The best dog breeds for families with small children

The best dog breeds for families with small children - Barking Heads & Meowing Heads

The best dog breeds for families with small children

What dog breed makes the best pet for families with small children?


So you’ve decided you want to get a dog! Congratulations, it’s time to get ready for some amazing memories, muddy paws and slobbery kisses. Adding a new member to the family is a big decision and it’s important to ensure it’s right for you and your lifestyle. So, you know you want to bring a dog into your family but you’re unsure on which breed would be best suited for your small children!


How do i know what breed is best suited to my family?

Different breeds have different requirements and it’s important to ensure these requirements are also aligned with your lifestyle. it’s important to answer the following questions when considering a breed:

  • How old are your children? Remember, larger, more excitable & boisterous dogs can accidentally knock over your children or scare them if they’re young or not used to dogs.
  • Are your children used to being around dogs or any type of animal species?
  • Is there a safe space for your dog to be on their own when needed?
  • Do you have a garden for your dog?
  • If there is no garden, is there somewhere safe to walk your dog and do you have the time to meet their exercise requirements?


Important factors to consider when getting a dog

It’s very important to consider the size of the dog, exercise requirements and personality traits. We don't believe in stereotyping any breed of dog as every dog is different and many factors of their personality are based on upbringing and training but it’s important to consider some traits that come with certain breeds.

An important factor to consider is the size of a dog, medium to large breeds can be at risk of knocking small children accidentally. Larger breeds also require more exercise than smaller breed dogs. On the other end of the spectrum, many smaller dogs are not recommended for families with young children because they are fragile or nervous around boisterous little ones. However, some little dogs are known to get along great with kids of all ages.


What are the best dog breeds for families with small children?

Labrador Retriever

Labs are a wonderful medium to large breed that are very patient, reliable and loving. They love to play, cuddle and are fantastic with children.

Labrador outside


Beagles are renowned for being an amazing family dog. They’re small to medium sized, active, sturdy and a very friendly dog breed!

Beagle with ball

Cocker Spaniel

These breeds are an all-round fun-loving, active and family orientated breed. They love to play and socialise, are great with kids and love to cuddle.

Cocker Spaniel outside

Bichon Frise

A very gentle, intelligent and affectionate breed that wants nothing more than a loving family home. They’re a small breed with wonderful character and a beautiful fluffy, white coat, but bear in mind this requires grooming and regular upkeep!

Bichon Frise outside

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A sweet, even-tempered and affectionate breed that wants nothing more than a loving, family home with lots of cuddles. Cavaliers are a small to medium breed that love to play and only require adequate exercise with daily walks.

King Charles Spaniel

Boston Terrier

An understated breed with so much character. Boston Terrier’s love kids and make wonderful family dogs. Playful, active and affectionate, along with being a compact size for smaller children.

Boston Terrier

Cairn Terrier

A gentle, kind breed with so much character. Cairn Terrier’s love children and although a small breed, sturdy and active. It’s important to remember this is a terrier breed with a high prey drive therefore may not be suited to a home with cats or other small furries!

Cairn Terrier


Playful, adaptable, with lots of energy and character. A wonderful small breed that loves children and only requires short, daily walks. It’s important to bear in mind their short muzzle can be a risk in hotter temperatures, therefore when looking to adopt or purchase from a breeder, assess their muzzle to ensure a lower risk of health implications later in life.


...but there's also many more wonderful dog breeds out there!


Remember, just because a breed isn’t on this list doesn’t mean there aren’t other breeds that would be a great family pet with smaller children. We recommend doing your research and making a decision based on what suits your lifestyle!

To ensure a lifetime of happiness and love, take your time to choose the right dog and teach your children how to respectfully behave around your new dog.


Veterinary Nurse, Sharna Beveridge & Barking Heads

Read our blog on Puppy Tips from Vet, Dr Scott Miller and Barking Heads!

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