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17 Best Dog Breeds For Kids

Written by: Justin Palmer
Justin Palmer is a Certified Pet Food Nutrition Specialist and co-founder of Inspired by his rescued husky, Splash, he dedicated himself to learning about extending both the length and quality of her life. Splash lived and thrived until 18 years old, and now Justin is on a mission to share what he learned with other dog owners.Read more
| Published on March 23, 2022

Looking for the best dogs breeds for children? Let us help!

When dog lovers think about their family, the picture isn’t complete without a furry family member. One of the greatest joys in life is watching your children grow up with a dog sibling. But to make this dream come true, you’ll need to be sure you choose a dog who likes kids.

Some dogs may tolerate children in the home, but others want nothing more than to be your kids’ best friend! Your heart will just about burst with love watching them grow from playmates to siblings. If this is the family life you’ve envisioned but you’re not sure which pups are considered the best family dogs, check out this list of the 17 best dogs breeds for children, according to experienced dog parents.

The Best Dogs Breeds for Kids

#1 – Boxer

best dog breeds for kids

One of the Boxers’ most distinctive qualities is its love for children. They are a people-oriented breed and prefer to have their pack close by. Energetic and affectionate, the Boxer needs to have plenty of exercise and playful interaction, and being playful is what kids do best!

#2 – Mastiff

best dogs for kids

This good-natured giant bonds instantly with its family and loves to be around his people. Gentle with children, this breed makes an ideal family pet. When he feels his pack is threatened, a Mastiff will most likely knock an intruder to the ground and lay on them until assistance arrives. That loyalty is just one trait that lands the Mastiff on the list of best dogs breeds for kids.

#3 – Old English Sheepdog

This working dog is considered affectionate and loving, although there may be an instinct to herd its family. This might be just the thing your house needs if the kiddos are running late for school. The Sheepdog’s “pot-casse” bark will get them moving too! And when it’s time for fun, a Sheepdog will be ready as the AKC describes this fluffy dog as an athlete filled with clownish energy.

#4 – Labrador Retriever

dog breeds for children

Another popular breed is the Labrador Retriever. This eager to please breed is bouncy and enjoys playing with her pack members. She loves to swim and frolic in the water or on the land. Parents would benefit from a Labrador’s athletic tendencies; she’ll wear the kids out faster!

#5 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Happy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Don’t be fooled by their small size, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are lively pups! They’re gentle dogs, so they tolerate grooming and petting from humans of all ages. They get along with just about everyone they meet, and kids can’t resist their silky fur. These adorable canines thrive on affection, so the more humans that can pet them, the better!

#6 – Dalmatian

dogs and kids

Spots and fun! These are the first thoughts most folks think when it comes to the Dalmatian. As people-oriented play aficionados, this spotted hound would be an incredible addition to any family. With energy to burn, this dog breed loves to run with the kids all day long and then snuggle with them at night. If the home includes horses, even better; the Dalmatian has a symbiotic relationship with horses.

#7 – Dogue de Bordeaux

dogs and chlidren

A fancy name for an adorable drooler, if a dog parent can get past the drooling nature of this lovable breed, the Dogue de Bordeaux sports a calm temperament, is loyal to its pack, and is affectionate to a fault. Gentle with the children, this French Mastiff will also be protective of the family it loves. This slobbery cutie checks all the boxes when it comes to the best dog breeds for children.

#8 – Golden Retriever

Active, energetic, and friendly, these are just a few words to describe one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Goldens are intelligent, eager to please, and love to play and run with children. As stars of the “Buddy” franchise movies, the Golden Retriever is a popular choice among families.

#9 – Poodle

Standard Poodle outside

Poodles are known for their glamorous appearance, but they’re also fun dogs to have around. These curly-coated pups are smart, gentle dogs, and their minimal shedding makes them great for kids with allergies. Plus, they come in a wide variety of sizes: Toy, Miniature, and Standard. So, there’s a Poodle to fit everyone’s preferences.

#10 – American Staffordshire Terrier

Svenska Mässan/Flickr

Extremely loyal, this breed loves nothing more than to be part of a family. At the turn of the 20th century, the Staffordshire Terrier was the number one family dog in the country and served as the poster dog for WWI. Talk about a patriotic pup! Another fun fact: Pete from the “Little Rascals” short movies was an Am Staff.

#11 – Newfoundland

best dogs breeds for childrenAlicja/Flickr

Don’t let their size be intimidating, these gentle giants are wonderful family dogs. Referred to as a workhorse, this dog would love nothing more than to pull around the kiddos in a sled on the snow. More evidence this fluffy dog belongs on any list of the best dog breeds for children: Nana from the story of Peter Pan was a Newfie.

#12 – Irish Setter

Irish Setter Big Ears

The Irish Setter’s gorgeous red coat is sure to turn heads, but they’re more than just their looks. These dogs adore playtime, so they’re the perfect companion for long games of fetch and walks at the park. Irish Setters aren’t fond of being alone, so having kids around makes them feel extra loved and joyous. They’re easy to train and eager to greet their humans at the door.

#13 – Boston Terrier

dogs for kids

Always dressed in their finest attire, these tuxedo dogs make excellent playmates for children.  This “American Gentleman” will teach the kids how to act refined as well as how to have a good time! Charming and intelligent, your kids will fall in love with a Boston terrier!

#14 – Beagle

best dog breeds for children

The Beagle finds itself on lots of best breed lists as this dog is an all-around champ. This sturdy hound loves activity and will have the best time playing with the family. Affectionate and smart, the Beagle will be your kid’s best bud. But like children, Beagles can be stubborn, so have fun teaching them and the kids new things!

#15 – Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel dog breed for children

Cockers are the smallest dogs of the sporting group. So, in addition to being soft and adorable, these dogs are smart, playful, and affectionate. They make great therapy dogs, so they can help comfort anxious children. Cocker Spaniels form a close bond with their human family members, so the bigger their family is, the more people they can cuddle with.

#16 – Collie

dogs for families

The relationship between Lassie and Timmy will forever cement Collies into a place of revered love in American hearts and offers proof positive that children and Collies make an excellent pairing. As herding dogs, this long-haired lovely will run forever with the kids and then round them up when it’s time to come in. Good-natured and nurturing, Collies are some of the best family dogs around.

#17 – Mutts!

best dog breeds for kids

Don’t forget about mixed breeds! Create a family event and go to a shelter! Together, choose a loving, loyal family mutt! Just remember, mid to large size mixed breed dogs are generally a much better fit for families with children.

Keep this list of the top dog breeds for children handy when searching adoption sites.

And remember, before bringing home a dog, be sure you and the kids spend some time visiting with dogs to be sure you find the pup meant to be your forever family.

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