When looking at bringing a dog into a family with young children, it is essential to consider both the individual dog’s characteristics, and those of the breed. The following are a selection of breeds known for their child-friendly qualities.
Already the most popular breed in the UK, Labradors are generally calm, gentle and extremely loyal. Short coats make them easy to groom, and they’re generally active: great for getting the kids outdoors. However, watch out for greediness and a tendency to chew everything in sight.
Another highly energetic dog, Beagles tend to go well with children. They’re small enough for a child to manage them on a lead, although they can be quite noisy, and very possessive of their food.
King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
These dogs are generally very friendly, even towards strangers, and full of energy. However, they have strong hunting instincts, so may not be the best bet for a family with small pets like gerbils.
While not a dog for the devoted gardener (they love digging), border terriers are affectionate and easily trained, and get along well other dogs. Do be aware that the short coat you often see requires weekly stripping, which is a significant time commitment.
The textbook definition of a gentle giant, Newfoundlands generally love children, and are sweet-natured and patient. Just make sure you can give this large dog the space and exercise it needs.
While these breeds are a great place to start looking, make sure that you spend some time with any potential pet, as individual temperament is just as influential as breed in determining personality. It’s also good to make sure the dog gets on with all the members of your family before taking it home.
There are loads of great options for family dogs out there, so choosing one is a happy and exciting time for all involved. The right dog will be a faithful companion to all the family for years to come.
Written by: Hannah Dyball