Best Dogs for Kids

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Dogs, from the moment they step into the owner’s house, are a part of your family. This means they need to not only learn how to interact with their owners but also with people related to their owners…like your mini-me’s! If you’re stuck (#AnalysisParalysis) in your search for the best dogs for kids, here are our picks.

Best Dogs for Kids 2024

Best dogs for kids 2024

These are the 25 best dogs for kids in 2024:

  1. Golden Retriever
  2. Bernese Mountain Dog
  3. Alaskan Malamute
  4. Labrador Retriever
  5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  6. Bulldog
  7. Pug
  8. Irish Setter
  9. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  10. Beagle
  11. Poodle
  12. Bichon Frise
  13. French Bulldog
  14. Beauceron
  15. Vizsla
  16. Bull Terrier
  17. Cocker Spaniel
  18. Newfoundland
  19. Brussels Griffon
  20. Bracco Italiano
  21. Collie
  22. Boykin Spaniel
  23. Chinook
  24. English Setter
  25. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Active Kids

As the mother or father of an active, energetic kids (like most kids are), you would want athletic breeds to be able to accommodate for your little gem’s energy.

best dogs for active kids

That means you should probably choose from the following list of equally active and athletic dog breeds:

1. Golden Retriever

This breed is one of the best dogs, and that is without question. Golden Retrievers are the perfect breed if you have a large backyard or a large park close by.

Active Golden Retriever

However, size does not determine how rough this breed plays. Contrary to popular belief, Golden Retrievers are great around kids because of how gentle yet durable they are.

Time to time, your kid might unknowingly throw a slight punch on your dog, and your Golden Retriever will be patient, understanding, and tough enough to be able to bypass such “attacks” with a smile!

2. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is another great breed when it comes to playing with kids for how playful and loyal it is.

Unlike Golden Retrievers the Alaskan Malamute does not like water as much. This means you should be careful when you plan on taking it to the beach. They much rather prefer the land (and, as you might be able to tell from the name, the cold). If you live in colder regions of the world or places where winter can get really cold, this breed is just for you and your kid!

3. Labrador Retriever 

Labrador Retrievers are one of the best dog breeds for athletic kids that love to play catch or frisbee.

As a parent, you might want to relax on a Sunday morning, maybe even sleep in. In such cases, your Labrador Retriever can be your kid’s new best friend; being able to catch tennis balls and Frisbee with ease even if your kid does not make the best throws!

Labs shed a lot less than Golden Retrievers, so there is that for a plus.

4. Irish Setter 

Irish Setters are bred to be athletic. Used as gundogs in previous years, they are brilliant when it comes to chasing and, you guessed it…fetching.

Because of how intelligent this dog breed is, your kid can interact by teaching tricks that you might not be able to teach other dogs! On top of that, this breed of dogs is not very large, so you can fit it in apartments too. However, if that is the case, we strongly recommend that you give it lots of love and walks. 

5. Vizsla

The Vizsla is a great option if you want something new. Too often do we find Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers as they are the go-to dog breeds when people look for active dogs.

Enter the Vizsla! He’s the underrated counterpart of these breeds. As active as this breed of dogs are, they are also very, very gentle, and great around infants.

For families capable of raising a dog until they get very, very old, we recommend the Vizsla to grow up with your child!

6. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is another great breed when it comes to playing with kids.

Although they might not be able to run as fast or catch as well, that does not mean they can not be as affectionate towards kids as other dogs!

Because of how well they are able to control how hard they bite, they make great companions for kids that are relatively scared of dogs. Newfoundland is a breed that is very easy-going – great for shy kids!

7. Cocker Spaniel

Now, this dog might not be the largest, but that does not mean it can’t live up to the expectations of athletic children.

The Cocker Spaniel is great for those that are looking for smaller dogs that they might be able to keep in smaller living spaces. As one of the smallest breeds in the sporting group, the Cocker Spaniel does just fine with regular walks and even rougher play with other kids and dogs!

8. Bracco Italiano

This breed is very, very affectionate and caring. If we had to choose a breed that seemed like they could replicate the emotion of “love”, it would be this breed.

The Bracco Italiano is capable of taking very good care of children that can be quite mischievous at times. They understand that the harsh playtime experiences are not out of the kid’s spite, automatically making them the safer option for kids to be around.

Its intelligence makes it a great dog to teach tricks with and go to the dog park with! Obstacle courses are very easy with this breed. 

9. Boykin Spaniel

Before we go ahead and praise the Boykin Spaniel for being such a great dog breed for kids, we do have to point out that it sheds a lot! Therefore, although this dog is medium-sized, living with it in small spaces might not be the best idea for your kids’ respiratory system.

Shedding aside, if you do have a large front or backyard, your kids can easily play fetch thanks to how smart the dog is! As they were used to retrieve hunted game, they are brilliant at finding hidden objects, making hide-and-seek a viable game too!

10. Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is very playful, almost to the point where it is quite mischievous. It is without a doubt that Bull Terriers are capable of matching the energy of even the most energetic child!

Fair warning: if you’re a first time dog owner, it might be difficult for you to take control of your Bull Terrier’s actions. Bullies can be quite stubborn, especially when it is in a playful mood (which is the majority of the time).

Bull Terriers need lots and lots of exercise! It is an essential part of its happiness, so engage the whole family in play time.

Live in an Apartment? These Dogs are Great for City-Dwelling Families with Kids

For families and kids that are living in apartments, there are many other aspects excluding how active or calm the breeds are.

best dogs for kids in apartments

In this list of dogs, we will look into how hard it is to maintain a house with each dog breed, how loud they tend to be, and how intelligent they are to see if they can understand that they can not bother neighbors!

1. Pug

Pugs love to play with kids – it is how they usually get their exercise in!

Luckily, this does not mean it needs a large back or front yard. In fact, we believe that it is one of the best apartment dogs! Standing at around 15kg for its average weight, pugs are not too big, making them amazing dogs for kids that live in apartments. Pugs actually tend to be very quiet, meaning they don’t bark as much as other dogs!

The best part about this breed is that, as you can tell by the looks of it, it does not shed as much as other larger, outdoor dogs like Golden Retrievers do!

2. Beagle

The Beagle is a breed that is very similar to pugs in that they are both quite small, quiet, and great for owners that can not find the time to take them on frequent walks.

You do have to be careful about your kid eating his or her favorite snack! Beagles seem to be always hungry because they are constantly on the lookout for food. If they smell a delicious waft of waffles or toast, they might beat you or your kid to it. Beagles are still a great option for kids living in apartments because they don’t shed as much either!

3. French Bulldog

This breed is known to be easy to maintain! Not only do they not shed a lot of fur, they are also capable of learning to live in smaller spaces.

There’s not much to say about this breed; just a brilliant one for your kid for how gentle it is, too!

4. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

This breed might even be easier to maintain than the French Bulldog.

We all know how dangerous it can be if your kid is allergic to dogs: it may cause severe respiratory issues that might pose a health hazard! Luckily, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers do not cause allergic reactions as severe as other dogs because they do not shed a lot.

For kids that have severe allergies yet love dogs to death, you should seriously consider Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers.

5. Poodle

Poodles are great because of how versatile the breed is. From toy size to medium-sized Poodles, the variety allows for kids and families living in apartments to choose the best fit for their apartment life.

One aspect to consider: Poodles can be quite aggressive and loud at times. For kids that have trouble interacting with dogs, poodles might not be the best option. If you do find one that is capable of making good friends with kids, there isn’t a reason not to get it!

6. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

From its stature, you can immediately tell that the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is a breed of dogs that are bred to live indoors in small, compact areas like apartments.

Although they do shed a bit, they are a great breed if shedding isn’t a problem because of how intelligent they are. They are quite easy to train, which means you can train it to be quieter in apartments, especially in hallways or staircases, to prevent any problems with your neighbors!

The Bolonka tends to be very gentle with kids, making it a great, risk-free companion.

7. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon is a toy dog breed that does not shed a lot and that does not bark a lot! From this, you can immediately tell that this dog is built for living in apartments with kids.

Despite being small, it can handle reckless behavior from your kid, which means it won’t stress out from playing!

8. Chinook

Now, this dog is not the smallest breed, but it is great for living in apartments with kids. The Chinook is very, very patient, kind of like a wise dog that understands kids as naturally mischievous beings.

If you take the dog out, you can immediately tell that it can be athletic too; you can play catch and Frisbee, bring the dog into your house and find that it doesn’t shed a lot and is very quiet, making it the best companion of kids living in apartments!

Gentle Kids

Some kids might enjoy staying at home, sheltered from the hot sun during the summer. Fortunately, there are dog breeds that are equally calm and gentle as these kids!

best gentle dogs for kids

Just like how the kid does not really enjoy being active, these dogs do not enjoy running around. Instead, they like to hang out with their owners on the couch, relaxing on a Sunday evening!

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as you might be able to expect by its name, is not the best dog when it comes to playing catch or Frisbee.

It is, however, perfect for people who like to hang around in their homes instead. It does like going on walks, but it is perfectly content with spending the entire day in the house with its owner, cuddling, and rolling on the sofa.

King Charles’ dont’ shed much. This means you get to keep it in your room and let it roam around smaller houses in freedom!

2. Bernese Mountain Dog

Although this breed does not like to run and roll around in the grass, the Bernese Mountain Dog does love to connect with other dogs and people.

Whenever your kid wants to have play dates, this dog would greet strangers eagerly! You won’t have to worry about your dog attacking your kid’s best friend thanks to how friendly it is.

Once you give it some time to get used to the visitor, the Bernese Mountain Dog can easily make visits to your house a very pleasant and memorable one.

3. Bulldog

Bulldogs tend to be the most gentle, careful dogs that make great companions for kids.

Despite its physical appearance, it likes to stay home and lie around more than any other breed. Although these dogs can grow to get a bit big, usually, they are small enough to be perfectly content in smaller living spaces like apartments.

For kids that like to play gentle, the Bulldog can be a great option for them!

4. Collie

Collies are very, very intelligent. Intelligent dogs are amazing for gentle kids, as they quickly understand what is too rough for the kid and are capable of being especially careful around them!

As a medium-sized dog, Collies work amazingly both in larger houses and smaller ones since they are quite happy with staying inside the house.

It’s important for your dog’s health to take it on walks every once in a while. As long as that doesn’t bother you or your kid, Collie is a great gentle breed!

5. Bichon Frise

Bichons are one of the most amiable, friendly dogs that you can have.

Not only does it interact well with other dogs, it is especially great with new people that it meets. Therefore, similar to the Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bichon Frise are very outgoing with visitors, including kids.

Although it is quite energetic, because of how small the dog is in stature, its activity should not be a problem for kids that are looking for quieter, more laid-back dogs. The size also makes it very convenient for you to take it wherever: in both large and small houses. 

6. Beauceron

The Beauceron, despite its very athletic stature, works very well in both environments…

  • If your kid is an active one, the Beauceron has the energy to play with your kid.
  • On the other hand, if your kid is not very active, it realizes that it must be gentle and can easily adjust without getting stressed.

One aspect of this dog is that it is not capable of staying in confined spaces. Even if your kid is not active, the Beauceron, by nature, is very sporty. This means frequent walks are essential! However, it knows perfectly well that the kid might not enjoy outdoor activities, so it can adjust to fit your kid’s preferences.

7. English Setter

If we had to choose one word to describe English Setters, we would say it is very mellow.

Usually, you won’t really find this dog catching frisbees or tennis balls. Instead, it kind of behaves like a cat: calm, elegant, and collected.

If you have a toddler, the English Setter will immediately know that it should not be rough with the baby (and will never have an intent to do so to begin with!). As such, this breed is great for those that wish for a quieter atmosphere in their houses!

Related Questions

What breed of dog is best for a child?

It depends on what your child needs. Are your kids active? You can’t go wrong with a Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever. Best for gentle children? Look at a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Do you live in an apartment? Look at getting a French Bulldog.

What is the most gentle dog breed?

Pugs are the most gentle dog breed, mostly because of how lazy it is. For kids, however, Pugs work great if the kid likes to stay indoors!

What is the nicest dog ever?

Pugs are one of the nicest dogs. They tend to be very friendly yet not overly reckless due to excitement. We recommend pugs if you want a dog that’s really, really kind!

What is the most low-maintenance dog?

The French Bulldog is very low-maintenance: not much fur and not much trouble!

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