Dogs and kids just seem to go together. A dog provides children with loyalty, companionship, and affection, and kids give dogs the attention that many of them crave.
Choosing the right breed to bring into a family with kids is important. Some breeds are known to be patient and careful with children while others are best left to adult owners.
Best Breeds for Kids
Topping the list of kid friendly dogs is the Labrador Retriever. These dogs are well known for their affectionate, patient nature. In fact, the Labrador is currently the most popular family dog in the United States. Labs are also playful and will tolerate a bit of rough housing with kids as long as things don’t get too out of hand. The Labrador can be sensitive, however, and kids should be taught not to scold these dogs, who can easily have their feelings hurt.
Another kid loving breed is the Golden Retriever, which, as their name might suggest, shares many characteristics with the Lab. They are loyal and patient and eager to please their owners. This breed is a bit more energetic than the Labrador, however, and requires more exercise and play to keep them happy. If your kids are looking for a playmate, the Golden will certainly please.
Another dog that loves the attention kids can provide is the Pug. Pugs (pictured above) love praise and play and spending time with the family. These dogs are intelligent too, which can make them a bit stubborn at times. One advantage of the Pug over other family dogs is their smaller size.
Young children won’t get knocked over while engaging with this breed. Of course, this means children will have to be taught not to get too rough and inadvertently hurt these small dogs.
Breeds Not Recommended for Kids
Just about any dog, if socialized well and bred to be friendly, can make a good family pet. That said, certain breeds have less patience for kids and can become aggressive in certain circumstances. Such dogs are not recommended for children.
One such breed is the Chow Chow. These beautiful longhaired dogs are known to have a quick temper and can nip at children if they are in a bad mood or if children disturb them. The dog can also be a bit of a bully and might corner children, especially if kids show fear around these dogs. The lush coat of a Chow Chow can be attractive to kids and their eager fingers, which can lead to unpleasant encounters.
Some believe the Pit Bull is not always a good breed for families with children, although Pit lovers may adamantly disagree. Dominance can be important in this breed and the Pit Bull may want to assert their authority over children. This can lead to aggressive behavior in the dog. Pits are not nippers -- if a Pit Bull bites, they tend to latch on, and it’s hard to get them to open their mouths and release whatever they’re biting. This can be a scary experience, especially where children are concerned. That said, if you know the dog’s history, and especially if you’ve raised them from a pup, the Pitty’s nature can be among the most loving, gentle, and patient of breeds. Like people (and all dogs) they’re each unique. Use your judgement.
For many of the same reasons, the Rottweiler is often not a favorite choice for kids. Rotties can be unpredictable. This breed can play nicely with children one minute, and become aggressive the next. This unpredictability can lead to dangerous situations, since kids tend to lose themselves in play with dogs.
As is the case with Pit Bulls, hostile tendencies in the Rottweiler are a result of breeding practices in which aggression was encouraged. Careful breeders can produce both Rottweilers and Pit Bulls with much friendlier dispositions. Parents should understand the risks involved with these dogs, however, and make their choices accordingly.
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