The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies

Adopting a new dog is a fun process, but the biggest decision you have to make is which dog breed is for you. Everyone has preferences, like a big dog over a small dog, or a certain look for the dog! One big question for many though is how the dog will be with children and babies. This is a big concern.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies

You’ll need a breed that can happily get along with your family. Even if you’re just looking ahead, those who want to start a family soon have to consider how the dog will react to future additions. The best dog breeds for children and babies can take out a lot of that guesswork. There are certain breeds that just go well with children.

While most dogs can be raised to be happy around children, some breeds are just naturally predisposed to them. The nature and temperament of these breeds make some great partners for children and babies. Going for one of these dogs make it a lot easier to make sure your dog gets on with your family. So, what type of dogs get on well with children and babies?

What Traits Make a Dog Breed Good for Children?

When you’re looking for the best dog breeds for children, there’s a lot you need to consider. There are certain characteristics of breeds which make them perfect partners for children and babies. This what you’ll need to look for:

  • Temperament – A dog’s temperament can be partially predicted by the breed. Dogs with certain characteristics can be much more suitable to children since they’ll be friendlier and more open to the possibly stressful behaviour of children.
  • Size – The size of a dog can be a big factor. While it might seem like smaller dogs are better for children, they can often be more timid and fragile. It is easier for them to get hurt, so they aren’t as friendly towards children. Often a bigger dog can be safer around kids.
  • Energy – The exercise needs of a dog are important for how they’ll act. A more energetic dog can be good for older children or those who like to hike and walk. However, an energetic dog might not be great for very young children and babies.
  • Care Needs – A dog that has a lot of care needs isn’t the best for children and babies. This is more down to a very finite resource, the parent’s time and energy! A child or a baby needs a lot of time from a parent, so a dog with high needs as well can leave everyone stretched a bit thin.

Those are the factors that we need to think about. Although, there are always exceptions!

Are Rescue Dogs Good for Children?

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies

One thing that you need to keep in mind with this list is how it affects rescue dogs. Rescuing a dog instead of buying a puppy can be a great thing, there are a lot of dogs in need of homes. However, that doesn’t always mean that they’re great with children and babies. You have some extra things to consider with rescue dogs.

Rescue dogs come with a history. This can be a good or a bad thing. If a rescue dog has never met a child before and has had a bad life, they likely won’t be great with children. Even if their breed tends to be, a dog’s own environment might have made them incompatible. Equally, some dogs from a rescue centre are already great with kids, having had first-hand experience with another family in the past. This is the kind of thing that you’ll need to discuss with the rescue shelter on a dog by dog basis.

You also have to consider the dog’s special needs. Rescue dogs usually have a higher care need than other dogs. If you have children or babies, you have to consider how much time you have to spare for a rescue dog.

Some rescue dogs can be great with children and babies. However, these are extra concerns that you will have to think about if you’re going to adopt a dog.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies

There are some dog breeds which are more predisposed to be good with children than others. These are breeds which have been bred to do well with kids. Selective breeding has given different dog breeds some excellent talents. Some are bred to be more intelligent, and some have been bred to be nanny dogs that are great with kids. The dog breeds here are a great starting point if you’re looking for a family dog:


Dachshunds, or sausage dogs, can make great family pets for children and babies. These dogs require very little grooming and can have a good temperament with children. They’re also thought of as good watchdogs, which is always a bonus with a family. While they don’t require too much extra care with grooming or exercise, they are more prone to health problems which can be a concern. Dachshunds aren’t for every family, but they can be a great choice.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies - Dachshund


A Maltese is another good choice for a small dog that is good for children and babies. These dogs are well known for their friendly temperament. They like to play to get attention, and generally to spend a lot of time being friendly with humans. This can be great to keep a family company.

The downsides here is a high energy level, but since these dogs are quite small so that isn’t too big of a factor.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies - Maltese

Labrador Retrievers

A Labrador retriever is the classic choice for a family dog, and for good reason. These pets are friendly and outgoing, they are great for children and babies. These dogs are pretty intelligent and easy to train. Along with their outgoing nature, it makes Labradors into a nice choice for a family pet. They can keep children company and have the patience to deal with them. They do however require quite a bit of outdoor exercise though, so you have to consider the time constraints.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies - Labrador retriever

Golden Retriever

The golden retriever makes a great pet for families for many of the same reasons that a Labrador does. They’re friendly and fun loving animals. They can be particularly good for playful children. Since they’re larger, there is less to worry about with them getting hurt from playing roughly. These pets are also well known for adapting well to different sized homes, so you don’t need a lot of space for them.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies - Golden retriever

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A cavalier is a good choice for families looking for a really friendly pet. These dogs love people and are often keen to spend time with children. They can be a bit excitable for really young children, but aside from babies they can make good companions. The biggest downside for this breed is that they have a lot of energy and they’re often not the best at picking up on when a child has had enough of playing!

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies - Cavalier king charles spaniel


Contrary to popular belief about their appearance, Boxers are extremely friendly dogs. These pets are very affectionate and bond quickly with children and families. This makes them great as a family pet as they will quickly fall in love with everyone in the household. These pets require little grooming which is great. The main downside is they need a lot of walking, so more active households or those with a lot of space are best.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies - Boxer


A Beagle is a dog that doesn’t require too much exercise, but really enjoys the company of people. These dogs are great for bonding with families and they don’t require constant exercise to be happy! These pets are good for families who are around often, since they enjoy playing and being in company of others.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies -  Beagle

Border Collie

Border Collies are well known for being some of the most intelligent dogs out there. This is partially what makes them great family pets. Their high intelligence makes them very perceptive around children and they’ll quickly learn how to act around a child to avoid any upsets. They’re even intelligent enough to make them easier for children to understand. These pets do require a lot of grooming and mental stimulation however.

The Best Dog Breeds for Children and Babies -  Border Collie

Are Dogs Good with Children and Babies? 

Those are some of the best dog breeds to have with children and babies. However, with a bit of training most dogs can be. The breeds that are predisposed are those that will definitely be great to have around kids. There are some breeds which just don’t mesh well, but most will get along with older children if they’re taught how to respect the dog’s space and vice versa.

Getting a dog can be a great addition to a family. A dog can be a companion for a child and someone to play with. So while there is a lot to think about with getting a dog, the end result is going to be a big positive for you and your family.

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