Best Dog Breeds for Kids

What are the best dogs for kids? We've got 10 of the top breeds to consider when it comes to adding to your family.

If your kid is begging you for a dog, or you just want one yourself, it can be overwhelming to decide on the right breed for your brood.

Dogs can be a great addition to any family, but some are better with kids than others. There are many breeds that are great for kids – but here are the 10 best dog breeds for kids.

“The most important thing about what makes a really good dog is trainability and sociability,” says Dr. Matthew Capitanio, a veterinarian with the traveling vet clinic VIP Pet Care.

Before you add a dog to your family, it’s important to remember that you must be ready to love and care for a dog. To see if you and your family are ready, check out the American Veterinary Medical Association pet owner guidelines.

Note: All weights and heights are from The Original Dog Bible: The Definitive Source for All Things Dog.

1. Beagle

  • Famous Beagles: Snoopy (Peanuts), Shiloh (Shiloh), Odie (Garfield), Underdog (Underdog)
  • Average weight: 20-30 pounds
  • Average height: 10-15 inches

Beagles are smaller dogs, but still posses the energy of a large dog. They are a breed of hunting dog, and require a lot of exercise, but keeping up with younger children and toddlers could wear anyone out, including this hound. They are also built tough, so rougher children aren’t a problem for them.

2. English Bulldog

  • Famous English Bulldogs: Handsome Dan (Yale Mascot), Rocky (Paw Patrol).
  • Average weight: 40-50 pounds
  • Average height: 12-16 inches

Bulldogs are cute, short and wrinkly looking dogs, but don’t be fooled by their name. These dogs may be used as ferocious mascots but they’re all love and cuddles.

Older kids who like to lounge will enjoy a lazy day with these little waddlers.

“They’re not very high energy, and they don’t shed a ton,” Capitanio adds.

3. American Bulldog

  • Famous American Bulldogs: Petey (The Little Rascals), Chance (Homeward Bound).
  • Average weight: 60-125 pounds
  • Average height: 20-27 inches

Not to be confused with the Pit Bull Terrier breed, American bulldogs are built taller and leaner, with more energy than most 2 year olds. These dogs make great companions for kids around 8 and older who don’t mind a little rough play, since younger children might be knocked down by an excited dog.

4. Saint Bernard

  • Famous Saint Bernards: Nana (Peter Pan), Beethoven (Beethoven)
  • Average weight: 120-180 pounds
  • Average height: 25.5-30 inches

These search-and-rescue dogs are very sweet and gentle, especially with children. The biggest danger with tikes is simply being knocked over by the large dog, but they love kids. They are good for older kids, though they do need some exercise, so parents should walk them on a leash until children are strong enough to hold the big pups. They also require more training than other breeds, Capitanio says.

5. Collie

  • Famous Collies: Lassie (Lassie)
  • Average weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Average height: 22-26 inches

Collies are herding dogs, and there are many different kinds of them to choose from, such as Boarder Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs. They range in size, so finding one for your family should be easy.

“I had collies growing up, so for me they’re the perfect dog,” says Capitanio. “They’re herding animals and will keep kids in line.”

They are sweet and loving – and like exercise, so younger kids will love running around the yard with them.

6. Cocker Spaniel

  • Famous Cocker Spaniels: Lady (Lady and the Tramp)
  • Average weight: 26-34 pounds
  • Average height: 15-17 inches

Spaniels come in many different breeds, and even the Cocker Spaniels include two different types, the American and English. Both are kind, gentle and live to please. They love people and especially their family. They are medium in size, making them ideal for younger children or teens who like to cuddle. They are also low energy, according to Capitanio, so a smaller yard is OK for them.

7. Great Dane

  • Famous Great Danes: Scooby-Doo (Scooby-Doo), Marmaduke (Marmaduke), Titus (Batman)
  • Average weight: 100-130 pounds
  • Average height: 28-32 inches minimum

Great Danes may look tough and mean, but they are kind souls who love people and children. They grow to be very big, so kids and teens should be old enough to hold onto them when walking, and old enough to not get pushed over by the large canines. They also require space and exercise because they are more high energy.

8. Bull Terrier

  • Famous Bull Terriers: Scud (A Toy Story), Sparky (Frankenweenie)
  • Average weight: 45-80 pounds
  • Average height: 20-24 inches

These dogs may have been portrayed as mean in some movies, but they’re actually very sweet creatures. They have a lot of energy, and require a bit more discipline and training, but they are kind and gentle with humans, including children, making them different than other terriers.

9. Labrador Retrievers

  • Famous Labrador Retrievers: Brian (Family Guy), Krypto (Superman), Zuma (Paw Patrol), Yeller (Old Yeller), Marley (Marley and Me)
  • Average weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Average height: 21 1/2-24 1/2 inches

Labs are one of the most popular breeds in the United States and are gentle giants. They are very loyal to their owners and kids, and they enjoy plenty of play and walks. They make great companions for kids of any age since they are just happy to be around people, but work well with older kids who can keep up with them.

10. Golden Retrievers

  • Famous Golden Retrievers: Buddy (Air Bud), Comet (Full House), Shadow (Homeward Bound), Dug (Up)
  • Average weight: 55-75 pounds
  • Average height: 21.5-24 inches

Right up there with Labs, Goldens are patient, loyal and loving dogs – perfect for kids of any age. They often claim babies as their own and continue to help raise them like a parent. But they love kids of any age and will be a companion to them for years. These dogs require plenty of exercise and love to play.

“Unlike labs, their energy kind of tapers off as they mature, making them great for little kids,” says Capitanio.

Whatever breed you choose, remember that any dog can be good with children, adults and other dogs if they are handled and loved properly.


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