Dogs can be a wonderful addition to any family, providing companionship, a reason to get outside every day and unconditional love. All dogs have their individual personalities, and each family is likely to have a different dog that suits them and their lifestyle, but which types of dogs are better suited to a family with small children?

What characteristics should I look out for?

In a family with small children, choosing which dog could be suitable for you can be a little trickier, as many dogs will not cope well in a busy household. If you’re looking for a good family dog, characteristics are likely more important than a specific breed, like the following: 

  • They should be calm and good-natured  
  • They do not show any signs of aggression
  • Be able to handle noise and excitement from children well, without becoming stressed
  • They are easy to train 
  • They fit in with your lifestyle – if you’re an outdoorsy family, you might want a dog that’s got plenty of energy to keep up with you. If you live in a city, you might want to opt for a breed that doesn’t need as much exercise. 

What types of dogs are suitable? 

While any breed could theoretically have the characteristics you may be looking for in a family dog, it is easier to predict these in certain breeds, helping to narrow down your choice.

Labrador retriever 

Labs have a reputation for being wonderful family dogs and are particularly good with kids. They are friendly, gentle and easy to train. Remember though that even this breed can be very bouncy as younger dogs.

Golden retriever 

Similar to Labradors, this breed is known for its good nature, and are already very popular family dogs. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

This breed tends to be easy-going with a good temperament, and are on the smaller side. However, they can be prone to certain health conditions, so be aware of this if you choose to get one. 

What about a rescue dog?

It is very unlikely that you would be able to rescue a dog if you have a young family. However, it may be worth contacting your local rescue centre to see what animals are available – some may already have experience of living with children, depending on their background.

What else should I consider?

A lot of thought should be put into it before making the decision to get a dog, particularly if you already have small children. We all know kids can be loud, and may not be able to understand when a dog is anxious. Often how dogs show signs of stress and anxiety can be very subtle – difficult enough for adults to pick up on! Therefore, small children and dogs should never be left alone together. Someone should always supervise their interactions, and it’s a good idea to have an understanding of canine body language too. 

Signs of fear/anxiety can include:

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  • Licking their lips
  • Panting 
  • Turning their head away 
  • Ears drawn back 
  • Pacing 
  • Yawning 
  • Snapping and growling

In conclusion…

The decision to get a dog is not one that should be taken lightly – any person should think long and hard before welcoming a pet. If you already have small children at home, think about how a dog could fit into your lifestyle, with adequate time and energy for you to dedicate to them. Good luck!

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