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The Best Dog Breeds For Families With Kids


Author Nora Roberts once wrote, "Everything I know I learned from dogs." She has a point. Dogs teach us how to be responsible, compassionate, kind, and attentive, and how to sleep in an S-shape around a furry bed hog. Dogs can play an important role in teaching those traits to children and helping them grow up to be kinder, gentler adults who also love dogs. That's why some parents consider dogs to be an important part of the family—or are willing to cave to the constant nagging.

Of course, my grouchy old Chihuahua serves as a reminder that not all dogs particularly like children or have any interest in teaching kindness or responsibility. Every animal has its own temperament and personality, of course, and training and upbringing are important, but there are some breeds that are generally considered better with children than others. While there are no guarantees in dogs (or baseball), if you're looking for a furry friend to add to your brood, these breeds are considered to be some of the best for families with kids.

Labrador Retrievers

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Labs are one of the most popular dog breeds around—and for good reason. They are affectionate and loyal and can be patient and gentle with children. PetMD does have a word of caution, though: "They require a lot of exercise (they love swimming!), so be sure your family is up for the challenge, and a little extra room for them to run around and play in would be optimal."

Beagles

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They need a lot of exercise, can be trained to perform all sorts of tricks, and are generally incredibly sweet-tempered pals. "Their compact size, short, easy-to-care-for coat, and intelligence make the Beagle an excellent family dog," writes the American Kennel Club.

Pugs

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"Staunchly silly and easily trainable, Pugs have earned a reputation as one of the best small dogs for kids," writes dog-adoption site Petfinder. They need regular exercise but are not as active as some breeds, making pugs great for city-dwelling families and homebodies.

Vizsla

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These energetic dogs can run for miles, but are also happy snuggling up at home. If your family is an outdoorsy bunch and always on-the-go, a Vizsla can be a great companion, according to PetMD.

French Bulldogs

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Frenchies are an easygoing and happy-go-lucky breed. They like to play and are happy to chill and easy to train. These dogs are all-around great companions who can be very patient with kids.

Golden Retrievers

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These furry, friendly goofy types are the quintessential family dog. Patient, good-natured, affectionate, and loyal they are great with kids. They are retrievers, though, and will do best with families who can make sure they get exercise every day—and have a place for them to sprawl out.

Pitbull Terriers

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They get a bad rap in the media sometimes, but these pups are smart and highly trainable, don't mind roughhousing, and really like pleasing people, notes Cesar's Way, the website for dog trainer Cesar Milan. "These pups are actually great with kids as long as you do a good job of training and socializing them early."

Newfoundland

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These smart, loyal, and generally sweet gentle giants are known as "nature's nanny". Newfoundlands make excellent family dogs, writes the American Kennel Club. Plus, any dog that is used as a rescue animal is a good family pet.

Boxers

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"Patient and protective, Boxers love human company and are known as one of the best dogs for children," writes Petfinder. Boxers are typically well-mannered with other pets as well.

Collies

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One word: Lassie. Remember when the dog famously, if perhaps apocryphally, returns home to report that Timmy fell down a well? Now that is what you want in a family dog. They are strong, loyal, affectionate, responsive and fast. Collies are probably best suited for families who like to be outdoors and can give a dog some serious exercise.

Poodles

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Poodles are smart, gentle, and playful, and tend to get along well with humans of all sizes as well as other pets, according to the American Kennel Club. Choose a medium or standard poodle big enough to handle rough-and-tumble play. Poodles are often called hypoallergenic dogs because they shed so little.

Irish Setter

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The red-coated Irish setter "is playful and energetic, loves being around people, and plays well with children," says PetMD, making them a good fit for active families. "In fact, this breed loves being with their family so much that they hate to be alone, which means they’re on their best behavior when surrounded by their loved ones."

Bulldogs

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Bulldogs are patient, sturdy, and friendly, making them a good choice for a house with young kids. This docile dog will fit in whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or the country.

Mutts

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"Mutts tend to be generally healthier than purebreds, and they are also the dogs most in need of rescue," notes Cesar's Way, suggesting talking to shelter workers about the dogs personality to find the perfect pup to fit in with your family and get along with your kids.

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