What Kind of Dog to Get for a Child

So, you’ve finally decided on another addition to your family. It doesn’t matter if your child asked for a new friend or it’s just time to realize your old dream: in any case, this is a very crucial step. The main thing to remember is that a dog is not a piece of furniture or a fashionable toy. If you are going to take your dog home, you are taking a step into the future, because it can become an important part of your life for the next 10-15 years. Agree that such an action requires a balanced approach.

Why a Dog is Good for a Child


The dog is a loyal friend and psychologist. These are not just loud words: a beloved dog will not betray, will not quarrel with a child over a trifle, is always happy to have fun with him, and will certainly support him in a moment of sadness. The psychological state of a child who is in close contact with a dog is much more harmonious. After all, dogs by their nature are incorrigible optimists, they are cheerful and friendly, infecting their owners with such a mood. Four-legged healers are even used to treat children with autism and cerebral palsy (infantile cerebral palsy) – their effect is so beneficial.

A sense of responsibility is developed. The child knows that a living being depends on him, gets used to adhere to the routine, and performs a certain range of duties (here the main thing is not to allow connivance on the part of the parents).

Children who have dogs get sick less. For example, the risk of asthma and colds, the development of allergies is reduced. For this, one should thank regular walks in the fresh air, as well as constant stimulation of the immune system (after all, children who are raised in “greenhouse” conditions are most painful, and the dog violates the “sterility” of this artificial shell). Well, in general, the child becomes stronger due to active games in the fresh air.

The child gets a protector. Even a small dog is able to scare off the offender with a loud bark, what can we say about a rather large toothy dog (of course, not all dogs have guard reflexes, but sometimes their very presence is enough).

When to Get a Dog for Kids

A picture familiar to many: a child, clutching the sleeve of his mother (dad, grandmother …), begs to buy him a dog, promising to walk, feed, clean, walk, etc.

In no case do not immediately succumb to the persuasion of the child to have a dog. This decision requires a balanced approach.

Go back home, have a “family council” and talk with all your family members about getting a dog.

Moreover, it will definitely be necessary to discuss several obvious things that will somehow affect every household. So:

  • The dog can cause some inconvenience (especially at first). This does not mean that the dog will bark all day and night or throw its fur everywhere. But many people, in fact, are not ready for even a minimal violation of their usual comfort.
  • Interests in other pets. If you have other animals, think about how the arrival of the dog will affect them. In most cases, the dog gets along well with other pets, but there are obvious exceptions: for example, if you already keep rodents or birds, then getting a dog of a hunting breed (with a pronounced hunting instinct) will be quite reckless.
  • Financial issue. Even if you get a puppy at a symbolic price, you will still need to allocate your share of the family budget for its maintenance. You will immediately need to buy the necessary “dog” things: bowls, collar, leash, couch, etc. There will be food costs, no matter if you feed your dog “natural” or ready-made food (in any case, the puppy is not good to feed the leftovers from your table, and it is not so cheap to provide a balanced diet). You will also need to pay for veterinary services (treatments, vaccinations, treatment in case of illness).
  • Possible damage to property. The puppy is the same child. Of course, there are exceptions among children, but still get ready for spoiled shoes, tattered furniture, and torn wallpaper.
  • There is work for everyone. In most cases, caring for the dog will fall on the shoulders of older family members, and the child will be able to meet the pet’s needs only partially (despite the given oath promises). Unfortunately, in childhood, we are all often fickle and the child may soon get tired of regularly walking the dog, making sure that his bowls contain water and food, etc. And not all tasks children can cope with due to their age.
  • Puppy care leave. If you decide to take home a small puppy, then keep in mind that at first, he should not be at home alone for a long time. Someone from the household will have to stay at home for several days (long weekend or vacation) until the new family member gets used to the changed living conditions.

We admit: we have slightly exaggerated the colors. In fact, getting a dog isn’t that scary. It is scary when a living creature suddenly becomes unwanted in the house, turns into a burden, or is thrown out into the street.

It is very important to imagine in advance the most likely difficulties and, if fear of them does not allow you to get a dog, then it is better to refuse rash actions. It may be worth returning to the discussion of this issue after a while.

If you are not afraid of possible difficulties and you have firmly decided to have a puppy, then it is better to divide the appropriate responsibilities between family members on the same family council, highlighting the child with a feasible, but an obligatory part. For example, if his duties include walking the dog, then even occasionally shifting his work to others, he should be allowed only for really valid reasons.

Predicted child participation in dog rearing:

  • a child under 6 years old – the dog is definitely in the full care of the parents, the child only communicates, plays with the animal under the supervision of the elders;
  • 6-12 years old – the child can partially take care of the animal (at first, just put a bowl of food, comb, etc., and at an older age – walk and participate in training);
  • over 12 years old – the child can be trusted with most of the upbringing and care of the dog.

Of course, these frames are very approximate and depend not only on the age but also on the psychology of the child, because a ten-year-old baby can enthusiastically devote all his free time to his beloved dog, competently training him, while a teenager cannot be forced to go out with a dog to walk.

Do not forget that it is not easy for an adult man to cope with a large dog. If you are lucky enough to have such a giant, then you should not trust your child to walk him independently.

An important issue is a nutrition. Even if your little breeder is old enough to feed his dog on his own, periodically check that the portion sizes and frequency of feeding are within the prescribed norms and that fresh and clean water is always available to the dog. After all, children often find it difficult to do routine work, and the cost of error or inattention is quite high here.

What a Dog Can Be for Your Child


It is quite difficult to unambiguously form the image of an ideal dog: it is not in vain that man has bred many breeds of dogs that differ from each other in appearance and temperament. But there are still a few details that should be paid attention to before the dog takes its place in a family with children.


Of course, the main criteria for a “child’s dog” is friendliness and patience, but often a stern outward guardian who will never hurt a kid can become a loyal friend. But if a dog shows signs of aggressiveness, it definitely has no place next to a child.

The Size

Remember, dogs grow even faster than children. You will not have time to come to your senses, as a miniature new pet reaches its size laid down by nature, so consider this when choosing a breed (if you take a purebred puppy for yourself, then there will be a certain element of surprise in the matter of its future height and weight).

It is risky to take both miniature dogs and giant dogs into a family with very young children: a three-year-old child can unintentionally injure a Chihuahua, and a grown Newfoundland with one accidental movement of its tail will easily knock down a too small owner.

Male or Female

A very personal choice. Dog handlers have an opinion that females have a softer character, they are more tender and affectionate, more attached to their master. Males usually look more impressive, and their well-being and psychological state do not depend on the period of estrus and pregnancy.

In fact, the gender of your future dog is not so critical: in any case, with the right upbringing, it will become the very close friend you are looking for yourself and your child.

Dog with Allergies in a Child

An allergy diagnosis is not necessarily a barrier between a child and a dog. If your child is allergic, it is necessary to determine whether it is the dog allergens that are causing the reaction (this is determined in the laboratory by conducting a blood test). If the analysis does not reveal a specific reaction to dog allergens, then you can still think about purchasing a puppy. Before doing this, be sure to consult with an allergist.

There are dog breeds that are considered hypoallergenic. This does not mean that they all do not have hair (the fact that allergies develop specifically to the hair of dogs is a common misconception), it is just that such dogs release fewer allergenic proteins into the environment.

In particular, the following breeds are classified as hypoallergenic:

  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Miniature poodle
  • Chinese Crested
  • Komondor
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Black Russian terrier
  • Shih Tzu

Dog for Guarding Children

Most dogs tend to protect “their” people from a possible threat. Moreover, with fearlessness, both a formidable Rottweiler and a miniature Pekingese can rush at the alleged enemy – the size of the dog does not have much effect on the courage and desire to protect a loved one, but the effect produced on the offender may ultimately depend on it.

Dogs of hunting breeds rarely make good guards: for centuries such animals were selected according to the principle of the manifestation of the hunting instinct and instilled indifference to guard functions.

There are methods for training dogs to guard people (called bodyguard dogs). If you think that your child may be in danger, then dog handlers will help prepare a reliable security guard friend for him. This does not mean that you can simply buy a trained dog and attach it to your child: for all training you will have to walk with a four-legged cadet, learning to interact with him.

Over-dogging has its downsides. Keep in mind that dogs are often distrustful of strangers. If other people even accidentally suffer from the actions of the furry bodyguard, you will have to bear responsibility for this. For example, a dog can take for a threat the attempt of another child to catch up with its owner, slap on the shoulder (“batter”), etc. The dog may not hesitate to rush to protect the “ward”, frightening or injuring children. The situation is unpleasant and will not always be perceived adequately.

Small Dogs for Children

Often parents compromise with the child and allow him to have a small dog (Chihuahua, Toy Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Chinese Crested dog, etc.), hoping that its maintenance will be easier, including from a financial point of view. But do not think that dwarf dogs differ from other dogs only in size.

Small breed dogs are more often complex in nature. They are very characterized by mild excitability and even hysteria, but good nature (characteristic of their larger relatives) should not be expected from miniature dogs. It may be more beneficial for the child to deal with a balanced and patient dog.

Also, dwarf dogs have a rather fragile body structure, so close communication with very young children can threaten animals with an injury.

If the size does matter, consider candidates such as welsh corgi, dachshund, pug, miniature schnauzer, many terriers – they are quite miniature, but devoid of the above disadvantages.

A Dog From a Shelter

Taking home a dog from a shelter is one of the best examples of humanity you can give your child. Moreover, it is beneficial even from a practical point of view:

  • you will receive a dog for free, except for a small donation to the shelter;
  • you can choose a pet from a variety of animals, different in size, color, and other characteristics because sometimes just one glance is enough to understand that this particular dog is yours;
  • most likely, you will not find a friend more accurately anywhere: animals know how to value well;
  • It is often safer to take animals from a shelter than from would-be breeders, of which there are more and more – at the shelter, dogs at least undergo treatments and vaccinations.

Even if you are determined to get yourself a dog of a certain breed, it makes sense to look into the shelter: unfortunately, people often betray their friends and there may be a dog you need. Yes, she will not have a pedigree, but do we choose our friends only for the purity of origin?

Best Dog Breeds for Kids

In many ways, the dog’s attitude to children is laid down during the period of its upbringing. Initially, every dog ​​can get along with a child, especially from infancy, and with the proper attitude towards the animal. A mongrel can always become the best friend for a child, but every mongrel dog is individual and at a puppy age it is difficult to understand what kind of character the future adult dog will be. It is believed that a number of breeds have genetically fixed qualities that make them ideal for keeping in families with children. From this point of view, we will evaluate several popular dog breeds.

Labrador Retriever

He not only loves children – he loves with all his heart, nurses, entertains, and never offends. Surprisingly friendly and energetic, the Labrador is one of the most popular breeds for keeping with children. If you decide to have a Labrador when your child is still very young, do not forget to be careful – Labradors are very active and quite large. Such a cheerful dog simply does not know how to behave with restraint and, in a fit of expression of love, can accidentally demolish a small person. Conclusion: a great dog for children, but it is better to have it when your baby is over 4 years old.

Golden Retriever

Friendly, active, but balanced and reliable, Golden is always happy to serve the owner, for example, bring a wand or a toy on command. But the concern will not be limited only to the game: an intelligent dog assesses the environment and is always ready to help in case of trouble. The whole family of the owner will be under supervision, including, of course, the children whom these dogs love very much. Conclusion: a wonderful dog for children of all ages.

Welsh Corgi

Corgis are friendly, upbeat, active, people-oriented, and fearless. A smart and quick-witted dog, despite its small size, belongs to shepherd dogs and will gladly take care of your children, like a patronized herd. Conclusion: the ideal small dog for older children.

Irish Setter

A very active, intelligent, affectionate, and sociable dog with a spectacular appearance. Madly loves children and will be an excellent nanny for them. Conclusion: an excellent choice for a family with children of any age, especially for people with an active lifestyle.

St. Bernard

Just a mountain of good nature. This dog is traditionally considered an excellent family dog and loves to tinker with children. Quiet, outwardly calm, and even relaxed, St. Bernard constantly monitors what is happening around him in order to intervene if necessary – the children will be completely safe with him. Conclusion: if you do not live in a one-room apartment, and your child is old enough to withstand the pressure of an 80-kilogram dog, then St. Bernard will not disappoint your expectations.


Another kind-hearted giant who rightly has a reputation as a wonderful dog for children. He has all the necessary qualities for this: he is good-natured, patient, and gentle with children, vigilantly supervises them. Conclusion: it is better to have it for an older child, but this limitation is associated only with the large size of the dog.


A small dog, very kind, affectionate, and affectionate. Pugs are moderately active but very smart, trainable, and sociable. Conclusion: a wonderful dog for calm children (over 4 years old), which does not require long walks, but depends on communication with a person.


Like most “hunters”, the Beagle is a cheerful, good-natured, and active dog, adoring communication and games in a large company. Conclusion: a cheerful and energetic friend for active children over 4 years old.

American Cocker Spaniel

Positive, charming, agile, the American Cocker Spaniel is an excellent family dog, a wonderful friend for a child. This relatively small dog, despite its high decorative qualities, leads an active lifestyle. Conclusion: a good dog for families with children of any age.

German Shepherd

A versatile dog that not only has excellent performance qualities but is also incredibly kind and affectionate with his family members. The recognized high intelligence makes the German Shepherd a wonderful friend and protector for the child. Conclusion: with a joint upbringing, a “German” will patiently endure antics and guard a fool, and for middle-aged and older children, he will fully reveal his wonderful qualities.


It is very difficult to mention all the qualities of a collie, among them: activeness, affectionateness, curiosity, quick wit and high ability to train, dedication, and playfulness. Scottish Shepherds are very fond of children. Conclusion: you can get a collie at any time, the age of the child is not important, the main thing is to monitor his correct attitude towards the dog.

Yorkshire Terrier

Miniature, energetic, intelligent, and affectionate dog. Due to the small size and delicate structure of the Yorkie, it is better to start it when the child is already aware of his actions and will not harm the pet. Conclusion: The Yorkie is a great dog for kids (like teenage girls) and families. If you want a decorative, “dwarf” dog, and your child is already 6 years old – get a Yorkshire Terrier, just keep in mind that their coat requires more frequent care.

Dogs That are Less Suitable for a Child

We repeat again: a child should not come into contact with an aggressive dog. For the same reason, it is undesirable to have dogs, which are not quite rightly called “fighting” among the people. Although these breeds were not originally intended to participate in dog fights, they were still selected for them due to the presence of certain qualities (for example, viciousness). In addition, some breeds simply cannot boast of patience or a special love for children.


Of course, there are exceptions to any rule, but nevertheless, we cannot advise getting such breeds for children under the age of 12:

  • Alaskan Malamute;
  • American Staffordshire Terrier;
  • Dogue de Bordeaux;
  • Bullmastiff;
  • Doberman;
  • Caucasian Shepherd Dog;
  • Cane Corso;
  • Moscow Watchdog;
  • Pekingese;
  • Rottweiler;
  • Central Asian Shepherd Dog;
  • Husky;
  • Chihuahua;
  • South Russian Shepherd Dog.

This is a very controversial list. In fact, most of the dogs of these breeds can get along well with children: if they do not allow themselves to be treated as a living toy, then at least they will not show aggression or discontent towards the child. The whole point, as always, is in the correct upbringing: just training such dogs will take much more time, effort, and experience. Well, if our goal is to find the perfect dog for a child, wouldn’t it be better to choose a more suitable breed?

Whichever dog you end up choosing, then you will have a difficult stage – its education. The innate qualities of an animal alone may not be enough to grow into an intelligent and devoted friend of children. Unfortunately, any (even the most purebred) dog can be spoiled by incorrect and inconsistent attitudes and training. If everything is done correctly, the result will not belong incoming: you will get not only a smart pet, but also a loyal, reliable and sincere companion for your child, who will grow with him, comfort him when he is sad and share joy, and often become the reason for the fun.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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