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12 Smaller Size Dog Breeds That Are Great For Families

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on August 25, 2015

When choosing the right dog breed for you and your family, it’s important to keep your children in mind. Their personalities, ages and your diligence in teaching them how to properly interact with animals will play a key part in choosing a dog breed. That said, there are dogs that are better able to cope with the loud noises and constant chaos that happens with very young children. Whether you’re looking to adopt an older dog or get a puppy, you’ll first want to decide what breeds are best with children. These dogs typically have gentler, more stable temperaments and are not as active and flighty as other breeds. Many families are looking for smaller family companions, and these breeds do quite well.

#1 – Beagle


The Beagle is arguably one of the best dog breeds for children. They are affectionate, docile and hardy enough in mind and body to remain calm around rambunctious children. They are an excellent choice for a family looking for a smaller dog as a companion.

#2 – Staffordshire Bull Terrier


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier might look scary, but they are actually renowned for their affinity for children. Nicknamed the “Nanny Dog,” Staffordshire Bull Terriers are affectionate, loyal and active.

#3 – Sussex Spaniel


Although not one of the most popular breeds, the Sussex Spaniel does very well in homes with small children. They are gentle and fun-loving dogs known for having a clownish personality. They are on the larger size of the “small” dog breeds, weighing roughly 40 pounds but standing only 13-15” at the withers.

#4 – American Water Spaniel

Photo credit: “Chien d’eau americain champion 1” by Awsguy1 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The American Water Spaniel makes an excellent active family companion. They do require more exercise than some other breeds, but they are intelligent dogs that bond closely with their families.

#5 – Boston Terrier


The Boston Terrier is nicknamed “America’s Gentleman,” and with good reason. They are fun-loving, clownish dogs that enjoy spending time with their families and have every desire to keep up with small children. They are known for being social with their families, strangers, other dogs and even animals of other species.

#6 – American Eskimo Dog


The American Eskimo Dog is a small companion dog that actually originates from Germany. They are small but intelligent dogs that have been used in circus acts in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Despite their size, they are affectionate and playful and make excellent companions for children.

#7 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a docile, affectionate breed that enjoys spending time with its family. They require very little exercise but regular grooming, and do well with older children.

#8 – French Bulldog


The French Bulldog is one of the class clowns of the dog world, as it is a very goofy and fun-loving breed. That said, they are relatively lazy and make good companions for children. They are playful but require little exercise and grooming.

#9 – Whippet


The Whippet is more of a medium-sized breed, but their affinity for children puts them on this list. Whippets stand roughly 18-22” tall at the withers and weigh in around 15-35 pounds as adults. They are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world, but are relatively lazy indoors.

#10 – Löwchen


The Löwchen is a small, rare breed of dog that has been bred primarily as a companion. They are affectionate and friendly dogs that are active despite their small size. They get along well with children and make wonderful companions.

#11 – Boykin Spaniel


The Boykin Spaniel is also a small- to medium-sized dog that makes this list because it’s friendly with children. The breed originates in South Carolina, USA and is a very friendly and social breed toward its family and strangers alike.

#12 – English Cocker Spaniel


There are two varieties of Cocker Spaniel, and the English Cocker Spaniel is known for its outstanding temperament toward children. They are hardy, affectionate dogs that make excellent family companions. They are intelligent dogs that have earned the nickname the “merry cocker,” because they are so happy-go-lucky.

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