If you are a parent, it is likely that you will at some point have been driven mad by pleas of "can we have a dog?" from your children. Eventually, when you are sure you can afford and look after it, you might decide that this is a good idea. Dogs make wonderful additions to a family, and will bring you and your children great joy for many years.
However, when the time comes to choose your dog you will have to think hard about which breed to go for. This is especially true if you have young children. It might be worrying to think that if they pull your new dog's tail or fur, as younger children can do, they might lash out. It is important, therefore, to choose a dog that will be good with children.
Of course, as a rule it is good training that matters the most, rather than picking a specific breed. Your new dog will be safe with your children as long as they have been trained to recognise them as members of the pack. However, certain breeds are inherently better with young people than others.
The Newfoundland is an excellent example of this. These gentle giants are one of the larger breeds, covered with a thick coat of fur, but are also some of the most good-tempered dogs around. Some people have even nicknamed them 'nature's nannies' in reference to how friendly they are to children.
They are very quick to bond with a new family, and are incredibly patient and loyal. This makes them excellent companions even for very young children. They also make great watchdogs, always ready to protect the family they love so much.
Of course, such a large dog is not everybody's first choice. Newfoundlands usually weigh between 45 and 70 kilograms, and can be very large indeed. They also drool and shed hair, so can be quite high-maintenance even if their sweet disposition makes up for it.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, on the other hand is a much easier dog to care for. Staffies have received a lot of bad press, largely related to biting incidents, but this is not the fault of the dog. Sadly, the breed was originally created to fight other dogs back in the 1800s, and if these dogs are maltreated they can become aggressive and violent.
However, in a loving home Staffies are some of the most affectionate dogs around. They are another breed to have gained a nickname, in this case 'the nanny dog', based on how good they are around children. They eagerly assume the role of protector and nursemaid to any children in the household, and are very gentle and playful.
For a dog that will remain devoted and eager to please its family throughout its lifespan, you can hardly choose better than a Labrador or Golden Retriever. Both of these breeds are incredibly intelligent, and therefore very easy to train, and with that comes a love of pleasing their family by learning new tricks and showing off.
Golden Retrievers are also incredibly patient, and so are perfect for families with boisterous children who are likely to grab a handful of fur. This kind of durability is something that is often overlooked in dogs, but they do need to be able to put up with whatever your children throw at them (sometimes literally).
There is no dog more patient and durable than the Bulldog. These lovable pooches aren't very energetic, and are therefore easy to look after, and they will put up with a great deal. They are also very friendly and affectionate dogs.
Of course, you do not have to pick a breed at all. You might find that you are better off going down to the local shelter and choosing a rescue dog. These will not usually be a recognised breed, but will instead be a mutt or mongrel.
These mixed-breeds can be some of the most affectionate around, and you will also be able to do a good thing in rescuing them from the shelter. They will often be full of gratitude for the family that takes them in, and respond in kind with friendliness and an eagerness to please.
Written by: Hannah Dyball