Many people with young kids want to adopt a dog as a family pet. There are a lot of dog breeds that generally do well with kids and children in the home.

When adopting a dog as a family that has small kids, everyone should be involved in the decision of which dog to adopt. Dogs that usually do well with families have high energy levels and are intelligent. This ensures that they can keep up with the kids and are smart enough to be trained.

In this article, we will discuss which personality traits and habits make certain dogs good for being around kids and children. We will discuss certain breeds that are best for families. We will also give you some tips for how to properly exercise and train a family dog.

My family and I have always owned dogs. I understand the desire to have dogs when your kids are small so that they can grow together. However, there are certain breeds that do the best in these family dynamics. I hope that this article can help families decide on a type of dog to adopt for their family.

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What Makes A Dog Good For Kids and Children?

At the end of the day, any dog will do well in a family with kids and children as long as the family agrees on the personality and temperament of the dog. There are, however, certain personality traits common in dogs that do well with families that have small kids.

In general, the breed, size, and age of the dog do not matter as much as personality traits in terms of determining how well the dog will fit in with your family. In the following sections, we will discuss some personality traits that are desirable in dogs that will live with children.

High Energy

The first important personality trait to look for in a dog for your family is that it has high energy levels. Kids are usually fairly high-energy and love playing with their dog. A high-energy dog will be able to keep up with your kids during playtime. This ensures that your dog will form a strong bond with your children.

Families with children are also likely to do family activities like hiking, taking walks, or going to the beach. A high-energy dog would be a great companion to bring on these types of adventures. If your family does a lot of outdoor activities, then a high-energy dog would get plenty of exercise and stimulation by being a member of your family.

High Intelligence

Another important trait in a family dog is high levels of intelligence. Some dog breeds are genetically more likely to be intelligent than others. Intelligent dogs will find success in learning tricks and commands. This is especially important in a dog when you have children.

A properly trained dog will have a better chance of following commands than an unintelligent dog. This is important because if your dog gets too wound up or starts playing roughly with your kids, you will need to be able to calm them down and get them away from your kids.

Safe To Be Around Kids

Finally, the last and most important trait in a family dog is that they are safe to be around children. Many rescue organizations will test dogs for being around other animals and children. Some dogs simply do not like kids or can’t handle someone like a child being in their personal space.

You must know with certainty that your dog can safely be around kids. Otherwise, you are risking your dog hurting your child or your child causing your dog to be distressed.

Top Dog Breeds For Kids and Children

As we have said, the most important thing to consider when adopting a dog into your family with children is personality. However, certain breeds tend to be great for families because they typically have family-friendly personalities due to genetic traits. The following are some of the best breeds for families with kids.

Golden Retriever

Picture of a Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are a common dog breed found in families with kids. This is a pattern for a reason. Golden retrievers are great dogs for families because they are energetic, smart, loyal, and loveable.

Golden retrievers are classified as high-energy dogs. This makes them a great companion for families and children. They will be able to keep up with your kids when playing and will love going on adventures with your family. Keep in mind that golden retrievers need a lot of exercise every day, even when you get busy. Adopting a dog is a commitment, and if you adopt a golden retriever then you should be prepared to exercise them every day.

These dogs are also great for families because of their intelligence. They can learn and remember commands and tricks fairly easily. Most golden retrievers are perfectly fine to be around small kids. However, be sure to ask your rescue group or breeder if there have been any issues between the dog and kids in the past just to be sure that they will get along with your family.

Labrador Retriever

Picture of a Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are another popular dog breed among families. There are a few different types of labrador retrievers, and all are generally great with kids. Like golden retrievers, labradors require a lot of exercise. This makes them perfect for family adventures, but can be a chore when the family gets busy.

Labrador retrievers are also intelligent and obedient. They will learn and remember the commands or tricks that you teach them. By teaching them these things, you can grow your bond together as well. Overall, these are great dogs for families with children.


Picture of Poodles

Poodles are often forgotten about when people are looking to adopt a dog. Many people associate poodles with a funny haircut and fancy people. However, poodles are extremely intelligent and can be quite goofy as well.

Poodles are great as family dogs because they are smart and playful. They will learn commands and tricks and will listen to you once you develop a bond together. Poodles have the energy to keep up with your kids and family activities.

These dogs are known for their loyalty as well. They may not be as outgoing or playful with strangers, but they open up and find comfort with their family. This makes poodles an excellent choice for families with kids.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Picture of a Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese mountain dog is known as a gentle giant. They are large and can weigh over 100 pounds. These dogs are extremely gentle, making them great for families with children. Bernese mountain dogs are extremely friendly and loyal, though they will usually have an extra-strong attachment to one person in the family.

These dogs are considered to be a working breed who were bred to work on farms in the cold climate of Switzerland. They have a lot of energy and feel great when they feel like they are working, even when they are just playing with the family.

You can easily take a Bernese mountain dog with you on family adventures. They have the energy to keep up with any activity and will love spending time with the family.


Picture of a Beagle

Beagles are the smallest dog breed on our list. They are very friendly and loyal, making them great companions. Because of this, they won’t be happy if they have to spend most of the day alone at home. They would love a home with kids to play with. They have the energy to keep up with kids but have an overall calm demeanor. This makes them great for families.

Beagles are extremely intelligent and can be trained fairly easily. Beagles were traditionally used as hunting dogs, so they are always happy to be outside. They are great dogs that will enjoy being with your family on a hike or just spending time in the backyard.

Alaskan Malamute

Picture of a Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamutes are dogs that were bred to live and thrive in cold environments. They were bred to be part of a pack, and that pack mentality extends to their human family members. This genetic trait makes them extremely loyal and loveable to their family members, including kids.

Alaskan malamutes are energetic and smart, but they can be extremely stubborn too. They will require a lot of dedication to training them properly. They are working dogs, so they require regular exercise. They will be happy with frequent walks but would prefer to join you on runs or to have time to run around in a backyard.

These dogs have a lot of love and energy. They would be happy to join your family on adventures or to just spend time playing with your kids. They were bred to live in cold climates. While these dogs are found to live in warmer climates, they are happiest in cold weather. If you live somewhere warm, you might want to consider a different breed.


Picture of a Mutt

Any of the dog breeds that we have mentioned are likely to be a great fit for your family. Pure-bred dogs, though, are more likely to have medical issues due to selective breeding. They can also be expensive to buy from a breeder. We always recommend adopting a mutt from a rescue.

Look for a mutt that has some genes from at least one of the dog breeds that we mentioned here. That should be easy, as many rescues have mutts that are part retriever.

Rather than buying a dog that was only born so that you could buy it, you can adopt a dog that needs a loving home. Adopting a dog from a shelter or a rescue is a great way to save a life while adding joy to your home and family.

Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue is not always the first choice, because families usually want a puppy instead of an adult dog. We still encourage you to look at a shelter, because they sometimes get puppies. Also, remember that puppies are a lot of work. If you adopt an older dog, they might already be house trained and might be calmer as well.

Keep in mind that purebred dogs also sometimes end up in a shelter or rescue group. If you are set on adopting a purebred dog, check out your local organizations before heading straight to a breeder.

Exercise And Training Needs For Family Dogs

Many of the dogs that we recommended in this article are fairly high-energy breeds. Even if you decide to adopt a dog with lower energy, all dogs require regular exercise. At a minimum, you should be taking a high-energy dog on two walks per day. It would be even better if you could take them along on a run as well.

If you have a fenced-in backyard, then you can let your dog out periodically throughout the day to run around and use the bathroom. Remember to actively play with your dog as well, whether you are out in the yard with them or inside your house. High energy, intelligent, and loyal dogs like the ones we discussed will benefit from playing and spending time with their family.

If you don’t have a backyard, then you should consider taking your dog to a park at least once a week so that they can run around and get some energy out. Additionally, keep your dog in mind when planning family activities. Many hiking trails and beaches allow dogs. Bring them with you when you can so that they can get some more exercise and can spend more time with the family.

What To Teach Your Kids Before Adopting A Dog

When you adopt a dog as a family with kids, there are certain things that you are responsible for teaching your children. Dogs, at the end of the day, are animals and will protect themselves if they sense danger or become overwhelmed. You can’t let your kids get in your dog’s personal space on the first day that they meet. This could cause the dog to fear your children or see them as a threat.

The first thing to teach your kids when bringing home a new dog is to give the dog space. Your dog is experiencing a lot of new things on the day that they are brought home. They are likely feeling overwhelmed. If they are suddenly surrounded by a group of people trying to touch them, they might react by growling or biting. It is best to give your new dog space to get used to your home.

Next, you need to teach your kids not to approach or touch the dog when they are sleeping. This should be something that you do all the time, even when your dog is used to your family. Some dogs have what is called “sleep aggression,” which means that they could bite someone if they are startled while they are asleep.

Finally, just remember to always supervise your kids when they are with your dog. Even if your kids are very responsible and your dog is mellow, you never know when something could happen. Supervise your kids and dog when they are together until your kids are old enough to understand how to safely interact with the dog.


Russell Wright

Russell Wright

I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.

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