The Family Dog: What’s the Best Breed?

By Barbara Pronin

A family with kids ideally needs an intelligent dog with a good temperament and a moderate energy level. While many breeds may fill the bill, veterinarians say, some breeds may be singled out for their willingness – even eagerness – to behave well with children.

Here are the up and down sides of some of the best breed choices for families with young kids:

  • Labrador or Golden Retrievers – Energetic, patient, and affectionate, these are great family dogs, though they can get a bit hyperactive if not exercised regularly.
  • Poodles – Poodles are very smart and have a great temperament, and you can choose one from a variety of sizes. They do require regular grooming.
  • Bichon Frise – These little cotton-ball breed loves to play and rarely gets hyperactive. It’s a small dog, good for little ones, but it does need regular grooming.
  • Beagles – Known to be friendly, clever and good with kids. Some tend to be high-strung, although they respond very well to training.
  • Cairn Terriers – These active little dogs seem to have a natural affinity for kids. They can keep up with them and tolerate just about anything and still remain gentle.
  • German Shepherds – They are extremely loyal and protective and they have a playful side, but they need to be well-trained to maintain best behavior.
  • Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs – These breeds are calm, gentle and tolerant, perfect for kids of all ages and sizes.
  • Newfoundland – Sweet and good-natured with kids, Newfoundlands are sometimes called “Nature’s babysitters.” They want to live indoors with the family, but be prepared for drooling and shedding.
  • Irish Setters – These redheads are playful, energetic, love being around people, and play well with children. They need space and lots of exercise – a good match for energetic kids.
  • Mixed-breed dogs – Most mutts are typically well-balanced and intelligent and make good family pets.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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