There aren’t many dogless families with small kids who don’t hear the familiar question “Can we get a dog? Pleeease, Mum?” About ten times a day I’m guessing. But which are the best dog breeds for kids?
Which breed will you feel safe letting into your family?
And, before you say no to the kids and point to the nice looking hamster in the cage, remember this.
Dogs bring many benefits to children, they teach responsibility, compassion and, let’s face it; they will be your child’s best friend for many, many years.
And anyway. Hamsters are smelly and boring.
But, before you pick the most unique dog name you can think of and then rush out and buy the cutest puppy in the store, think seriously about which is the best dog breed for kids and which breed would suit both your family and your lifestyle.
8 Questions Before Choosing The Best Dog Breed For Your Family
Which are the best family dogs in New Zealand?
That will depend on a number of factors.
Ask yourself these 8 important questions and then make a short list from the breeds we will talk about below.
- Would the dog suit the age of your kids? Some breeds of dog are happier around only adults or single gender.
- Would the dog’s age suit your kids? Would your kids love to get a puppy and be involved in the training and the puppy socializing, or are your kids at an age where they would prefer an older, calm dog who knows the ropes and doesn’t mess on the kitchen floor?
- Do you travel away a lot? If you would prefer to take future holidays with your dog make sure your vehicle is big enough to take everyone!
- What is the energy level of the dog? If you are a family who likes to spend the weekends practising for a half marathon, then a couch potato dog breed won’t be for you.
- Particular breeds will require different levels of care. Long-haired dogs such as the Bernese breed will need to be brushed frequently, certain breeds are more prone to diabetes, or, if you choose to adopt an older dog, he may already have an ongoing condition that you will need to care for. Think about these factors if you know that you are away from home a lot and will be leaving your new dog with a pet sitter.
- Do you have other pets? A cat perhaps, or sheep? While you can get your new dog used to other animals in the puppy socialization stage, you will need to consider a dog breed that will be happy around other animals.
- Space. If you own a farm or have a large garden then you can go ahead and look at dog breeds that need plenty of room to run around. If you are on a top floor apartment, best to choose a dog that will be happy to use a dog door out to the balcony, walk to the school gates with the kids and then hop back home for a snooze!
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With those questions covered, let’s take a look at which breed of dog would suit your family.
10 Of The Best Family Dog Breeds NZ For Kids
- The Bulldog is a laid back, loyal breed. Although they do require regular walks, they are also happy to lay on the sofa and have a long snooze!
- Use a tracking device such as the FitBark 2 to let you know exactly how much exercise your Bulldog should be getting in a day.
- Bulldogs don’t do very well in the heat. Their short snouts make them prone to overheating.
- Beagles are another perfect dog breed for kids. While they are friendly and totally lovable, Beagles are pack animals and thrive on companionship, accordingly, they would not suit a family who was out of the house all day.
- The poor Bull Terrier is often thought of as being a fighter and aggressive, but actually, this dog breed is a playful joker who loves to be part of a family. With a super sweet nature, the Bull Terrier is a mischievous and entertaining pup that will require lots of initial positive training and early socialisation with plenty of other dogs in social settings such as parks and dog-friendly cafes. Why not give him a super cute name that will make him more confident?
- The nickname for the Weimaraner is ‘the grey ghost’. This is a beautiful breed with distinctive colouring and light eyes. The Weimaraner is a sporting dog who will require lots of physical and mental stimulation. if your family can provide both, then this is the breed for you.
- The Labrador holds the record for being the worlds most popular dog breed for years, especially for families, and you can see why. Aside from the cute Andrex advert, which did wonders for the sale of Labrador puppies.
- Labradors are loyal, safe and have a very sweet temperament.
- This dog breed does require a good deal of exercise, including walking, swimming and playing. Use a tracking device such as the FitBark 2 to let you monitor exactly how much exercise your girl needs and whether or not she is fully rested.
- An all-time family favourite, Golden retrievers are a quick learning dog breed that is fabulous for kids of all ages. Know, that the retriever will expect play – and lots of it! They love to swim and retrieve (obviously!). They have a good deal of energy. But in return, they will give you a lifetime of devoted companionship. (Remember they will need regular brushing!)
- The Collie is one of the most intelligent, smartest breed of dog. Most of us adults have seen Lassie and watched how he was always smarter than the adults! You won’t find a more loyal dog for your kids than a Collie. Remember though, that hair is long and will shed! It will also need a regular brush to keep her looking beautiful!
- If you are a busy family without much space then the Pug is the perfect breed of dog for your family.
- The pug is small enough to fit through a medium sized dog door for when you have to leave him alone for an hour or two.
- While they are happy to have a play around with small kids, their favourite activity is sleeping and eating!
- Because of their food passion, you will have to keep an eye on your Pug’s diet. Take him to the local cafe, let them sit on your knee and watch how they wallow in all of the attention! (Just don’t feed him biscuits!)
- The Boxer is a popular breed for kids as they are full of fun and play! They are upbeat, energetic and have a good deal of patience around young children, making them the perfect family pet.
- One thing to note, Boxers do tend to like to jump up – make sure that your early training discourages this – especially around the littlies.
- If you are an energetic family then the Vizsla is for you. Think Labrador but with a more distinctive look. The Vizsla is a born and bred Pointer that needs plenty of exercise. In return, she will reward you and your family with a sensitive, affectionate nature.
And Last But Not least! The Bitsa!
- Having a crossbreed ourselves, I couldn’t fail to mention the mutts of this world! One of the dogs that our kids grew up around is a labrador cross Mastiff called Maggie. She has been perfect for our family. She has the affection of the Labrador, but the laziness of the Mastiff! If you go to buy your dog, don’t overlook the bitza’s that are out there!
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I hope you have enjoyed this list of best dog breeds for kids. Let me know which breed your kids grew up (if he is not on the list) with and why that dog was perfect for your family.