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Selecting a new dog for your family is a big responsibility, and a decision that shouldn’t be made rashly. You want a dog who will be good with kids and who also fits your lifestyle and living conditions. A little bit of planning to ensure your new furry little friend fits within your family’s needs can save a lot of hassle and heartache later.

Dog breeds that are good with kids

There are many breeds of dogs that are good with kids, so there is a match for families of any kind. This list is designed to help you get started. Keep in mind that the categories we provide are only suggestions; it doesn’t mean you can’t pick a dog from the apartment list for your home in the country, and some dogs could fall into several categories. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you may want to do further research on those breeds to pin down what might be the perfect family dog for you.

Best kid-friendly dogs for ACTIVE FAMILIES

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers have long been a family favorite for their loving personality and general gentleness/tolerance for kids. Retrievers were bred to retrieve prey items for hunters in their mouth without biting or injuring the fowl, and this trait has carried over into a gentle, careful nature that is kind and considerate with kids. It’s a dog that loves to play fetch or other outdoor games, and golden retrievers are generally good swimmers, so they are perfect for families who love to spend time outdoors. They are also smart and easy to train, but tend to have thin, fine coats that mat easily and may require some brushing.

Border Collie

These dogs are renowned for both their beauty and athleticism, and Border Collies make a perfect dog for active families. Bred for herding, these dogs are good with kids and have the stamina to keep up with them. Their herding instincts also tend to give them a protective, care giving of type personality.

Labrador Retriever

Playful yet gentle, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the United States, primarily because of its versatility. It loves the outdoors and is great for active families who enjoy hiking or camping. These dogs were originally bred as hunting companions, which makes them devoted, loyal, and easy to train. Their shorter coat won’t attract as many burrs or bristles as longer-hair breeds.

Redbone Coonhound

Calm and good natured, these floppy-eared hounds make great pets for kids. Bred to chase animals up trees, these hounds are energetic and better for families with space to roam. The downside is that their howling can sometimes be a nuisance to neighbors (if not yourselves), and they have a tendency to follow their nose wherever it takes them.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Big and powerful but also gentle, this dog is similar to the popular Bernese but with a lot less fur to shed. It makes a good choice for parents looking for a unique breed that is still kid-friendly.

Best kid-friendly dogs for APARTMENT LIVING

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are ideal for apartment living. This miniature dog packs a lot of personality in a small package, and they are generally good with kids.

Brussels Griffon

This tiny dog loves to cuddle and is a very affectionate companion. The Brussel’s Griffon is recommended for both senior citizens and children alike, making this breed perfect for multi-generational families. They also have a spunky, inquisitive side that will keep up with the kids, and require daily (but not rigorous) exercise.


The Beagle has plenty of energy to match your children’s rambunctiousness, and their smaller size makes this breed easier for kids to handle. It’s a good dog for parents who want to teach their kids responsibility. Beagles need to be walked and groomed; giving kids a good opportunity for lessons in care giving. One downside is that beagles tend to follow their nose wherever it leads them, which can lead to occasional trouble.

Best kid-friendly dogs for LAID-BACK HOMEBODIES


Don’t let their feisty expression fool you. Most bulldogs love to be around kids, and their easygoing, laid back (even lazy) nature makes them a perfect pet for those who spend a lot of time indoors. However, this dog makes the list of the bottom 5 in terms of their ability to learn new tricks and take directions, so if you want a pet who obeys your every command, the bulldog probably isn’t for you.


This tiny dog packs a lot of character in a small package. Pugs are playful, loving, and eager to please, and also enjoy constant human companionship, making them an ideal dog for families with kids. They also require a minimal amount of grooming and exercise each day, and are relatively low maintenance. If you want a dog that loves to climb on your lap and be petted, this is the breed for you.

Best kid-friendly dogs for ALLERGY SUFFERERS

Portuguese Waterdog

These stylish canines are a family-friendly dog with good swimming ability who can even dive underwater. They have a non-shedding, hypoallergenic coat, but it is quite thick and will need regular grooming. Portuguese waterdogs were thrust into the spotlight when the Obama family picked this breed when choosing a pet for their daughters Sascha and Malia. It’s a very loyal dog but needs plenty of daily vigorous exercise.


This hypoallergenic dog has a reputation of being the most well-mannered of all the miniature dog breeds. It’s brave and playful nature makes it a good fit for families with young children.


Don’t let its stylish beauty fool you. The poodle is exceptionally intelligent and has athleticism that may surprise you. Poodles are also generally tolerant of and good with kids. Just be aware that regular walks are required to keep this dog happy.

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