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.