Any dog that you take into your home is going to become a part of your family, so it’s smart to choose the right one from the start. Once your kids start clamoring for a dog of their own, you want to look into the different available breeds. Some types of dogs are better with children than others, but you never know which dog will capture your heart.
Puppies vs. Older Dogs
Just like people, dogs have their own personalities that develop over time. Even within the same breed, you may have a dog that doesn’t have the type of personality you expected. A dog’s personality won’t be consistent until it is about 2 or 3 years old. The advantage to getting an older dog is that you can be reasonably sure what to expect from its behavior. Additionally, puppies have sharp teeth and may bit children playfully or in response to slight aggression.
Herding dogs, like collies or sheep dogs, can make a good family pet, as the dog will treat the children as its own and act protective around them. Bulldogs and beagles tend to form close bonds with the children of the family. Retrievers and Labradors are typically easy-going dogs that like playing catch and make excellent companions.
If your children are too small, it may be wise to find a dog that is also small. Large dogs — especially ones that are active — can inadvertently knock small children down.
Some dogs require more attention than others. If you have an active family, then you may do well with a dog who enjoys going on brisk walks and running around with the children. If your family is busy and not home often, you might want a dog who’s content alone, but that will curl up with whatever family member is around.
Adopting from a Shelter
Many dogs at your local shelter need a home. This is less expensive than buying a purebred dog. If you’re going to adopt from a shelter, read about the dogs who are there. Look for one who came from a home that had children around the same ages as your children. You can spend time with the dog before you take it home, to be sure that it’s a good fit. Don’t take a dog just to have a dog. There is often a quick turnaround at the shelters, and you can keep going back until you find the right dog for you.