Top 10 Dogs Good With Children Part II

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This article is a continuation from Dogs Good With Children Part I. If you haven’t already read Part I then I highly recommend you go back and read through the article before starting this one.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: After sifting through all these wonderful dog breeds (don’t forget mixed breeds make wonderful pets too) if you happen to find the perfect puppy one book we recommend for new puppy parents is Puppies for Dummies.

Once again I’m going to post my little disclaimer:

***The Disclaimer – This is my personal opinion. Please do your own due diligence when searching for a breed of dog. The personality of a dog is often influenced by several factors including line, breeder, and owner more so than the actual breed of the dog. This list does not imply that all other dog breeds are unsuitable for children. Individual dogs may not show all or any of the traits associated with the breed. Puppy training, socialization with children, education, line, breeder, and living conditions with the family will all heavily influence your dogs personality.

A quick recap of what Part I covered:

  • The Top Dogs Good With Children Scoring System
  • How I Chose The Breeds
  • Dog Numbers 6-10

Top 10 Dogs Good With Children 1-5

Now what you’ve all been waiting for at number 5 we have the…

Number 5 – Vizsla

Vizslas

The Vizsla sounds like a great dog for children. A very loyal dog who is also a quiet dog (they only bark when provoked). I guess this could be a negative if you’re looking for a watch dog. From Wikipedia:

Vizslas are lively, gentle-mannered, loyal, caring and highly affectionate. They quickly form close bonds with their owners, including children. Often they are referred to as “velcro” dogs because of their loyalty and affection. They are quiet dogs, only barking if necessary or provoked.

I know very little about the Vizsla and I’m pretty sure I’ve never run into one in person, but the sites I’ve visited rave about this dog. I go as far in my notes to say that “they have very little doggy smell and hypoallergenic coats”. Coupled with a nearly optimal size gave this dog a high score on my rating scale. If anyone owns or knows a Vizsla I’d love to hear some of your comments.

UPDATE – I’ve learned a lot about Vizslas since I last wrote to this page.  We ran into a working Vizsla training to become a Cadaver Detection Dog.  We have one friend who has a 3 legged Vizsla.  Finally we have a neighbor who regular walks her Vizsla through the neighborhood.  Every one raves about this dog being a great family pet from their low maintenance coats and the lack of doggy smell.  I have heard that they can be a little energetic, but aren’t all sporting dogs!?!?  

Energy Level: 3
Size: 8
Temperament: 8
Intelligence: 7
Intangibles: 10
TOTAL: 36

Number 4 – Pembrooke Welsh Corgi

Corgis

Isn’t that picture of the Corgi puppy just adorable? A nice sturdy sized dog with really short legs. It’s hard to imagine, but the Corgi is an active, athletic, intelligent dog despite their short legs and stocky body. I guess there’s hope for my short legs and stocky body. From Wikipedia:

The Pembroke is very intelligent, quick, active, and exceedingly bold. It is thoroughly devoted and protective of its family, defending its home at any cost. It barks occasionally, but makes a good watchdog.

One of my neighbors owns a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and seems active. I don’t think my neighbor has him quite under control as I see the Corgi often pulling his handler in whichever direction he wants to go. He has also met both my dogs and is friendly with them, although the owner has told me that he will sometimes growl at strange dogs as a dominance thing.

UPDATE – Another neighbor just brought home an 8 week old Corgi and I must say he is adorable.  They named him BigFoot and he loves people.  He’s a tad active and as a puppy might be a little much for younger kids, but overall he seems like he’d make a wonderful family dog after he grows out of puppyhood.

Energy Level: 2
Size: 10
Temperament: 7
Intelligence: 9
Intangibles: 9
TOTAL: 37

Number 3 – Poodle

Poodles

What do you think of that Poodle haircut? I’m really not a fan of the funky hair-dos (although I did have a mohawk for a short period of time). The Poodle comes in high on our list only getting average scores for energy (medium-high) and intangibles (I like the poodles coat because it does not shed, but on the other hand it is difficult to maintain and groom). From Wikipedia:

Proud, elegant, dignified, good-natured, highly intelligent, very trainable, pleasant, happy, sensitive, friendly.

Poodles are one of the most intelligent and trainable dogs. That being said there is a standard poodle in our neighborhood who I would consider highly intelligent. However, I have noticed that this poodle does bark a lot (everytime we walk past the house) and is aggressive towards my dogs. I have a feeling these are traits not common to the poodle. Throughout most of my readings the poodle almost always gets high marks.

Energy Level: 6
Size: 8
Temperament: 8
Intelligence: 10
Intangibles: 6
TOTAL: 38

Number 2 – Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers

Coming in at number 2 is one of my favorite dogs and almost always shows up as great family dogs when researching on the internet. The Labrador Retriever is well-balanced and a very versatile breed. Labs are used extensively as Guide, Service, Search and Rescue, Therapy, and Assistance Dogs. From Wikipedia:

Friendly, reliable, loving, affectionate, lovable, patient, highly intelligent, loyal, willing, high-spirited, lively, good-natured,and protective.

As most readers of this blog know I’m currently raising a black lab named Stetson for Guide Dogs of America. I do have a decent background with Labrador Retrievers and have been working on Stetson’s obedience training and socialization for the past year. The only drawback I’ve noticed with Stetson is his sometimes rough play. As he grows out of his puppy stage I think he will mature and be less rambunctious (he’s only a year old). Other than that he’s an excellent dog and he displays all of the great qualities people rave about when talking about labs.

UPDATE – I’ve been around Labs more than any other kind of dog.  Since writing this article I’ve raised 4 Lab puppies for the Guide Dog program as well as puppy sat countless others.  In my opinion these pups can be a little energetic and oversized for smaller children.  However, my older pups have calmed down quite a bit since puppyhood.  I highly recommend Labs as great family dogs.

Energy Level: 4
Size: 5
Temperament: 10
Intelligence: 10
Intangibles: 10
TOTAL: 39

And the number 1 dog who is good with children is…drum roll……..:

Number 1 – Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers

It was close, but the Golden Retriever edged out the Labrador Retriever by a single point. The two dogs are very similar however I had to give the nod to the Golden in Energy (Medium-High vs High for the Lab) and Size (The lab is slightly larger which I considered less favorable to the smaller Golden). The Golden received lower marks for it’s higher maintenance coat. From Wikipedia:

Friendly, confident, biddable. Never timid or aggressive. The Golden Retriever temperament is a hallmark of the breed and is described in the standard as “kindly, friendly and confident”

Growing up my parents chose the Golden Retriever as the family dog. They purchased our dog Kiko the year after I was born and he was with us until he was 10 years old. He was a wonderful dog and a shining example of the breed. Golden Retriever are used in many of the same service occupations as labs including Assistance, Search and Rescue, Guide, and Therapy.

UPDATE #1 – I’ve raised one Golden Retriever puppy for the Guide Dog program and puppy sat several others.  They have great temperaments and are very lovable.  Their coats do require a bit of maintenance, but they are wonderful family dogs.

UPDATE #2 – Since writing this article we’ve raised two Golden Retriever litter. They are wonderful dogs. For more information check out some of our posts about Golden Retriever Puppies.

Energy Level: 5
Size: 6
Temperament: 10
Intelligence: 10
Intangibles: 9
TOTAL: 40

Parents Responsibility

Often times children are unaware of their own strength and can be a little rough (the same can be said for many puppies). Parents should take the responsibility to teach their kids and dogs to be gentle with their interactions with each other.

There are many breeds out there that work well with children not just the breeds I mention on this list. Remember there are good dogs and bad dogs in every breed. No matter what breed you choose you should never leave your dog and children together unsupervised for the safety of not only your child, but the dog as well.

Conclusions

I’m happy to say I learned a lot while putting this list together. Before researching I knew nothing about the Vizsla. Now I’m very interested in this breed and would be interested in any information about them. Do you own or know a Vizsla?

I did my best to be as objective as possible in the compilation of this list. A lot of this information is my personal preference. I prefer a medium to large dog. However, others may prefer small or extremely large dogs for their children. I prefer low to medium energy level and higher intelligence in my dogs. Other people may think the exact opposite. Hopefully this list helps you choose your family dog.

Just in case you missed Part I of this series check it out at the following link: Top 10 Dogs Good With Children Part I

Let me know what you think. Do you have a dog that is good with children?  Tell me a little about your dog.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: If you’re looking to get a dog or puppy, but you aren’t too sure what is right for you then a great book to get you started is Puppies for DummiesThere’s tons of information not just about raising and training your pup, but also about dog breeds, choosing a puppy from a litter, socialization, and behavior. It was great starter book for us when we got our first puppy, Linus

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143 Comments

  1. We had a Boxer for 13 years. She was awesome- sweet, affectionate, gentle, playful. I have a bunch of kids and she was wonderful with them. They could take food right out of her mouth. She was VERy high energy for the first 4 years or so. I wanted a dog that I could run with, so that suited me, but definitely only for the family that would walk and jog the dog. Also, Boxers are notorious jumpers. They are not at all agressive, but that jumping can be scarey to kids (or anyone) not familiar with dogs. Maybe we could have trained her not to jump? We did try, but to no avail. She was a great family dog- did not bark much, about 50 pounds, affectionate, trainable (except for the jumping) , short coat that was easy to care for.

  2. We have a GSD puppy. GSD’s are velcro of the velcro dogs. Puppies are mouthy so that’s a concern and can be very excitable. Still, they are every vigilant and let children pretty much love on them and be overly rough.

    Once they get to be adults, they calm down and make prolly the best dog of the group.

  3. I have a vizla/black lab cross and she is a lovely dog. All she wants is affection – the velcro dog label couldn’t be more accurate! She has most of the vizla traits and appearance characteristics but with a shiny jet black coat. Quiet, not smelly, loves to run, hike, play in the snow, loves fetch and catches a frisbee like a show dog; very agile and quick. She loves life and has a gentle and patient temperament towards very young children. Couldn’t be more happy with my best friend

  4. Boxers are excellent with children. Both THEIR human children and children who do not reside with them. My daughter and nieces would lay all over mine and he’d just lay there and enjoy the attention. If he had a toy in his mouth, he would even stop biting on it while they were there so he wouldn’t accidentally bite them! And he was only 15 months old! Still very much a puppy. They are very loyal goofballs who are also very friendly with strangers. They’d sooner lick a stranger to death than attack. However, don’t be misled. If a boxer senses danger, it will bark to warn its family and protect if necessary. I would NEVER leave a child alone with a dog. Not even the one I just mentioned but if there was ever a breed that made me feel I could, its a Boxer. This is coming from years of personal experience.

    1. I completely agree! I grew up with Boxers!! The absolute best dog ever!!! Smart, goofy, playful, kind, gentle! Everything you could ever ask of in a dog (except slower 🙂 ). We even had lovebirds at one point and out boxer would scoot on her belly up to them and nuzzle!!! I need one in my life!!!!

  5. I have to agree about the Golden Retriever’s being at the top of the list. I had one from a puppy until he passed away on his 11th birthday. He was very intelligent and obedient, loving and friendly around kids and strangers, and was a true retriever; he’d play and retrieve tennis balls until I’d get tired of throwing the ball. He’d fetch the tennis ball then bring it back and set it near my feet in preparation for the next toss. I would tell him to put it closer to me, and I’d tell him to move it closer until it rested right next to my foot, and he’d obey this command. He loved to be around my young kids and thought he was one of them, and would stand in the yard (off-leash) and not leave the yard. He would cry if the kids went down the street as if he was supposed to be included in their fun with the neighborhood kids. The only down-side was he needed the usual attention to his coat, including frequent baths.

    My new wife had a female Vizsla prior to us dating and marrying, and the dog lives with us in the house (as opposed to my Golden who lived outside most of the time and he was happy to do so). Our Vizsla tends to bark at any strange noises, including the bombing from the nearby military base, lightening, and at other dogs that pass our home (while she’s tied up in front on the driveway on a long leash). While she’s very affectionate and intelligent like my Golden was, our Vizsla also seems to have a short memory and sometimes selective on ‘when’ she’ll obey commands. She was trained, but still seems to need more. Like others have said, she needs lots of exercise and attention (which we give her as much as we can, including runs and long walks since we’re both athletic), more than my Golden needed. Our Vizsla is also VERY clingy and whiney, and it can actually get quite annoying especially since she’s underfoot constantly and needs to be near us, particularly my wife (who babies her). We frequently take our Vizsla with us out in public, and over the last couple years noticed she has started being unfriendly to other dogs, particularly small ones. They’ll check each other out, then out of the blue she’ll snap and bark at them and we have to restrain her. The upside is her coat doesn’t need the same maintenance as my Golden required and doesn’t have a ‘dog smell’ to her.

    Since our Vizsla is very intent to be underfoot, she’ll race ahead of us in anticipation of any / all moves we make around the house, including going up and down the stairs. We are planning on having a child together, and the concern is that the Vizsla will be too much dog around a newborn, particularly when the baby is learning to walk and go up and down the stairs. So, we’re planning on how to deal with her exuberance when that time comes.

    Nonetheless, either one actually makes a great family pet. But, I will admit, a Vizsla requires much more attention, exercise, and continuous training, including more patience since they’re very interactive, clingy (hence the ‘velco’ tendencies), whiney, and sometimes hyper-active. Another consideration that needs to be understood, Vizsla’s and Golden’s were actually bred to be a working (hunting and retrieving) dogs, so space is important, and it would not be fair to have either breed in a small house or apartment.

  6. I’m busy doing research on dogs at the moment as I am looking to get a good family dog which is very good with kids. The kids are 2 and 5 years old respectively. As a little kid we had a boxer but I have not had a dog since. I think I have made up my mind to get a boxer again as I loved that dog so many years ago but I’m trying to find out how good they really are with kids? I’ve been onto numerous sites such as this and I have yet to find one with a boxer in the top 10 for kids. Can someone tell me why this is? Other dogs come up so frequently but I am really looking for some positives for the boxer as that is the dog I really want.

    While I haven’t seen much regarding boxers I also haven’t heard any negatives. What has been said has been positive albeit very little. Why is this? Is the Boxer just not a very popular dog? Please help, thanks in advance.

    1. I have a few friends who have Boxers, but they don’t have kids. I’ll see what they have to say about Boxers and whether they would make a good family dog.

    2. Boxers are great with children and very protective. My mother grew up with one and she talked about Lady till the day she died. GOD bless you Mom.

  7. I owned a vizsla, we got her when she was two and a half and she was a wonderful and I mean wonderful dog! A couple years after we got her my sister moved in with us with her infant son and our dog (Annie) was very protective of the baby! If we put him down in the swing she would lay right underneath him and did great with him until my sister moved out when he was a little over two. Then we had a friend stay with us for a little while who also had a infant son and she did good with him as well all though she was getting up there in age and she did snip towards him (but wasnt going after him just warning him) one time when he got a little too rough with her but that was it. A couple years later I had my own son and she did great with him, Unfortenly she passed away when our son was about 10 months- She rarely barked I only heard her bark once at chickens when we visited a farm and once at my husband when he lost his house key and was breaking into our bedroom window 🙂 her favorite activities were cuddling on the couch and cuddling on the bed and eating. She did enjoy our daily walks as well but mostly she just liked to sun bathe when she was outside. She was super calm and had such a loving, caring, loyal, laid back personality! I highly recommend them for any dog lover!!! I miss ours and have been trying to adopt for a while but none our in our area 🙁

  8. Great Pyrenees dogs are the BEST dogs with kids. Where did you research this information???? I have a pyr and he is the kindest dog. He is a professional obedience dog. Most beautiful dog ever, altho they are not supposed to be that smart, they really are. Wikipedia it: Great Pyrenees dog; not to be confused with a Pyrenean Mountain Dog.

  9. To be honest, I think the number one should be a chihuahua! Have you seen how much energy they have? I have one and she is as energetic as a kid when he is bouncing-off-the-walls hyper.they are super trustworthy and alert. They are really intelligent, dispite what you may think. They have a great temperament. They are bread to love their owners, they are classified as velcro dogs. Aside from that, they are extravagantly cute and impossible not to love.

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