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10 Unexpectedly Kid-Friendly Dog Breeds That Will Melt Your Heart

Written by: Arlene D.
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on February 18, 2024

When it comes to choosing a family dog, certain breeds immediately come to mind for their well-known gentleness and patience with children. However, beyond the popular Labradors and Golden Retrievers, there exists a myriad of other breeds that are equally kid-friendly, though they may not be the first you’d think of. These unexpected breeds can bring joy, companionship, and a unique set of characteristics that make them excellent additions to families with children. From the gentle giants to the small but mighty, each breed on this list has qualities that might surprise you. Whether it’s their undying loyalty, protective instincts, or simply their love for play, these dogs prove that the heart of a great family pet beats within a diverse range of breeds. Let’s dive into the world of unexpectedly kid-friendly dog breeds that will surely melt your heart and potentially find the next furry member of your family.

1. Boxer

Boxers, often recognized for their muscular build and boundless energy, are also incredibly loving and protective when it comes to children. Their playful nature makes them an excellent match for active kids, as Boxers have a seemingly inexhaustible reserve of energy for playtime. Despite their formidable appearance, they are gentle giants at heart, often displaying a remarkable level of patience and gentleness with their youngest family members. Boxers are known for their loyalty and protective instincts, making them not only a playful companion but also a vigilant guardian for kids. Their expressive faces and silly antics will keep the whole family entertained, making them a surprisingly perfect pet for households with children.

2. Bulldog

Bulldogs may have a gruff exterior, but they are among the most gentle and affectionate breeds you could introduce to your children. Their calm demeanor and sturdy build make them great companions for kids, offering both a cuddly buddy and a resilient playmate. Bulldogs are known for their patience and tolerance, qualities that are essential in a kid-friendly pet. They require minimal grooming and exercise, fitting well into the lifestyle of a busy family. Despite their sometimes lazy nature, Bulldogs enjoy being part of family activities and will loyally follow their little humans around, providing laughter and love in equal measure.

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, often misunderstood due to its breed’s reputation, is actually one of the most affectionate breeds towards children. Known affectionately as “nanny dogs” because of their gentle nature and patience with kids, these dogs are loyal, loving, and incredibly protective of their family members. They are energetic and playful, making them great companions for active children. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them trainable, and their social nature means they often get along well with other pets. Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a robust build and a heart full of love for their families, making them an unexpectedly perfect choice for a household with children.

4. Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound, one of the tallest dog breeds, is a gentle giant with a calm and friendly disposition that makes it an excellent companion for children. Despite their imposing size, they are known for their patience, kindness, and gentle nature. Irish Wolfhounds are incredibly loyal and form deep bonds with their family members. They require regular exercise to stay healthy but are equally content lounging around the house. Their calm demeanor makes them suitable for families with children, as they are less likely to be easily startled or react negatively to the unpredictable behavior of kids. With an Irish Wolfhound in the home, children gain a gentle guardian and a patient playmate.

5. Keeshond

Keeshonds are fluffy, medium-sized dogs known for their spectacular coats and friendly, outgoing nature. They are incredibly social and enjoy being part of family activities, making them great companions for children. Keeshonds are known for their intelligence and quick learning ability, which, coupled with their eager-to-please attitude, makes them easy to train. They are affectionate and loyal, often forming strong bonds with each family member. Their alert nature and tendency to bark make them good watchdogs, but they are primarily known for their love of companionship. A Keeshond’s friendly disposition and playful spirit make it an unexpectedly perfect pet for families with kids.

6. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small breed known for its white, fluffy coat and cheerful disposition. These dogs are particularly great with children due to their gentle manner and robustness during play. Bichons are playful and energetic, always ready for a game or an adventure, making them excellent companions for active children. They are also known for their hypoallergenic coats, which is a plus for families concerned about allergies. Bichons thrive on affection and love being the center of attention, fitting perfectly into the family dynamic. Their adaptability and joyful nature make the Bichon Frise an unexpectedly wonderful addition to any home with children.

7. Newfoundland

Newfoundlands are known for their massive size and equally large heart. They are one of the best dog breeds for families with children, offering both protection and gentle companionship. These “gentle giants” are known for their patience, docility, and loving nature. Newfoundlands are natural swimmers and have been known to save lives in aquatic environments, a testament to their protective instincts. Their thick coat requires regular grooming, but their ability to bond with family members and particularly gentle nature with children makes the effort worthwhile. A Newfoundland in the home means having a loving guardian who is always ready to offer a soft place to land for tired kids.

8. Vizsla

Vizslas are medium-sized hunting dogs known for their loyalty and affectionate nature. They are highly energetic and thrive on regular, vigorous exercise, making them ideal companions for active families with older children. Vizslas are known as “Velcro” dogs due to their desire to be close to their human companions at all times. They are gentle, patient, and incredibly loving, often forming strong, emotional bonds with children. Their intelligence and trainability make them a joy to work with, and their protective instincts ensure they keep a watchful eye on their family members. Vizslas are an unexpectedly perfect choice for families seeking an active and affectionate dog breed.

9. Collie

Collies are famous for their role in popular culture as the loyal companion Lassie, but they are also one of the most kid-friendly breeds in real life. Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and gentle demeanor, Collies make excellent family pets. They are protective of their families and particularly gentle with children, often showing an intuitive sense to guard and nurture. Collies are active and require regular exercise, but they are also adaptable and can live happily in various settings. Their long coat requires regular grooming, but the bond they form with their family, especially with children, makes them a cherished companion.

10. Schnauzer

Schnauzers, available in miniature, standard, and giant sizes, are known for their distinctive bearded appearance and spirited personality. They are intelligent, energetic, and highly trainable, making them great pets for families with children. Schnauzers are protective of their families and can be excellent watchdogs, yet they are friendly and sociable with those they know and love. Their playful nature and boundless energy make them fun companions for children, and their loyalty ensures they are always by their side. Whether you choose a Miniature Schnauzer for a smaller home or a Giant Schnauzer for more physical presence, these dogs bring joy, protection, and love into any household.

The bond between children and their canine companions is one of life’s most enriching experiences. While certain dog breeds are universally recognized for their affinity with kids, many unexpected breeds offer the same level of companionship, loyalty, and love. From the protective Boxer to the gentle Newfoundland and the energetic Vizsla, these breeds prove that the heart of a great family dog can beat in a wide variety of chests. When choosing a dog for your family, consider these unexpectedly kid-friendly breeds that are guaranteed to bring joy, laughter, and love into your home, enriching your children’s lives in ways only a four-legged friend can.