Knowing the best and worst dog breeds for kids is important if you’re thinking about getting a family dog. Adding a canine companion to the family can enrich your kids’ lives in so many ways. It can teach them about responsibility, give them a furry ear that never judges when they have problems, and so much more. If you get one of the worst dog breeds for kids, though, all those benefits vanish.
While the dogs on the “worst” list don’t all despise kids, per se, they’re not exactly known for their patience and tolerance with younger children. Sometimes, a dog on the worst list is the exception, becoming a faithful friend to your child. Other times, even the best breed can be a little intolerant, depending on its background. Keep that in mind as you read over this list of best and worst dog breeds for kids.
Related: Which Small Hypoallergenic Dogs Are Best for Kids?
Best and Worst Dog Breeds for Kids
Note: After reading all the fantastic reader comments on this post, we’ve updated the list to include a few breeds (or details about breeds) that you’ve all been very vocal about. The thing about a list like this, it DOES depend on the dog. We wrote this based on research and experiences of friends, family and our vet’s opinions. Like people, every dog is an individual. The best piece of advice I can give when choosing the best dog (or avoiding the worst dog) for kids: know your dog, get to know his energy and invest time in proper training.
The Best Dog Breeds for Kids
Beagle– Beagles settle well in homes that have active kids because they are always up for playtime. Beagles have the personality of being cheerful, friendly and clever. Their only downfall is that they do shed a great deal and will need to be frequently brushed and bathed. They do require a great deal of exercises so will do well playing in the yard with the kids.
Collies– Collie is the same breed of dog that the ever-popular Lassie was. These dogs are extremely gentle as well as predictable. They hardly ever bite people and can easily be trained. Even though they were originally designed as herding dogs, they are very mild mannered in nature. They are long-haired dogs so do require a lot of grooming. Collies love to play with kids, please their owner and protect their human family.
Related: 5 Best Large Dog Breeds For Families With Kids
Other great dog breeds for kids include:
- Pitbulls (they were once called “nanny dogs” because of their extreme loyalty and affection for their young masters)
- Golden Retriever
- Irish Setter
- Standard poodles (while other versions of poodles are great too, nothing beats the good-old standard buddy!)
- Pugs (according to Alicia, “They’re very tolerant and calm. The go with the flow. They’re very loving and affectionate.”
The Worst Dog Breeds for Kids
Chihuahuas- While they mean seem like a great breed for kids because they’re small enough to hang with the little guys, Chihuahuas are incredibly stubborn dogs. They will take advantage of the fact that your child isn’t a “pack leader.” Not that they’re hurt him, but they’ll walk all over him and never recognize him as a leader. It’s hard to form a bond with a dog that is constantly looking down its shiny little nose at you!
Shih Tzu– There are actually some Shih Tzu breeders that won’t even sell puppies to families that have small children. These dogs can easily nip when overexcited or frightened. A Shih Tzu is not always up for playing and children may have a tough time comprehending this fact. While it is true that Shih Tzu’s are loyal and playful, they can be a bit difficult and grouchy at times too. HOWEVER, several readers have said that their Shih Tzu is absolutely wonderful with kids, so again, it depends on the dog.
Other worst dog breeds for kids include:
- Akitas (who will be great with your own kid, but are more likely to view all of his friends as a threat)
- St. Bernard- not so much because it’s not a great dog, but because it’s just huge and doesn’t realize it! Yes, other dogs on the list of best breeds are big, but St. Bernards tend to think they’re lap dogs. It’s endearing, but not a great trait around tiny tots. May make a great family pet for houses with older kids, but not with so much with babies.
- Bull Mastiff– Mainly because it’s a stubborn dog and requires strong leadership to train.
- Afghan Hound
Knowing which are the best and worst dog breeds for kids will help you narrow down your search. We, of course, recommend checking with your local rescue groups and adopting a dog who needs a family. The rescues can often tell you how the dogs react to houses with children, so above all else, keep that in mind! Even the dogs on the worst list can be the best family dogs depending on their prior training.
Do you have any of these dog breeds for kids? Tell us your thoughts on the list! Want more info on the best and worst dog breeds for kids? I suggest reading over the comments from other readers! They’re a great source of information with their own personal experiences!