It’s not unusual for families to adopt a dog around the same time as having their own children. But are some dog breeds better suited for families with small children? We were recently asked that, so we reached out to Dr. Eva Radke, DVM, of the East San Rafael Veterinary Clinic in California to see what we could come up with.
There are various things to consider, according to Radke, aside from a dog just being a family-friendly breed. She recommends taking your own daily life into account. “Are you an active family who spends a lot of time hiking, running, and camping?” she asks. “Or do you tend to stay home cooking and enjoying movies? You will want to choose a dog whose temperament, size, and energy level best matches your family.”
At the end of the day, it’s also important to remember that your dog is just that: a dog. “Even the gentlest-mannered dog is still an animal with her own set of instincts and ways to express herself,” Radke said. She suggests you never leave your small children unattended with the dog, just in case, and always supervise them when they’re together. Your pup may always tolerate the ear and tail tugs from your kid, but you don’t want to run the risk of the dog snapping one day when you aren’t paying attention.
Scroll through to find six dog breeds Radke said are best suited for families, based on each breed’s typical personality traits.
We’re huge proponents of adopting mutts, and Radke agreed. While it’s hard to tell the personality traits you’re going to get when you adopt a mutt, shelters will often let you bring the pup home for a test run with your family before fully committing to the adoption.
Bulldogs have been growing in popularity in recent years, and we can see why. They’re friendly pups, and Radke said they can even have a sense of humor — what could be better? They’re also typically a smaller breed, which is perfect for an urban-dwelling family.
Boxers are loyal, playful dogs that can be a lot of fun for your family. They’re typically fairly active and very loving. But don’t worry, Radke assured us they can also be couch potatoes, and after 13 years with my very own boxer, I can confirm that this is all very accurate.
Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are up-and-coming breeds that are a cross between a poodle and a Labrador retriever or golden retriever. As labs and goldens are already great family dogs, adding in the intelligence and social nature of the poodle makes for a wonderful combination for families.
Golden retrievers are a very popular family dog, because they’re friendly, smart, and loyal. They’re also known for their patience, Radke said, which is key for families with small children with grabby hands seeking out floppy ears to tug on. Goldens are also very playful, so they can keep up with the kids and wear them out for one big naptime with the whole family.
Labrador retrievers are so playful and active, which makes them a great fit for an active family with small children. They’re also very loving and tend to be easy to train, according to Radke.