Top 10 Dogs Good With Children Part II

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This article is a continuation of 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 dog’s 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 watchdog. 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 regularly walks her Vizsla through the neighborhood.  Everyone 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 its 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 dominant 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 poodle 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 (every time 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 its 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 levels 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 Dummies. There’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. 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.

  2. VIZSLAS ARE AWESOME DOGS! I am no expert. That said, my parents, sisters and I always had numerous dogs at once, and always a variety of breeds from toys to sporting. After experience with now 5 Vizslas, it is by far my favorite breed to recommend for and “all-around-great-dog”! I agree with the concern about separation anxiety so recommend 2 rather than 1 (much easier actually) because they prefer to be with other dogs when their humans leave for work or board them (most of us must work but try taking them on vacation with you for an unforgettable experience). We have found that Vizslas are active outside but with daily exercise can be calm and always snuggly in the house. They are relatively healthy and clean and can be quickly brushed or bathed and dried when they discover something fun to get them dirty. Ours rarely bark and show no aggression so may not be best choice for a guard dog. They are affectionate and can be gentle even with smaller children and pets when supervised or part of their family. Vizslas are hunters though and will chase the wildlife in your yard so a fence is a good suggestion if possible. The medium build of a Vizsla may satisfy those who prefer bigger dogs while their desire to sit on laps and sleep in your bed will help lovers of toy breeds forget they ever considered something smaller. We found ours to be smart and relatively easy to train with praise and rewards with minor mishaps when they get distracted. I love all dogs and suggest people research the breed that is right for their family…and consider Vizslas!

  3. Colby, I really enjoyed your article and system party because I’ve been doing a lot of research lately to find the right breed for me and my family and I’m looking for the exact things you grade on. I even had the same experience of finding out how awesome the Vizsla breed is.

    However, I ended up comming to a different conclusion and I think you need to know about this breed as well. You’ll have another “Vizsla” moment when you realize how awesome this breed is.

    The Staffordshire Bull Terrier! It’s been said already in the comments, but it’s worth repeating. The Nanny Dog from the UK, which is the 5th most popular breed over there, knocks it out of the park in pretty much every one of your categories. Slightly high on the energy level (but not too much so), awesome size, AMAZING temperment, highly trainable, and fantastic intangibles like short manageable coat, loyal, *just the right amount of protection ability*, and sound realiable personality makes this dog a “must consider.”

    Even if you don’t change your list, you owe it to yourself to check out this breed for your own personal gain… and that goes for the rest of you folks too!

    1. Hi Tom,

      Thanks for telling us about the Stafforshire Bull Terrier. We have friends who have Staffies and they are very good with the kids. This list is really just a starting point for people looking for good family dogs, but maybe I should have made it a little bit longer…top 20? Really the discussion area is just as important (if not more) as the original content as there is feedback from many different people and their experiences with certain dog breeds.

      Thank you for contributing to the article.

      Take care,
      Colby

    2. You DO know that an American Stafforshire Terrier is the true name for a PitBull, right? I am in no way against PitBulls, but they need a LOT of corrective training to keep them from turning. If you have young children, you will not have time for that. You may try another breed if you have somewhat young children.

      1. Actually, the term “Pit bull” can refer to the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, or the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The dog we commonly think of as a “Pit Bull” – the one with the reputation of being aggressive towards humans, the one that’s raised brutally and used in dog fights – is the American Pit Bull Terrier. Consequently, this is the most gentle and least aggressive to humans (and dogs) of the three. In fact, they are not recommended as guard dogs because it is almost impossible to train them to be aggressive to humans. This trait (more so than their strength) is why they are the preferred fighting dog; they will not turn on their masters, no matter how poorly they’ve been treated. While it is true that the Amstaff and Staffy can be dominant and therefore not always likely to get along with other dogs, all three of this variety score very low on aggression towards humans. In fact, almost all fatal incidents attributed to Pitt Bulls are the result of dogs who had been trained to fight. These are gentle, loving dogs who are heavily misunderstood. I urge anybody with compassion for dogs to do their research about Pit Bulls before parroting ingrained misinformation; their reputation is undeserved and it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and change that.

        1. Hi…my sister has 2 pit bulls. Both raised from puppies. The largest is gentle. ..the smaller of the 2 act’s friendly one minute. ..then will bite the next. Both have been treated very good. The vet says it’s a product of the breed. Sorry…but I sure wouldn’t want one around my kids. Too iffy on what mood they are in. I’m not going to play rulette with my children. They have a bad reputation for a reason. Beautiful dogs…but u not worth the risk for me. I have a pure breed German Shepherd female. 10 yrs old. So smart. Great with kid’s. Well behavior. Only my opinion. Not trying to ruffle any feathers.

  4. I have a 2 year old Vizsla named Abby! She is a bundle of energy! She makes friends wherever she goes! She has the sweetest personality, shes my 60lb lap dog! She has never shown any signs of aggression whatsoever. All the neighborhood kids just love her, and she loves them more! I would highly recommend the Vizsla to anyone! They do need alot of exercise.

    1. Hi Tina,

      Thank you for telling us all about your Vizsla. One of my friends just lost his Vizsla and said it was the best dog he ever had.

      Thanks,
      Colby

  5. when i was younger my neighbors dog attacked one of the family members. that dog was a golden retriever. where is pitbull on this list? where is the boxer on this list? people will probably laugh when i say pitbull, but i have to admit, there are very protective of kids. i trust pitbulls more then labs. weird huh.

  6. Hi, I’m 11 years old,and I heard that if there are alot of rats around the house,then it would not be a good idea to get a toy poodle,because they are very small.I really want a dog,but I’ve been trying to look for a medium sized one and the most suitable one for my age,and also the most suitable one for hot weather(because I live in Malaysia,and its kinda like a tropical country if you ask me).I have been thinking about maybe a miniature poodle,toy poodle,or miniature schnauzer?

    1. Oh and we have quite a big yard,but there are quite a lot of mosquitoes there.But there are two parks near my house.I’m also looking for a hypoallergic dog like the poodle,because my sister has some skin problems.

  7. I had 4 kids and multiple dogs the best advice is to raise the dog right. I prefered the working dogs over the hunting breeds only because they were easier to train to stay in the yard, The best was a Shepherd / Husky mix that we had from a puppy. No aggresive behavior was ever allowed by the dog. but we gave out dogs lots of love my eight year old daughter would use her for a pillow while watching TV. By treating the dog with love , repect, zero tolerance for aggresssion and constant exposure to kids we have always had good dog.They need to grow with you and the family.They will not come automatically kid ready

  8. Great post – But I have to ask – why isn’t the Boxer on here? I’ve read and heard numerous amount of times that the boxer is supposed to be one of the best breeds of dog to have with children?

  9. I am surprised at Golden being top. I have meet many a Golden who are very bad with children and other dogs. The majority of the time when my lab was attacked at dog parks it was a Golden. I am also surprised that Pittbull was not included at all, bread bias? A good pittbull is by far the best dog for children. Mine was 5 years old when we brought our baby home from the hospital. He was patient with her from the time she started putting cloths on him and mounting him like a horse.

    He was also our baby monitor. If the baby was in her crib and fussing he would come get us. This is not a fluke, after speaking to many other Pitt owners it is very common behavior and before they got such a bad rap they were known as “Nanny” dogs in England. I am sad to not even see a nod to the breed.

    In fact the Pitt was much better with our children than our lab was. MUCH BETTER.

  10. I love that the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever made number 1 and 2 on the list! We have 2 Black Lab/Golden Retriever mix puppies and 5 kids. I couldn’t wish for a better family.
    Our puppies are about 15 months old now, brother and sister. They play with each other enough to keep most of the energy level down with the kids (unless there is a tennis ball in someones hand!). The are very intelligent and loyal, and just the right amount of watch dog. They have all the best qualities of both breeds. If someone can’t decide between the two, I recommend a mix (but ONLY if you can give them PLENTY of exercise).

    1. @Janice, not a bad idea! Along with purebred Labs, Goldens, and German Shepherds our Guide Dog school also uses Golden/Lab mixes in their guide dog program. I’ve also heard that some of the service dog schools use primarily Golden/Lab mixes for their service dogs.

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