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Best Dog Breeds for Family & Children

December 3, 2010 on 4:01 am | In Tips and Advice | No Comments

So, you’re looking for the ideal dog breed to live with a young family? A family with children is perfectly OK to bring in a massive (and we do mean massive) number of different breeds. So many dog types have their qualities and unique strengths. In this article we are going to take a look at 10 breeds that are ideal for families with children.

Picture if you will a young family. 2.4 young kids, a young, lush lawn and a newly furnished semi on the outskirts of town. For the lucky ones reading, this might be reality. Nothing is more rewarding than starting a family, but for those who got down to prolonging the existence of human kind a few years ago, you may notice that your children’s heads are disproportionately large in comparison with their meek, yet flexible bodies. If their heads do look a bit large it could mean that you have toddlers. Great, everyone loves toddlers. Especially this writer, but what he likes to see more than a happy, healthy young family is a happy, healthy young family talking the dog for a walk.

It is a scientific fact that the presence of a dog reduces the risk of heart disease, that is of course subject to not smoking sixty fags a day and existing on a diet of lard and fried mars bars. It is also a fact (maybe not scientific) that dogs are the best thing since sliced lard bars. So why not add a canine component to your near perfect home set up?

But I sense trepidation among some of you. What if he doesn’t like the kids? What will he do when we are at work and the kids are putting the nursery staff through hell? What if he trashes our new pad?

Buy a timber wolf and you would have good reason to ask these questions, but take heed of these recommendations for the most suitable breeds for a hip young working mom, and a dad who is comfortable enough to cry at Bambi after high powered business meetings with the boss, and you’ll be laughing all the way to the trendy wine bar, talking about your great new dog. But remember, your children’s bodies will catch up with their heads by the age of about three and a half. Unless your toddlers name is Ant (Dec’s mate), in which case Mrs Ant’s mom, I’m afraid he’s stuck like that forever. But seriously…here are the Dog top ten dogs for a young family.

Just to be different, we are going to start at 1 (most suitable for the novice) and work our way to ten (more suitable for the cautious, yet confident dog owner with a nipper or two to worry about)

So the most suitable dog for a young family, based on temprament, adaptablity, suitability for house sitting while you’re out and ability to endure kids pulling on his ears is…

The Labrador Retriever

Universally regarded as a superb family dog, this chap is friendly, he’s easy to train, he is obsessive about his personal hygiene and more handsome than George Clooney and Brad Pitt put together. Labrador Retrievers are generally fairly laid back in a family environment, combining a playful streak with a propensity to sit in quiet contemplation while you lot tuck into dinner, owning one will enable you to maintain an active social life so long as you consider the practical needs of the dog, such as garden breaks and feeding.

The Labrador Retriever has the distinct advantage of not requiring a lot of grooming, and therefore not leaving wads of fur everywhere. Couple this with this with his intelligent, affable and obedient nature and you’re onto a sure winner. And let’s not forget that these guys, when they are young, are in fact Andrex puppies, so a ten out of ten for general cuteness as well.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

A respectable runner up rosette goes to a dog which surely is the pride of many a family. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The Staffy has copped a fair bit of bad publicity recently and has done so in the past, but it has to be said that thousands of families nationwide are benefiting from his loyalty and friendliness as we speak.

A relatively small dog, who is particularly suited to the smaller house environment, the Staffy fits in to all family set ups well. A short, coarse coat means that the doggy brush will not need de-fleecing every two days and the Dyson will be able to get up the stairs without choking to death.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a bold, affectionate dog who loves children. He is also quite a strong little character, Phil Buckley, of the Kennel Club, says the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is “a good all round family pet, robust enough to suffer rough play from children and intelligent and obedient enough to be well behaved around the home and amongst strangers.”

Miniature Poodle

Third place goes to the Poodle (miniature). Elegance and a robust personality go hand in hand with the Poodle. But why the Miniature variety? Well, the bigger the Poodle, the less likely he is to be as playful as his smaller cousins, they just tend to be more laid back the bigger they get. The Poodle is a dog that can happily play with children without ever needing to grunt or growl, so laid back in fact that you should not be surprised to see your Poodle serving as an improvised pillow for a snoozing toddler.

This dog sounds great, so why is he not number one then? The reason is simple, fur. We all know Poodles have been known to sport some interesting hairstyles, you could say the Poodle is the David Bekham of the dog world, but in order to get that hair up into those adorable little pig tails, there has to be a fair amount of hair in the first place. Lots of hair means lots of cleaning and should your child be a sufferer of Asthma or any related respiratory condition, the Poodle really is not an option.

Just missing out on a medal is the Golden retriever. A hugely popular dog, with an adorable personality. The Golden Retriever is a dog that looks great, with his shiny thick coat but he also sounds great. He loves a good bark now and then, which can be inconvenient if you have a baby upstairs trying to get some kip.

On the plus side, this chap is always up for playing, and is strong enough to withstand a bit of rough and tumble when the kids get a bit older, secretly I think he loves a bit of a wrestle, and he is a gentleman about it too.

It is common opinion that this dog is so well behaved and easy to train, that the kids could in fact pick up a few pointers off him. Once again, his long fur has let him down in the perfect pet department, but if you are that mad about Golden Retrievers, you won’t mind a bit of extra vacuuming and will soon find that this lad really is a Super Fury Animal.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

WARNING: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels DO suffer with some very serious health problems. Proper research is even more crucial with this breed.

Nestling comfortably in mid table is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. One of Britain’s most popular Toy Dogs, this fella comes complete with floppy ears and droopy eyes, enough to make some people get the cheque book out straight away. Another bonus here, is that this dog does not require the same amount of grooming as some of the higher ranked dogs.

Well known for his friendly, non-aggressive demeanour, the Cavalier King Charles is a suitable dog for a young family, but be told, an unsocialised Cavalier King Charles can be a big problem if he is no used to kids, perhaps one for the slightly more experienced dog owners. Seriously cute little dogs though.

German Shepherd

Next up is the German Shepherd Dog. Perhaps not what one would immediately think of when talking about dogs for young families, but this dog really does take some beating.

Not a suitable breed for all young families, but in the right situation this dog is unbeatable. The biggest entrant so far, the GSD really is an ideal companion for a young family provided you have adequate space and sufficient time to get him trained. A boisterous dog is bad enough in any breed, but when they are this size they can be a real handful if they are not properly trained.

However, as I am sure fellow GSD lovers will agree, once part of the family, this dog will not be beaten on loyalty, friendliness, obedience and looks. But stuffed away in a small flat on his own, he is a different dog.

A true pack animal, who retains many of his pack instincts, the GSD will need a firm hand to guide him towards appropriate family life, but time spent on him in his formative years will reduce the risk of ending up with an aloof, over confident dog later on in life.

Yorkshire Terrier

In at seven is the Yorkshire Terrier. This is the third most popular dog in the UK, so he must be doing something right. However, his suitability as a dog for a young family may not match his popularity with more experienced owners. Dogs this small always run the risk of being trodden on or kicked by clumsy youngsters. Do the same to a GSD and he will hardly notice, but a Yorky could be seriously injured if in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps sleeping by a door.

Yorkies are easy to train though, which goes someway to explain their huge popularity, and they do love to play, when it suits them. Being a terrier, this little fella may get a bit protective of his owner when guests pop round for tea. But if your one desire is a dog that will curl up on your lap for an afternoon snooze, then look no further, this is the dog for you. But if you want a dog that loves a bit of hands on play then perhaps our next entrant is more up your street.


Eighth place goes to a dog that has a special place in everyone’s heart at Dog Breeds. The good old Greyhound is not far off being the perfect family dog. But misinformation has resulted in this dog getting a reputation as a bad pet due to his constant need to be exercised, what utter rubbish! The Greyhound needs as much exercise as any other dog his size, he just happens to be a fast runner.

But aside from his engine like legs, the Greyhound is a loyal and friendly dog who likes to play to with the kids on a regular basis. For the active family, the Greyhound will really benefit and fit in well. But for the average working family, the Greyhound will find his place just as happily.

Combine this with those beautiful big eyes, his short, manageable fur and his affectionate nature, this breed is an absolutely brilliant dog for a young family.

West Highland Terrier

Representing our cousins north of the border is the West Highland Terrier. A suitable dog for the less active family or for those with less space to spare. Got a fox problem, then your Westy will soon be on the case. Bred for his otter hunting and ability to dig out a fox, this rowdy little chap is small (just under 11 inches), but big on personality. A self confident little dog who thrives on human company, the Westy is one of those dogs that are always happy. A little bit of fur on the carpet is about the only drawback of having one of these dogs, again though he is not as durable as some of the bigger dogs and probably has no problem telling you his feelings should you step on his tail. But who wouldn’t.

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