26 Dog Breeds That Are Good With Children

Looking to introduce a dog into your family, but worried about how they will get along with your children? Certain dog breeds have temperaments better suited to living with kids than others, but there are plenty of breeds that are sure to become best friends with the youngest members of your family.

While dogs' personalities can differ greatly within breeds, breeds do tend to have key traits. When looking for a pet that will get along well with children, look for dogs that are gentle, loyal, friendly and affectionate.

No matter how friendly the dog, however, it is important to teach children to be gentle and treat their pet with respect. Crucially, children and dogs should not be left unattended. You may need to consider how your children will behave toward certain breeds, as some dogs are more fragile than others.

Some of the larger or more energetic dogs on this list may be better suited to older kids, while families with babies or toddlers may want to consider smaller or more laid-back pets.

When looking for a dog, why not consider adopting? There are plenty of kid-friendly dogs in shelters, waiting to meet their forever family. To find out more, contact the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Shelter Pet Project or your local shelter.

Basset hound

Basset hounds are laid-back and enjoy being around people, including children.

Basset Hound
Basset hounds are a laid-back breed. Matt Cardy/Getty


Beagles make excellent family pets—they are friendly, playful and great with kids.

Beagles are friendly and playful. Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Bichon frise

Bichon frises are friendly, sociable dogs that are easily trained.

Bichon Frise
Bichon frises are a sociable breed. Drew Angerer/Getty


The Bolognese breed is known for being loyal, sociable and playful—and if trained well, can be very well-behaved.

Bolognese Dog
Bolognese dogs are loyal and playful. Matt Cardy/Getty

Border collie

Border collies are intelligent and easily trained. While they make great pets, border collies are working dogs and may not want to be cuddled.

Border Collie
Border collies are easily trained. Brendon Thorne/Getty

Boston terrier

Boston terriers are small, gentle and affectionate dogs that love children.

Boston Terrier
Boston terriers are small and gentle. Laurence Griffiths/Getty


Boxers make a great, playful pet for older kids, but may not suit a family with toddlers because of their size and energy levels.

Boxers are a great pet for older kids. Matt Cardy/Getty


Bulldogs have a gentle temperament and are generally good with children, although young bulldogs can be quite rowdy when playing.

Bulldogs have a gentle temperament. Drew Angerer/Getty

Cairn terrier

Cairn terriers are intelligent, sensitive and affectionate dogs that love kids.

Cairn Terrier
Cairn terriers are affectionate and love children. Matthew Eisman/Getty

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Cavalier King Charles spaniels love company, including the company of kids, and are extremely playful.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Cavalier King Charles spaniels love company. Cindy Ord/Getty


Dachshunds are affectionate and playful, though children need to be taught to be gentle with them as their backs are very fragile.

Dachshunds are affectionate and playful dogs. Scott Barbour/Getty

French bulldog

French bulldogs love the company of people, including children.

French Bulldog
French bulldogs love spending time with people. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

German shepherd

A properly trained German shepherd makes a great, loyal and protective family pet.

German Shepherds
German shepherds are loyal and protective dogs. Drew Angerer/Getty

Golden retriever

Golden retrievers are friendly and easy to train, and are generally gentle. However, as they are playful, their large size may pose some concerns for families with toddlers.

Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers are friendly and gentle dogs. Jamie McCarthy/Getty


Havanese dogs are small, affectionate and love staying close to their owners.

Havanese dogs love staying close to their owners. Justin Tallis/Getty

Irish setter

Irish setters are friendly and playful but can be quite raucous, so are perhaps better suited to older children.

Irish Setter
Irish setters make friendly and playful pets. H. Armstrong Roberts/Getty

Italian greyhound

Italian greyhounds are gentle and playful, but children should be careful around these dogs as they are quite delicate.

Italian Greyhounds
Italian greyhounds are gentle and delicate. Matt Cardy/Getty

Labrador retriever

Labrador retrievers are friendly and laid-back, making them a great pet for a family with children.

Labrador Retriever
Labrador retrievers are a friendly and laid-back breed. Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Miniature poodle

Miniature poodles make great family pets as they are friendly, gentle and playful.

Miniature Poodle
Miniature poodles are friendly and gentle. Shirlane Forrest/Getty


Newfoundlands are known for having a sweet temperament and being great around kids.

Newfoundlands are known for being sweet. Timothy A. Clary/Getty


Papillons generally get along well with children but kids should be gentle with them and make sure they do not jump from their arms, which may cause injury to the dog.

Papillons generally get along well with children. Jason Green/Getty


Poodles have a lot of energy, but are gentle and make great family pets.

Poodles are energetic but gentle. Carl Court/Getty

Portuguese water dog

Portuguese water dogs love being with their family, including kids and other dogs.

Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese water dogs love being with their family. Christopher Furlong/Getty


Pugs make great family dogs and are suited to younger kids as they are not as fragile as some other small breeds.

Pugs are not as fragile as some other small breeds. Scott Barbour/Getty


Vizslas get along well with kids but, as they are quite energetic, they may suit older children better than toddlers.

Vizslas are quite energetic and may suit a family with older kids. Charles McQuillan/Getty


Whippets are affectionate and playful, making them a great family pet.

Whippets are affectionate and playful. Anthony Dickinson/Getty