Adding a new dog to your family is especially exciting after you have children, because the bond between a kid and his dog can last a lifetime. Getting a dog with the right temperament and disposition for your family is crucial, though, especially if you're fond of the larger breeds. Checking out which large dog breeds are great around kids is a smart way to kick off your search for the newest family member.
If you're getting a big dog, then it's extra-important to make sure it's an easily trained, gentle animal. A rude toy breed may be irritating, but an untrained 80-pound dog can be dangerous around kids. In general, patient breeds such as Labrador retrievers work well with kids, according to the American Kennel Club. A little research into the traits of different dog breeds can help point your family in the right direction.
That said, a dog of any breed will still have its own personality. "It is important to keep in mind that all dogs are individuals and may not have the traits considered typical for their breed," says Michael San Filippo, Senior Media Relations Specialist for the American Veterinary Medical Association. "It is a good idea to ensure your dog was well socialized as a pup and to maintain a good program of training as well as a wellness plan, to make sure your pet is healthy." Even if your dog's breed has a chill natural temperament, all playtime involving dogs and small children should be supervised. Plus, the dog should have a safe, quiet space of their own to withdraw from the children when needed, as further explained by Michael San Filippo. Even the calmest dog needs a break sometimes.
Of course, having a dog provides many benefits to kids, including lessons about responsibility and empathy, as noted in Romper. But it's equally important to make sure your kid understands the importance of treating the dog with gentleness and respect as well. When both the child and dog can treat one another with kindness, though, their bond is unbreakable.
1. Labrador Retriever
The most popular dog breed in the United States, Labrador retrievers are the quintessential family pet. Friendly and open to training, Labrador retrievers tend to love playing with children, as noted on The Labrador Site. This active member of the sporting group is happy to join your family on any adventure, from a hike to a beach trip.
However, labs can be boisterous, energetic dogs, who sometimes topple kids over in their enthusiasm. Thankfully, they usually respond well to training and can learn to play gently over time.
2. Great Dane
Despite their intimidating height, Great Danes tend to be chill, goofy sweethearts. Great Danes are gentle with children, according to Dogtim, although they can easily knock over kids (and even adults) due to their sheer size. Thankfully, though, these dogs are pretty friendly and not prone to extreme aggression.
However, it's important to remember that the Great Danes' average lifespan is only about 8 years, as further noted by Dogtime. Chances are, you will have to deal with the difficult process of saying goodbye much sooner than with other breeds.
These fluffy, sociable dogs thrive on human interaction. In fact, Newfoundlands are nicknamed "nature's babysitter" due to their protective, patient nature, as noted on PetMD. As Dogtime also noted, these large dogs are known for their excellence with children, because they are calm and loyal.
Heads up, Newfies do require a good bit of grooming due to the thick coat. Also, these dogs are practically infamous for their drooling.
4. Bernese Mountain Dog
Intelligent and highly trainable, these gorgeous dogs make great family pets. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Bernese Mountain dogs are good with children as well as other dogs. They do tend to have a shorter life expectancy of around 6 to 8 years, as further noted by the AKC.
5. St. Bernard
If you watched the movie Beethoven a million times as a kid, then here's some good news. St. Bernard dogs are apparently amazing with children, provided the dog has proper training and socialization, according to The Saint Bernard Club. However, these giant dogs do tend to drool and shed significantly at times, so they may not be the best breed for all families who aren't all too excited about the upkeep. Also, they're big chewers, according to VetStreet, so you'll have to keep an extra eye on them when they're puppies. Otherwise you might find yourself at the vet more often than you'd anticipated.
6. Bearded Collie
These magnificently shaggy dogs are also a good choice for many families. Bearded collies tend to do well with children, according to the AKC, as they are bouncy, friendly dogs. However, they do tend to be on the more vocal side, AKA prone to lots of barking.
7. Standard Poodle
By all accounts, poodles are completely awesome dogs. Smart and active, poodles play well with kids, and as a bonus they have hypoallergenic fur, noted the AKC. They will need daily grooming and lots of exercise, though.
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