Dogs, our furry four legged friends, come not only in different shapes and sizes, but also with different personalities! Tales of canine loyalty (remember the film Lassie?) is the stuff of legends and choosing a pet dog, therefore, is in itself something of a poser for most of us. Dogs are great stress busters, and also reduce a child’s feelings of anxiety and hostility. Those who have pets will mostly say they are a pleasure to have. Even research indicates that kids who grow up around a pet exhibit greater emotional stability, acceptance, responsibility, empathy, patience, trust and compassion, apart from displaying a marked improvement in their attention span and motor coordination. And a live playmate - a soft, expressive ball of fun that almost never tires of antics - is the perfect foil to keep those smiles on your children’s faces bright and wide for a very long time! However, a dog is just like another member of the family, only not naturally so, and will be part of your family 24/7, except on few occasions. So how do you choose the best breed of dog for your kids? With children in the house, a dog that is friendly, gentle and a natural companion is the best choice.
How To Choose The Right Dog For Kids
Since the reason people keep a pet mostly ranges from an additional sense of security, to companionship (more so if you live alone) to simply a love for the animal, it is best you first decide just why you want a dog for the kids. They say that dogs are a man’s best friend. Here’s how you can go about choosing just the right one to keep your own brood company and be a joy to have around. After answering the basic questions about affordability and compatibility (for example, if there are issues of allergies, a Poodle is not a threat), it is also best to bear in mind factors such as the age of the children, the space for housing and exercising your pet, the time available for training and grooming (children take up a lot of time as it is) as well as most importantly a genuine love, respect and kindness for the animal. While most types of Collies, Pugs and Boxers generally make for good family pets, it is good to buy your pet from a known breeder after checking that the one you choose really loves kids. Here’s what to check for:
- Breeds that mix well into the hurly burly of a house with children usually have to be calm, mature, gentle and affectionate
- The right size; they should not be too big, nor too small
- A low maintenance breed is always better (your priority is your kids)
- It must have a playful disposition
- The pooch should not cause or aggravate allergies.
What are the breeds that fit the bill? Read on to know:
They love children. In fact the best dog breed you can have for your child is probably the Golden Retriever. They play and learn well, shower a lot of love and attention on their owners, love to tag along with kids as if they are their foster caretakers and only grow fonder of the kids as they grow.
Theseare also fantastic with children. Although big, German shepherds are gentle and sensitive. They can take a lot from children such as having their tails and hair pulled and still do not react aggressively. They are particularly good in homes with walking toddlers and kids that like to play after school.
Poodles are generally very good for children. They are slightly sensitive, but thrive on love and attention from children. Poodles are also active dogs.
Try to avoid very large guard dogs or extremely energetic breeds (for e.g. Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs) or the miniature types (for e.g. Chihuahuas and Pomeranians), although exceptions can be made based on the parents’ discretion. Armed with this knowledge, it is time to descend on the pooch market to bring home the right one.
Here is a quick checklist of some more dog breeds best for children:
- Argentine Dogo
- Australian Shepherd
- Basset Hound
- Bearded Collie
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Bichon Frise
- Boston Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
- Irish Setter
- Mixed Breeds
- Norfolk Terrier
- Old English Sheepdog
- Scottish Deerhound
- Springer Spaniel
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Standard Poodle
- Wheaten Terrier
There's pretty much something for everyone on this list. And children above the age of five or six years will take better to a pet dog. Having a cute dog around the house can therefore only mean raising the fun quotient many times over!