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25 Best Kid-Friendly Dog Breeds

Written by Elliot DeLacey
Elliot DeLacey is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Monday 1 February 2021
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
best kid-friendly dog breeds
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Everyone who’s owned a dog knows how much our furry friends can mean to us. Dogs take up a huge part of our hearts and sometimes our homes.

Not only is it important to make sure your children are comfortable around our dogs, but we also have to make sure our dogs will be safe with our kids. Some dog breeds are less suited to families for smaller children, so what makes a good family dog? Our list of kid-friendly dog breeds lists the top 25 best dog breeds for a family with kids!

Not all dog breeds are the best dog for families. You should consider the dog’s size, your family’s budget, and the amount of time you have for exercise and outside time with your furry friend!

When welcoming a new furry friend into the family, make sure you have the time and resources to give them the proper socialization and training they need.

1. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a well-known dog breed who has been a vital part of many families for years. This loving and intelligent breed is the perfect addition to any family even ones with other dogs! Labradors don’t do well in apartments but are good for novice owners and do well in both hot and cold climates.

This breed is easy to train, intelligent, and all-around loving and caring. Like all other dog breeds, make sure to exercise your dog as well as keep up with their training and socialization. The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds and becomes instant best friends with whoever they meet.

Do you own a Lab? Take a look at our recommended Labrador dog foods!

2. Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a loving and wonderful family companion. This small breed originated in the United Kingdom and is ranked as the 19th most popular dog breed. This happy breed is known for being loyal and affectionate. They make good therapy dogs and love spending time with those who love them.

This dog breed is good with both children and other dogs. Be ready to lose all privacy when this beautiful pup comes into your life as they will loyally stick by your heels to share with you how much they care. The Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel is the perfect dog for a family with kids as they live to please their owners and share their love.

3. Boston Terrier

This small and sweet breed weighs in at under 25 pounds. The Boston Terrier is low maintenance and even adapts to apartment living, unlike many other breeds! Although this loving breed does well with apartment living, a walk or game of fetch will always be appreciated by your furry friend.

While the Boston Terrier is a loving and family-oriented breed, they are what is referred to as brachycephalic and can have health issues. This means the breed will suffer from difficulty breathing due to having a narrow airway. Lots of dog breeds with a short snout suffer from respiratory problems more often than other dog breeds. They are also more likely to suffer from overheating from over-exercise or hot weather.

boston terriers are kid-friendly
Boston Terriers are kid-friendly dog breeds!

4. Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain dog is a working dog from Switzerland. They herd cattle and pulled carts but above all, they are loyal companions. Due to its size, this large dog breed doesn’t do well with apartment living but is great with families that have kids. They are a patient breed who loves to know that you care about them too.

The Bernese Mountain dog does lots of shedding due to its heavy coat. This same coat is also what makes them good with cold climates and susceptible to overheating in warmer ones. However, this breed suffers from many health conditions like Canine Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, and many more. Make sure to take your furry friend in for regular check-ups with your local vet to ensure your dog is happy and healthy.

5. Poodle

The Poodle is a high energy dog who can be just as rambunctious as your human kids! The Poodle is playful, affectionate, cuddly, patient and above all, gentle. These traits are incredibly important when choosing a dog breed to live with your family. Poodles are alert and make great companions for warning you when someone is coming towards you or approaching your home.

However, keep in mind that due to Poodles high energy levels, you should spend lots of time playing with your pup and training them to make sure they don’t get out of hand or accidentally hurt themselves or your children.

Adopting a Poodle soon? Check out our list of Poodle name ideas!

6. Beagle

This dog ticks all the boxes on the list of best kid-friendly dog breeds! The beagle is cute, loving, friendly, and a loyal companion. They live off of having a good relationship with their owner and love just spending time with you. Having a job that keeps you away from home for long hours means the beagle may not be a good dog breed for you.

Although, don’t let your Beagles cute expression fool you. They can become better escape artists than Houdini if they smell or see something they want. Beagles are a great dog for families with children and make the perfect addition to almost any family setup.

7. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a pack dog who loves to have their human and canine friends right by their side. Their loyal and friendly demeanor makes them a great family dog. The Alaskan Malamute does well in cold climates and they have a powerful demeanor sure to scare off any potential threats.

Although this breed is good with kids, there is a chance your pup may want to be the only dog in the house. They are a great dog for if you have strangers around a lot as they don’t get as territorial as other breeds. Be sure to keep up on your dog’s socialization and training as they are a very intelligent breed and no doesn’t always stop them if they are not trained well.

8. Pug

The next dog breed on our list loves eating and sleeping as much as some humans we may know. The Pug is a sweet and small pooch who makes the perfect couch cuddle buddy and is one of the best kid-friendly dog breeds. This 15-pound dog breed doesn’t need loads of room or a huge back garden so apartment living may work well with them. Even though fetch isn’t their favorite activity, a game with the kids will always be loved by this dog.

The Pug is another brachycephalic breed meaning that they will have trouble breathing. Make sure to take your Pug into the vet for check-ups in order to make sure your dog is as healthy as possible.

9. Boxer

Boxers have remained on the list of favorite dog breeds for years. This is due to their high-energy levels and level of playfulness. The Boxer is a great option for families with kids because they’re so playful and loving. This breed is not only playful but they’re affectionate and friendly.

They love spending time with their families and even meeting and making new friends. The Boxer is a very intelligent breed so training is a must. While they may have some aggression in their genetics Boxers typically only have a tendency to be aggressive if they believe themselves or their families are in danger.

diseases particularly affecting Boxers
When breeding boxers, be careful of several diseases particularly affecting Boxers.

Love the Boxer breed? Check out our favorite puppy names for boxers!

10. Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is another small dog breed that has made its way onto our list of best kid-friendly dog breeds. This good-natured breed makes a great family member to humans who love them as much as they’ll love you. Due to their small size, the border terrier will do well living in an apartment and can be good for a novice owner.

They do moderately well in both hot and cold climates but should be monitored when it comes to extreme weather. Boston Terriers are affectionate with their family and can be a great companion for kids but may prefer to be in a house with no other dogs. They are friendly towards strangers but should still be kept on a leash when going out and trained well to maintain obedience.

11. Irish Setter

The Irish Setter is a beautiful and gifted athlete. This breed is high energy which makes them the perfect workout partner or companion for long walks and hikes with your family. This inquisitive breed is easy to train and has a high wanderlust.

Their high energy level means that you will have to keep them active and exercise them often to makes sure they don’t become out of hand. This breed is good for families of all ages. They make brilliant companions for families with or without children and even those with other dog breeds. They are moderately easy to groom and are considered a large size dog breed.

12. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a gentle giant who is known to be a nanny dog. They have a patient and watchful nature that makes them the perfect addition to almost any family.

They have a very calm disposition and a sweet temperament that is a very important trait when it comes to choosing a dog breed to like with your children. If you have the space for this fluff ball in your home, they’re sure to love you with all of their heart.

13. Dachshund

The Dachshund is a pocket-size pup who is perfect for families with smaller homes. They are a great breed to have if you have kids in the house. Dachshunds are a playful breed who love spending time with their family and even going out on nice walks with you.

They have a moderate energy level and don’t need as much exercise as many dog breeds on this list. Despite having a moderate energy level they have a very high potential to be playful and love to play a good game of tug of war or fetch with you.

14. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is another all-American favorite who is seen in many forms of media as the perfect example of being man’s best friend. This kid-friendly dog breed is a great family dog. They’re intelligent and a quick learner. They require lots of physical activity so make sure you have time during the day to take them on long walks or play lots of games with them In return you’ll get all the love you could ever want from this caring canine.

This dog breed is perfect for all kinds of families, even those with other dogs and young children. They are easy to train and have very high intelligence so stimulating dog toys will be great for this breed.

15. Collie

The Collie is another well-known dog breed that has made its way onto our list of kid-friendly dog breeds. Collies are well-tempered and intelligent dogs. They are loving and loyal to those who they know care about them and make the perfect family dogs because of this.

A Collie’s loyalty is unparalleled among other breeds. They also love spending time with children and make great dogs for both younger and older kids. Collies have a long thick coat that makes them great for living in colder temperatures. However, be ready for lots of brushing and vacuuming to deal with the furballs that may roll across the floor.

16. French Bulldog

Don’t have a big house or lots of room to share? That’s no problem for this small dog breed! The French Bulldog is a quiet and low-maintenance breed who loves spending time with their families and even friends.

They are alert and playful while still being easy-going and having a high level of adaptability. The French Bulldog is sure to fit right into your household no matter what age of kids you may have.

17. Maltese

This gentle dog breed may look to be noble due to their long white coats but won’t hesitate to run after a food scrap that’s fallen on the floor. The Maltese is a great companion and works well as a therapy dog and even sometimes as a competition dog.

They’re incredibly agile and if trained well obedient and great trackers! The Maltese are good with kids and other dogs as well. They should be socialized well and often as puppies and growing up as they can sometimes become a bit skittish or aggressive with strangers due to their loyalty and protectiveness over their owners.

maltese are good with kids
Maltese dogs are good with kids and other dogs.

18. Keeshond

The Keeshond is another gentle dog who would make the perfect addition to any family who is ready to love them. They are a medium-sized dog breed who are easy to train and affectionate towards their family. Keeshonds don’t mind having kids or other dogs in the house either. They have a high intelligence level and a high tendency to bark or howl at anything walking past your home.

Keeshond’s have a high energy level so lots of play is essential for this teddy-bear breed. They live 12-15 years and grow to be 16-19 inches tall and weigh 35-45 pounds.

19. Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is one of the smallest dog breeds that is recognized by the AKC. This small breed can’t hand roughhousing like some other breeds but love gentle play and will in return make a loyal and loving pet. They are intelligent and pack a huge punch of personality.

This breed grows to be 8 inches tall at most and only weighs 7-12 pounds. They have a high energy level so long walks would be a good way to keep this bred active and healthy.

20. Cocker Spaniel

Despite being classed as a sporting dog, this breed does not share the same size as many others in its category. The Cocker Spaniel is a small-sized dog breed who make the perfect family companions.

They have a sweet face and long beautiful ears. Cocker Spaniels love regular walks and playtime with your family. They don’t mind playing with kids and other dogs as well. They are compact and great for all kinds of houses so long as they get the love and exercise they need.

21. Vizsla

Another sporting dog, the Vizsla is also great for families with kids. They have a sensitive affectionate nature but still love to play and be rambunctious with kids and other dogs.

When not working, the Vizsla forms close-knit bonds with its family and doesn’t like to be without them. If you’re away from home often, bringing this breed into the family may not be a good idea. This pointer dog breed has a high drive for exercise and loves to go on runs and play for long hours at a time with its owners.

22. Bichon Frise

If you’re looking for more of a guard dog than a family friend, then the Bichon Frise is not the dog breed for you. This kid-friendly dog breed is sure that those they haven’t met are just friends that have yet to be made. Strangers are no stress for this dog breed as they love to get to know everyone and everything they cross paths with.

Their sweet attitude also comes with another bonus; a low shed coat which makes this fluffball even more perfect for a household who loves fun. The Bichon Frise is great with kids and loves to cuddle up on the sofa with its family at the end of a long day.

23. Shih Tzu

Although their name means little lion, the Shih Tzu has nothing fierce or ferocious about them. This loving breed is affectionate and outgoing. They follow their owners at the heels and love to make themselves comfortable on almost anyone’s lap.

Shih Tzu’s do great with apartment living and are perfect for first-time dog owners! They don’t enjoy being alone for long periods of time as they love their family more than anything else. They are good with both kids and other dogs and don’t mind meeting new people you bring into the house.

24. Cesky Terrier

This Terrier breed was bred to hunt vermin but nowadays is more likely to hunt the food you leave on the kitchen table. The Cesky Terrier has a loving personality and only moderate exercise needs. They are a small breed who make great companions for people living in apartments. They are affectionate with family and do moderately well with children, they may prefer to be in a house with older kids.

This breed doesn’t shed or drool much and so they are easy to groom. They ave good general health and are less likely to develop health problems or complications in comparison to some other breeds on this list

25. Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is known in modern times for being a great family companion and even a show dog. This dog breed, although originally being used for fighting, is not known to be aggressive. They spend lots of time with their owners and families. Bull Terriers do well with children and are known to be very friendly. They would follow you through all your daily tasks if they could.

Bull Terriers don’t take up much space and do well with apartment living. They have a high sensitivity level and don’t like to be left alone for a long period of time. Due to their short coat they don’t do well in colder climates but don’t mind laying in the sun on a hot day.

kid-friendly dog breeds
Bull Terriers are excellent family pets!

Adding a new furry friend to your family can change the whole family dynamic. This is why a kid-friendly dog breed is so important. Make sure you have the time, space, and resources to raise and train your family’s new puppy. Don’t forget to make daily time for family play, walk, and socializing time!

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