Dogs can make wonderful companions for children as most are intelligent, loyal, protective and playful. However, some dog breeds are better for small children than others. While your little one might want a dog because it’s “cute” or “fluffy,” cute and fluffy are not good reasons to adopt a pooch. Before you head to the local breeder or shelter you should know what, exactly, you are looking for in a dog. Do you want a dog that will protect your family or one that is more apt to play with your children? Do you want a dog that is active and outdoorsy, or one that requires little maintenance and that is willing to lounge inside all day? Each dog breed comes with its fair share of pros and cons, but by doing your research ahead of time, you can identify the breed that will work best for you and your family. This guide lists the top seven dog breeds for small children and why they have been rated as such:
1. The Collie
There are a variety of Collies to choose from, ranging from Boarder to Bearded. There is a reason Lassie is such a beloved children’s classic, and that’s because her breed is one of the most sensitive, gentle and predictable breeds available. If you’re worried about your dog biting your child when they yank her tail out of curiosity or when they experiment with her dog food, the Collie is the dog for you. She won’t lash out or overreact, but simply stand down until your child moves on to something else.
In addition to being level headed, the Collie is protective, loyal and intelligent. Ranked on the Top 10 Smartest Dogs list, the Collie is easily trainable and more sensitive to children’s needs than other breeds.
2. The Beagle
The Beagle is the cute breed that every child wants, but it has more than its cute looks going for it. The Beagle may be small in size, but he has a big heart and an even bigger personality. Known for being a curious breed, the Beagle loves to be outdoors and explore. He loves to play and never tires of games. If your child is active and adventurous, the Beagle is just the breed to keep him entertained. Keep in mind though that the breed tends to shed a lot and as a result, requires frequent brushing and bathing.
3. The Golden Retriever
The all-American family dog, the Golden Retriever is kind, smart, gentle and loyal. Though they are far from aggressive, dogs of this breed are not timid and can be protective when necessary. This breed is extremely patient as well, making them ideal service dogs and companions for little ones.
This breed is perfect for busy families that don’t have a lot of time to take them out to exercise. That said, though they don’t require a lot of exercise, they do like to get outside and play. If you choose to adopt this breed, they would be more than happy to roll around in the backyard after work or to hit the dog beach on the weekend.
4. The Bull Terrier
Long believed to be an aggressive dog, the Bull Terrier has received a bad rap in the past. However, in recent years, dog owners are beginning to appreciate the Bull Terrier for what it really is: a calm, loyal and loving breed. Dogs of this breed are smart and full of personality, and they want nothing more than to please their owners. However, though they can appear approachable, they are actually quite protective, making them great guard dogs for your little ones. However, dogs of this breed tend to bore easily without proper stimulation and require plenty of exercise and play. If you don’t have time to take your dog on multiple walks or runs a day, the bull terrier may not be the best dog breed for you.
5. The Boxer
Boxers may look stern and serious, but don’t be fooled. Beneath their alert exterior is a playful and fun-loving pooch just looking for a family to love and protect. These dogs are extremely active and loyal and enjoy being outdoors more than in. If your little one wants a dog that will roll around in the leaves with him and romp through the backyard on his make-believe adventures, the Boxer is the perfect breed for them. Boxers are also highly intelligent and easy to train, which is always a good trait to have when small children are in the house.
6. American Pit Bull Terrier
Another dog breed that has received a bad rap, the Pit Bull Terrier is actually one of the most kind, gentle and loving dog breeds around. The Pit Bull is highly sensitive and patient, making him the ideal breed for small children. If your little one wants a dog that they can cuddle up with or climb all over, the Pit Bull is more than willing to be that pooch. If you want a dog that will protect and serve, the Pit Bull is ready for the job. Dogs of this breed are also intelligent, easy to train and ready to play. However, the Pit Bull becomes easily attached and does not like to be left alone, so be prepared for some “acting out” the first few times you leave him in the house by himself.
7. The Newfoundland
Originally bred to be a working dog, the Newfoundland is sturdy, strong and capable—exactly what fisherman and farmers alike wanted in a dog centuries ago. Today, however, dog owners have realized that what makes the Newfoundland the perfect workhorse is also what makes him the perfect family dog. Give dogs of this breed the job of protecting what is nearest and dearest to you and he won’t disappoint. That said, the Newfoundland is also sensitive, sweet-natured and affectionate. He is just as great with children as he is with other dogs and strangers. However, due to his above-average intelligence, he is also easy to train, so if it’s a guard dog you’re looking for, you can train him to differentiate between the good kind of stranger and the bad.
Every dog can be trained to be a good family dog, but the above seven breeds are renowned for qualities that make them the best family dogs.
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