18 best dog breeds for kids

Dogs have personalities and quirks, no matter what breed they are. Children also differ in their needs, energy levels, and personalities. No matter which breed you hone in on, it is important to take a common sense approach, when choosing and introducing a new pet to your household.

17 PHOTOS
Best dog breeds for kids
See Gallery
Best dog breeds for kids

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

"The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a wonderful family pet; a gentle, calm dog, who is happy to be combed and brushed," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed is, however, less enthusiastic about games, such as tug of war, and rough-and-tumble play. King Charles Spaniels are a good match for a more urban lifestyle and a sensitive child." What does that wagging tail mean?

(Getty)

Golden Retriever

"The Golden Retriever is one of the most well-known dogs because of their gentle, caring temperaments. They are able to lounge around the house for an afternoon or take a hike through the woods," says Pete Lands, DVM, Director of Emergency and Critical Care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. Goldens are very bright and easy to train. They're also stoic when it comes to kids. "While they may not like it, Golden Retrievers tend to be apathetic to young kids pulling on their ears or tugging at their tails. This makes them one of the best family dogs you can find," he adds.

(Getty)

Labrador Retriever 

They look large-and-in-charge, but Labs are famously child-friendly. "The Labrador Retriever is a reliable family pet," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed has an insatiable appetite for games and play and is well suited for an active outdoor lifestyle and a child who likes to run, throw balls, and play Frisbee." These are the most popular breed dogs in every state.

(Getty)

Beagle

Cute as a button, sweet, and gentle, these pack animals thrive on companionship. According to the American Kennel Club, these charmers make excellent family dogs because they are loving by nature, love to play, and have goofy personalities. If you want a dog who wants to be with people, this is a great breed for your family. Pass Beagles up, however, if your house is always empty during the day.

(Getty)

Irish Setter

Does your family love a good group jog or a game of beach Frisbee? If so, an Irish Setter will be the perfect fit for you. Regal to look at and energetic beyond words, this breed grows to be large, around 50 to 70 pounds and has a long lifespan, so they can grow up with your kids. Irish Setters make great companions, are wonderful with children, and have lively dispositions. They also love to play with toys and balls. Don't miss these secrets dog trainers won't tell you.

(Getty)

French Bulldog

Frenchies, as they are affectionately known, are diminutive in size, but big in personality. Known for their affectionate natures and silly "bat" ears, French Bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs. The perfect family dog for apartment dwellers, Frenchies do well in small spaces, and love being around kids. French bulldogs also love getting dressed up for Halloween.

(Getty)

Boxer

Make a Boxer part of your family, and you will never feel unprotected again. Fiercely loyal and protective of those who love them, these energetic, medium-sized dogs have calm dispositions, but love to play. They need lots of exercise, but beware of driving them too hard in hot weather. Like all squish-faced (Brachycephalic) dogs, they tend to overheat. Keep your pooch safe all summer long with these 28 warm-weather health tips for dogs.

(Getty)

Cocker Spaniel

There's a definite possibility that Cocker Spaniels think they are people. They're gentle, loving, very smart, love being around children, and tend to always put themselves in the middle of the action. They also make great therapy dogs and may be a good fit for an anxious or special needs child. Their beautiful, floppy ears make them prone to ear infections, so keeping them clean and groomed is essential.

(Getty)

Bichon Frise

These little bundles of low-shedding fur are some of the friendliest dogs on the planet. Sweet, affectionate, and playful, the Bichon Frise is a fantastic playmate for energetic children. Their small size makes them a great city dog, provided you give them lots of walks. According to Animal Planet, they're loyal to a fault and do best with consistent training and moderate amounts of activity. These are the dog breeds most compatible with your (or your child's) Zodiac sign.

(Getty)

Collie

Rough Collies are known for their majestic, flowing coats, while smooth Collies have shorter coats. Rough or smooth, Collies make great family pets. (However, rough collies require more grooming.) This breed is incredibly intelligent and likes nothing better than to engage in activity with the children who love them. They're fast learners, loyal to their families, and protective. Just ask Lassie.

(Getty)

Poodle

Have an allergic child? According to Health, Poodles might just be the ticket for you. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, Poodles seem to come close, because they appear to produce fewer allergens. They also come in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—and an abundance of colors. These adorable goofballs are super-smart, easy to train, adapt well to new situations, and love kids. Here's your official guide to picking the best dog breed for you.

(Getty)

Labradoodle

An intentional mix of Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles are as adorable as their name. A medium-shedder, Labradoodles were originally bred to be even-keeled and empathetic, so they could be trained as guide dogs for visually-impaired people. This breed couldn't be more affectionate, or more adorable. Note that they need lots of exercise and tend to get along great with other dogs.

(Getty)

Pug

This Instagram-darling brings with it major cuddle-factor. Their cutie-patooty smiling faces and cozying-up tendencies make Pugs a popular favorite for children who prefer gentle play to roughhousing. These playful pups were bred to be lap dogsand adore being around people. They're clever, quiet, and make great family pets.

(Getty)

Chihuahua

Long-haired or short, Chihuahuas are the tiniest of all dog breeds. They tend to adore children and are very loyal to their families. Chihuahuas love the indoors and are not fond of very cold weather, perhaps because they're thought to have originated in Mexico. They're easy to train and love the lap of the person who loves them best. Watch out for these secret signs that your dog is mad at you.

(Getty)

Chug

Chugs are a specific breed comprised of Pug and Chihuahua ancestry. Many have the best characteristics of both popular breeds, making them great pets for children. According to Pet Guide, Chugs are a designer dog with characteristics that vary from liter to liter. Like their forebears, most will make good family dogs. They're loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and love to play.

(Getty)

Havanese

This tiny charmer is the national dog of Cuba. They have exuberant personalities and adore people of all ages. Havanese dogs are very social and outgoing. A loving breed, they also enjoy playing games. They're a toy breed, so not a great fit for rough-and-tumble play, but they're perfect for families who are looking for a silly, outgoing friend for their child. Read on for the 50 secrets your pup won't tell you.

(Getty)

Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers make fantastic pets for older kids. They are sweet beyond belief, very protective, and very trainable. The American Kennel Club calls them mischievous, playful, and charming. Known for their silly, comical antics, and crowd-pleasing behavior, Bull Terriers need lots of exercise and lots of love.

(Getty)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“When searching for a pet dog for the family, parents often consult friends or relatives, or rely on their own personal experiences,” says Janelle Emmett, DVM, veterinary program director at Carrington College‘s Sacramento, California campus. “Ideally, people should select a breed based upon the anticipated lifestyle of the dog, being mindful to match the personality and age of the child and the traits of the breed.” Additionally, parents must remember that nothing can replace careful monitoring of the child with the pet and good training, she notes. Before you bring a dog home, make sure you have all the items on this puppy checklist.

15 PHOTOS
Signs your dog is secretly mad at you
See Gallery
Signs your dog is secretly mad at you

Her ears show she is ~unimpressed~

When a dog's ears are hanging back, along with a lowered head, closed mouth, and tight lips, it can mean she's mad at you, says April Olshavsky, American Kennel Club dog evaluator, trainer, and behavioral consultant. "Body language is the only way dogs can communicate with us," she explains. "By studying your dog's body language, you can learn a lot about her emotions." The remedy? Some serious belly rubs and ear scratches. "Chances are, your dog will forget whatever it is you did to upset her with just a few minutes of TLC," she says. Don't miss these 19 things your dog really wishes she could tell you.

(Getty)

He's got a case of the yawns

Contrary to what you might think, big yawns don't mean your dog is bored with your corny jokes— it's actually a sign that he is getting stressed, upset, and agitated, says Sara Taylor CPDT-KA, spcaLA director of animal behavior and training. It's important to pay attention to this signal and immediately remove your dog from the situation he is not coping well with, she says. By the way, smiling at your pup is one sure way to make him happy, too.

(Getty)

She keeps licking her lips and there's no food around

Dogs may show that they're mad or in distress by licking their nose and lips repeatedly, Taylor says. This is especially true if there's no drool-worthy food nearby to get their saliva flowing from hunger. One situation she sees this happen a lot is when dogs are being hugged by children or strangers. The solution is simple. "Stop any restraining or hugging," she says.

(Getty)

He won't look you in the eye

If a person refused to meet their gaze and turned their back on you, you'd get the message that they were angry loud and clear. It's the same with dogs, says Erin Askeland, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, dog training and behavior expert at Camp Bow Wow. "A dog who is happy and comfortable will likely be willing to make eye contact with his owner and seek out their attention whereas a dog who is angry or upset may avoid this type of interaction and move away from their owner, leave the room, or even sleep in a different area," she says.  How to fix this? Offer calm, quiet time together to help you and your dog relax, say reading a book or listening to soft music, she says. Don't miss these superpowers dogs have that prove they're cooler than humans.

(Getty)

She absolutely refuses to sit and stay

Think your dog knows what you want her to do and is refusing in a fit of pique? You may be right. When dogs know cues well, they respond to them, so if your dog suddenly stops responding to a normal cue, that could be an indication that she is upset by something in her environment or by you, Askeland says. Before you get upset too, take a moment and check yourself. Are you feeling stressed, angry, frantic, upset, or sad? Your feelings can influence your dog's, she says. "Take measures to calm yourself down and this will help your dog feel more comfortable and get back to your loving relationship," she says.

(Getty)

His back goes rigid and his body is stiff 

"When a dog is really, really upset he'll often go rigid, his body stiff, hard and unmoving," says Melissa McGrath-McCue CPDT-KA, pet behaviorist and author of Considerations for the City Dog. "It's almost as if he's saying 'take one more step, I dare you!'" If you see this combined with flattened ears and wide, alarmed eyes, you need to stay away and step back as your dog is feeling really stressed, mad, and even threatened, she says. Give him his space or he may feel like he has to defend it which can, in some cases, lead to biting, she adds. Smaller dogs may be more susceptible than larger ones to feeling trapped; that's just one of the many benefits big dogs offer.

(Getty)

His tail is tucked and still

If your pup is in a crouching pose with his tail tucked between his legs, he might be taking your criticism more personally than you'd thought. This posture shows he's guarded on the defensive. "Dogs, like humans, are emotional creatures," Olshavsky says. "If you've scolded them, or spoke sternly, they can pout like a teenager." If you see him backed up like this, lower your voice and talk softly and soothingly. "This will re-establish your bond together and will reinforce the trust your dog had in you," she says.

(Getty)

The whites of her eyes are showing

Let's be honest, it's never a great sign when the whites of any animal's eyes are showing. Whether she's showing fear, confusion, disgust, illness, or anger, widening of the eyes indicates a high state of alertness and you'd best pay attention. Why she's upset may be more of a mystery. "It could be something as simple as you've forgotten to feed them," Olshavsky says. To fix this, try giving her a snack. Hangry is a real thing for dogs too. Be sure to know these signs of cancer in dogs.

(Getty)

He is cowering behind the sofa

Most people associate cowering and hiding with fear and while that can definitely be true, fear is also closely linked to anger in dogs, Taylor says. "Cowering indicates a high level of stress," she explains. "If your dog is also trying to hide and get away this means your dog is overwhelmed." Your job as a responsible pet owner is to then remove him from the situation before he gets more overwhelmed and acts out. You'll know it's working when you see these signs your dog really trusts you.

(Getty)

She lets out a primal growl

"Growling is an obvious but frequently misunderstood sign," Taylor says, adding that it shows your dog is very uncomfortable and upset. "It is often used as a warning for the purposes of making something stop. For example, he may growl if you're trying to move your dog from his comfortable bed for late night potty time by using her collar or when a stranger approaches your dog and tries to pet her," she adds. Resist the urge to yell at or otherwise punish your dog for growling as that damages trust, doesn't teach your dog appropriate behavior, and can often worsen aggressive behavior, she says. Find out the other 13 surprising things you didn't know about your dog.

(Getty)

He goes into beast mode

Just like your roommate who counted out your M&Ms from the communal bag, dogs place a high emphasis on fairness. "Dogs get mad if they have been treated unfairly, and may act instantaneously with bursts of rage," Olshavsky says. What this looks like may be different for each dog but you'll know it when you see it. The solution is simple: More exercise. "Dogs need to get that energy out in some way and a daily walk is the perfect way to do it," she says. Find out the 50 secrets your pet can't tell you.

(Getty)

She tells you -- loudly

Think dogs don't have a voice? Then you've never seen a puppy kenneled. They may not be able to use words but they can vocalize their displeasure. Whimpering is the canine version of whining, Olshavsky says, and it's every bit as grating as the human kind. To cut down on whining, set aside a few minutes each day just to play and work on tricks, she says. Give her your attention when she's not whining and she'll learn that whimpering/whining doesn't work.

(Getty)

He groans like an old man with kids on his lawn

Yes, some dogs actually groan in frustration when they don't get their way, Olshavsky says. "Some dogs are quick to do this, while others reserve it for times when they are especially upset," she explains. A major cause of groaning? Getting locked in their crate, outside, or somewhere else far away from their beloved humans. It's fine to banish your dog during certain times or from certain areas but make sure you're giving him plenty of regular time with you every day. You could enjoy these funny dog videos and have a good laugh together.

(Getty)

She pees in your shoes

"Dogs can definitely be spiteful when they are mad," Olshavsky says. "The dog wants you to know you've upset him so he will do something he knows will get a reaction out of you." This means finding whatever you love—your new shoes, your favorite couch pillows, your hidden treats—and destroying them, leaving the mangled evidence as proof of their anger. Instead of returning with anger yourself, make sure your pup has plenty of stimulating toys she can chew on whenever she feels that destructive urge, she adds. In the meantime, use one of these 17 genius cleaners to get pet urine out of your carpet.

(Getty)

He stays just out of arm's reach

Don't expect an angry, "Bad human! Go!" but dogs do have plenty of ways of telling you to keep your distance because they are not happy with you right now. This can mean he darts away from you or it can also be a hard stare, flattened ears, paw lift, sharp barks, or a raised tail among other signs, Askeland says. "Dogs are typically good at indicating when they are unhappy and want you to go away, so it's important to pay attention to these signs," she says. Instead of chasing him down, let him cool down and come to you when he's ready. "Don't force any interaction on your dog if they are upset with you," she says. Read on for smart strategies for keeping your pup happy while you're at work.

(Getty)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The post 18 Best Dog Breeds for Kids appeared first on Reader's Digest.

Read Full Story