Skip to content

20 Worst Dog Breeds For Kids

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Not all dog breeds are ideal for kids, and there are 20 that are considered the worst for children.
  • Kids need to be taught how to be responsible around dogs, and parents should supervise interactions between them and their pets.
  • Labrador Retrievers are considered one of the best breeds for families due to their protective and playful nature.
  • Pit bulls are less tolerant and more aggressive than other breeds, but any dog can become dangerous if not properly cared for.
Written by Viena
Viena is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Practicing small pets and equine veterinarian and junior teaching assistant in Veterinary Medicine.
Published on
Friday 17 September 2021
Last updated on
Thursday 25 May 2023
dog breeds worst for kids
This page may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

A dog’s personality depends on its breed. There are factors to consider before welcoming a fur friend into your household. Not all dogs are family-friendly, even the most gentle ones can be hostile for some reasons you might not know. This article will provide 20 of the worst dog breeds for kids and a general overview of their canine line.

Having a dog can play an important role in families, but not all dog breeds are ideal for kids. It is great to have a dog with good behavior and upbringing, but you should still supervise it. You might have considered adopting a dog for your family. If you think the time is right, get yourself friendly dogs that you can entrust to be around kids.

Let’s find out which dog breeds are the least compatible for kids.

What Makes a Dog Incompatible for Kids?

Dogs that are good with kids are a great addition to a home. Also, dogs teach people how to be responsible owners. It is common knowledge that dogs are “man’s best friend”, but they have unique characteristics. You have to know which ones are ideal for your current lifestyle. If you have kids, then you should choose a pet that is well-suited around them.  

Even though you can train your dogs to be patient with your children, there are instances that may lead to trouble. Young children are not mindful of their actions most of the time unlike adults. Additionally, dogs have one person that they mark as their master. You have to be around if you want to make sure your dog is not going to hurt your family. 

Children do not think of their actions carefully. They can do things that can hurt and scare their pets. In addition, their playfulness might cause harm to them because dogs are naturally defensive. A dog and a child can build a friendly relationship, that’s no doubt. It is essential to determine if your kid can handle being with a dog around. Your family can have a dog if your child is energetic, has respect for animals, and commits to having one.

difficulty levels of dogs
Kids aren’t born exposed to aggressive dogs and are not aware that some breeds are hard to take care of.

20 Worst Dog Breeds for Kids

Again, it is worth noting that every dog is different, even kids. Thus, their interaction will greatly depend on their bond and comfortability with each other. No matter what the breed of your dog is, it is still best to oversee your children. 

With that, here are the 20 worst dog breeds for kids.

1. Chihuahua

Originating from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the Chihuahuas are one of the popular breeds of dogs. They have a lifespan ranging from 12-20 years. Despite their tiny build, Chihuahuas may be one of the most unpredictable breeds. They are naturally “nervous” dogs. Chihuahuas are easily provoked and can act out of character when frightened. 

People mistakenly identify Chihuahuas as great companions for kids for their cute and tiny size. But, sudden actions of children playing may cause the dog to act in defense. A Chihuahua prefers to have its own space—the total opposite to kids who are chaotic and a little rough. 

On the bright side, they are loyal and require attention from their owners. Also, they thrive when in a house with older people. And, to those who can be careful and aware of their actions.

2. Chow Chow

From China 2000 years back, Chow Chows have middle-size bodies. A Chow Chow’s furry and cuddly look may be misleading to children. Chow Chows are a territorial and somewhat bossy breed. They are a quiet and aloof type of dog. 

If you’re deciding how to pick a family dog, know that Chow Chows are not ideal to be around wild kids. Loud and hyper kids can cause Chow Chows to be aggressive. If you bring a Chow Chow into the home as a young pup, chances are it will grow fond of kids.

However, they are generally a breed that does well if properly socialized with humans. Chow Chows are loyal and protective of their family. So long as they are not provoked, they are great family dogs. They are compatible to be with their owners. But, they are one of the bad dog breeds for kids.

3. Akita

Akitas are wolf-like breeds, but affectionate, and friendly dogs. They get angry if they notice another animal eating their food. The Akita breed is prone to be aggressive and temperamental. When other animals or humans threaten them, they may become irritable and violent.

If in a family household, they do better with older children. It’s also not ideal to adopt an Akita if you have a small pet like a cat or a small dog. It’s part of their instinct to chase and prey on them. Due to their protective and loyal characteristics, being in the presence of someone they aren’t familiar with may pose a higher risk of an accident.

Akitas are better suited for a one-person household. They are a naturally stubborn breed but have a great sense of loyalty. Akitas are much more compatible with an individual household and older kids. For families, they can be suitable to be around older kids.

considering factors before choosing a breed
You cannot get a dog with a strong temperament for children as it may lead to accidents and unwanted bites.

4. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes are from the name itself, originating from Alaska. This breed is famous for its attention-seeking behavior, strength, and intelligence. This breed does not necessarily have a bad temperament when they are adults. They are generally more tolerable with children.

An energetic malamute puppy may be less suitable for children. They may easily overpower a small child, with all the pulling and hand play. It’s important to note that Malamutes shed a lot. This can cause allergic reactions in children.

This breed needs tasks to do and supervision. They are likely to flee from home if their owners deprive them of their required activities. Their escape can leave the kids sad.  

5. Dalmatians

Dalmatians have medium-size bodies with distinctive white-colored coats and unique black spots around. Their breed was originally hunters. Dalmations can sometimes have temperament flaws due to poor breeding. Destructive behavior may occur when not mentally stimulated or too confined.

They also shed a lot, which can cause an allergic reaction to kids of any age. Also, they are too naughty and destructive. They are one of the dog breeds that are not good with kids as these dogs are very energetic. This can be a safety risk for small children. Hence, this breed makes it to the list of 20 worst dog breeds for kids.

On the other hand, Dalmatians are an Intelligent breed. With proper training and socializing, they can be wonderful family dogs.

6. Cocker Spaniel

Playful, smart, and sturdy – that’s how a Cocker Spaniel is popular. They are one of the most loved dog breeds because of their sweet look, dreamy dark eyes, and long, attractive ears. 

Cocker Spaniel is consistently included when ranking most aggressive dogs because of their “rage syndrome”. This is described as unexpected, unexplainable aggressive dog behavior – a sudden vicious attack. Although all dogs are different, there are some cases of cocker rage or sudden onset aggression. Also, this is usually triggered when the dog is caught off-guard, which is unavoidable when with children.

Nothing can ultimately treat the condition. This cocker rage is near too impossible to remove, even with vigorous training. It is better that adults are the only ones to care for them. This makes them one of the worst family dogs for kids.

Cocker Spaniels are affectionate and friendly dogs that can make great family pets. They generally get along well with children, although they may be sensitive to rough play.

7. Basenji

Basenji is a dog breed that does not bark making them one of the most unusual dogs. Although their non-barking treat may sound appealing to parents, their mischievousness makes up for it. Like a small kid, they are naturally mischievous.

Basenjis are innately independent and extremely energetic. This can make them difficult to train. They can create issues at home that may stress their owners. Their destructive attitude when bored can put both them and the child in danger. They aren’t necessarily fond of children.

This dog breed is difficult to train due to its high energy and innate desire to be independent. Even professional trainers face challenges in training this dog breed. They do better with older children who can match their high energy.

8. Caucasian Ovcharka

Caucasian Ovcharka, or Caucasian Shepherds, are a very large breed. They are a stubborn, strong-willed, and insolent breed. Also, they become fearless and territorial when faced with a threat. They are ill-mannered and headstrong at times.

Their size and temperament may be overwhelming for a family with kids. When it comes to being with children, their size and aggressiveness may not be suitable for kids. Even if they are properly trained, their size may be a problem when with children. The child can be easily pushed over or sat on.

If they are properly trained, they can still be hostile around people and animals. That’s why extensive training is required. Potential owners need to provide this breed an early training and socialization. They are loving and loyal if given proper attention.

9. Weimaraner

Despite their beauty, this breed was made to hunt large games, which is similar in size to small children. They’re known to play wild with people, especially if they do not get their needed exercise and attention. Because of that, they make it to the list of one of the dogs not suitable for kids.

Weimaraners need daily physical activities like running and walking. Without adequate exercise, they can be aggressive dogs, which may accidentally harm your kid. This breed is also extremely playful, which can become dangerous for small children. They also have a tendency to chase a running child because of their hunting nature. 

They can also be compatible with kids as long as they received training to behave with them. A Weimaraner can be extremely loyal, being dubbed as the “velcro dog”. They are best suited for a family with children older than 10 years.

10. Siberian Husky 

Huskies are highly active dogs that like rough play. They are also known to be stubborn and independent. This breed also shed a lot, which may cause allergy problems.

Before taking a Siberian Husky home, you can wait until your children are older and have more control of their activities. Although Huskies are known to be cute with children on social media, their innate behaviours may still get the best of them. Without intending to, they may accidentally hurt your kid. This is because they may be triggered by children acting like prey while running, crying, etc.

They made it to the list because kids can behave like their prey. They’ve also retained some wolf-like characteristics in more ways than one, such as a natural protectiveness and a sharpness in responding to perceived threats. These dogs are better suited for adults than children.

11. Tosa Inu 

Originally bred as a fighting dog, ownership of a Tosa Inu breed is illegal or restricted in many countries. The aggression of Tosa Inu is due to its original role as a dogfighter in Japan. This breed is known to be aggressive, suspicious, fearless, but also very intelligent, sensitive, and brave. With proper domestication and training, it’s good to have around. They require training, socialization, and supervision because of their strength, agility, and intense energy.

A Tosa Inu can grow to as heavy as 200 pounds; hence they can cause harm to kids of all ages. If not trained properly, they can be dangerous not only to children, but even adults. Owning and training this breed is difficult due to there being minimal information on them.

To raise them, you have to convince them to pay you respect. It takes an experienced pet owner to take care of and establish compatibility with them.

12. Australian Cattle Dogs

Australian Cattle Dogs, or Blue Heeler, have medium-size bodies that from the name itself, came from Australia. Also known as the Blue Heeler, this dog has incredible work-ethic, herding instinct, and high-energy. This breed is greatly popular for its social instinct. Australian Cattle Dogs are also aggressive and not a submissive breed.

They do not like to be handled, which can be a problem when with children who may pull their fur or tail. This kind of breed also tends to be a little possessive due to its wariness around unfamiliar people. They have an innate tendency to nip and herd, which may be dangerous to crawling children or babies. This makes the Australian Cattle Dog among the bad dog breeds for kids.

However, Australian Cattle Dogs are an extremely loyal type of breed. Meeting a Australian Cattle Dog that is sweet and submissive is considered rare and will need an experienced handler. They are best to be with experienced pet owners.

breeds for children pets
A dog breed that have high energy levels cannot be raised by or with a kid as it may cause unwanted interactions between the dog and child.

13. Shih Tzu 

Being affectionate and lively dogs, breeders develop Shih Tzus as companions. Although they are perfect family dogs once they mature into adulthood, Shih Tzu puppies are extremely playful.

Shih Tzus are one of the worst dog breeds for kids because they have the tendency to run around, even while one is walking can cause someone to trip, even adults. Experts often advise children to only play with Shih Tzu while sitting on the floor. Many reputable breeders refuse to sell their puppies to families with small kids because of this.

On the other hand, Older Shih Tzus are preferable with kids since they prefer to go easy after puppyhood. They are best to be with families once they have reached maturity.

14. Pekingese 

Pekingese are loyal and have a regal manner. Similar to Chihuahuas, Pekingese may look cute due to their size. However, they greatly depend on their mouth to protect themselves.

They do not respond positively to rough plays and unwanted activities such as poking, scratching, and tail dragging. In order for them to appear bigger, they use ways such as biting and yipping. This can easily come out when they feel threatened, even by a small child. Pekingese do not tolerate unwanted physical behaviors and are usually protective of their food and toys, which can be dangerous for children who love to explore.

Pekingese is better with older kids. They need socialization and human interaction to stay happy.

15. Rottweiler 

They are a fantastic breed that makes a great family dog, but they don’t get along with strangers or small animals. It is difficult to know when they may attack as they typically act calm and mellow right before. If a breed does not get along with small animals, it is unlikely to get along with small children.

This breed does not like strangers or anything unknown, which can trigger its instinct. Making it one of the worst family dogs to have around children is the Rottweiler. Although they are loyal companions, they tend to bite or attack with no warning whatsoever. This can be dangerous if the dog becomes frustrated or annoyed when a child plays with them.

However, with proper training and socializing, they make wonderful companions and are extremely loyal.  But male Rottweilers can be aggressive and dominating.

16. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, or Chessies, has many admirers because of their beautiful look and chocolate color. Despite being a retriever, they are almost the polar opposite of the retriever you know. Chessies do not go well with dogs foreign to them, and they’re also not so great with small animals. They can be hostile to strangers and may bite even without triggers. 

This breed can become extremely possessive towards their toys and food. This can put a child at risk if ever they were to take one of the toys or walk up to the dog while the dog is eating.

On a positive note, this breed does well with older kids and experienced owners. Proper training can also make them wonderful companions.

17. Dachshund 

Originally developed as hunters, Dachshunds are strong and fearless dogs that follow around what they want. They tend to be aggressive because of their hunting nature. They are innately powerful, but you can curb this unwanted behavior during their puppy stage. Unlike other dogs, when a dachshund becomes bored, stressed, or anxious, they resort to aggressive behaviors rather than destructive. 

Having a child in the house can already be tiring, but also have a dog that needs constant mental stimulation and exercise is plain exhausting. They can become moody when around children and be more violent than a Rottweiler or Pitbull. They are not compatible with kids because of their volatile and moody behavior.

Dachshunds can be around humans and strangers if you train them using positive reinforcement.

18. English Toy Spaniel

English Toy Spaniel, or King Charles Spaniel, from England, is a famous dog breed for its tiny size. The breed was originally a hunter. But due to their lack of energy, they remained pet dogs. An English Toy Spaniel is one of the worst dog breeds for kids due to its size. Because of their small size, a child may perceive them as a toy or object, thus treating the dog as such.  

Similar to the Chihuahua, they will act violently if they are not handled improperly. Once they become intolerant of how they are handled, they will act aggressively and violently. This can put the child in danger as younger children are not really aware of their actions and may not notice that the dog does not like it until they are attacked.

On the other hand, English Toy Spaniels are an affectionate and loving breed. This breed is more suitable for a household with older children.

19. Shar-Pei

Shar-Pei, from China, was bred to serve as a guard dog. They have deep wrinkles, which they are famous for. Shar-Pei are loving and loyal dogs to families.

They do not do well with other dogs, animals, and children. This breed was primarily for guarding however they are generally stubborn and have many aggressive and protective tendencies. Because of that, they are hard to train. Thus, this breed is not compatible with children and even adults if mishandled.

Combining their large size, stubborn temperament, and aggressive nature, they are dangerous even to adults if not handled properly. On the other hand, Shar Peis are loyal and protective but can be wary of strangers.

20. Saint Bernard 

These dogs are large-sized breed originating from Italy and Switzerland. They were initially dog rescues in helping locate travelers during a heavy storm. Families nowadays are domesticating and taking care of this breed. Their breed weighs a lot bigger than usual dogs. Thus, the quantity of food Saint Bernard dogs have to eat can be a lot.

This breed is considered what experts call “mentally immature”. Like puppies, they tend to be stubborn and difficult to train. This paired with their large size may be dangerous for children. Taking care of Saint Bernard can put children at risk for its large size. If both the dog and the child are not aware of their actions, they may find themselves in situations like the dog may be sitting on the child.

Even so, these dogs are loveable, yet, they do not demand too much attention. Saint Bernard dogs are easy-going as well. This breed does better with children over the age of 7 as they understand the responsibility of having a dog. Saint Bernards are gentle giants that can make great family pets. They require a lot of space and exercise, and they may accidentally knock over young children with their large size.

Kid-Unfriendly Dog Breeds: FAQ

What Breed of Dog is Most Likely to Attack a Child? 

Pit bulls are less tolerant and more aggressive compared to other breeds. Citing to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, some pit bulls were originally fighters. Although Pit Bulls are great guard dogs, their capability to inflict injuries should make you think otherwise. 

Any dog breed can be dangerous for kids if mishandled. Even the safest and friendliest breed can attack a child in defense. We have to take care of our dogs with care and proper treatment.

What is the Safest Family Dog? 

A breed that is both protective and playful like a Labrador Retriever is a great pick for families. Labradors are famous for being great companions to children as well. They make the safest family dog and are considered one of the least aggressive dog breeds.

According to Labrador Training HQ, they are a very gentle, patient breed that goes well with kids. This famous breed is highly intelligent too. Labrador Retrievers are trainable and have good behavior. All in all, this breed is kind and thoughtful—making them one of the most famous breeds. However, keep in mind that there are a number of breeds that can be equally great as the Labradors. It all depends on training and coaching.

How can my Dog and Child Bond? 

Having to bond with your dog takes a lot of processes. But it is especially harder if it is between a child and a dog. One step into making your dog and child bond is to make them spend a lot of time together. Humans and dogs bond better when spending time together. 

Another way to make your child and dog bond better are to let them play safely. This way, your child and your dog’s bond grow stronger. 

According to ScienceDirect, an increasing number of Americans place dogs in the center of their lives. It goes to show how dogs greatly affect their lives.

At What Age Should I Get my Child a Pet?

The ideal age for your kid to have a dog is by the age of 8 years. By the time they turn 8, your kid must be mature enough to know the responsibility of raising and caring for a dog.

From the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, you should wait until your kids turn five years of age to bring a dog at home. Meaning, if you are eager to bring a dog as a family companion, this is the youngest allowable age for your kid to be around dogs.

While dogs and kids are a cute combination, parents should carefully plan to adopt and welcoming a dog in a family with small kids.

What is the Best Age to Bring a Puppy Home?

According to American Kennel Club, the rule of thumb is that puppies should go to their new homes in the 8-to-12 week old. Puppies should stay with their moms for the first two months. This is the stage in their lives where they learn vital traits like socialization and bite inhibition.

Also, puppies start their weaning between 3- and 5-weeks-old. The weaning process is when a puppy’s food is transitioning from its mother’s milk to a portion of solid food. This process may take days or weeks.

As their future owners, you would want to make sure the puppies you take home are healthy and can eat independently. 

While it’s true that dogs are man’s best friend, there are bad dog breeds for kids. Having a dog in the family can bring great experiences and memories at home, but for the safety of kids, parents should know how to pick a family dog. Big dogs such as Caucasian Ovcharka and Saint Bernard, and small dogs such as Chihuahua and English Toy Spaniel are some of the dogs that are not compatible with kids. The behavior and actions of any dog, regardless of breed, are also dependent on how well they are trained. It also depends if they are raised to respect their owner.

Moreover, Instead of focusing on specific breeds that may or may not be good for kids, it’s important to consider each dog’s individual temperament, energy level, and compatibility with children before adopting or bringing a dog into a family with kids. It’s also important to ensure that children are taught how to properly interact with dogs and that all interactions are supervised by an adult.

2 comments on “20 Worst Dog Breeds For Kids”

  1. Got Omnia

    I agree with the chihuahua. I love them but my kids and the dog don’t get along well with each other

  2. Cathy

    You are so right about Labrador retriever. We have one in our house and it helps much to assist our kids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *