Smaller breed dogs are often too delicate or impatient for active young hands. Large breeds can be wonderful with children, but their size and enthusiasm often make them a bit too clumsy around a toddler. Medium size breeds are not too delicate or overwhelming, and certain breeds look forward to being a child's best friend and playmate.
Medium Size Characteristics
On average, medium size dogs range from 21 to 50 pounds. These numbers vary slightly depending on an organization's guidelines. What is consistent, however, is that medium size dogs are wonderful in their versatility. They're comfortable living in an apartment, or they enjoy roaming a large house and sniffing a backyard. When choosing a breed to be around a child, size is important. However, size isn't all that matters. What is most important is the dog's temperament.
Best Breeds for Toddlers
Although a breed may be good with children, some are less tolerant of a toddler's curiosity. The good natured beagle is excellent with children of all ages, and their girth is sturdy enough to be childproof on most occasions. However, their short coat sheds heavily on clothing and bedding. Keeshonds are renowned for their fondness of children. Their teddy bear appearance is huggable, but their coat is high maintenance requiring regular brushing. Bull terriers have been described as "a 3-year-old child in a dog suit." They make great playmates as well as nannies, but their high-spirited energy requires early and consistent obedience training.
Best Breeds for Older Children
For children old enough to understand not to tease or startle, the loving cocker spaniel is well-suited for a family. Their devoted and active nature makes them wonderful companions. However, their ears and eyes do require regular inspection since they are prone to eye and ear infections. Airedale terriers are a low-shedding, family oriented breed. They are excellent with respectful children, but their high energy level may cause them to be destructive if not exercised regularly. The gentle and protective bulldog often forms a strong bond with children. Their stocky build can handle rambunctious play, but their compressed facial structure makes them prone to heat exhaustion. Exercise cautiously during summer months.
Mixed Breeds and Making the Best Choice
Animal shelters are filled with loving mixed breed dogs waiting to find the right home. Although breeds have inherited personality traits, every personality is different. Whether going to a shelter, breeder or rescue group, look for a dog who matches the child's energy level, and is well-suited for the home environment and work schedule. Talk to your veterinarian about any potential health concerns, and always supervise children when bringing a new dog into the home.
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Pet Care
- Cesar's Way: The Ten Best Family Dog Breeds
- The Keeshond Club of America: About the Keeshond
- American Kennel Club: Meet the Bull Terrier
- American Kennel Club: Cocker Spaniel Care
- American Kennel Club: Airedale Terrier Care
- American Kennel Club: Bulldog Care