How to Pick a Dog Breed Good for Kids

Small dogs are generally not recommended for children because kids may not be gentle enough.
boy and his pet image by Renata Osinska from

When selecting a dog breed for your children you must take the personalities and tendencies of your children into account just as much as the temperament of the dogs themselves. Many breeds of dog are compatible with children -- it may simply depend how gentle the children are with the dog whether or not they will get along. Once you have selected a breed of dog for your children, spend some time preparing your children for dog ownership. To make the transition easier for both your kids and your new dog, educate your children on the responsibilities of owning a pet.

Step 1

Decide whether your children are old enough to help take care of a dog. Puppies are generally not recommended for young children -- if you have young children, consider bringing home a dog over the age of 5 months.

Step 2

Talk to your children about what kind of dog they want. Because many breeds of dog are good with children, you can narrow down the pool of options by asking your kids what kind of dogs they like.

Step 3

Decide what size dog you want. Keep in mind that small breed dogs are better for older, more mature children because young children can be rough with small dogs. On the other hand, large breed dogs may not be best for small children because the dog could accidentally knock the children over.

Step 4

Review the seven breed groups as defined by the American Kennel Club to determine which group of breeds best suits your desire for a family pet. The seven breed groups are sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding.

Step 5

Consider those breeds of dog which the AKC particularly recommends for families with children. Some of those breeds include Labrador retrievers, beagles, golden retrievers, bulldogs, boxers and poodles. Dachshunds do not do well with small children but are recommended for older, more mature children.

Step 6

Ask your friends for recommendations. If any of your friends have children and also have dogs, ask how their breed gets along with the kids. You may also find it helpful to ask your friends how they went about selecting a breed of dog.

Step 7

Take your children to the local pet store or animal shelter to see what breeds of dog they have available. If your children do not already have a preference for which breed they want, this will help them get some ideas.

Step 8

Spend some time interacting with the dogs your children like to see if they get along well. Closely supervise the interaction between your children and the dog and be ready to step in if the dog shows signs of aggression or if your children become too rowdy.

Step 9

Observe the dog's behavior while he is interacting with your children to determine whether he is a good fit for your family. The dog should be friendly and curious, eager to accept attention from your children rather than shying away from them. If the dog growls or nips at your children, end the interaction immediately and move on to another dog.

Step 10

Select the dog that best suits your family and bring him home. If none of the dogs you have looked at suit your family, try another shelter or pick the breed you like best and search for local breeders in your area.


  • Before adding a dog to your family, consider your motivation for doing so. If you are thinking about getting a dog just because your children have been begging you for one, it may not be the best idea. Only purchase a dog if you have the time to properly care for him.



About the Author

Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.

Photo Credits

  • boy and his pet image by Renata Osinska from