Children and puppies go together like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, and cookies and milk! Children who grow up with a family dog learn responsibility, how to care for another living creature, and form bonds that withstand the test of time. There are several advantages for kids who are raised with a dog such as building up a healthier immune system, better-behaved children, and higher empathy, leadership skills, self-esteem, and emotional intelligence.
So, what puppies are kid-friendly? The best dog breeds are typically smart, trainable, show good behavior, and are easy to manage in a busy household.
When choosing the best family dog, you’ll also want to consider several factors such as temperament, size, grooming needs, activity level, and space. From tiny dogs maturing at 8-10 lbs to gentle giants weighing in at 180 lbs, our comprehensive list of best dogs for kids features a breed for families in any situation.
What Makes a Dog Kid-Friendly?
A good family dog is gentle above all and understands its role in the family pack. The best dogs for kids need to be patient and tolerant of little hands, clumsy bodies, and the boisterous, raucous environment energetic kids create. Dogs that are good with kids also need to be calm and docile with babies around and not be jealous of children receiving attention.
Friendliness goes a long way in a family dog! Most families will have frequent guests over to their home, whether that’s through hosting playdates with other children, family gatherings, or cookouts with neighbors. While it’s fine if a family dog is also a great guard dog, a friendly puppy will be able to quickly recognize wanted guests and adjust accordingly.
Above all, the best family dogs need to have a highly reliable, predictable personality. You need to be able to tell how a dog will react to different situations each time. An unpredictable dog can be a nightmare when around children and cause problems in the family’s harmonious flow. Being able to trust a dog with your kids is paramount to a successful canine companion, which is why the best dogs for kids are typically friendly and gentle breeds, such as Golden retrievers or Beagles.
If you love a lively, sometimes chaotic family environment where there is something always going on, a high-energy dog might be an excellent fit for your pace in life. A high-energy dog will need someone to match their need for frequent exercise and keep up with their constant desire to play – does that remind you of any kids you might know? We bet it does! While high-energy dogs can get potentially rowdy in the mix of kids, a well-trained dog will know when to settle. In many households, the best dog breeds for kids are those that can match the energy levels of young kids every day while knowing when it’s time for playtime to end.
But high-energy pups might not be your idea of what good family dogs look like. An ideal dog should meet your lifestyle preferences. Maybe you want more of chill family life. In that case, you should choose a dog breed known for its lower energy needs. This type of dog will not need frequent, long exercise sessions, leaving more time to tend to children or do family activities. If you’re busy with the children, they will patiently hang out in their favorite spot, content to watch the hustle and bustle.
From long, double coats to non-shedding dogs, it’s important to think about the amount of time and money your family wants to spend grooming your canine family member. If you are in the habit of regularly vacuuming up crumbs after your preschooler, a dog that sheds may be fine if that vacuum is already making several passes. If your family keeps everything in tip-top shape and you don’t want your toddler fisting clumps of hair, a low-shedding dog may be an option.
Consider whether or not you want to be making frequent trips to the groomer. While a dog may be low-shedding, it also may require more grooming than a high-shedding dog. Poodle mixes tend to have higher grooming needs even though they are a good fit for families with allergies. Some breeds have fast-growing, long hair that will need to be clipped or styled. Other dogs have sleek, short coats that don’t require much maintenance.
Regardless of the family dog’s breed, all dogs will need regular coat maintenance, baths, clipped nails, and dental hygiene monitored.
Breed size and your living space
You’ll notice our list contains all sorts of dog breed sizes, as there’s a dog to fit every family! What you want to consider is how much space you have for both the dog's needs and the rest of your family. If you live in a smaller space, you may already be a bit crowded with children and all the equipment they require. In this case, a large dog might not literally fit in with your floor space. You’ll also need to assess if your living space has a sufficient amount of room for the exercise requirements needed to keep the breed happy and healthy.
Your children’s ages
The age and maturity levels of your children will play a large role in the type of family dog breed you select. Some breeds do better with older children who can understand how to approach a dog gently and respectfully. Other breeds may be too small for rowdy children and might get stepped on or harmed. A more high-energy dog may knock down smaller children. It’s important to think about what the dog you choose will be like when your kids grow older as well because raising your dog is also a lifelong commitment. As you can see, there’s no one rule of what good dogs for kids should be like, as the top option for one family might not work for another.
The 15 Best Dogs for Kids
Now that you’ve got some solutions in mind about what type of dog would fit your family’s needs best, here’s our comprehensive list of good family dog breeds that go beyond a typical Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever choice.
A Tibetan Spaniel is not as well-known as some other breeds, but know that it is a delightful, small dog that forms a tight bond with its people and is one of the best dogs for kids you could consider. This little dog, sometimes called a “Tibbie,” is very active with a pleasant temperament, making them fun companions for little ones. A Tibetan Spaniel is also a convenient, portable size, so the kids will love it when your pup comes with you on a family adventure.
Known for its loyalty to its family, a Beagle puppy for sale is an excellent dog for a family with kids. Being around people makes them so happy because they were bred to stay in packs. While a Beagle puppy is energetic and lively, it does not roughhouse to the point of being a boisterous danger to children, so parents can rest assured a Beagle will be a great play companion.
Goldendoodle puppies for sale are great choices for active families who stay on the go! As a cross between the friendly Golden Retriever and the highly intelligent Poodle, a Goldendoodle inherits the best of both breeds. This energetic, fun dog is always up for a play session and enjoys running around the yard playing chase and fetch with the kids. They are considered hypoallergenic which means they’re a great choice for families who suffer from allergies or who don’t want to spend a lot of time vacuuming up loose hair.
A Newfoundland puppy, commonly called a “Newfy,” was traditionally bred for water rescue and features webbed paws and a water-resistant coat. If your kids love to be around water, a Newfy puppy is the perfect dog breed choice for your family. But don’t let their massive size fool you – even though females can weigh up to 140 lbs. and males up to 180 lbs., a Newfoundland puppy shows a calm, gentle personality. Their docile nature and love of children make them the ultimate “nanny dog.” In fact, Nana from Peter Pan was a Newfoundland who guarded the nursery. A Newfy puppy’s sweet temperament will get along swimmingly with any family with children.
If you’re looking for a small yet sturdy family dog, a French Bulldog puppy for sale fits the bill. A French Bulldog puppy is a great choice for an active family that may not have as much space to offer a bigger breed but without sacrificing an intelligent, playful companion opportunity. With their joyful attitude, French Bulldog puppies are ready to be fiercely loyal friends with the whole family. They’ll make you laugh, too, because they are always getting into some hilarious shenanigans!
A Cocker Spaniel puppy for sale has some of the softest ears of the sporting group, not to mention a soft, silky coat perfect for snuggling with during family movie time. The Cocker Spaniel’s friendly, happy-go-lucky personality is the perfect match for kids. These dogs thrive with plenty of playtime, and they enjoy family walks around the block. Cocker Spaniel puppies are always up for anything, so they’ll go right along with family activities.
A great choice for a dog that is great with kids is a Mini Bernedoodle puppy for sale. Not only will a Miniature Bernedoodle puppy get along with your children, but they are also friendly to other cats and dogs already in the home if socialized early. Families will find their goofy, loyal nature to be delightful. Because Mini Bernedoodle puppies are highly intelligent, the kids will love teaching your puppy new tricks and commands that go beyond basic training. A big draw for families who have kids prone to allergies is that Miniature Bernedoodle puppies are hypoallergenic and low-shedding.
Pug puppies are easily recognizable with their squishy faces, wrinkled brow, big, round eyes, and short muzzle. A Pug puppy will always have a happy smile on its face with its wide mouth and pink tongue sticking out. A Pug puppy for sale is tiny enough to not hurt children but is sturdy and durable for kids that like to play rough. Their curious, charming personalities make them fun playmates for children. A Pug’s mouth is small enough that it’s not able to bite and nip as much as other breeds.
What’s not to love about an enthusiastic, sweet, and absolutely stunning four-legged friend for your kids? An Irish Setter puppy’s exuberant, playful demeanor makes them the perfect play companion for children. Irish Setters are gentle and will not mind little hands petting and brushing their mahogany, chestnut, or deep auburn long-haired coat. An Irish Setter loves being with its family so much that it may experience separation anxiety, so it’s best to keep constant companionship so they don’t get lonely.
Often mistaken for a Greyhound, a Whippet is an agile, athletic, medium-sized dog who loves to run and play. A Whippet is said to be so friendly with strangers that it would show a robber where the family treasures are hidden! Their affectionate nature and high energy mean they’ll keep the kids tired out and provide companionship for other animals in the house. A loving, cuddly Whippet puppy is the perfect addition to a family that loves to snuggle.
A Visla puppy is an affectionate, gentle retriever dog whose sleek coat glistens in the sun when they elegantly chase after a ball. Children and Vislas will have an amazing time burning off energy in the backyard playing together. A Visla is very open to strangers and makes friends quickly with those around them. Their sensitive nature allows them to be in tune with a family’s emotions and needs, making them fantastic emotional support animals when children navigate big feelings.
Bernese Mountain Dog
A Bernese Mountain Dog puppy for sale has a reputation for being one of the least aggressive dog breeds. Although they may be extra large, don’t let that make you think they’re intimidating. In fact, quite the opposite is true. A Bernese Mountain Dog puppy has a warm personality and a kind heart under all that fluffy, double-coated fur. Kids will love how a Bernese Mountain Dog is always ready and willing to play and then cuddle afterward.
You may have seen Alaskan Malamutes pulling sleds in the famous Iditarod Race. These hardy working dogs are built for stamina and withstanding harsh weather conditions, but did you know they have an amazingly high tolerance for little ones? Their gentle nature and furry bodies are perfect for kids who may view them as cuddly stuffed animals come to life. You’ll fall in love with the family-friendly nature of an Alaskan Malamute puppy for sale.
A Bich-Poo dog for sale is a combination of a Bichon Frise and a Toy or Mini Poodle. A Bich-Poo puppy has a big personality in a tiny body! Known for their sweet, loving nature, Bich-Poo puppies are wonderful companions for children. They love to zip around and play, which will captivate busy kids. Bich-Poo puppies also get along well with other pets and strangers, so they’re an all-around great family dog.
Not as commonly known as a Labrador or Golden Retriever, Brussels Griffon puppies hold their own in the list of best dogs for families with kids. They are spunky, small dogs that love being with children. Their tiny size is perfect for a family in a smaller home, apartment, or condo, and these playful puppies just need daily playtime and a short walk for exercise requirements. A Brussels Griffon puppy for sale thrives on mental stimulation and interaction, so children will have no trouble supplying endless activities and camaraderie with this friendly dog.
Bring Happiness to Your Kids With a Puppy From Pawrade
If you’re looking to bring joy to your family with the gift of a kid-friendly puppy for sale, Pawrade is eager to help you. Our Puppy Concierges have a variety of great family dogs themselves, so they can help recommend a dog to find your family’s needs. Contact us at 888-729-8812 to explore our huge list of options for the best family dog for children!