Dog Breeds Dog Fun

50 Best Dog Breeds for Kids – According to Dog Temperament Tests

Child plays with a little friendly dog.
Written by Richard Jeng

Bringing home a furry addition to a family is always an exciting and joyful time, especially for the kids. In my opinion, dogs make the best pets – and plenty of owners will agree. They don’t call them “man’s best friend” for no reason.

When you bring up a dog in a household with children, the dog-child relationship has a chance to flourish into something truly special. But if you’re a parent, picking the right dog for your kid can be a bit of a concern.

After all, you don’t want to bring in a vicious animal that permanently scars your child, or worse, hurt them. That being said, we’ve found the 50 best dog breeds for children – based on science, research, facts and well, logical reasoning.

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Picking Dog Breeds for Kids

Hypoallergenic dog breeds will be the savior of ultra-sensitive dog owners.

It’s worth noting that we didn’t come up with this list based completely on our opinion. As a matter of fact, we let the research speak (or in this case, bark) for these dogs.

This list and ranking of kid-friendly dogs is primarily based on a temperament test done by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS). They’re a non-profit organization founded in 1977 to promote awareness of temperaments among dog breeds.

But why is dog temperament so important when picking a breed for your kid? Temperament refers to the canine’s inherent nature. That is, how a dog will react to stimuli in the real world, such as strangers, animals and of course, kids.

While the ATTS has conducted temperament tests on tens of thousands of dog, not all dogs will be the same. In other words, the test results may not always be completely accurate. Still, it’s a great starting point for picking out a kid-friendly dog.

Measuring Dog Temperament

As of 2016, the ATTS has conducted tests on 33,925 individual dogs. That’s nothing to scoff at. And given the total tested dogs thus far, the average pass rate is 83.4%, though the passing rate varies by breed.

The ATTS takes into account a number of factors, such as age (minimum 18 months), training, health and temperament. But how exactly are these tests conducted?

The typical temperament test will take roughly 12 minutes. According to ATTS, a dog is placed on a loose leash in an environment with 3 evaluators. They’re then given a variety of stimuli to gauge the reaction of the dog.

If the dog shows any signs of panic, persistent aloofness or unprovoked aggressive behaviors, then the dog fails that segment. It’s a pass/fail test where 2 out of 3 evaluators need to pass or fail the dog to conclude the final result.

Factors to Consider in Dogs for Kids

We’ve taken the best scoring temperaments from the ATTS test, but also combined it with our knowledge of the breeds to rank kid-friendly breeds. With that said, the following criteria was used for this ranking list:

  • Dog breed’s temperament – Based on the ATTS tests, how did the breed perform when given stimuli to react to in the environment? Those that had a higher passing rate on the test will see higher ranking on the list. At least 50 tests is needed.
  • Dog breed size – We’ve given some consideration to the size of the typical purebred dog. Just because a dog is sweet doesn’t mean he won’t accidentally hurt the child. Likewise, some may be too small and fragile for kids.
  • Dog attack cases – Based on reported dog attacks and fatalities from dogsbite.org. Some dogs may score high on the ATTS test, but have a much high probability of attacking humans than other breeds. Though, we analyze the reason case by case.

There is no absolute scientific measurement or criteria to find the perfect dog breed for children. No matter which breed you choose, you can raise a child-loving dog. However, this means that it’s up to you (the owner) to nurture the dog.

Best Dogs For Kids

Again, this list is based on temperament tests with some adjustments based on our knowledge, facts or popular anecdotes regarding the breed. We don’t mean to offend anyone with this list.

There are certainly fantastic child-friendly dog breeds that aren’t on this list as well. So, tell us which kid-friendly dog breed is your favorite!

50. Beagle

Highlights: Curious, Gentle, Even-tempered

Reasons why Beagles love to howl.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
79631679.7%

There’s a reason why Beagles are called the “goldilocks of dogs” – they’re an even-tempered dog breed. Beagles aren’t too friendly, but aren’t too aggressive. They’re not too small nor too large. They won’t be over-welcoming, but not too suspicious.

In other words, Beagles are a fantastic option for kids of all ages. They can be easy-going and laid back in the home. However, Beagles are very vocal dogs (barking, howling, etc.) and don’t mesh well with sensitive babies.

RECOMMENDED: Are Beagles Good With Kids?

49. Samoyed

Highlights: Cheerful, Lively, Friendly

Samoyeds are smart dogs, as they're the 44th smartest dog breed.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
2942365880.3%

Few people, and even fewer kids, can resist the “Sammie Smile.” They’re highly sociable dogs that will get along fine with your children. However, they have a bit of heft and their liveliness can be a risk for smaller children.

But as long as they’re properly trained, a Samoyed will be a fine addition to any household with kids. They love to play and having children around is a dream come true for these dogs. Still, you want to make sure to socialize them early on.

48. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Highlights: Loyal, Intelligent, Affectionate

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
77621580.5%

Like the Pembroke cousin, the lesser known Cardigan Corgi is a fan favorite among children all over the world. But according to the ATTS, the Cardigan scored slightly better on the test. With their loving nature and cheerful vibe, it’s easy to see why.

These dogs aren’t too big, so the chances of them seriously injuring a child unintentionally is quite low. At the same time, their herding background brings the energy and enthusiasm that’s perfect for equally active kids.

RECOMMENDED: A Guide to Corgis & Kids

47. Weimaraner

Highlights: Attentive, Intelligent, Energetic

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
2241814380.8%

The Weimaraner can be one of the best companions for older children. Because they’re agile and strong, we recommend bringing one home during puppyhood. They need to be trained, but will thrive once obedience is in check.

They’ll have the energy to match even the rowdiest of children. Even so, we advise supervision when letting them play with your kids. Other than that, there’s not a single aggressive bone in a Weimaraner! Fantastic option for children

46. Collie

Highlights: Loyal, Friendly, Protective

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
89672417280.8%

There are few things that can go wrong with a Collie. They’re fluffy yet adorable, and kids seem to love them. But they are herding dogs, after all, and the lively and bright energy will make the Collie better suited for older kids.

It’s worth noting that they’re gentle dogs in the home. Plus, Collies are known to be aloof when it comes to strangers. So, having one around the home would be like a second pair of eyes for the kids. Not a bad thing at all.

45. Belgian Sheepdog

Highlights: Loyal, Affectionate, Active

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
5164189881%

The Belgian Sheepdogs were once shepherds that looked after sheep. That said, they can be a little protective of the children, but not in a possessive way. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you train and socialize them at an early age.

Although Belgian Sheepdogs are medium-sized dogs, they can be powerful canines. The good news is that they’re fairly gentle, especially with kids. They understand how to act calm in their homes, and when to be active on the field.

44. Belgian Tervuren

Highlights: Protective, Attentive, Devoted

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
5214249781.4%

If properly socialized and trained, the Belgian Tervuren can be one of the best playmates for the kids of the home. Like many sheepdogs, the Tervuren was also herding dog that also protected the flocks at night. As such, they may do the same for kids.

Always energetic and alert, the Tervuren simply knows how to react to children. Expect them to be gentle and sweet with kids, but also protective. And despite their looks, they’re just medium sized dogs that can withstand the rough play.

43. Italian Greyhound

Highlights: Outgoing, Affectionate, Smart

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
54441081.5%

The Italian Greyhound is a small sighthound known for an affectionate personality and sociable demeanor. They get along best with calmer children due to their small size. Even so, they are durable enough to handle some roughness.

Overall, Italian Greyhounds will be gentle and docile in the home. They have a mild nature that blends seamlessly into any household with kids. Despite the size, they make good watch dogs. So, expect them to bark at strangers approaching your children.

42. Great Dane

Highlights: Calm, Loyal, Gentle

Great Danes are great with kids because they're patient, dependable and friendly dogs.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
3142565881.5%

I’ll admit – we’ve omitted a lot of large dogs from this list. Big dogs, especially those as large as the Great Dane, can be a hazard for small children. It’s not that they’re not friendly, but a simple swipe to the face is all it takes to hurt kids.

However, Great Danes are big and gentle dogs, as opposed to large and energetic. It’s why so many of them have a reputation of being great “nanny dogs.” In addition, a Great Dane knows how to be patient around your kids.

RECOMMENDED: Parents’ Guide to Great Danes

41. Keeshond

Highlights: Obedient, Playful, Bright

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
87711681.6%

The Keeshond is an amazing companion for children. From the spitz family, they’re very much like their Pomeranian cousin – only bigger. In other words, they retain the charm and affection of the Pom, but have durability to handle kids.

Keeshonds are good-natured dogs with a sweet disposition. Not only will they get along great in a household with kids, but also with other dogs and pets. Along with their playful nature, these dogs tend to fair well with kids of all ages.

40. Briard

Highlights: Faithful, Protective, Obedient

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
3823127081.7%

The Briard is a large dog with a fearlessness that makes for a great guardian. But what actually makes them ideal playmates for kids is their calm, dignified and obedient nature. They’re very patient dogs that understand the fragility of kids.

Another outstanding trait of the Briard is their protectiveness. Once bred to protect sheep, the Briard has effortlessly transitioned into protecting children. According to owners, it’s not unusual to see a Briard “defend” kids from parents who discipline.

39. Pharaoh Hound

Highlights: Loving, Trainable, Fun-loving

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
55451081.8%

The Pharaoh Hound is not a dog breed you see every day. Though, it doesn’t take away from their great compatibility with kids. These hounds are, for the most part, calm and gentle dogs in the home. But when they’re playing, the energy shines through.

Pharaoh Hounds are also sensitive dogs, known for their patience with children. As long as the kids show the dog respect and love, they’ll protect and cherish them until the end. Though it’s worth noting they may be aggressive with other dogs.

38. Cocker Spaniel

Highlights: Joyful, Outgoing, Even-tempered

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
2331914282%

Both American and English Cocker Spaniels can make excellent companions for your children. In fact, they have a playful energy that can match any child. While they do love lounging with the adults, they don’t mind romping around with children.

Cocker Spaniels tend to develop strong bonds with their owners, largely because they’re such trusting dogs. They take loyalty to the family and pack very seriously. As such, you can depend on a Cocker Spaniel to take care of the kids.

37. Australian Shepherd

Highlights: Bright, Protective, Good-natured

The Australian Shepherd is one of the best herding dogs in the world.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
70257712582.2%

The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized, well-built dog that’s inherently good-natured and sweet. Not only are they able to handle the rough play of children, but they equally enjoy the fun play and excitement.

While it’s true that Australian Shepherds tend to be protective of the kids, this could potentially lead to aggression if others approach your children. That said, socialization and obedience is essential. Plus, plenty of exercise to keep them calm.

RECOMMENDED: Are Aussies Good With Kids?

36. Papillon

Highlights: Cheerful, Alert, Friendly

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
96791782.3%

Papillons almost didn’t make the cut due to their petite size. Weigh just under 10 pounds and 11 inches tall, they can be fragile with some kids. However, with proper training of the kids, the cheerful Papillon is well suited for life with children.

Unlike other small dog breeds, it’s uncommon for Papillons to snap back because of rough play. But as long as your children are trained to respect and be gentle around these dogs, they’ll be some of the top playmates for them.

35. Border Collie

Highlights: Energetic, Obedient, Hard-working

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
3122575582.4%

Given their work history, Border Collies are energetic and lively dogs. Even so, they aren’t too big for most children. But what makes them great for kids is their obedience. Border Collies can learn commands quickly and love to show off.

One of the best ways to nurture the child-dog relationship is by including the kids in obedience training. It’ll help establish trust and confidence between the two. And because Border Collies love to work, they’ll respond well to training, even if its with a child.

RECOMMENDED: A Guide to Border Collies & Kids

34. Miniature Pinscher

Highlights: Responsive, Clever, Playful

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
57471082.5%

Again, Miniature Pinschers are petite dogs that can get easily injured with rough play. Still, it’s hard to ignore the wonderful personality these little dogs have. As long as you’ve taught your kid to respect them, they’re excellent playmates.

They have the activeness to match a child. Plus, their playfulness means they’re always willing to hang out and romp around. Combine this with their outgoing and sociable personalities, and you have a first-class toy companion for kids.

33. American Eskimo Dog

Highlights: Reserved, Protective, Friendly

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
86711582.6%

Also from the spitz family, the American Eskimo dog is a larger version of the Pomeranian. Kids love petting their soft, fluffy coats and their friendliness will mesh with any household. But what makes them best suited for kids is their patience.

American Eskimos are highly alert and vigilant dogs, so they make a good watchdog for kids in your home. It’s worth noting that they love to bark, though. So having small babies in the house may not be the best idea for these dogs.

32. Dalmatian

Highlights: Sensitive, Playful, Friendly

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
3592996083.3%

The Dalmatian has been a long-time favorite of kids all over the world. It’s not just because of the cult classic, 101 Dalmatians, but also because of their pleasant temperaments. These dogs are affectionate, energetic and playful!

Dalmatians love to participate in family activities. As such, they tend to form strong bonds with all members of the pack, including the kids. If you can provide plenty of play time with the dog and kids, they’ll be best friends in no time.

RECOMMENDED: Raising Dalmatians With Kids

31. Gordon Setter

Highlights: Cheerful, Devoted, Sociable

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
67561183.6%

Gordon Setters can be a little on the big side, but they’re not too big for most kids. However, the protective and sweet nature of these dogs far outweigh the risk of unintentional injury. They love to be around kids and their caring personalities prove it.

The best thing about these dogs is their willingness to please. That is, the Gordon Setter will do whatever it takes to put a smile on your child’s face. Despite their sweet disposition, we advise parental supervision during all play sessions.

30. Boxer

Highlights: Confident, Calm, Loyal

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
4723967683.9%

Boxers tend to need a decent amount of socialization to thrive in a household with kids. But if they do, their silly personality and playful nature will be a huge hit with children. In many ways, Boxers are just like goofy kids.

You can also count on a Boxer to be a great second pair of eyes on children. They’re loyal to the bone, and their courageousness makes them superb canine guardians. If they sense a threat to the kids, expect them to be there for them.

RECOMMENDED: Are Boxers Good with Kids?

29. Saint Bernard

Highlights: Gentle, Docile, Watchful

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
5345884.9%

Make no mistake, Saint Bernards are massive dogs that can weigh well over 200 pounds. Even so, they’re famously revered as excellent dogs for children. They’re one of the few “nanny dogs” that are dependable, reliable and friendly.

What makes this work is their calm and gentle demeanor. They’re not overly active and won’t try to jump on your kids, especially with proper training. Saint Bernards are also patient dogs who understand how to navigate the chaotic nature of rowdy kids.

28. Great Pyrenees

Highlights: Affectionate, Patient, Gentle

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1521292384.9%

The Great Pyrenees is a wonderful large companion to have in a household with children. They are calm and gentle dogs, who knows how to behave around kids. The best part is the loyalty that they develop towards all members of the pack.

Always trustworthy and dependable, the Great Pyrenees will not hesitate to defend your kids in the presence of danger. After all, they were originally bred to look after and take care of sheep. You can expect them to do the same for your family.

27. Vizsla

Highlights: Gentle, Energetic, Loving

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
5446885.2%

Due to the high energy levels and activeness of the Vizsla, they’re better suited for homes with older kids. However, they’re dogs that thrive on human interaction and can be very affectionate with children in your home.

The Vizsla can be both active or gentle, depending on the situation. They’re intelligent dogs that understand when they should play hard and when they need to calm down. But in order to turn them into kid-friendly dogs, socializing is essential.

26. English Springer Spaniel

Highlights: Bright, Attentive, Affectionate

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1621382485.2%

The English Springer Spaniels, despite being hunting companions, are great with children and other pets of the family. Few dog breeds are as affectionate and sweet with kids. In fact, they’re always eager to join your kids in some family-friendly activites.

For the most part, Springer Spaniels have a good sense of humor. They love to have fun and are always willing to please people. I’d recommend getting your children involved with training the Springer. They’ll love building this bond with your kids.

25. German Shepherd

Highlights: Loyal, Confident, Courageous

German Shepherds are highly intelligent. In fact, they're the 3rd smartest dog.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
3383288549885.3%

I was a little hesitant putting in the German Shepherd due to their sheer size and strength. And while it’s true they can potentially hurt a small child, their upside as family dogs is too high to ignore. That said, socialization and training is a must with GSDs.

When properly trained, a German Shepherd is both calm and patient around kids. Though it’s essential you train the kids on how to respect these massive dogs. They’re certainly intelligent enough to understand how to handle children, though.

RECOMMENDED: Raising German Shepherds & Kids

24. Bouvier des Flandres

Highlights: Protective, Gentle, Devoted

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
92579013585.4%

Don’t let the big black dog syndrome scare you, the Bouvier des Flanders is an excellent option for households with children. In fact, they’re known to be calm and docile dogs with a positive vibe that’s perfect for nearly any family.

As long as you raise your Bouvier with your kid, you can expect them to be lifelong friends and companions. However, it’s worth noting that Bouviers tend to be aggressive to unfamiliar dogs and strangers. So, socializing these dogs are a must.

23. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Highlights: Adaptable, Outgoing, Playful

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
6253985.5%

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has quickly become one of the best toy companions in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Known for being playful and charming, the spaniel dog has the ability to connect with children with little ease.

They’re generally calm and mindful dogs, especially when there are babies around the home. In contrast, they also know how to play with the older energetic kids. Cavalier Spaniels can be the perfect family dog as long as your kids understand their fragility.

22. Jack Russell Terrier

Highlights: Intelligent, Energetic, Playful

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
69591085.5%

The Jack Russell Terrier brings out all the best qualities from the terrier breeds. They’re spirited and fun-loving, but also affectionate and intelligent. In other words, the Jack Russell will make a great playmate, though better suited for older kids.

Jack Russell Terriers need to be around children that can respect them. They’re known to snap back at being rough handled, so the unpredictability of small children is not ideal for them. But with older kids, the relationship will be a beautiful thing.

21. Golden Retriever

Highlights: Loving, Friendly, Dependable

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
81369611785.6%

The Golden Retriever is undeniably one of America’s favorite family companion dogs. Is it really a big of a surprise they’ve made the list? Golden Retrievers are intelligent, good-natured, sweet and reliable pets. They have all the qualities of a kid-friendly dog.

However, many young Golden Retrievers may be a little too active and energetic for small kids. As they grow older, they’ll have a better understanding on how children should be handled. But despite this, Goldens are a top choice for all kids.

RECOMMENDED: The Guide to Goldens & Kids

20. Whippet

Highlights: Affectionate, Lively, Gentle

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
2031752886.2%

Whippets may be one of the most underrated dog breeds for kids. In fact, a huge bonus is the fact that they rarely bark. Not only does this make them ideal for apartment-living, but also for those with small children and/or babies in the home.

With children, Whippets will be gentle and calm. They naturally have a good understanding of how to react to the young ones. Although when it’s time to play outside, you can expect their vibrant energy to shine through.

19. Boston Terrier

Highlights: Friendly, Cheerful, Smart

Are Boston Terriers smart dogs? How smart are these dogs?
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
80691186.3%

Boston Terriers live up to their nickname, the “American Gentleman.” They’re not called this by chance. Rather, Boston Terriers are patient, sweet, friendly and low maintenance. Just put them in the hands of kids, and they’ll fall in love in no time.

Other than their sweet-disposition, what makes the Boston Terrier ideal for children is their size. They’re relatively small dogs, so they won’t likely knock over a small child. However, they’re big enough that kids won’t easily harm them.

RECOMMENDED: Boston Terriers & Children

18. Bernese Mountain Dog

Highlights: Faithful, Devoted, Affectionate

We measure a Berner's intelligence based on their working/obedience intelligence.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1941682686.6%

Even though Bernese Mountain Dogs are giant canines, they tend to do very well with children no matter what age. The best child-friendly trait of the Bernese is their patience. They’ll be wary around kids and understand rough play isn’t malicious.

Plus, the large frame isn’t always a bad thing for children, especially when the breed is docile and calm. Owners report that children will climb over and hang off these dogs. Even so, this won’t likely phase the Bernese Mountain Dog.

17. Standard Poodle

Highlights: Proud, Affectionate, Intelligent

The origins and history of the Poodle can be traced back thousands of years.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
2662323487.2%

The Standard Poodle is an excellent option for kids. They’re loyal and despite what most people think, affectionate and loving in the home. In addition, the Standard Poodle is large enough for handling the rough play that comes with small kids.

Not all Poodle variations are best suited for children, though. Toy Poodles can be a little snappy when faced with “scary” kids. And while Miniature Poodles have the same charming personality as the standard, they may still be a little too small.

RECOMMENDED: Are Poodles Good with Kids?

16. Newfoundland

Highlights: Obedient, Gentle, Good-natured

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1761542287.5%

The Newfoundland is a prime example of a “gentle giant” suited for children of all ages. Much like the other nanny dog breeds, the Newfoundland is always patient, gentle and friendly when it comes to the handling of small kids.

Given their attentiveness and alertness, the Newfoundland makes some of the best watchdogs for a child. They also have a protective side to them, though they’re typically not possessive or territorial. Even so, you can always depend on a Newfoundland.

15. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Highlights: Happy, Quiet, Protective

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1231081587.8%

Sure, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever may not be as outgoing and sociable as other retriever dogs. Even so, they typically enjoy the company of children and have a mild temperament that matches with most families.

On the other hand, the Chesapeake can be a little protective of the kids. They have a watchful eye that’s ideal for those needing a second pair of eyes on the little ones. As such, you will also get a stable and reliable dog with the Chesapeake.

14. Cane Corso

Highlights: Stable, Calm, Even-Tempered

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
2352072888.1%

One can’t deny the strength and size of the Cane Corso. However, they may be one of the most misunderstood dogs in the canine kingdom. They’re not as vicious and scary as they look. It’s quite the opposite – they’re sweet, calm and protective.

When properly socialized and trained, the Cane Corso is the perfect addition to a house with kids. Cane Corsos are typically calm and mild-mannered around small children, though they love to play around with older kids. Socialization is key, though.

RECOMMENDED: Guide to Cane Corsos & Kids

13. West Highland White Terrier

Highlights: Sociable, Friendly, Sturdy

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
6861789.7%

The West Highland White Terrier is all about fun-play and socializing. Given their spirited nature from the terrier side, Westies have the energy levels to match any young kid. But at the same time, Westies are considerate around kids.

While it’s true that Westies are durable and hardy dogs, they don’t appreciate young kids that’ll tease them with pulling and tugging. As a result, Westies tend to do much better when placed in a home with much older children.

12. Borzoi

Highlights: Respectful, Quiet, Gentle

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1111001190.1%

The Borzoi is a typical sighthound, that is, they’re sensitive and mild-tempered. They won’t be too friendly, though they’re sweet dogs with the members of the home. And while the Borzoi is an independent dog, they’ll have your kids back.

For the most part, expect the Borzoi to be silent. They’ll be cautious with younger kids in the home, but aren’t as friendly towards strangers or other dogs. But because there’s not a single aggressive bone in them, they’re not great at protecting.

11. Irish Setter

Highlights: Energetic, Playful, Loving

The Irish Setter is one of the finest pointing dog breeds from Europe.
TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1541401490.9%

Irish Setters were originally pointer dogs that helped hunters track birds. Today, they’re mainly a family dog that serves as an attractive companion. With kids, the Irish Setter will always greet with a bright smile and tail wags.

They’re friendly and enthusiastic dogs with a soft spot for children in the home. In addition, Irish Setters have a cheerful energy that’s contagious with the kids. Your children will likely love this breed, and the Irish Setter will shower them with affection.

10. Stafforshire Bull Terrier

Highlights: Dependable, Courageous, Loyal

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1431301390.9%

When most people see the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, they tend to think of pitbulls and scare off. However, this is a misconception. For those that know these dogs, they’re famously touted for their unusual love and affinity with children.

In fact, they’re the original “nanny dogs” in England. However, socializing is crucial with these dogs. Make sure to always supervise interactions and keep a close eye. Other than that, there is a reason why Staffords are trusted by so many families.

9. Brittany Dog

Highlights: Cheerful, Attentive, Intelligent

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1221111191%

The Brittany Spaniel is a classic gun-dog that’s evolved into a family companion today. They’re known for their happy-go-lucky temperaments, which can make them some of the best play-mates for older kids and adults.

As amazing as they are with older kids, the Brittany Spaniel may not be as suitable for younger children. Compared to other dogs, they’re relatively sensitive. As such, constant or sudden loud noises can potentially scare them. Otherwise, they’re gentle dogs.

8. Schipperke

Highlights: Curious, Loyal, Independent

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1301191191.5%

The Schipperke is all about love and devotion. So you can bet they’ll extend the same loyalty to your children. Schipperkes are undeniably underrated family dogs, as owners will tell you they simply adore kids – especially if socialized.

In fact, the Schipperke will get along with everyone. It’s well documented that they do well with cats and other dogs. The only downside with this breed is their eagerness to bark. They’ll let you know if they’re bored or an intruder is nearby.

7. Bull Terrier

Highlights: Protective, Trainable, Sweet

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
8376791.6%

The Bull Terrier can sometimes get a bad reputation for being stubborn and mischievous. And while these qualities tend to be true, there’s nothing more the Bull Terrier loves than respectful kids. They’re kind, charming and playful – perfect for older children.

But before bringing home a Bull Terrier, you’ll need to teach your kids how to respect the dog. In some cases, these dogs may also be difficult to train. So while they make great playmates, we only recommend them for experienced owners.

6. Border Terrier

Highlights: Obedient, Loving, Even-tempered

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1431311291.6%

The Border Terrier may be a terrier, but like the Boston Terrier, they’re not your typical terrier breed. As a matter of fact, these terriers were specifically bred to be kind and sweet, so that they’re able to peacefully hunt with foxhounds.

This is ideal for two reasons. Obviously, you’d want a peaceful dog with your kids. But also, the Border Terrier has the pack-dog mentality. They see other members of the pack, like your kids, as fellow companions of the family.

5. Curly-Coated Retriever

Highlights: Clever, Lively, Sensitive

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
1811661591.7%

The Curly-Coated Retriever checks all the boxes when searching for the perfect family dog. In the home, expect a friendly yet clever dog that loves to have fun. They’re big enough to handle rough play, but can be easily trained to be gentle with small ones.

They have a typical retriever temperament that all kids can fall in love with. As such, the Curly-Coated Retrievers have a good idea of pack hierarchy, and tend to stay within their lane. But when it’s time to play, their fun-loving personality comes out.

4. Flat-Coated Retriever

Highlights: Outgoing, Positive, Friendly

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
8780792%

There are few things we dislike about the Flat-Coated Retriever. Like most retrievers, the Flat-Coated is friendly and sociable with everyone. I’m convinced there’s not a single soul these loving dogs can’t befriend. And with kids, they’re superb.

These dogs are always cheerful, while giving off an optimistic vibe that children seem to love. In the home, you should expect a sweet and dependable dog that’ll always have your children’s back. Plus, they seem to understand the fragility of kids.

3. Labrador Retriever

Highlights: Gentle, Trusting, Even-tempered

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
8427766692.2%

Can you say you’re shocked the Labrador scored so high on the temperament test? After all, the Labrador is America’s most popular dog. As such, these friendly canines can be a great companion for children of all ages!

Yes, Labradors tend to get excited when playing with kids, and will need plenty of training. But at the core, the Labrador is a good-natured and kind dog. While their friendliness disqualifies them from being guard dogs, they’ll always treat your kids right.

2. English Cocker Spaniel

Highlights: Affectionate, Friendly, Playful

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
7570593.3%

I can’t say I’m surprised the adorable English Cocker Spaniel made the cut. These dogs have a personality that’s wonderful to be around. In fact, there are few dogs as inherently kind, sweet and loving at the English Cocker.

Thanks to their long hunting history, the Cocker Spaniels are sturdy and durable, despite being a small dog breed. Even so, they don’t appreciate tugging on the tails or ears. But because of their calm and silent nature, it’s hard for them to scare any kid.

1. French Bulldog

Highlights: Patient, Playful, Easy-going

TestedPassedFailed Pass Rate
5250296.2%

French Bulldogs are one of the 5 most popular breeds, and the most popular toy dog breed in America. It’s simple why Frenchies top this list: they’re patient, keen, loving, laid back, playful and friendly. And, their list of wonderful qualities continues.

While they’re considered toy dogs, the bulldog genetics give them a sturdy frame that fares well with kids of all ages. At the same time, they’re small enough to be great playmates for kids. The Frenchie is also alert, making them good watchdogs for kids.

RECOMMENDED: Why Frenchies Are Kid-Friendly


So tell us, which dog breed do you think is ideal for your kids? Tell us in the comments section below.

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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