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Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Question:

My kids are still young but we’d like to get a dog. What are the best dog breeds for kids?

Answer:

Breeds were created by humans for the express purpose of accomplishing certain tasks: sporting dogs retrieve game, herding dogs corral sheep, and working dogs guard the house. With kids at home, it’s generally better to select a type of dog bred to live and work closely with people, such as sporting or companion dogs.

Choosing from the best dog breeds for kids

Golden Retrievers and retired racing Greyhounds are great choices. But Boston Terriers, Labradors, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds, and Poodles are family-friendly pups as well.

Other factors to consider are care and maintenance. The Greyhound requires minimal coat care, while the Poodle (standard or otherwise) needs a lot of grooming. Poodles, however, don’t shed, so they’re a perfect choice for people with allergies.

Other factors to consider before bringing a dog home

Getting a dog is a huge responsibility — especially if you are already caring for children. Here are a few more things to keep in mind as a parent adopting a dog:

Size and strength: Opt for a dog that is compatible with the size and strength of young children. Large or strong breeds might unintentionally knock over or overpower small kids during play, leading to accidental injuries.

Temperament: Evaluate the dog’s temperament thoroughly before adoption. An ideal family dog should be patient, gentle, and tolerant, especially when dealing with the exuberance of young children.

Training and socialization: Prioritize adopting a dog that has undergone proper training and socialization. A well-trained dog is more likely to interact positively with children and respond to commands, creating a safer environment.

Health and veterinary care: Ensure the dog is in good health and up-to-date with vaccinations before bringing them home. Regular veterinary check-ups are vital to monitor the dog’s health and protect both the pet and the children.

Adjustment Period: Allow time (up to three months) for the dog and the children to adapt to each other’s presence. Gradual introductions and respecting the dog’s space will foster a positive relationship.

Family involvement: Involve all family members in caring for the dog, including feeding, walking, and playtime. Sharing responsibilities promotes bonding and helps the dog feel integrated into the family unit.

Preparing your home: Prepare your home for the new dog’s arrival. Remove any hazardous items, provide a designated space for the dog, and establish rules for interactions with the children.

Beyond these factors and figuring out the best dog breeds for kids, however, are bigger questions. Perhaps the most fundamental question to ask yourself is, “Do I personally have the time to train a dog and supervise them around my children?” If the answer is no, you might want to wait until your kids are older (many recommend age 5 or up) before bringing a dog home.


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