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Top 12 Child-Friendly Dog Breeds

With hundreds to choose from, how can you tell which are the most child-friendly dog breeds? Our friends over at Barking Royalty have shared some super tips with us, along with their Top 12 suitable breeds to take a look at!

What makes a great child-friendly dog breed?

When choosing a dog, it’s important to consider your living conditions, as well as your lifestyle. It might seem that all dogs and puppies would get along perfectly with small kids, but it doesn’t really work this way. Canines love to spend time playing with kids, but not all are as tolerant with the way some children like to play.

So, when adopting a dog, you should take several factors into consideration in order to choose the right dog breed for you and your family. Let’s explain each of them and why they are important when you have small kids.


You would probably think that small dogs might be a much better option for your kids, but the truth is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Small dogs might be more delicate and might respond nervously to playing with kids. On the other hand, bigger dogs are more likely to be stable and sturdy which enables them to handle most different playing methods.

When choosing between big or small dog breeds you should also think about the size of your home and the amount of exercise time you can devote to your pup.


You should look for a dog breed that is docile, smart and tolerant. Dogs that do best with kids are the ones that are patient and generally friendly. Responsiveness is also quite an important trait you should look for in a dog. Dogs that spend a lot of time with small children have to be trained properly in order to be their best guardians and best friends at the same time.

Parents feel most relaxed with pets that are calm because they seem to be much better at forming bonds will small kids. Dog breeds that are likely to be nervous or irritable should be avoided.

Energy Levels

Your dog’s energy level is another crucial factor you should have in mind. You want to find a dog that is quite energetic and that will be able to handle your kids’ playtime rhythm without exhausting himself. On the other hand, you also have to choose a dog that you will be able to provide with sufficient exercise time. Ideally, you would choose a high energy dog that won’t get irritated when playing with kids.


This is the factor that often gets neglected. Whether you should adopt a puppy or a younger dog depends on your children’s age. Kids under the age of 6 years find much better companions in adult dogs than in puppies. Here’s why: puppies are immature, clumsy and unpredictable, just like kids. This means that puppies might start a game slightly too rough for your small kid. On the other hand, puppies are also quite delicate and your kid could hurt him involuntarily.

Adopting an adult  that is at least 2 years old for small children is a great way to avoid anybody getting hurt. On the other hand, puppies will perfectly adapt to a family with kids that are 6 years old or older.

So, now that we’ve explained some of the factors to look for in your new dog, let’s see which breeds are claimed to be the most kid‐friendly!


1) Water Spaniel

Being originally bred for hunting, Water Spaniels are highly energetic dogs that love to spend their time doing various activities. Running, jogging and, especially swimming, will be necessary to incorporate in their free time if you want them to sleep well at night. They are also sturdy enough for an over‐the‐top way of playing kids sometimes initiate, and are quite affectionate toward their family members.

2) Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are known to be among the best kid‐friendly pets too. Although they were bred as hunting dogs, they aren’t quite that energetic so they’ll likely be quite laid back when home. However, they are sturdy and smart and will easily learn how to play and interact with your kid. Bassets are easily adaptable to any type of home because of their medium size.

3) Bernese Mountain Dog

Despite their large size, these dogs are perfect companions to all young children. Bernese Dogs are docile and calm dogs that are easy to train and are very tolerant and affectionate toward their family members. These gentle giants will enjoy playing with your kids.

4) Beagle

Although they can be stubborn at times, Beagles make great energetic dogs that do great with kids. Beagles are known as pack breeds which is why they form bonds with their family members quite easily.

5) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Since Cavalier Spaniels are the most cuddly of all Spaniels, kids that are affectionate will likely be this dog’s best companions. However, they are still quite active and energetic which makes them a wonderful choice for young children.

6) Boston Terrier

The smallest of all breeds on this list is “The American Gentleman”, more commonly known as “The Boston Terrier”. These dogs are very affectionate, intelligent and energetic. Despite being a small‐sized breed, Boston Terriers are quite sturdy as they were initially bred to be fighting dogs. However, their past is long forgotten, and today these dogs are considered to be not only one of the most kid‐friendly dog breeds, but also one of the best dogs for people with busy schedules.

7) Curly‐Coated Retriever

Looking for a loyal, friendly dog? Then Retrievers should be on the top of your list. Just like many other Retrievers, the Curly‐Coated is also a very intelligent and energetic dog. When they are not playing or running around, they will enjoy having their naps by their owner’s side. Curly‐Coated Retrievers are very gentle with kids which is why a lot of parents choose them when having small kids.

8) Brittany

Yet another Spaniel made it to this list. Brittanys are very athletic and love spending time outdoors. They are easy‐to‐train, sociable dogs that will be perfect companions when provided with enough exercise and affection.

9) Irish Wolfhound

If you prefer large breeds than Irish Wolfhound might be another dog that your kids will adore. They are very loyal, responsive and playful dogs that will love playing and cuddling with small children. They need an adequate amount of exercise in order to stay healthy and happy.

10) Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are definitely known to be one of the best family dogs out there. And there are good reasons why Goldies are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are calm, intelligent, sociable and quite responsive to training. They quickly bond with their family member. However, in order to make them happy, you will need to provide them with a lot of exercise time.

11) Staffordshire Bull Terrier

We can’t have a list of the most child-friendly dog breeds and forget about the Staffie. Crowned the winner of ITV’s Britain’s Top 100 Dogs 2019, the Staffie is often referred to as a Nanny Dog due it’s great way with children, and even the Kennel Club agree, naming them as one of the most suitable breeds for families.

12) Boxer

Along with the sweet Staffie, the Boxer is also celebrated as a suitable family pet by the Kennel Club. Due to his loyal and sweet-natured temperament, the Boxer makes for a great child-friendly breed.


Please remember…

  • Each dog is different and its breed’s traits are not necessarily his own.
  • Your dog’s initial temperament can change if he’s neglected, not trained properly, and doesn’t develop his social skills from a young age.
  • Paying attention to most crucial things such as early socialisation, training and teaching basic commands are necessary when deciding to adopt a dog.
  • Adopting a dog might not be a good idea if you’re not ready to dedicate the necessary time to exercising, training and socialising with your pooch.

Barking Royalty is a website that’s been caring about your dog’s wellbeing since 2015.

They want to make the journey with your fluffy friend as stress-free as possible. That’s why they’ve teamed up with veterinarians and dog experts in order to provide owners with trustworthy, reliable information for all of their dog-related issues or doubts.



Community Manager

Tina's been part of the Preloved family since 2014 and spends most of her time reviewing Preloved policy and speaking with external parties, such has charities, forums, and government agencies. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, pets, friends, and Netflix.