baby with dog

A dog can be a wonderful, loving, and loyal addition to any family. But if you have younger kids, you may be worried about the potential for rough play and possible injury. Fortunately, lots of dog breeds out there are perfect for families with little ones.

You might be surprised to learn that in general, the bigger dogs are better to be around young children. Small breeds like Yorkies, Chihuahuas, “toy” dogs, and basically anything you can pick up with one hand should be avoided, since little ones won’t understand why the doggie doesn’t like being tossed around like a doll.

Here are some great dog breed choices for you and your smaller kids to grow up with.

Newfoundland: Nature’s nannies

Big, sweet, and with a natural love for children, the Newfoundland is a giant ball of protective, furry affection. They tend to drool and shed a lot, so they’re especially suitable for families with big yards and lots of space—but they’re happy wherever their people are.

Bulldog: Patient, not picky

The squat, solid bulldog is a sturdy breed, able to take anything that small, rambunctious humans might throw at them. They’re also not big on being energetic, so they put up with a lot. Any type of living quarters, from small apartments to rambling houses, are completely acceptable to this patient breed.

Standard poodle: Gentle and allergy-free

Most people think of poodles as small, yippy dogs, but those are the miniature variety. Standard poodles are good-sized dogs who also happen to be good-natured, smart, and gently playful. They don’t shed much compared to other breeds, so they make a great choice for households with allergy sufferers.

Collies: The I-love-you dog

If you’re familiar with Lassie, you know collies— and they probably would be able to alert you if your barn’s on fire, or little Timmy’s just fallen down the well. Highly trainable, energetic, and loving, collies adore making their humans happy. They have a tendency to herd small things (like children), so they can help in corralling your gang. The only drawback? Be prepared for some serious brushing sessions for your collie’s long, beautiful coat.

Retrievers: Fun on four legs

Both Golden and Labrador retrievers make wonderful pets for families with small children. Labradors are among the most popular all-around breeds— they’re smart, playful, loyal, and loving. If your kids want a dog they can teach tricks, the Labrador should be top of your list. And Goldens are very similar to Labs in intelligence. They’re a bit more reserved, but they have extreme amounts of patience and love to swim.

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