The Top 15 Dog Breeds for Families and Children

An illustration of different breeds of dogs that are best for kids

Many breeds are suitable if you're looking for a dog that gets along with kids. Theoretically, every dog has a good chance of getting along well with kids. Your chances of choosing a nice family dog can be affected by a variety of factors, including age, size, breed, and obedience training. Consider your children's ages and levels of exercise. An clumsy, gangly puppy that is unsure of its stature might topple toddlers. A little dog might be crushed by larger children if they are not constantly attentive.


While it's possible to make educated guesses about which are ideal for children, you can never predict how each individual dog will behave. Find a local dog rescue organization and enquire about fostering pets. Foster "parents" usually be open and forthcoming about the personalities and temperaments of the dogs because they want them to go to the proper homes. Spend time discussing the temperament and socialization history of the puppies with the breeder you choose. A knowledgeable, ethical breeder will be familiar with the puppies and their parents and should gladly divulge information. Whatever breed you choose, make sure to teach your kids how to behave around dogs.

Breed Characteristics

Numerous dog breeds are known for getting along well with kids. An clever, trainable dog with a decent, even temperament and moderate activity level is suitable for a home with children. It's also crucial to have a dog with a soft mouth or bite inhibition. Since they were educated to refrain from biting down on their target when retrieving it, canines like golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers have a "soft mouth" embedded in their DNA. Ideal child-safe dogs must also be non-aggressive, tolerant of a little hair-grabbery, and loving to get lots of cuddles.

Here are 15 types of dogs that have a history of good behavior around children.

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    Boxer dog looking at camera

    Boxers are noted for being lively dogs who like playing with children. It may go head-to-head with kids who likewise seem to possess boundless energy and a passion for the great outdoors. It has an amusing, innocent nature that kids may enjoy. Watch it carefully among toddlers since it may occasionally be clumsy and bump or knock over one or two children.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 20 to 24 inches

    Weight: 55 to 70 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short coat with fawn and brindle as standard colors, standard markings include a black mask, black mask with white markings, and white markings

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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    Labrador Retriever

    Labs make devoted family pets. They are among the last canines to become violent and are generally calm. They are kind, gentle, kind, and extremely intelligent dogs. They get along well with children and household pets. They don't mind if a kid hugs, pats, or pokes them. Families with young children will really benefit from their laid-back attitude. They value a large amount of room, ideally with a backyard, as they require a lot of daily activity.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 21 to 24 inches

    Weight: 55 to 80 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, dense double coat in black, chocolate, or yellow

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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    Similar to a longer-haired, furrier Labrador retriever, a golden retriever. They share a kind, relaxed, tolerant, and non-aggressive attitude. If given no productive outlet for its excess energy, this breed can become hyperactive and a little unruly. It is a cheerful and intelligent breed that may be a fantastic playmate for kids in school who like yard activities like fetch.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 21 to 24 inches

    Weight: 55 to 75 pounds

    Coat and Color: Medium-length lustrous light to dark gold double coat

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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    Poodles are exceptionally intelligent and have a wonderful disposition. The intense activity of a poodle frequently resembles that of a young toddler. Poodles are affectionate, cuddly, kind, and understanding. Additionally, you may choose between toy, tiny, or normal sizes. For families with young children, the bigger standard poodle is generally the best option because it is the toughest and can endure more roughhousing than the smaller types.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: Standard: over 15 inches; Miniature: 10 to 15 inches; Toy: 10 inches and under

    Weight: Standard: 45 to 70 pounds, Miniature: 15 to 18 pounds, Toy: 5 to 9 pounds

    Coat and Color: Curly, dense single coat; may be one of many solid colors, including but not limited to white, black, grey, brown, and apricot

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years

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    Bichon Frise

    This little cotton ball of a dog enjoys playing and is often not overly excitable. It is warm, endearing, and brimming with the vitality of a child's boundless enthusiasm. Additionally, because of its size, it doesn't terrify or engulf little children. Although it could provide a warning snap to let them know there is only so much it can tolerate if a youngster is being extremely boisterous or rough.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 9 to 12 inches

    Weight: 7 to 12 pounds

    Coat and Color: Fluffy and curly white hair (may have traces of apricot, buff, or cream), resembles a cotton ball or powder puff

    Life Expectancy: 14 to 15 years

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    The dog breed made popular by "Snoopy" is the beagle. These canines are good for youngsters since they are sociable, perceptive, and not overly large. Although some might be a little high-strung, they normally take to training extremely well. They are a sociable breed and like being around people, especially kids. They are devoted and make good friends with kids. It could also serve as one of the greatest security dogs for your child, alerting you to intruders with its characteristic baying sound. Being a loud breed, it might not be the greatest dog for small infants and toddlers who readily wake up from barking or sounds when they are asleep.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound (AKC)

    Height: 13 to 15 inches

    Weight: 20 to 25 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short coats in all hound colors, including but not limited to tri-color (tan, black, and white), red and white, and lemon and white

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

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    These energetic tiny canines appear to naturally gravitate toward young people. They can keep up with youngsters and can endure just about anything. Think of Toto from "The Wizard of Oz," who was also well-known on the big screen. They are a kind and friendly breed, especially around kids. The Cairn terrier appears to like children's roughhousing when many smaller canines often can't.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier (AKC)

    Height: 9 to 10 inches

    Weight: 13 to 14 pounds

    Coat and Color: Scruffy-looking double coat with a wiry outer coat and soft undercoat; coat comes in many colors, including red, brindle, black, sand, and gray

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

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    Although very protective and devoted, this breed has to be properly taught. German shepherds may be lively, especially when they are young. With their family, they can be kind and kind, yet they are cautious with strangers. They are an intelligent breed that can be trained to perform practically any task.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

    Coat and Color: Double coat, comprised of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight outer coat with tan and black or red and black coloring

    Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years

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    Shelties resemble collies, the "Lassie" dog, in many ways. They are breeds that get along well with kids of all ages and sizes because they are gentle, quiet, and patient. Shelties adore being around people. The breed is energetic and well-mannered among kids, but it requires some training to overcome its innate propensity to herd or pinch. Children that are very busy risk overwhelming the dog, so keep a close check on their interactions to ensure they get along.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 13 to 16 inches

    Weight: 15 to 25 pounds

    Coat and Color: Double-coated with long, harsh outer coat and short, dense undercoat; ; black, sable, and blue merle, with white markings

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

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    Pugs like playing, and they also enjoy playing with kids. Because of its propensity for overheating, this brachycephalic breed (flat-faced) should not be overworked; instead, brief play sessions and resting cuddled up with its owners are ideal for this youngster. Families seeking for a lap dog or snuggle partner will find this reduced energy dog to be perfect.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 10 to 13 inches

    Weight: 14 to 18 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short double coat in fawn or black

    Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

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    Irish setters are the ideal playmate for older kids since they are full of bounding energy and may be a touch rowdy for the youngest kids. This dog enjoys hiking with people and playing catch. It would thrive in a home with lots of activities planned for the family dog because it is a highly active breed.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 25 to 27 inches

    Weight: 60 to 70 pounds

    Coat and Color: Medium length with feathering on ears, chest, legs, and tail; red coat

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

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    These little to medium-sized dogs weigh around 25 pounds when fully grown, and they are used to life in cities where they blend in quite fine in flats. Non-aggressive Boston terriers like playing games and spending time with kids. They don't try to hurt anyone, but they occasionally become overexcited or accidently knock down a toddler.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 15 to 17 years

    Weight: 15 to 25 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat. All Boston terriers have a white muzzle and chest. The rest of their body will be either black, seal, or brindle

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

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    There are many friendly Cavs. The majority of people, including kids and other pets, get along well with these little, toy-sized dogs. They are spirited and like playing, yet they can also curl up for a warm, comforting hug.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 12 to 13 inches

    Weight: around 13 to 18 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long, sleek and silky coat with feathering around ears, feet, chest, and tail; four color varieties: tricolor, Blenheim, ruby, and black and tan

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

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    Similar to pugs and boxers, bulldogs are brachycephalic breeds that should avoid excessive exercise, especially on warm days. This breed will enjoy a quick game or romp, but will probably settle down for a nap after that. These dogs are affectionate and will put up with some minor roughhousing from kids.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 14 to 15 inches

    Weight: 40 to 50 pounds

    Straight, short, fine-textured, glossy, and red, white, fawn, or fallow (light brown) in any combination, with or without patterns and markings like brindle, piebald, ticking, black masks, or black tipping.

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years

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    Dogs that are mutts can be clever and well-balanced. Overall, a mixed breed dog may be an incredible find. They are available in a broad range of sizes and coat designs. Mixed-breed dogs might be less tense and are frequently physically healthier than purebred canines. Additionally, you may prevent a dog from ending up on death row or living in a shelter.

Breeds to Avoid

Some canines struggle to get in with families with small children. Some of the youngsters may stare, move swiftly, or like to shout or screech in a high-pitched voice; others may not respect limits. Spitz breeds like Akitas, Chows, Huskies, or Malamutes often tend to be more aloof and may not be the best choice if there is a young child living with them. A few smaller attention-hungry breeds with strong personalities, such Chihuahuas, Pekingese, and shih tzus, might not be the ideal option.