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Which dog breeds are best for kids?

Looking to add a new, furry family member to your life? Dogs bring so much joy and completeness to a family, and can be an essential part of healthy upbringing for kids. Yes, there is a lot to consider when making this decision, and you have to be sure your young ones are ready for the responsibility and awareness that is essential when having a four-legged brother or sister. Some breeds are superb for family life, and we’ve listed a handful below.

Dog Breeds Suited For Families

The Pug. These wrinkly, quirky bundles of happiness are a bit sturdier than most small breeds, and they love to run and play. Pugs have an adorable disposition that settles somewhere in between “cuddle monster” and “energizer bunny”. With so much love to give, you’ll find they are the perfect balance for kids.

More information on Pugs:

  • Training a Pug: They can be stubborn—you can say no a thousand times, and they are still going to drag something out of the garbage can, hoping you’ll chase them, or snag a favorite pair of slippers and attack them like a chew toy. However, they are love and positive reinforcement motivated. So, while they may look coldly into your eyes as they poop on the living room rug, they’re much more likely to go outside knowing they’ll get a treat and a hug.
  • Grooming a Pug: Pugs shed. All the time. But a weekly bath and blow dry can help. A Furminator brush is a wonderful tool that can relieve some shedding issues too. Be sure to gently clean and dry those face wrinkles often.
  • Pug health: Despite popular belief, Pugs can be healthy, with regular exercise and a nutritious, natural diet. When they become overweight, breathing can become more difficult. Pug eyes are vulnerable, so teach children that they must be very, very careful around the facial area.

The Pomeranian. Pomeranians are noble, protective, feisty balls of fluff. They are both gorgeous and highly playful, even well into older age. Living up to their royal history, this is simply just an elegant, precious dog to incorporate into the family.

More information on the Pomeranian:

  • Training a Pomeranian: Pomeranians are super smart and can pick up tricks and commands with just a little repetition. They are usually easy to potty train in comparison to some breeds.
  • Grooming a Pomeranian: You can take grooming to different levels with a Pom; but it may surprise owners that occasional brushing can easily prevent knots, while keeping the coat absolutely stunning. Seasonal shedding, up to twice a year, is to be expected, but it’s short lived.
  • Pomeranian health: Pomeranians typically live long, healthy lives with few complications. Collapsing trachea is one of the more notable conditions, and in most cases can be managed. (We just said goodbye to our pom—she was 19 years old, and an amazing companion.)

The Collie. Lassie (the first dog ever to have pet insurance) forever solidified the Collie’s place in our minds as the ultimate dog, and while dramatized, the show got a lot right. This breed is intelligent, loving, and overall a well-rounded pup. A Collie can be a best friend to kids. It’s recommended to introduce pups to children at an early age, so a bond and familiarity can develop.

More information on the Collie:

  • Training a Collie: Start early, and training should go smooth as butter with a Collie. They respond well to praise, and treats of course! Once that base line of knowledge is established, the sky is the limit.
  • Grooming a Collie: Collies can have two types of coats—smooth or rough. Smooth is short and considered easier to manage, but with regular brushing, a rough coat isn’t too much to handle. Collies shed seasonally.
  • Collie health: Typically, this breed can live nearly 15 years. While generally healthy, sometimes eye disease can develop.

The Golden Retriever. Nineties kiddos could probably admit Homeward Bound created a deep desire to welcome a Golden Retriever into the family. They originally hail from Scotland, and served as gundogs. Today you’ll find them helping authorities with search and rescue, or even assisting the disabled. But you’ll also see many families adopting them into their family, because of their sturdy build perfect for hours of play, and unconditional love for both adults and kids.

More information on the Golden Retriever:

  • Training the Golden Retriever: They are enlisted to save lives! So yes, they are highly capable of learning to sit, laydown, rollover, and poop outside.
  • Grooming the Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers can shed pretty ferociously, but this can be largely tamed with twice a week brushing. Their nails grow fast and will need to be trimmed often.
  • Golden Retriever health: Like many bigger breeds, Golden Retrievers can develop musculoskeletal issues later in life. Ensure they are getting the best nutrition for healthy bones to help prevent this.

The Boston Terrier. This cute small breed checks off two important boxes for certain families—they are great with kids, and are perfectly content living in a small space, like an apartment. They are loving, and happy whether playing a game or cuddling in a lap.

More information on the Boston Terrier:

  • Training the Boston Terrier: Starting early is key—potty training may bring a little extra challenge.
  • Grooming the Boston Terrier: The Boston Terrier sheds minimally compared to the Pug, but some little hairs may still end up on the couch. Brush them every so often (once a week) and you’re good to go.
  • Boston Terrier health: Be careful not to overfeed, because they can be somewhat prone to weight gain.

Other Family-Oriented Dog Breed Mentions

There are so many great breeds for families with kids, far beyond this list. Here are a few more worth mentioning:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Labrador
  • Bulldog
  • Beagle
  • Brussels Griffon

The AKC has an in-depth database of most dogs, detailing temperament, maintenance and characteristics—you may find an incredible pup just by doing a little research. Regardless, welcoming a dog into the family will be the best decision ever.

Editor’s Note: When choosing the perfect dog for kids, there are a lot of considerations. These tips (and plenty of research) can help you find the right dog for your family.


Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.

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