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10 Dog Breeds That Are Great With Kids

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Dogs are a wonderful addition to any family. If you're planning to start a family, or already have children, you may be concerned about which breed might be a good fit. We've picked 10 breeds that are known for their ability to bond well with children.

Always do your research to make sure that your activity levels and climate are a good match for whichever breed you choose, and enjoy your new fur baby.

1. Pug

a Pug dog

Pugs are sweet, goofy, adorable little dogs who love to play and snuggle. For families who are looking for a smaller dog, pugs make a great choice. If you're looking for a dog that can play for hours on end and run around all summer, a pug is not the best choice—their smooshed faces and redundant soft palates make it hard to breathe in the heat—but their loving nature and sturdy build make them a great choice as a calm family pet.

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Another smaller dog that is a good choice for families with young children is the Cavalier. These affectionate dogs were bred to be lap dogs for British royalty, so they do best with a family who is happy to give them lots of attention. They are sweet and loyal dogs that can easily have daily bouts of energetic play, but are always up for a snuggle. While they are considered a toy breed they are one of the largest breeds with this designation—making them sturdy enough for a busy household.

3. English Bulldog

Baby and puppy of english bulldog on red blancket isolated on white

These roly-poly dogs have been purposely bred with a focus on phasing out aggressive traits. English Bulldogs are stoic and affectionate dogs who develop deep bonds with their families—particularly children. Though not an especially energetic breed, they are loyal and devoted. While they are short, they are stocky and strong, making them a good choice if you're looking for a medium-sized dog.

4. Beagle

Beagle

For the family looking for a small, strong, and high-energy dog, the Beagle is your perfect fit. While Beagles need lots of exercise and activity to keep them happy, they have a soft, loving, affectionate side that helps them fit well with even young children. However, due to their natural curiosity and their highly attuned sense of smell, a fenced yard or a dedicated run line is imperative for their own safety.

5. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Always one of the most popular family dogs, Labrador Retrievers can fit with families of all energy levels. Young Labs are often silly and sweet, but have higher energy levels and need more activity. Older Labs are typically mellow and happy to laze around waiting for tummy rubs. Labs can be prone to hip dysplasia, so if it all possible, find if their parents have been Penn Hip certified or have had other orthopedic checks. They also have a penchant for overeating, so monitoring their diets will keep them from becoming extra-pudgy.

6. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are known for their long, flowing coats and their friendly temperaments. Upkeep on their coats is a necessity as they tend to get mats near their tails and chests if not brushed regularly, so teach your children young how to gently brush the dog. Goldens are sweet and patient dogs which make them pros around kids. They need a lot of activity, but they're exceptionally playful and are pros at playing fetch.

7. Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle

While all poodles (standard, miniature, and toy) are technically the same breed only differentiated by size, we like the sturdy standard size for a family with young children. Poodles are considered the smartest dog breed (surprise!) and they're playful, affectionate dogs, too. Their coats need regular grooming so they're not a low-maintenance breed, but their serious smarts and friendliness make the extra care worthwhile.

8. Boxer

a boxer dog

Boxers are rugged medium-sized dogs who tend to have a strong devotion to their family. Boxers are a great breed if you want a dog that will be loving and gentle with your kids while being wary of strangers. They're an energetic breed so they'll need lots of activity and play to keep them from developing bad habits around the home.

9. Newfoundland

a Newfoundland dog

If you're looking for a big dog, the Newfoundland is for you. These giants are sweet, loving, and highly adaptable. While you wouldn't expect a large dog to happily adjust to apartment-living, Newfies are low enough energy that they're happy to hang out anywhere. Good-natured Newfoundlands are natural swimmers who don't do well with high temperatures, so families who live in hotter climates would do well to find a dog better suited to their area—unless they have a pool they're happy to skim dog hair out of daily.

10. The Mutt

A cute young boy and girl sitting and holding a mixed breed dog while looking forward at the camera

While you'll never know what exactly you're going to wind up with when you take on a mutt, you can't forget that sometimes the best dog breed is no breed (or every breed). Mutts are often stronger and healthier than purebreds due to hybrid vigor. Be sure to temperament test any puppy by trying to gently hold them on their backs (they should be relaxed and not struggle), shaking your keys (they shouldn't be freaked out by noises or sudden motions), and by trying to take a treat away from them (there should be no signs of food aggression). If your potential pup passes these tests you should feel happy knowing that whatever breed you get, your dog is going to have a good attitude.

 
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