Thinking of buying your kid a dog? Well, luckily for you, we’ve done the groundwork. Here’s our list of the ‘Top 10 best dogs for kids’.

Of course, it would be easy to choose a dog on looks alone, although doesn’t every puppy look super cute? Yet, when it comes to selecting the best dog for kids, there are some important considerations. Key things to think about include:

Temperament – you want a gentle and affectionate dog that isn’t likely to get snappy if a little person pulls its tale.

Energy levels – do you really want a dog that needs walking three times a day? I’m betting you don’t necessarily want a breed that tires easily either!

Size – a large dog, despite its placid nature, may accidentally knock over a toddler when playing. Plus the size of the breed might also determine its exercise needs and the food costs.

Grooming requirements – the type and length of the dog’s hair can influence how easy or difficult it is to care for. Also, a dog that sheds lots of hair is no good if someone in the family has allergies.

Now that you’ve considered a few of the essential factors when choosing the best dog for kids, here are 10 dog breeds that are especially suitable for littlies.

Top 10 best dogs for kids


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  1. Bulldog

The small and sturdy English Bulldog is affectionate and great for families with kids. They’re not super energetic but because they start off with lots of energy as puppies and gradually slow down with age, this can suit quite well the needs of growing children – who will hopefully plays less rambunctiously with the dog as they grow older.

Bulldogs aren’t fussy about their environment, so it doesn’t matter if you live in a big house or an apartment, the bulldog will settle in just fine.

Docile, friendly and loyal, the bulldog’s laid-back nature means it gets along with other pets and fellow dogs too. Read: no embarrassing scuffles at the dog park!

beagle, best dogs for kids

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  1. Beagle

While a little regular grooming is required to keep those floppy ears in tip-top shape and address the shedding fur, Beagles are definitely one of the best dogs for kids. They are calm, clever and loving and never too tired to play.

Their abundance of energy does require regular exercise, but lots of outdoor games and long walks will do the kids just as much good as the dog!

One thing to watch out for with Beagles is their tendency to sniff out scraps of food; their food intake needs to be monitored carefully to prevent obesity. This might mean explaining to the kids that feeding the dog under the table might be fun but it’s also detrimental to its health.

King Charles Cavalier

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  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Loyal, friendly and, let’s face it, a little bit fluffy — Cavaliers are an ideal choice for a family with young kiddies.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a playful, affectionate temperament; they are sociable, loyal and totally lovable. Who can resist those, big, adorable, puppy-dog eyes?

While Cavaliers are happy to sit on your lap and laze around enjoying a belly rub, they also love chasing birds and require a regular walk. One thing to note: Cavaliers are not known for their street smarts, so they need to be kept on a lead to avoid injury.

The Cavalier’s small size and placid nature makes them an ideal house dog. They are adaptable and easily house-trained. Although don’t expect them to play guard dog—their friendly nature will sooner see them roll over for a tummy tickle than fend off an intruder!

Due to the Cavalier’s medium-length coat, they do require a weekly brush and bath and those beautiful, long, floppy ears might need a wipe over after meal times, but in general the cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be considered low maintenance.

Australian shepherd dog

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  1. Australian Shepherd

Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd doesn’t actually originate from Oz but it’s an awesome breed nonetheless. It thrives on exercise and constant activity, so can keep up with even the most energetic child.

It has a watchful instinct and is protective of its family; it will often bark to signal house visitors. It’s also very easy to train, so if you’re looking for an obedient dog that also in the list of best dogs for kids, look no further than an Aussie Shepherd.

Its medium size makes it not too large to have around kids, although it’s too big for apartment living.


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  1. Bichon Frise

You can always rely on a Bichon Frise to put a smile on your dial. Perhaps it’s because it looks like a cute little fluff ball! Talking of fur, it does generally require daily brushing and weekly grooming but on the plus side, it sheds very little hair.

Bichon Frises have a happy, energetic nature and make a great pet for small children. It can take time to house train a Bichon Frise and it needs to be taught who’s boss, but despite this it’s a great watch dog that will give the kids hours of fun and lots of loving.

Newfoundland dog

  1. Newfoundland

If your kids love Peter Pan they’ll love a Newfoundland as according to Peter Pan the book, Nana the dog is a Newfoundland. This big but gentle breed is great for kids as its sociable but also patient (as parents, we all know how important patience it, don’t we?!).

Nobody’s perfect, so it’s worth noting that the Newfoundland does have a tendency to drool and can shed a lot of hair but this totally loveable, massive mound of fur is very loveable and also thought to be easy to train.


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  1. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is intelligent, good-natured and eager to please, which makes it a great family dog and one of the best dogs for kids. It’s very tolerant, so is excellent around kids and given that the breed also excels at ‘retrieving’, it can entertain the kids for hours. Go Fetch!

There’s good reason why Golden Retrievers are so popular, their patience and plentiful energy suits family life. They love to be part of the family so expect to take him or her with you to the beach, park or on your family camping trip.

Golden Retrievers do need a little bit of grooming effort, daily brushing, to help keep the coat in good condition and deal with some of the shedding dog hair. They’re also large dogs so brushing can take a while and they’re not well suited to small houses.


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  1. Collie

Everyone loves Lassie! Collies are faithful, obedient and smart. Their predictable nature makes them a great breed of dog to have around kids—plus they love to play.

Collies are easy to train and make great watchdogs, yet they are gentle and loving, making them one of the best dogs for kids of all ages. They also have a good life span of approximately 14–16 years.


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  1. Labrador

Labradors make ideal family dogs, as they love to please, they’re playful, protective and reliable. Labs love learning new tricks, which can mean hours of fun for family and friends.

Labs are larger dogs so if you have really little kids they may get knocked over (by accident), but isn’t life about taking knocks? Their size also means they’re not suited to a small house or apartment and they’re perhaps not a breed of dog you’d want to share your bed with!

Labradors have beautiful coats of hair but, unsurprisingly, this does require some maintenance. However, if you have older kids brushing and bathing pooch might be a great way for them to earn some pocket money!

Irish setter, best dogs for kids

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  1. Irish Setter

    The tall, slender Irish Setter is an energetic and elegant looking dog and a great companion for kids – especially older kids. It’s a super smart dog that can be well trained. Irish setters are high-energy dogs, so they’re suited to an active family or children that are energetic and old enough to take the dog out for a run of an evening. Irish Setters are playful, fun and mischievous – just like kids!

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Leanne Philpott

Leanne is a freelance writer at She works alongside her fur pal Chewie (a border terrier) and is passionate about promoting responsible pet ownership.

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