The Definite Guide to the Best Dog Breeds for Kids

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best small dog breeds for kids and young boyThe timing was right, and you’ve decided to expand your family. Soon you’ll bring home a bundle of joy. A baby is a huge responsibility, but we’re sure you already know that. Your home is probably already baby-proofed, the baby’s room is ready, and you’re catching up on your sleep now while you still can. There’s one thing you may not have thought of that can be especially important when it comes to the safety of your child: your pets. Certain breeds of dogs are more child-friendly than others – there are a ton of best dog breeds for kids!

best dog breeds for kids infographic

Here are 30 of the Best Dog Breeds for Families with Kids Around

These are the dogs you’ll want as you bring a new baby into your house. Not only will these faithful friends be gentle around your baby, but they’ll grow up alongside them as they become a toddler and then a child. Your baby will learn what it’s like to love a family friendly dog, which is a truly special bond.

Are you about to have a baby and you’re not sure which breed of dog you should adopt? Good thing you’re here. Check out this list of the 30 best dog breeds for families with children.

30. Golden Retrievers: One of the Best Dogs for Kids

white golden retriever puppy eating stick

Fewer dogs are better-known for their loyalty than Golden Retrievers.

This is with good reason, too. These dogs are great for families in several ways. Although they’re bigger, they can run and play with the most energetic child. They also have a generally amiable demeanor making them one of the best family dogs to have. It’s easy to train them, so you can balance having a dog and a growing child at the same time.

These pups will your child’s best friend for years!

29. Bulldogs

pet costumes for bulldogs

You might not think a bulldog is the best choice for your ever-growing family, but you’d be surprised to find out how they’re known for being kid friendly dogs. If you have another dog, the Bulldog will adapt and befriend this animal. These small dogs also get along with children exceptionally well. Bulldogs don’t bark loudly, live for up to 10 years, and don’t shed too much.

They don’t have the energy of a Golden Retriever, but with a face like theirs, that’s okay.

28. Poodles

poodle running, best dogs for kids

The fluffy Poodle appeals to children and adults alike. Their fur can grow quite long, so be warned of that. If you have anyone in the family who has allergies though, don’t stress. Poodles are known to be hypoallergenic, which means they won’t trigger anyone’s symptoms. Some poodles are smaller and others can be bigger, so make your decision carefully.

These dogs also crave plenty of exercise. Poodles are known for their great listening skills and their intelligence.

27. Beagles

beagle dog and miniature beagle puppy playing on couch

Beagles will communicate their happiness (or displeasure) primarily through barks, whines, and other sounds. That said, these dogs also train easily, don’t shed much, and will be a child’s greatest four-legged companion in their early years of life. Beagles also require a lot of exercise, so hopefully you have a pretty spacious backyard! As a hound dog, Beagles may let their hunting instincts out on occasion.

26. Collies

collie as one of the best medium dogs breeds for kids

There are so many breeds of Collie to choose from, giving you nearly any option under the sun. While Collies need to run (or walk!) often, they also have a chill side. If you’re the type who likes to relax and unwind after a long day at work, they’ll be right there by your side.

These dogs are also immensely loyal, meaning they’ll protect your children and the rest of your family until the very end. Collies are renowned for their great listening skills, which means training these dogs is a breeze.

25. Newfoundlands: One of the Good Dogs for Kids

black newfoundland puppies sweet face

We know what you’re thinking: isn’t a Newfoundland kind of big for a family with a baby or small child? They may be, but beneath that furry coat and large body is a heart of gold and is actually one of, if not the best dog breed for families. Newfoundland dogs can indeed get up to between 120 and 150 pounds, but they don’t bark often and love children.

Best of all? These dogs love to make their owners happy more so than almost anything else. No wonder they’re such a great pick for growing families!

24. Boxers

brown boxer happy

A mid-sized dog also perfect for bigger families, Boxers are sweet and loveable. Besides their adorable demeanor (just look at that face!), these dogs have plenty of energy, are intensely loyal, and quite smart to boot. They’ll listen to all your commands and make a great playmate for children. Most of all, these dogs just like to have a good time, whether that’s running, playing, or spending quality time with their favorite people.

23. Labrador Retrievers

chocolate lab mix, yellow lab mix, and black lab dog mix panting

We talked about Golden Retrievers above and what wonderful pets they make for families with children. The Labrador Retriever is another great choice. These dogs are often chosen to work in law enforcement, sniffing out narcotics. They also act as guide dogs. If you adopt a Labrador Retriever, you’ll have a friend for at least the next 12 years. These dogs are also heavy on the personality, so we hope you’re ready for a pet with a lot of spunk!

22. Mastiffs

Tibetan Mastiff puppy

Again proving that size isn’t everything is the trustworthy Mastiff. This may be the last dog you’d think you’d want if you have a child, but give one a try. Mastiffs have a relaxed demeanor and are sweet and loving. They’ll look after your child and scare away danger with their looks alone! Mastiffs aren’t intensely energetic, but they will still need regular exercise to stay healthy.

21. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers

best small dog breeds for kids, the soft coated wheaten terrier looks out the window

Another dog that wouldn’t exactly spring to mind when looking for a pet is the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. Although these pups are quite pleasant to pet, their fur might seem overwhelming to a less experienced dog owner. Don’t worry; Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers will not shed at all. That said, it is recommended you adopt one of these dogs once your child is older, like at least seven years old.

Look out for the Wheaten Greeting, which is a jump unique to this breed.

20. Jack Russell Terriers: One of the Best Small Dogs for Kids

jack russell terrier lying grass

Yet another kind of Terrier ideal for families with children is the Jack Russell Terrier. These dogs are energetic and they love to fool around. They’ll certainly keep the whole family entertained for hours. Like the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, if you have younger children, you might want to wait until they get a bit older to add this dog to your life.

19. Weimaraners

A long haired female weimaraner sitting on grass

The Weimaraner, which sometimes goes by the nickname “gray ghost,” may not have a memorable fur color, but this dog will win the hearts of your family. Weimaraners are especially fearless, which means they make amazing protectors.

They will do whatever it takes to make their owner happy, too. These dogs enjoy exercise, especially running, so if you do any of that, you’ll love having this pooch around. Otherwise, Weimaraners are obedient dogs who stay alert yet have a cheerful and friendly demeanor.

18. Bichon Frises

bichon frise puppies for sale in a basket

Translated from French, a Bichon Frise is a “white fluffy dog.” More than just nice to look at, though, these pups are great cuddlers and are totally energetic enough to keep bustling toddlers entertained (not to mention tired out!). Not only that, but they’re smaller dogs, so they don’t need the huge backyard that some of the other pups on this list require. Just make sure to trim your Bichon Frise from time to time to keep the fur from becoming unruly.

17. Bull Terrierstypes of terriers, tan bull terrier running


Spot the Target dog is the best-known Bull Terrier. If you’ve ever seen the commercials, you know this pup has quite distinctive features, including small eyes and an elongated snout. You will have to watch how this dog interacts with your children at first, but eventually, animal and human should get along much better. Bull Terriers do not play well with other dogs, though. These pups are loyal but love causing trouble when they can.

16. Mutts

mutt needing natural pain relief for dogs

Who says purebreds get to have all the fun? A mutt can be a lovable companion for your growing family, too. If you get a mixed breed mutt that’s a combination of some of the dogs on this list, you’re sure to have a best friend for life. Ask the adoption agency about the mutt’s origins, and always make sure the dog is good with children (and other pets, for that matter) before you sign the adoption papers.

15. Irish Setters: Some Pretty Dogs Good with Kids

irish setter puppies

Named such for its beautiful red fur, the Irish Setter will spend its waking hours around the family as much as possible. This dog isn’t so fond of alone time and may act out if left by itself for too long. Otherwise, the Irish Setter is a reliable breed and is safe around kids. This dog breed for families is an energetic lightning bolt and loves a good play session. Make sure you have a selection of chew toys for your new four-legged friend.

14. Vizslas

dog exercise vizsla doing doga

A great mid-sized dog that will get along with your children is the Vizsla. These pooches are most noteworthy in terms of looks for their stumpy tails and long floppy ears. With short fur, shedding won’t be an issue. These dogs love few things more than a good cuddle, and they have no problem letting you rub their bellies. They also want to learn, so training them won’t be a struggle. Vizslas have an enthusiastic nature, which translates to their energy and activity levels as well.

13. Old English Sheepdogs

old english sheepdog as one of the best family dogs

Fluffy and full of love, Old English Sheepdogs may seem like a peculiar pick, but if you have a family, you’ve picked correctly. These dogs, which possess high amounts of “clownish energy,” are sweet and fun. They also love running around and feeling the wind in their fur. Although they may shed a bit and need regular grooming, the herding nature of Old English Sheepdogs will be sure to always keep the family together.

12. Cocker Spaniels

english cocker spaniel with tongue out, one of the best dog for kids

Another trusted dog breed, even for younger children, is the Cocker Spaniel. These mid-sized dogs have huge furry ears that blow when they excitedly greet the members of the family. These pups are generally harmless, although they may run circles around some kids. Their kind demeanor is one of their biggest selling points. Cocker Spaniels, like many of the dogs on this list, do require regular exercise, so have the kids leash up the dog and take them for a walk!

11. Dalmatians

dalmatian puppies for sale

Dalmatians weren’t the star of a Disney movie for nothin’! Although a bigger dog, Dalmatians are great cuddlers, love spending time with kids, and enjoy nothing more than some good old-fashioned fun. These dogs are very friendly to many people and would be a good fit in almost any family. They even get along with horses if you happen to own one or two of those

10. German Shepherds: One of the Best Family Dogs Around

a healthy german shepherd puppy basking in the sun

A favorite dog in general, the reliable German Shepherd may be on the bigger side, but don’t let that deter you. These pooches will listen to all sorts of commands, even more, uncommon ones than sit, lie down, and stay. This comes down to their smarts, which they have in spades. Not only that, but German Shepherds possess great loyalty and a strong inner need to make their humans happy. They also like some moderate exercise.

9. Dogue de Bordeauxs

Dogue de Bordeauxs strutting

Chances are, you may not have heard of the Dogue de Bordeaux, but there’s a lot about this pooch that makes it a great fit for your bigger family. Coming from France (hence the name), this breed is similar to a Mastiff in temperament. Besides sharing some favorable personality traits, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a great protector, has a sweet and loving side, and is insanely loyal. The only downside? This breed drools a lot.

8. Bernese Mountain Dogs

bernese mountain dog puppy smirking at the camera

Like the Newfoundland before him, the Bernese Mountain Dog may look big and imposing, but don’t let that fool you. Your children will love this sap of a pup, whose behavior is often described as quite mellow. That said, these dogs will jump at the chance to protect their families. They love spending quality time outdoors, so make sure your backyard is in good condition before you bring this dog home.

7. Shih-Tzus

cute shih tzu puppies sitting on a couch, one of the best family dogs

The Shih-Tzu is an adorable toy dog from China with a name that translates to “little lion.” These pups can have long, flowing locks or be trimmed close. They don’t shed, but regular grooming is required. These purebreds will become your little shadow, which is all part of their charm. Shih-Tzus are also personable, kind-hearted, and love to love their favorite people.

They do enjoy some exercise, but not as much as some of the other breeds highlighted on this list.

6. Basset Hounds

basset hound puppies looking cool

Although it doesn’t have the longest lifespan (about a decade), the Basset Hound will make any family happy. With its squat legs, long tail, and big, droopy face, the kids will love this dog from the moment they see it. Luckily, this sweet-hearted canine will love them right back. This pup is also very patient, so you don’t have to worry about younger children agitating this pooch.

5. Keeshonds: One of the Best Companion Dogs for Children

keeshond puppy on log, one of the good dogs for kids

The fluffy and wonderful Keeshond has existed since sometime in at least the 17th century, when this breed of dog would keep a close watch on rivers and canals for incoming boats. Their keen eye persists today, so this dog would watch over your kids when you couldn’t. Not only that, but Keeshonds are smart, alert, and quite jovial. They love kids and people in general, making them among the ideal and family friendly dog.

4. German Shorthaired Pointers

german shorthaired puppies gsp puppies on dog bed

The unique-looking German Shorthaired Pointer was born with great intelligence. Test your dog’s smarts as you train her and then reinforce said training regularly with treats. Besides their enviable braininess, these dogs are happy, outgoing, and bursting with energy. Boasting endurance, a German Shorthaired Pointer should be able to out-play any rambunctious kid.

3. French Bulldogs

french bulldog looking up

The popular French Bulldog, more commonly called the Frenchie, is on many a dog lover’s wish list. You may find yourself joining those legions as you realize what a great companion a Frenchie can be for your child. These little pups are full of spirit, and as they undergo the trials and tribulations of life along with your child, you’ll notice the two grow up together.

2. Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy hiding behind purple flower

Our last pick for kid-friendly dogs is the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Never heard of ‘em? That’s okay, but you’ll be glad you did. This dog doesn’t lose its temper, even among younger children. With great smarts and an unending love of family, the Rhodesian Ridgeback will never let anything happen to its favorite people. That’s why we call it one of the best family dogs.

1. Goldendoodles

Miniature golden doodle dog sitting on a bench in a dog park

Here’s a mutt worth having. When you mix a Poodle with a Golden Retriever, you get the too-cute Goldendoodle. This pup is like the best of both worlds: they’re kid-friendly dogs, smart, energetic, playful, and sweet. Their fur can get kind of unruly, but it won’t shed too much. You will have to make grooming a part of your routine, though.

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