Choosing the best dogs for children4 May 2023
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 26 May 2023
Spending time with a dog at any time of life is one of the best things you can do, and there’s no doubt that having pawsitive experiences with pooches at a young age can be beneficial for kids, while our dogs can have tons of fun too.
Studies show that spending time with dogs can encourage young people to exercise, enjoy a good dose of endorphins and even open up more to their parents and family, so happy dog time is prescribed all round!
- Are some breeds of dog better for children?
- How should my child behave around dogs?
- So what breeds are commonly thought to be good with kids?
Are some breeds of dog better for children?
There are some breeds of dog that tend to enjoy spending time with children more than others. But it’s also super impawtent to remember that every dog is an individual, and needs to be trained and socialised with kids to help them understand how to behave with children (and vice versa!)
If a dog has never met a child before they can find them a bit confusing and unpredictable, and for some other dogs they may have had bad experiences in the past, so those pooches might not like being around kids.
Ideally training and socialising with children should be done when dogs are young, which can help them to develop relationships with young people who treat them appropriately, and then they often can go on to enjoy spending time with them.
Discover more in our guide on how to introduce your dog to children.
How should my child behave around dogs?
A well-behaved, well-socialised dog is one thing, but it’s also important to teach kids from a young age how to act around dogs and there are loads of things to learn and fun ways to educate children on the best way to behave around a pooch.
From being gentle when petting a dog, to giving them space when they’re eating; asking owners before they say hello to their doggo in the park, to being respectful of assistance dogs, every time you see or spend time with a dog, you can teach your children how best to show their love for our canine chums.
A lot of families use BorrowMyDoggy to socialise their kids with dogs before taking on their own furever friend, and often find out lots about different breeds, and can see if they’re ready to take on their own full-time pooch.
Ellen from West London told us about her experience meeting Pistachio -
I joined BorrowMyDoggy to find local dogs in the area we could walk and spend time with. We have met a lovely couple with a beautiful dog that makes me and my children laugh and smile. The benefits are that we’re now more active, come rain or shine. Also we have exposure to breeds we are not so familiar with.
Pistachio's borrower, Ellen from West London
While borrower Elspeth from London tells us
I joined BorrowMyDoggy because we currently aren’t in a position to own a dog, but I miss having a canine companion. My children used to be scared of dogs, but walking with, and being around our borrowed doggy has made them see how great dogs are. We are certainly getting a lot more exercise and fresh air now!
It’s important to remember that children should always be supervised with a dog, as even the best behaved dog, who would never dream of causing injury to their child friends can get a fright and accidentally hurt them.
So what breeds are commonly thought to be good with kids?
Labrador Retrievers are the most pupular breed in the UK, and BorrowMyDoggy has over 40,000 Labradors looking for borrowers.
These happy, intelligent pooches love cuddles and playtime with the family as much as they love treats (and that’s a lot!). If well-socialised and well-trained, a Labrador can be a great dog for an active family, who can give them the time and attention they need.
As Rocky’s owner Claudio says:
Rocky is a typical lovable Lab, who loves a walk, good company and the usual attention. He has a very gentle nature and loves kids!
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers, more commonly known as Staffies are often called a “nanny” dog because they love playing with and protecting children.
They have had bad press over the years, but like any dog, if they are not looked after properly, they can be anti-social.
But a well-socialised Staff can be a pawfect family dog. They love to play, and with the right training can be taught to be gentle and not too boisterous. They also love a good cuddle and are very loyal to their families. BorrowMyDoggy has over 17,000 Staffies looking for a borrower for walks, playtimes and sleepovers.
Kerry, Mambo’s owner tells us:
Mambo is 12 years old now and a very affectionate dog. He loves company and only needs a little walk each day. He is great with kids and has been amazing with our 8 year old boy throughout all ages!
Cockapoos are more pupular than ever now, and this lovable cross of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle can make a great addition to the right family. They are sweet-natured and gentle, as well as really enjoying playtime!
With the right training and socialising they can bond well with a family, and be a great pal for kids and adults alike, and there are over 32,000 cockapoos looking for a playmate on BorrowMyDoggy.
Beki talks about the new friends her Cockapoo Willow has made:
We met with a family on BorrowMyDoggy who have a 13-year-old boy, Rowan, who loves dogs. Willow hasn’t had much experience with children, so she was slightly nervous initially but since getting to know the family her confidence has grown and she absolutely loves playing ball with Rowan! It’s really lovely to see their relationship developing and the happiness spending time together brings for both Willow and her borrowers.
These handsome pooches just adore being part of a loving family. They enjoy learning new things, and can be well-trained to behave well with children.
Active and loyal, these gorgeous dogs will play for hours with the whole family, especially if there’s swimming, mud, toys or all of the above involved!
BorrowMyDoggy has over 9,000 Golden Retrievers looking for a borrower to spend time with.
Rexie’s owner Lorraine tells us:
Rexie is very friendly, loves kids, and other dogs, and generally loves all the human cuddles! He is very playful, loves playing fetch with the ball and loves all the attention he gets when out on walks.
A well-trained, well-socialised Beagle can be the pawfect size and personality for an active family. These lively, joyful pooches are generally fans of kids and adore playtime.
One of the smartest breeds, Beagles need plenty of mental and physical exercise, and if you can provide that they can be great family pooches.
Why not borrow one of the over 7,000 Beagles on BorrowMyDoggy to see if they are the right breed for you?
Leila, owner of the gorgeous Poppy tells us:
Poppy is a sweet old gal who loves nothing more than burrowing away under a blanket or gambolling through the countryside. She’s ten years old but you wouldn’t know it, she’s still fit as a pup! She loves kids (mostly because they drop crumbs of whatever they are eating!), rarely barks and is generally an easy going dog.
Other dogs that just love to spend time with kids are Newfoundlands. These gentle giants just adore playing and snuggling with children, and are often also given the title of “nanny” dog.
Like any pooch, particularly with a Newfie’s size, they need to be well-trained and well-socialised with children, but with that in place they can make pawsome family members.
If you want to learn more about Newfies then why not borrow one of the 500 Newfoundlands on BorrowMyDoggy?
Lynsey tells us more about her gorgeous pooch Lexi Bear:
Lexi is a very loving playful dog who loves everyone - she just loves company and to be near you. She loves kids and is happy all of the time, she loves other dogs too although they bark at her because of her size! She is just a big cuddly bear.
If you are thinking of adding a dog to your family, be sure to do plenty of research first. The information on this page is not comprehensive and not meant to replace any advice from your veterinary practice. Your vet can help with any questions you might have.
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