The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Children

best dog breeds for children

The time has come. You’ve done the search that led you here which means you’re looking to add another member to your family! Not just any member… a dog!

Dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend” and for good reason. They are loyal companions that are eager to fill our lives with joy. Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. There is a dog out there for just about everyone! However, the perfect dog for one person isn’t necessarily the perfect dog for everyone.

We need to take special care in finding the right dog when we have children. Keeping our children safe is the number one priority. While no dog is the same, even within breeds, there are breeds that are overall more tolerant, loving, and compatible with children.

Below you’ll find breeds that are not only proven to be wonderful dogs but wonderful with children as well.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog in the USA for the last 26 years. You will also find it at the top of the charts in the UK.

Labrador Retrievers are popular for good reason. They are friendly towards everyone, other dogs and strangers included, energetic, and sweet-natured.  These are excellent comfort dogs that love to love and be loved.

Being large dogs bred to work, they have a lot of energy! Their energy comes out in droves of playfulness without the intensity that other large working breeds can possess. This means their style of play will not scare or intimidate children.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are very similar to Labrador Retrievers in their temperaments. They are friendly (not a suitable “guard” dog), gentle, energetic, and intelligent. Golden Retrievers are very obedient when properly exercised and trained.

Golden Retrievers are known for their beautiful coats but take note that they shed (a lot!) and will need to be groomed a few times a week.

These beautiful dogs are most suitable as constant companions. They like to be directly involved in family activities and are not happy left alone.


Bulldogs are simple, mellow, and affectionate. They are not as energetic as other dogs nor do they need as much stimulating training due to the fact that they are happy simply being near you.

They are small in stature but thick and sturdy making them hardy enough to be around children. Children are great company for a bulldog because a bulldog’s mellow (lazy) demeanor can lead to obesity. Playing with children will keep your bulldog healthy!

While extremely friendly, they are also protectors and will not tolerate unwelcome guests.


Beagles are playful, hungry, energetic, and a bit stubborn.

These hounds are wonderful playmates for children. In fact, the more time they are playing with the children the better. Beagles are so energetic that it’s important to keep them exercised, stimulated, and entertained or you may find that energy being directed in more destructive manners!

They are intelligent dogs but that means that their intelligence can make them stubborn. They can be very difficult to train but are food-driven which can make that process easier.

Beagles love little Anne


Boxers are protective, extremely playful, and patient.

These dogs have an incredible amount of energy especially when they’re young which means they need to be exercised consistently and frequently. They seem to keep their puppy personalities for longer than other dogs. This playfulness is an attractive characteristic for children who love nothing more than a playful dog.

While boxers are a playful breed, they take the protection of their family very seriously and are always on alert. This serious demeanor carries over well to their interactions with children. They are very patient even when playing.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are loyal, hard-working, and intelligent. These dogs are loyal companions and protectors. They are excellent guard dogs, and while very friendly, will recognize if someone is unwelcome.

Recommended Read: German Shepherd vs Belgian Malinois

German Shepherds do not like to be left alone for long periods of time so they are well suited to family life where they will always have company.

Being very intelligent, they benefit from extensive training. German Shepherds are also very active and need to be exercised and played with frequently. Having the time to spend training and exercising is essential if you’re considering a German Shepherd.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavaliers are very friendly companion dogs. They love nothing more than to be played with and lavished upon.

Being a small dog more sensitive to the elements, they are well suited to smaller home and apartment living. However, don’t let that detract from the fact that these are playful dogs that, like other Spaniel breeds, are agile and capable of a good adventure!

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Their size makes them more fragile so take the roughness of play into consideration when playing with children. With that being said Cavaliers are friendly to everyone and eager to please.

Border Terrier

Border Terriers are incredibly energetic, loving, and adventurous.

These small dogs need a lot of exercise and play time. If they’re not stimulated enough they can become destructive! They’re well suited to spending time inside with the family but are just as suited for some outdoor adventures.

While outdoor adventures are great, these terriers have been known to dig, chew, and are accomplished escape artists.


Poodles are immediately recognizable by their unique coat with an unlimited amount of styling options! How fun! But with that comes a responsibility to ensure that your poodle is groomed properly and frequently.

While a poodle’s upkeep might be more extensive than other breeds, your home upkeep will be substantially easier due to the fact that this is a hypoallergenic breed.

Poodles are intelligent, playful, and obedient dogs. Their intelligence makes them incredibly trainable and obedient. However, they have been known to have streaks of devious independence.

They are wonderful as playmates and are protective of their home and families.

poodle and little Rob

Mixed and Rescues

So many wonderful dog breeds have been mentioned here but let’s not leave out the fact that your ideal dog may not be a purebred! In fact, some of the most revered up-and-coming dogs are hybrids, or mixed breeds, of some of the dogs mentioned above.

There are also so many “whoops” puppies out there looking for homes that are just as sweet, loving, playful, and loyal as the dogs that climb popularity charts.

Just remember, the most important part about choosing which dog is for you and your family, is choosing to love it, care for it, and provide it with the attention it deserves!

There are so many dogs to choose from! If you’re still unsure, consider taking a quiz that will match you with dogs suited to your lifestyle!

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