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The 10 Best Dogs for Kids and Families


The Most Popular Family-Friendly Dogs

While Lassie and Lady and the Tramp are fun to watch, they’re probably not the best way to choose the family dog. Instead, choose the breed by its disposition, temperament, size, and energy level -- all of which should suit your family's lifestyle. Just remember, always meet the dog and ask the breeder or shelter worker lots of questions before making such an important decision. Without further ado, here are 10 kid-friendly dog breeds approved by petMD experts. 



#10 The Bull Dog

 The Bull Dog has a sturdy build that is perfect for kids who like to roughhouse. However, it won’t win any awards for "most energetic dog." A docile, friendly, and loyal dog, it gets along well with other pets and dogs, too. The Bull Dog is comfortable living in large houses as well as small apartments.



#9 The Beagle

While your beagle most likely won’t have a bird named Woodstock as his best friend, you can, by all means, name him (or her) Snoopy. Originally kept as hunting dogs, Beagles fit well in homes with active kids, as they are sturdily built and never too tired to play a game. Smart, friendly, and happy, the Beagle usually gets along with other pets, too (except for a bit of chasing here and there). However, they do shed, and require frequent brushing and bathing.



#8 The Bull Terrier

Unfairly branded as an aggressive animal, the Bull Terrier was actually bred to be a companion dog -- friendly and loving towards grown-ups and kids alike. This well-framed dog also has a high threshold for pain, making it perfect for rambunctious children who are learning how to properly treat dogs.


The Bull Terrier can get quite rambunctious and requires plenty of playtime. Therefore, it is a perfect dog for a large family. The Bull Terrier will return your affection by being very protective of your children.



#7 The Collie

This is the dog Lassie made famous. Collies are a very gentle and predictable breed, rarely biting its human family and easily trainable -- which is perfect for families that are unfamiliar with dogs. Collies get along great with children and love to please their owners and protect their family.


While this breed is typically mild-mannered (like Clark Kent!), it was originally bred as a herding dog, so it may try and herd your children. This might be amusing at first, but it’s probably best to discourage the child-herding (no matter how handy you may think it could be). Because of the Collie's long hair, it requires regular grooming to keep its coat in tip-top shape.



#6 The Newfoundland

Nicknamed "Nature’s Babysitter," the Newfoundland dog loves children and is very protective of them. Gentle, kind, and patient, this breed is almost like the Mother Teresa of dogs. Both young and old will quickly fall in love with this wonderfully sweet, large dog.


The Newfoundland best suits a family with large open spaces. And although it is known to drool and shed excessively, it is not considered a proper dog for the yard. This breed wants to be inside with its family. Wouldn’t you? The Newfoundland is also a great swimmer and has been known to save lives in emergency situations.



Comments  18

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  • Poodle?
    04/15/2012 12:52pm

    Growing up and even today my family has had poodles, I was surprised to see them
    On your list for childrens dogs. They can be high strung, moody and easily aggrivated. Add to that, the high maintenence involved with grooming and yes those haircuts are mandatory unless you want a very scruffy looking dog. This is definately a research driven decision type if breed.

  • 04/26/2012 01:57pm

    My ipad for some reason closed before I could finish.

    The standard poodle is one of the best breeds for children or anyone who wants one that's funny, gentle, smart, protective and probably the most human-like of all breeds..

    I know many individuals who have purchased poodles because they were so impressed with mine or commented that other breeds are difficult to have after living with a poodle, a unique animal.

    I've had many throughout my life. Presently, I have 3 standards and 2 wonderful toys as well.

    Like all breeds they're not all perfect, partly due to breeding and just the way life is.. The best parents can have a bad child.

    The only real concern is grooming. If you want to keep them long, they need regular maintenance or they can be sheared reducing the amount of up-keep.

  • 04/26/2012 02:30pm

    Unfortunately, when a naturally large breed (standard poodle) is genetically altered producing a miniature or toy there is a much greater chance for the smaller version to be high-strung. Standard poodles are rarely that way!

  • Surprising List
    04/13/2013 10:55am

    Wow, I have never owned one,but Golden Retrievers are very friendly every time I meet them. Great with kids, great family dog.

    Schnauzer? I know several and they are NOT friendly with strangers nor other animals. Several of their owners have even attested to that.

    Bulldogs? Can't imagine cuddling with that

  • 04/13/2013 10:58am

    Oopps Seems I replied to the wrong list

    04/15/2013 07:17pm

    The *NUMBER ONE* dog for a child should be the American Stafford-shire Terrier!! Not only have I personally witnessed this with my own child as well as numerous other people that I know it has been proven. It's hogwash that they get outcast-ed b/c they are one of the strongest dogs out there so low life criminals choose to train them to be TERRIBLE and fight each other for there own financial gain. They are almost all born to be amazing unless bred to be terrible. Any breed of dog could be viscous if trained to be so. Its just that these are some of the strongest dogs so they are the most commonly choosen to be trained to be fighters. IF you honestly think about it you have N-E-V-E-R heard a story of a properly trained, well treated, well kept "Pit-Bull" to just snap and hurt people. IT's stupid HUMANS that train them to be horrible. Come on! Think about it some of worthless Michale Vic's,trained fighting dogs have been placed in homes with multiple children!!! If the BREED it's self was sooooooooooooooooooooooo HORRIBLE this would never be close to possible. UGH HUMANS SUCK!! It's not their fault the humans train them to be terrible. SUCH B.S!!!

  • 05/07/2013 08:23pm

    I agree 100% i have owned many pits and they are exactly what there trained to be loving family dogs.

  • Beagles
    05/10/2013 12:56am

    I couldn't agree more. We got a beagle/cocker puppy last year and he has been the most amazing dog for our family. He is extremely loyal and always at my side. We were so pleased we got him a brother 2 weeks ago. They have quickly bonded. They have a cat brother as well. The three run and play and do quite well. Our beagles Willy & Nelson love to play with their human brothers too. Beagles use their noses a lot so make sure you put the trash can out of reach. I was excited to see them in the top 10.

  • 05/17/2013 02:15am

    That's really cool idea that i got to see in here. Segmenting the dog as per kids age and preferences is good in terms of safety considerations. But how many dogs one can own, that's also a logical question in this regard.

  • 06/05/2013 05:43am

    Dogs make great companions for kids as well as women. They make up for in personality and playfulness as well they're extremely loyal, to boot. I extremely admire French bulldog as this breed is smart with a powerful penchant for play. They're very lively and social, but not overly boisterous or barky.

  • 08/02/2013 03:17pm

    This list is very reassuring for us.....we are expecting our first child this fall and we have 3 dogs.....a collie, a beagle and a lab.

  • I like your list
    08/03/2013 08:26am

    the order is somewhat off though I find beagles should be more like in 4th place then 9th and I've known enough collies they shouldn't even be on this list. and Vislas are greats dogs too. Over all your list is good just not good enough. Maybe look more closely at the AKC version which is much better. course I will not argue with the numbers 1 and 2 dogs they are the best family dog there is I would put the beagle third on that list and drop the poodle to 9th .

  • 08/04/2013 02:56pm

    Whatever dog you choose please adopt your dog from the shelter or a rescue group. Millions of wonderful dogs die in shelters every year.

  • 08/17/2013 04:18am

    Agree with the list, but the the poodle should say Standard Poodle. Any other size is WAY too delicate for a child!

  • Labrador
    09/12/2013 08:37am

    Our Labrador was extremely patient with children. Toddlers that visited us often pulled her fur, ears and tail and she never even flinched. She just nugded them gently and licked their hand or face. During the 13 years she was with us, never one single problem. I miss her... :'(

  • Saw something so cute for
    06/24/2015 11:09am

    hi guys, I saw a really cool post about dogs using costumes. As a community that care for our loved 4 legged friend, I feel this will interest the audience:

  • I just adore miniature po
    12/07/2015 10:00am

    I have had many breeds and I just adore miniature poodles. They are very friendly towards everyone, easy to take care of, and surprisingly calm unless someone new comes to the door but quiet down at once. Very intelligent and snuggle well at night. I have a westie which is much less calm than them. Great all around pet. greets: https://fulhamsw6.wordpress.com/

  • A little addition
    01/11/2016 11:31am

    I wouldn't have added a poodle. In my experience with them and their owners, as well as plenty of research, poodles are actually rather aggressive and can lash out pretty quickly. While being great for familes with allergies, and they typically do have a rather calm, gentle nature, it doesn't change the fact that poodles are aggressive and can have really strange mood swings.

    I would have added rottweilers to the list, even if I am biased. I've basically grown up with them my entire life - they're sweet and playful. Add that to their protective nature, and their huge, strong jaws aren't usually a problem unless the kid is being cruel. The last time we had a rottie (a younger one) the dog allowed my brother and I to play roughly with him and let my brother ride on his back (although our dad got a little angry. Not good for a dog). Their big size and the fear that people have of them thanks to their strength being used in dangerous ways by other people is probably why most people don't usually allow them around kids, but trust me, they're good with families.

    (AND they're MUCH more convenient to have around than a bulldog. Better to cuddle with, and provides much more protection. Most people would be more intimidated by a rottie than a bulldog.)