Top Ten Dogs for Kids

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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 a 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.

#10 The Bulldog

The Bulldog 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, the Bulldog gets along well with other pets and dogs, too. The Bulldog 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 still name him (or her) Snoopy. Originally kept as hunting dogs, Beagles fit well in homes with active kids, as they are sturdily built and are 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). They do shed fairly heavily, however, and require frequent brushing and bathing.

#8 The Bull Terrier

Unfairly branded as an aggressive breed, 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.

#7 The Collie

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

#6 The Newfoundland

Nicknamed "Nature’s Babysitter" (think "Nana" from Peter Pan), the Newfoundland dog loves children and is very protective over 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.

#5 The Vizsla

This may be a breed you haven’t heard of before, but because of its need for regular exercise, it’s actually one best dog breeds for active and energetic families with older kids. The Vizsla has a lively disposition but a gentle manner; it is loyal and affectionate. Additionally, it is obedient, confident and smart, forming close bonds with its family and able to learn new tricks quickly. Best of all, the Vizsla has very little "doggy" smell about it.

#4 Irish Setter

Known for its red coat, the Irish Setter is playful, energetic, loves being around people, and plays well with children. This doggy needs lots of exercise, and is a good match for energetic kids and active families. A smart and trainable companion, the Irish Setter is especially perfect for people with a yard.

#3 The Poodle

Often given rather curious haircuts by their owners, the Poodle is a very smart and gentle dog. It’s also great for kids with allergies, as it sheds very little. It does, however, require scheduled grooming, or its hair will get out of control. This is a proud and elegant dog that is both caring and loyal. Seldom annoyed or bored, the Poodle's good nature, friendly demeanor and patience make it an excellent playing partner for a child.

#2 Labrador Retriever

This is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., and for good reason. The Labrador Retriever is playful, patient, loving, protective and reliable. In fact, its sweet personality and intelligence is only matched by its beauty. What does this mean for you? It means the perfect family pet.

#1 The Golden Retriever

Not as big in size as the Lab, the Golden Retriever is a confident, smart, kind and loyal dog. Neither aggressive nor timid, the Golden Retriever is extremely patient, which is perfect for kids. While it does need a lot of exercise, its love of play makes this an easy task to achieve.

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