15 Best Small Dog Breeds For Families With Children

One of the greatest joys of childhood is growing up with a dog and if you’re ready to give that dream to your kids, you might be asking yourself what breeds are the best small dogs for kids? 

As a parent, safety is one of your greatest concerns and this must be taken into account when choosing what breed of dog fits with your family. Some dog breeds do not do well with children, especially very young ones.

But don’t worry! There are so many family-friendly dog breeds that make excellent companions for young kids. If you’re on the search for a gentle dog who’s tolerant of loud noises, messy rooms, and odd schedules, these breeds are for you.

But be warned, no dog is suitable for a child that hasn’t been taught how to interact with animals properly. Don’t forget, all dog and child interactions should be supervised.

small dogs for kids

We’ve put together a list of the best small dog breeds for families with children to help you find the right pup for your home!

Best Small Dogs for Kids 

#1 – Beagle


The Beagle is a small to medium-sized scent hound originally bred for hunting and is still a prized rabbiting dog today. Very gentle and even-tempered, Beagles are noted for making very poor guard dogs because they’re open to meeting anybody. These charming hounds make excellent companions for children.

#2 – Pug

best small dogs for kids

The Pug has a goofy, sociable personality that makes him a wonderful family companion for adults and children alike. Although strong-willed and exuberant, they are typically very lazy dogs and require relatively minimal exercise.

#3 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


This small toy spaniel is gentle, playful and very affectionate towards their family and strangers alike. Cavis are small but hardy, adapting easily to all kinds of environments and situations. These silky-coated lovelies make excellent family companions, proving a suitable dog breed for those with small children.

#4 – Staffordshire Bull Terrier


Although this active and muscular bully breed may look intimidating to some, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are actually very social and loving dogs. Staffies are not well-suited for quiet, indoor families as the breed does best with plenty of exercise and fun. That said, they make wonderful companions for children and are extremely affectionate.

#5 – Boston Terrier


The Boston Terrier, nicknamed the American Gentleman, is a true joy to have around for those who love a silly, sociable breed. Originally bred to be companion dogs, these gentlemen and gentlewomen dogs still excel at this job today. They are one of the best small breeds for kids, their temperaments making them well-suited for family life.

#6 – Border Terrier

small dogs for families

Border Terriers are small terrier dogs originally bred for vermin and fox hunting. Today, they excel at a variety of dog sports and make wonderfully active companions. Although these wily terriers may chase cats and other small animals, Border Terriers are very even-tempered and make great companions for children.

#7 – Keeshond


Fluff is the name of the game when it comes to this family-friendly dog breed. The Keeshond is a medium sized Spitz breed that is very intelligent and eager to please. Very affectionate and attached to their families, the Keeshond makes an excellent companion for children. These people-pleasing pups have done well in obedience, agility and even guide dog work.

#8 – Cocker Spaniel


The Cocker Spaniel, both the American and English varieties, are medium-sized bird hunting dogs that make excellent family companions. They are intelligent dogs who just love to lavish affection on their families. As the spaniel grows extremely attached to their families, these shiny beauties are great dogs for homes with children.

#9 – Havanese


The Havanese is a small but hardy dog who makes an ideal family companion. As very social dogs, they do not do well when left alone for extended periods. These little floofs may be a toy breed, but they are even-tempered and a well-suited small dog breed ideal for kids. 

#10 – Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


This Canadian retriever is a medium sized dog originally used for hunting waterfowl. They are active and intelligent dogs requiring lots of play! This “Little Red Retrieving Machine” makes an excellent companions for families with children, assuming they get enough exercise. Eager to please, this red retriever performs well in a variety of dog sports.

#11 – Norfolk Terrier


The Norfolk Terrier is a small, adorable terrier and considered to be one of the softest tempered in the group. They are very social dogs and an ideal small dog breed for kids. Plus, the Norfolk is the scruffiest little cutie ever! 

#12 – Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier


The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized Irish dog with a single-layered coat that rarely sheds, making them suitable for those with allergies. They are also very playful and friendly, making them excellent companion dogs for families with children. Kids will love snuggling this teddy bear dog! 

#13 – Maltese

family friendly dogs

Fluffy, fun, and family friendly, the Maltese may look regal, but the Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta” won’t mind getting their majestic fur tousled while playing with the kids. This gentle breed is an excellent choice of small dog who will happily play with children.

#14 – Miniature Schnauzer

small dogs for kids

Just look at that sweet smile! The Miniature Schnauzer will love having fun with the family. You’ll probably find him acting as your gray shadow because these lovey dogs want to be by your side all the time. And when playtime is done, the mini Schnauzer will love some cuddles while you stroke his beard.

#15 – French Bulldog

best small dogs for families

The French Bulldog has it all! Pizazz, cutesy looks, brains, and a heart that outweighs their small, but muscular bodies. These adorable small dogs are full of love and don’t mind getting goofy with the youngsters. But don’t the let kids tease the Frenchie. Their feelings are easily hurt!

Among these family-friendly dogs, you’ll surely find the best small dog for your kids. But maybe you’re thinking a BIG dog would be ideal for your family. Check out these large breeds known for their excellence as family pups. Either way, small or large, once your new pooch comes home, let the magic of growing up with a dog begin!

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