If you’ve decided the time is right to buy a dog for the family, it’s important to do your research first, so you bring the right dog into your home. If you have young children, it’s essential that you prioritise finding a dog that will behave well with kids. Here’s how to find the right dog for you and your kids.
Look Into Child Friendly Breeds
The temperament of the individual dog is obviously very important, but you can start on the right foot by choosing a breed that is known to be better with children. You need a dog that is patient, tolerant and good with loud noise. A playful dog is also likely to be popular with young children. Retrievers (especially Golden and Labrador) have excellent reputations as family dogs, thanks to their nature as loyal, devoted, easy-going breeds. Newfoundlands, beagles, boxers and bulldogs also work well with children.
You should also consider a breed that a child will be able to handle. If you want the children to be the ones who walk the dog, don’t choose a large, strong dog, as they won’t be able to control it. Pick a trainable, smaller dog. Dog harnesses give more control than a standard lead, making these a good option for kids walking dogs.
Miniature breeds like toy poodles are not good dogs for children. You don’t want too small a dog, as they may not respond well to the rough play from excited kids.
Choose A Breed That Suits Your Lifestyle
As well as a dog that will live well with children, you need to think about getting a dog that will fit with your lifestyle. If you’re a generally active family, and spend the weekend walking and cycling, you can take on a more active dog, like a Collie. If, however, you’re busier and work long hours, you need a dog that is happier to stay inside alone, like a bulldog. All dogs need a good walk everyday, but some breeds need a lot more exercise than others.
How much space do you have? A large dog won’t fit well into apartment life, and will need a large garden to run around in. If you have a small house, pick a smaller dog, so it won’t take up the entire house.
Consider the climate you live in too. For example, if you live somewhere hot, you’ll want to avoid a dog with thick fur, like a Newfoundland.
Think About Age
It might seem obvious to get a puppy, but if you have young children, a puppy might not be the best choice. Puppies need a lot of time-consuming care, and will be more prone to nip small children until they’re properly trained. You also want to avoid very old dogs. They’ll be harder to train, and will have less patience for the rough and tumble of living with children. You’ll also want to avoid a dog that won’t live very long, to put off the inevitable upset children when the dog dies.