10 Best Breeds Of Dogs For Children10 min read

 In General



Children love dogs and growing up with a dog can be one of the happiest times for most children.  Someone they can play with, talk to, have quiet time with and someone to give big hugs to.  Dogs also teach young children what the phrase personal responsibility means; a trait severely lacking in many people in this country.  As children grow up they learn that dogs (or cats) are not cute, little stuffed animals.  They are living, breathing creatures like all humans.  Dogs need to be:  walked, fed, cleaned up after, taken to the veterinarian and other nurturing acts.  Children learn that pets are, in a sense, like THEM.  Children and their pets cannot drive themselves to go to a doctor, to a supermarket or to Disney World.  Young children cannot cook meals or go shopping.  Dogs and young children are totally dependent on adults.

The key is finding the appropriate breed of dog for a family with varying ages of children present. The right breed of dog has to be:  durable, docile, great with kids and have an even temperament.  That is why so many of the breeds of dogs that are great with kids are used to visit people in hospitals as therapy dogs.  That is not coincidental!

Many of the toy breeds are extremely fragile.  Just dropping a Maltese puppy several feet to the ground on a tile or wood floor can cause patellar subluxations and or a head injury.  There are also dogs that are not crazy about children no matter how old the child is.  Like people, you cannot really stereotype an individual breed but the following 10 best breeds of dogs for children represent my experiences and opinions over the years: 33 to be exact.




If the Bichon Frise were a person, it would have a smile on its face every day.  This breed is exceptionally gentle and kind to not only children but also all humans!  Adaptable to city or rural living the Bichon Frise has a gusto for life.  it does have a tendency to develop bladder stones but this can easily be prevented by maintaining a low urine pH.  This may be done by putting the animal on a low ash diet plus getting the dog or cat used to drinking water that has a tablespoon or so of cranberry juice in it.  The juice helps to promote an acidic urine.  The Bichon Frise is also a sturdy dog that can tolerate some rough play from young toddlers.

The Bichon Frise is one of the 10 best breeds of dogs for children.




The Brittany Spaniel has about as much energy as a toddler does.  This beautiful animal can keep up a fast pace with anyone. Gentle and as solid as a horse, this breed provides enduring companionship for adults and children.  It needs a lot of exercise and ear cleanings to prevent bacterial and yeast ear infections.  Relatively small, they do well in any environment.

A Brittany Spaniel stares intently ahead while enjoying a summer day by the water.




This is one heck of a breed.  The Cairn Terrier is full of spunk and a fantastic dog around children.  It is a TERRIER! This is a dog that does not back down yet at the same time is  extremely affectionate.  Most of the breeds in the terrier group are usually strong boned and not fragile like the toy breeds.  They are small dogs and fit well in any household.  A big plus for the Cairn Terrier is that it doesn’t shed.  Goodbye vacuum cleaner!

Oscar, a middle aged Cairn Terrier, is seen enjoying a beautiful Virginia day in the grape vineyard.




The Boxer may be a big dog and stronger than a Sherman Tank but is so gentle with children.  They are protective of children and are happy to burn off energy romping around with children in the back yard.  If you get down on your knees the Brindle Boxer will put its paws around your neck.  They need a lot of exercise so be prepared for that and make sure you have all skin masses excised as this breed is highly susceptible to mast cell tumors.  A fabulous breed that wants so badly to be human.

A blonde woman in athletic gray clothing is holding her brindle and white boxer on an autumn day in the park.




This is a medium sized fluffy dog that loves to be exercised but not as much as say a Boxer.  The Wheaten Terrier is great with all aged children and is a true pleasure to have around.  It has that terrier tenacity but is gentle to family members and friends.  It is also known as the “hypoallergenic” dog as it is suitable for people with allergies to dog dander.  Terriers also do not shed which makes cleaning up after them a true delight.  Again, goodbye vacuum cleaner!

The soft coated Wheaten Terrier is also one of the 10 best breeds of dogs for children.




The West Highland Terrier is the undisputed king of cool!  Nothing fazes this breed. They are great dogs that easily blend into a young family with children.  They may be relatively small but full of energy to keep up with the most demanding toddler!  They can become wanderlust so it is important to fence them in or use Invisible Fence®.  Make sure the skin is constantly clean as they are prone to allergies and bacterial skin infections.

A West Highland Terrier is literally flying through the air over a field.




If anyone ever brought up the French Bulldog they would immediately be reminded of the class clown or court jester.  It is great with kids of all ages and will make you laugh continuously!  Extremely lovable and affectionate the French Bulldog is small enough to be adaptable to any home environment.  They do have a brachycephalic (shortened) skull type so be careful in hot weather.  They are intolerant to heat.  Strong yet gentle they make great family pets.  A wonderful companion for all.

A tan and white French Bulldog is sitting on a wooden bench surrounded by 4 light tiger striped kittens on a tan wooden wall background.




The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the U.S.  This is for a very good reason.  They are one of the most friendly breeds of dogs that make wonderful companions for children of all ages.  They require lots of exercise, since by nature they are active bird dogs in the field.  Keep an eye on those ears.  They are prone to ear infections and auricular hematomas.  Many children look at their Labrador Retriever as their best friend.  A true friend indeed!

A young woman in a blue sweater is holding her daughter and the paw of their labrador retriever in a dandelion laden field.




The Collie is often known as America’s dog as it was portrayed on the TV show “Lassie”.  Practically every American of the right age had his or her eyes glued to the set on Sunday evenings back in the early 1960’s.  The breed may require extensive grooming but it is ultra sweet with all ages of children.  In my years of practice, I never met an aggressive Collie!  They live to please and be with their owners.  A handful of Collies have a genetic retinal disease but they make a fabulous animal for families with children.

The Collie is one of America's 10 top breeds of dogs for children




The Golden Retriever is perhaps the most beloved dog in America today.  God created the perfect dog when He created the Golden Retriever.  Intelligent, loving and sweet only begin to describe the personality of the breed.  Children are attracted to them like bees to honey.  They can ride them, pull their ears, dress them up and the dog puts up with all of it.  They do need a lot of exercise and are prone to seizures.  My heart always broke whenever I had to put a Golden Retriever down.  The Golden is God’s gift to mankind.  For that reason alone, it is NUMBER 1 in the 10 best breeds of dogs for children.  Bravo!

Three young boys and their Golden Retriever sitting amongst a huge pile of fallen leaves during an autumn afternoon.
Contact Us

We love hearing from our readers. Please fill out the form below and someone will answer you ASAP! Thanks!