I had collies growing up and again now as an adult. They are the only dogs I would recommend for children. They have an awesome temperment and loads of patience. They will put up with anything. In one word: Lassie!

Posted on September 5, 2011

Jen says: My children have been raised with rottweilers. We have never had a problem. It's all about the individual dogs temperment and teaching your children how to behave around dogs. The key to having dogs and children live happily together is PROPER SUPERVISION! With proper supervision any breed can live happily with kids.

Posted on September 5, 2011

Anon says: For the person who said look at breeds who are used as therapy dogs, and said Rottweilers are not one of them, you are very ignorant. In Germany and even here in the states, Rottweilers are used as therapy, and service dogs. I grew up with a Rottweiler, and know many owners who have small children around them. These dogs are very gentle with animals smaller than them. My own rottweiler would allow my pet mouse to sit on her head. Please stop believing the media hype around the breed. For a breed to be kept around since the time of Ceaser they would defiantly need some good qualities. Heck they used to watch the children for butchers. There are quite a few old paintings of Rottweilers with children, especially daughters.

Posted on September 6, 2011

Sarah says: We have a Douge de Bordeaux, a mastiff type of dog (think Turner and Hooch). They are amazing with kids, very patient and loyal, gentle and calm. They drool a little, but not nearly as bad as portrayed in the movies.

Posted on September 7, 2011

Otio says: Atlantic Duckhounds are the most gentle lovers in the dog world.

Posted on September 7, 2011

Jen says: We have a St. Bernard, and she is excellent with our 2 very energetic boys. She loves to run with them, she lets them climb all over her, and at times she forgets that she is a 125lb dog, and likes to cuddle on the couch with them. She is very protective, but doesn't have a mean bone in her body. She is the most docile, lovable thing ever. Yes, she drools, and yes, she sheds, but it's a fair trade-off :)

Posted on September 7, 2011

Meaghan says: Many people are commenting based on their loving pets. Just because you raised your pet to be great around your kids doesn't mean dogs of that breed are commonly known for their family-oriented personalities. Pugs? They require IMMENSE amounts of exercise and are generally not very friendly. Many people are shocked by a commenter stating rottweilers- so ignorant. Just because of Kujo and their appearance they are deemed of evil dogs. They are marvelous with children, and are incredibly smart. I believe this list to be extremely accurate (bulldogs, beagles, and lab retrievers are spot on- not very familiar with the other 2). Boxers aren't too great because they are (sorry) dumb as dirt. Very hard to train and incredibly dense. Most people with young children don't have time to spend 8 hours a day for a week teaching your dog to sit.

Posted on September 7, 2011

Jan says: A friend of mine had 3 mastiffs, and swore they were the most gentle of dogs, at least until they attacked his mother, who was luckily not alone. I have a shia tzu and while he is a loving and gentle dog, I wouldn't leave him alone with my grandson because he doesn't like being stepped on or manhandled. When my kids were small, I had a Newfy and they treated him like a horse, and he loved every minute of it.

Posted on September 8, 2011

Tammy says: Smaller dogs bite my kids so we went with a great dane.  Could never have been happier!

Posted on September 9, 2011

cape says: dobermans by far is the best dog with children that is in the family circle. 

Posted on September 9, 2011

Michelle says: I had a largish Sheltie when my kids were small. He was smart, fun (he played all kinds of games) and would herd them in when requested. LOL I basically think most sturdy dogs are ok with kids as long as both are trained and supervised properly. I've had greyhounds that were tolerant of the little ones, and a couple that were not. The biggest issue with greys is they get excited and forget little ones are there and can knock them over accidently. (I NEVER allowed the grandbabies to crawl or climb on any dog.) My iggies hide when little ones are around, the daschund I had had a ball with them and was gentle in play. They are all individuals that act/react differently. Use common sense, provide a "safe place" for intolerant dogs, teach both dog and child to be gentle with one another and teach children that a nip is not an attack, it means back off or that hurt. (If you're supervising, that shouldn't happen in the first place)

Posted on September 9, 2011

Patty says: I have a bully that I love dearly and I do agree they normally have a wonderful temperment, but anyone who really knows dogs or has been around them much will agree that all dog/children encounters need to be supervised. ANY breed of dog may "react" in an unexpected way if they are startled, pulled the wrong way etc. Stay safe and supervise your kids with their dog...............

Posted on September 13, 2011

Joe says: We've had a female black Lab for 7.5 years. She is absolutely perfect for families. I cannot say enough good things about her. There is no negative at all (except labs shed a lot). Labs are great.

Posted on September 14, 2011

Mary says: A lot of the wonderful,gentle big breed slobber a lot,ie :Newfoundlands,St.Bernards,Douge de Bordeaux>Irish anfd Gordon Setters are too high energy.The "doodles" breeds are so ridiculously overpriced-thry are mutts!!

Posted on September 15, 2011

GD says: I own Great Dane. She is wondefull with kids. I think this is the best breed ever but I would never leave her with small kids along because of the size.

Posted on September 15, 2011

JJ says: Diane - read the article before commenting...the article is not about healthiest dog breeds, it is about best dog breeds for kids.

Posted on September 16, 2011

wendy says: Either a Golden Retriever or a Portuguese Water Dog

Posted on September 16, 2011

Jean says: This message is for the person who stated Boxers are "dumb as dirt." I am a Certified Master Dog Trainer. Anyone who knows ANYTHING, about ANY canine, would absolutely never answer in this unprofessional manner. It demonstrates an immediate lack of credibility on her part, and disrespect for others. I hope she did not mean it this way? Each one of you have had success with children, and with various breeds. Some breeds are better than others with children. The bottom line is proper training, socialization, and for those who have success - you obviously have done an excellent job. Let's not split hairs here, or trash the "other" persons dog. Be thank ful for what you have, and always supervise your children and canines.

Posted on September 17, 2011

Sandra says: BOSTON TERRIERS -- are the absolute best.  One of the most intelligent dogs, and extremely good natured.  Also they love everyone in the family -- don't show allegiance to anyone in particular.   

Posted on September 17, 2011

Justine says: I think Cockapoo are the best dog to have. I have had 3 in my life and all of them were gental, loving dogs. They dont shed and they are very smart. They are good for kids who might have allergies.

Posted on September 18, 2011

Dorien says: The best dog breed is no breed. They are healthier so they live longer, you get them at the pound where they let you "try out" the dog at home to see what works best for you family. Don't take a dog that is too big so the kids can walk it.

Posted on September 18, 2011

Tam says: I have and English Bulldog and a Golden Retriever. They are both AMAZING with children. They assume have a limb lost than be aggressive in anyway towards a child (or adult) They are both so loving. I have 3 kids of my own 2 older (teens)  and a 6 year old. There are also lots and lots of children in my neighborhood. Small ones. Tanner and Tucker (my dogs) even form special bods with all of these kids and know who they all are. We are very lucky to have them both! Love love love them! I am surprised Goldens didn't make the list.  

Posted on September 23, 2011

Berner Lover says: Bernese Mountain Dogs should be on the list.  Affectionate, loving, gentle giants who are protective of "their kids". 

Posted on September 24, 2011

Gitte says: It amazes me that a Keeshond is never mentioned.  Such an amazing loving dog, and so very smart.

Posted on September 24, 2011

gina says: II think people forget, its how you raise your animal. Your dog can be raised to be a jerk. Just like how you raise your kid. But people tend to makeup their own minds without really knowing. Every dog is different and every person is different. 

Posted on September 27, 2011

louis says: "Irish Setter ? they were put on earth to make Cows look intelligent. I can't think of a dumber animal, it's like a dead goldfish with a hangover..." Hahahahaha. But id say Pitbull or Cav Kings Charles by Far The Two Best Breeds I've ever dealt with and my kids couldn't be happier and its amazing how gentle they are. 

Posted on September 29, 2011

Bree says: Any dog can be great with children as long as you gain the dog's respect and set boundaries. Every breed has it's own strong points, yet no breed is perfect. I'm tired of seeing lists like this to be honest because it has more to do with the owner than the specific breed. Go to your local shelter & have your children interact with a dog of your choosing ... seeing is believing.

Posted on September 30, 2011

erin says: dont jude a breed because a few bad people dont know how to raise a large dog right. rotties are great family pets, extremely loyal, and protective, they are great with small children and i wouldnt trade mine for anything!!!! dont jude something you never experienced. id put me dog up aganist any other breed anytime. rotties rock!!!!

Posted on September 30, 2011


Posted on October 1, 2011

Anonymous says: Walker or Black and Tan Coonhound. On the other hand, my aunt's Standard Poodle, Athena, was not only good with children, she was an excellent gun dog for ducks and geese.

Posted on October 4, 2011


Posted on October 4, 2011

Mary Jones says: I hear all these things good or bad but me personality prefer a good old cocker spaniel well the one that i had was excellent with children of any age and very smart.

Posted on October 5, 2011

Wendy says: I have a Cockapoo. They are really great dogs. I have two children and my dog is so good with them.

Posted on October 5, 2011

Laura says: I have had a Mastif, basset hound, poodle, beagle, boxer, shepard, chiawawa(can't sp), greatdane, and several mixed breeds. They all have been special and if raised properly with the right amount of attention , love and structure, they are all good with children and visitors to your home. The chiwawa was the only one afraid of children and had to be introduced and supervised carefully. Just love them and they will love you. Adopted dogs are often very loyal and appreciative of a good home.

Posted on October 6, 2011

angeltex says: We have a Maramma, what a beautiful protective dog who loves children. Must be why it's Santa Claus' dog!!!

Posted on October 11, 2011

M says: What about miniature schnauzers? I don't agree that you need big dogs who won't get squeezed or trampled on by kids. Kids everywhere and with all dogs need to learn to respect the dog.... Schnauzers are great dogs! They have great energy and are loyal! They don't always need to run around but like to cuddle! I would never have a huge dog around my kids anyways.... German Sheperds can be very agressive... I would not want them alone with my children...Bullodgs do not always have a great temperament... Can be very stubborn and demanding...Also many health issues... Purebreds are not always the answer either! Poodle mixes have the advantage of not shedding and have the trainability! My dogs are schnoodles and my children absolutely love them! They are great guard dogs too!

Posted on October 19, 2011

CollinLeon says: It has been my experience that kids are more likely to be bitten by the small dogs than by the large dogs. The small dogs feel intimidated when the kids start to play rough, pull on them, and such. The large dogs just kid of ignore the kid like it was just another mosquito buzzing around.

Posted on October 20, 2011

granpa says: I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Basset hound. Our oldest grandson haqs lived with one for five years, and I have never seen a more patient dog. We have always kept shorthaired pointers, and we never had one that was not good with kids.

Posted on October 26, 2011

Sunny says: Keeshonds were bred to be family companions, they are amazingly smart, loving and gentle.

Posted on October 27, 2011

Cindy says: You forgot to add the ABSOLUTE BEST dog breed for kids -- the COLLIE! :) {Not the same as the border collie, which is the typically black and white workaholic of the dog world). Nope, I'm talking about THE Collie like Lassie! They come in many colors, and can be long- or short-haired! Always research a breed to see if it may or may not fit it with your family's lifestyle. Some people were just never meant to have pets of any kind, or dogs in particular. Kind of like having kids -- some should have kids, while others absolutely not. :)

Posted on October 27, 2011

Cindy says: Anonymous said: "listen to some of you..its all opinion any dog can have a good temperment..its all in how you raise them.." Not completely true. As a canine behaviorist and trainer, I must add that you have to factor in many more components inclouding: 1) what the breed was originally bred for (they inherit innate qualities, skills, instincts, etc. for their specific breed or type of dogs); 2) animals MUST be bred with good temperament/disposition in mind. We're fortunate that well-bred purebred dogs are fairly consistent in the general breed traits of their breed be it temperament/disposition, intelligence (degrees of), trainability (degrees and even specialties of), physical characteristics, and so on. You DO NOT have this fairly reliable benchmark to work from with mixed breed dogs (and, my frineds, all doodle breeds or chi-poos, etc., are mixes -- making a cute name does not change the fact that it is still a mix and it is NOT necessarility healthier...the name is a marketing ploy or even a scam, if you will). 3) Socialization! Tghis is another highly important key area that is often underlooked by many if not most of the public when they're in search of a new pet. There are important "critical periods" during a puppy's young life and what the breeder does, or does not do, during that time can have a permanent impact on the dog's character and temperament/disposition in the future. If you acquire a puppy, due myour due diligence by doing research pertaini9ng to socialization and training. Google "puppy critical periods," and do what you can to inform yourselof, and help your youngster to be the best he/she can be. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Just because it's in a book, on the Internet, on the radio, or on television dopesn't mean that it's true. Ask questions, and be prepared to do your homework. Best wishes! :)

Posted on October 29, 2011

robin says: What about golden retrievers??? talk about patience. these are the most even tempered and patient dogs i have ever known.

Posted on October 30, 2011

John says: I had a Rottweiler that grew up with my granddaughter. SUPER Dog in every respect.

Posted on October 30, 2011

Scott says: While I see people have a problem with Rotties, I will say that Rotties can be GREAT around kids, my exMIL had Rotties that were great around kids. My daughter was raised with Rotties, Pitties, German Shepherds, Dobbies and Chows. Its all in the INDIVIDUAL dogs' temperament. I've been rescuing Pitties and I am flabbergasted that they weren't mentioned until I take the manure filled media hatred and disinformation of the media into mind. One of my (rescued from fighting pit) pitties cried every night for almost a year because my 19 son grew up and moved out. Please, less fulfilling soety's fantasies and more facts... BTW... Irish Setter? they would be safe around kids becasue thay are, indeed intellectually challenged but BEST around kids, I have to agree with Steve..

Posted on October 31, 2011

Laura says: we have a border collie that we just totally love. she is so patient, quiet, loving and a great hiking dog. I do think that this is a suggestion of best dog for kids and not meant to make us all defensive!! we all love out own dog best.......why not they have formed their life around ours and fit in perfectly to our world!!

Posted on November 9, 2011

Fred says: Rotties are GREAT dogs! My Othello is the sweetest dog you'd ever want to meet... it really grinds my gears that rotties have a public perception of being aggressive and unruly dogs, when they are anything but... anyone that speaks negatively of them have either A) never been around them or B) broke into the wrong house! lol

Posted on November 10, 2011

Shelley says: No golden retrievers? Really? They are typically great around children. I have 3 goldens that absolutely LOVE kids and I don't even HAVE kids!

Posted on November 14, 2011

Steve says: What no mention of boxers? Any Vet will tell you boxers are great with kids, very protective.

Posted on December 8, 2011

Jason says: Rat Terrier (not the toy variety). Great temperament (mine was 6 when we had our first child, and she was never socialized with children) and sturdy as a big dog. And they live forever, so you're not importing a future tragedy into your kids lives.

Posted on January 19, 2012

Natalie says: Basset Hound from is one of the breeds that's good for kids. I don't think it was mentioned here.

Posted on January 20, 2012

clarko says: We have only had Pound hounds of varying breeds all properly trained - as were our children. They were all super. Specific breeds may have fundamental characteristics, but not all labs, goldens, poodles, etc will be the same. As not all people of one race will be the same. Don't only count on a breed to think that is what will make a good dog, know how to temp test puppies, subadults, and adult dogs of whatever make up you want to bring in to the home. And...always teach kids how to treat a dog with respect.

Posted on January 20, 2012

Mary Christie says: I have a cocke spaniel and she is great with my grandkids and great grand children and i love dogs any size

Posted on January 20, 2012

Sandra Parcell says: German Shepherds are awesome with kids and elderly folks as well. Love the breed and trust the breed!

Posted on January 21, 2012

liz says: uh....golden retriever? or are they incorrectly lumping that in with labs?

Posted on January 22, 2012

EH says: I think Boxer should be on this list. Like Irish SEtters, they have a lot of energy, but they are very smart and very good with children.

Posted on January 22, 2012

Jake says: We have an older beagle, Sammi, about 10 years old witha new addition chihuahusa, Fawn. She's my wife "dog" ! Spoiled rotten. Believe, our beagle loves people, especially kids. And your right, they need brushing and a bath, often. They love to roll in garbage, etc. She is definitely a "house" dog ! Both of these animals are loved by the family and they know it !

Posted on February 28, 2012

Schnoodle says: I have a Schnoodle (mini schnauzer X toy poodle) and his temperment is absolutely incredible. He is fabulous with children, old people, young people, whoever! He doesn't snarl at people, bite, snap, anything! He's very very playful and has more energy than I can comprehend, but his energy is translated into love and play. I've had him around 9 month old babies, 2 year old kids, and everything up from there. He's the most consistently nice dog I've ever seen.

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