Which dogs are suitable for children

What you need to know when deciding to bring a dog home to your family

Dog with Child

A dog is a wonderful companion. It has accompanied man for millennia in a very versatile manner in all the activities of his owner, from hunting to defending livestock, from guarding to "simple" company.

A tireless playmate on the one hand, and on the other they are the first real chance children have to be responsible for something that does not talk and cannot defend itself, but must be understood, loved, taken care of and protected.

What to know when you decide to bring a dog home

Puppies are all wonderful and you will probably fall in love with them at first sight. However, here are a few questions you should keep in mind when you decide to enlarge your family with a four-legged friend, in order to make an aware decision that you will never regret.

Do I want one?

You must keep in mind that even if the dog is seen as a playmate "for the kids", it is the adult who is ultimately responsible for its management, daily needs and the commitment.

Where will it stay and when should I take it outside?

It is important to take into consideration the space and time to dedicate to it: a garden is not fundamental for a dog to be happy, but the larger it is it will need more movement to get tired and use its energy. In addition to going outside three times a day for its needs, sporty or working breeds need much more activity to get tired out. The golden rule is that a tired dog is the best pet in the world.

How old are my children?

If it is true that the dog is man's best friend, it is also true it must also be put in the condition to be a good friend. How? Through respect, with a few simple rules of cohabitation suitable for the age of every child, which permit serene growth for all. Specifically: elementary school age children can be assigned the task of giving the dog water and dry food, to play ball with it and help with its daily care. Pre-school age children, instead, can be given the honourable task of holding its lead when taking walks and teach them to respect their spaces, leaving it alone when it is sleeping in its basket. Even smaller children can be taught how to pet it correctly, on its snout and body without pulling its hair, ears or tail. Paradoxically, larger dogs can be more suitable for smaller children as they are sturdier, more patient and less sensitive to any pranks, whereas smaller sized dogs may get hurt easier, if pulled or shoved, but at the same time a smaller dog is perfect to be taken out on a lead by their little owners.

Will I be able to train it?

Regardless of any other factor, it is always strongly recommended to take a training course in order to establish a good relationship with your four-legged friend and have a obedient and well-balanced dog in the future. A few lessons will be enough to have optimal results and it will also be a perfect occasion to spend some hours outside with an activity that involves the entire family.

Breeds of dogs recommended for children

Once the general aspects have been clarified, the crucial moment will arrive: selecting the breed: what type is best to live together with children?

Starting from the assumption that the perfect type does not exist, every family can find their ideal dog. Here is a list of the 5 most common ones:

  • Golden Retriever and its cousin Labrador Retriever: these are medium-large sized dogs (25-35 kg when adults) as well as an excellent choice for families. Very patient and playful, they are tireless playmates if stimulated, but calm when the situation requires it. Their retriever origin explains their behaviour very well: love for water and swimming, passion for retrieving any object that is thrown and their very special soft mouth. In fact, as they were used to bring game back to hunters in water, they were selected for their ability to "pick up" the game in their mouth without crushing it. Seeing is believing: give an egg to a Golden Retriever and he will hold it between his jaws without breaking it. Good to know, when you see your child put his fingers between the dog's teeth.
  • Poodle: a French breed of antique and aristocratic origin. They are lively and happy animals with a sympathetic trotting gait. There are 4 sizes of poodles to make everyone happy. The standard arrives to 60 cm and can weigh up to 20kg, it is an incredibly calm and well-balanced dog that adapts well to life with children. Miniature poodles weigh around 10 kilos, making them more compatible for living indoors, keeping the same characteristics of its larger cousin. The dwarf poodle (6kg) and the toy poodle (less than 3.5kg) have become the most famous and requested type due to their easy to handle size, but their growing popularity has caused certain breeders to perform thoughtless breeding, therefore always inform yourself about the origin of the puppy to avoid having hysterical, nervous, barking dogs. All poodles love man's company to the point that its often suffers from separation anxiety, a reason for which they are not recommended if they have to be left alone for many hours for work reasons. On the other hand, their curly fur is hypo-allergenic and they do not shed, therefore they are well suited for children with allergies or parents who don't want to collect dog hair continuously.
  • Bolognese: a small soft ball of white fur (3-4 kg) that can be considered the Italian version of the poodle due to its reliability, friendliness with children and sociability. Also its fur , which must be brushed and groomed because it does not fall on its own, resembles it closely.
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel: sweet almond-shaped eyes and its medium size (8-10kg with approx. 35 cm) make it truly irresistible. Its docile and non-aggressive character make it exceptional with children: reliable, gentle and patient, it is a dog already ready to play and be cuddled!
  • French bulldog: it is the smallest molesser breed (8-15 kg, incredibly compact) and it is unmistakable due to its flattened face, large ears and compact structure that make it both unique and loved. It loves the family and children, it is also suitable for owners with lots to do, because its physical form makes it not very tolerant of movement, it much rather prefers to lounge on the sofa!

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