If you’ve decided that a dog would make a wonderful addition to your family, you should carefully consider what kind of dog would be a good fit for your family’s lifestyle. Things you should think about: How often is your family home? How much activity and running space will the dog need? Will the dog have the right temperament for your child? Adding a member of the family that will be around for hopefully 15 plus years, will have a huge impact on your daily life, so taking the time to do some upfront research is well worth the effort. We made the mistake of adopting a dog based upon a relative’s recommendation, and unfortunately it was absolutely the wrong choice for us as a family. We eventually found him a new home, much better suited for his personality and needs. And when we next made the move to add on to our family we reviewed our options carefully.
While each dog is unique and has its own individual personality, researching breed types is a good way to determine how that type of dog generally interacts with children. The American Kennel Club website is a great place to start with information on more than 150 different breeds. There are also many websites dedicated to specific breeds that will provide you with more detailed information. Here is a jump start on some dog breeds that are good choices for families with children.
Golden Retriever: These playful dogs require a lot of attention as they are extremely high energy. They are excellent choices for families with children because of their loyalty, watchfulness, patience and an energy level that could match your child’s exuberant spirit. This breed does get rather large, so if you are looking for a small dog, you may want to consider another breed.
Beagle: While this small breed of dog was originally wanted for their amazing hunting capabilities, they are known to be great dogs for children. This type of dog loves to play games, has tons of energy and craves the company and attention of the humans they love. This is another type of dog that needs a lot of attention from the family, so if you are constantly on the go, this type of puppy would probably not be the best fit.
Australian Shepherd: As the name suggests, this dog was originally bred to herd small animals on working farms and ranches. Their loyalty and intelligence is limitless with the correct training and they need a job to keep them occupied. This is a wonderful breed if you have a farm or room for them to run. They are great with children, but may try to herd them as well.
Collie: the Collie is another herding dog that does extremely well with families and especially with children. It is known for being extremely loyal and affectionate which makes it a perfect companion for a child. Although they will need brushing once a week to manage their coat, they are considered to be a very clean and odorless breed.
Labrador Retriever: As one of the oldest recognized breeds, these dogs have an extremely distinctive temperament. As excellent companion dogs, they are extremely smart, gentle, good natured and very trustworthy and loving. They love spending time with their families and enjoy playing games like fetch. But be warned, labs can take 18 months to three years to mature and are very active in those puppy years, so be ready to show them lots of attention. The end result of having a loyal, intelligent companion is worth the wait.