15 Kid-Friendly Dog Breeds Ideal for Your Growing Family

Jacqui Coombe

Thinking of getting a dog for your kids but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and with different personalities, character traits, and grooming needs, therefore it’s important to pick the right one. So, we’ve put together 15 kid-friendly dog breeds to help you find the right fit for your family, but first, let’s look at the things you should think about before you get a dog.

Things to consider before getting a dog

Dog ownership comes with many benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, and boosting your social skills and confidence. Dogs can also teach your kids to be responsible, compassionate, and cooperative. However, there are some things you need to consider before getting a dog, such as:

  • Budget – Do you have money to pay for dog food, vet bills, grooming essentials, and other dog tools and equipment?
  • Space – If you live in a house with a big yard, you could get a large dog, but if you live in an apartment, a small dog would be ideal.
  • Age and energy – You’ll need the energy to look after a playful and active young dog, but not so much with a more laidback older dog.
  • Time and mobility – You’ll need these to train a dog, give it attention, walk it every day, play with it, feed it, and groom it. If you don’t have time or have limited mobility, an older dog that doesn’t need training or a lot of attention, grooming, and exercise would be a better fit.
  • Older vs younger kids – Playful dogs are great for energetic older kids, whereas patient and older dogs are more suitable for younger kids.
  • Lifestyle – If you lead an active lifestyle, a dog that requires high physical activity is for you, but if your family spends more time indoors, a lap dog is a great fit.

15 best kid-friendly dog breeds

So, now that you know what dog ownership entails and the factors that influence what dog you should get, let’s take a look at some of the best breeds for families with kids. From a Labrador Retriever to a Cavoodle, you’ll be able to find your ideal canine pal among these kid-friendly dog breeds.

1. Labrador Retriever

For the past 30 years, the Labrador Retriever has topped the charts as the most popular dog breed in the US. It’s smart, loyal, playful, and active, requiring daily exercise. But most importantly, it is gentle, patient, friendly, protective, and loves children. It’s also easy to train and obedient due to its eagerness to please. It sheds regularly and needs weekly brushing.

2. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is another family favorite, being a happy and trustworthy dog, as well as a fast learner and great companion. It’s also protective, needs lots of exercise, and is trainable as it’s eager to please. What’s more, it forgives inexperienced owners for making mistakes, so it’ll make a great pet for young kids. It only barks when necessary and sheds seasonally, requiring only occasional grooming.

3. Beagle

The Beagle is not only small, cute, and lovable, but also a smart, happy, and outgoing dog. It’s great for kids as it’s playful, friendly, protective, and thrives on companionship. As a scent hound, it’s also curious. It responds well to training and is active, energetic, and fast, requiring lots of exercise and stimulation. It sheds seasonally and needs weekly brushing.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is sweet and gentle and gets along with just about everybody it comes across, making it a wonderful pet for young kids. Additionally, despite its small size, it has the enthusiasm of a sporting dog, so it’s very lively and loves to play and join in on the action, but at the same time it’s also happy to be your lap dog.

5. Poodle

The Poodle comes in three sizes (toy, miniature, and standard) and three colors (apricot, white, and black) so you can pick the perfect size and color for your kids. It’s a working dog breed and loves to join family activities. Its fluffy coat also doesn’t shed much but it needs to be clipped regularly for low-maintenance grooming.

6. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a happy, loving, and affectionate little dog. It loves to play but doesn’t require lots of exercise so if you live in an apartment or your family isn’t very active, this breed is for you. It’s also intelligent and can be a bit stubborn to train, but it’s very friendly with a low-shedding coat, making it the perfect addition to your family.

7. Vizsla

The Vizsla is loving and loyal, as well as tactile and sturdy. It’s also an active and energetic dog, so if your family enjoys the great outdoors and can give it lots of exercise, it may be the best fit. When it’s indoors, it displays a sensitive and affectionate nature and will form a close bond with you and your children.

8. Bulldog

The dignified Bulldog is loyal, calm, and friendly, making it a wonderful canine companion to kids. It’s also quiet and loves to sleep, so it’ll be a good fit for a family with a laidback lifestyle. But it still needs regular walks and the occasional romp. What’s more, it responds well to training and can adapt to living in the city or country. It sheds seasonally and requires weekly grooming.

9. Irish Setter

The Irish Setter, recognizable from the family film Big Red, is a sporting dog so it’s athletic, playful, and requires plenty of space and exercise. It’s also sweet, protective, and outgoing. These make it a great workout partner for an active family and a child-friendly dog. Plus, it responds well to training and only barks when necessary. It sheds seasonally and needs weekly grooming.

10. Pug

The Pug loves to sleep and snuggle up on the couch with you, so it doesn’t need a big backyard or coddling but it still needs regular exercise. It’s also even-tempered, charming, and curious. It can live in an apartment or country home. It’s agreeable to training and only barks when necessary. With supervision, it can be good with kids, and loves to play with them. It sheds regularly and requires weekly brushing.

11. French Bulldog

The French Bulldog has bat ears and a smaller stature than the Bulldog. It’s a quiet and low-maintenance breed that can be comfortable in a place with no backyard and makes a wonderful lap dog but still needs brisk walks. It’s also smart, alert, playful, easy-going, and responds well to training, which is great for new families. It’s one of the most popular small dog breeds in the world, especially among people living in cities.

12. Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a loyal, cheerful, and intelligent dog that loves interaction, activity, and mental stimulation. With supervision and gentle play, it can be good with children. It can also live in an apartment, but it still requires daily walks. It responds well to training and only barks when necessary. It sheds seasonally and needs weekly grooming.

13. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a large breed, but it has a gentle, sweet, patient, and watchful nature, earning it a reputation as a nanny dog. It’s also smart and loyal and can make a great apartment dog, as long as you let it out to exercise and play. It’s easy to train, can help you perform your tasks at command, and only barks when necessary. It sheds seasonally and needs weekly brushing.

14. Collie

The Collie, recognizable from the Lassie films and TV series, is intelligent, loyal, affectionate, responsive, and adores kids. It comes in two varieties: smooth and rough fur. If you don’t want lots of grooming, then the smooth variety is for you – it sheds seasonally, requiring only occasional grooming. It also responds well to training and requires daily exercise, which is suitable for active families. When not exercising, the Collie is happy to chill at home.

15. Cavoodle

The Cavoodle is a hybrid of a Poodle (toy or miniature) and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It has a hypoallergenic, non-shedding coat, is energetic, and is great with children. Due to its small size, it can burn off lots of energy just running around the house. It’s trainable as it’s eager to please, but early training and socialization are required so it doesn’t bark a lot and gets used to outdoor noises.

Choosing the right dog for your kids

Have an idea of which dog is the best fit? Of course, there are more kid-friendly dog breeds out there, so it’s important to do your research. You can visit your local animal shelter or a reputable and ethical dog breeder and spend time with the dogs there to help you choose the right one. When adding a dog to your family, make sure everyone is included in the decision-making process. A dog will not only provide health benefits, but also companionship, unconditional love, and lasting friendship if it’s the right fit for you, your kids, and your home.

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Jacqui Coombe has been a prolific reader since childhood, and now channels her love of the written word into writing content on a range of topics from business, marketing and finance to travel and lifestyle.

Santa Monica, CA
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