There are many reasons why you should consider getting a new family member of the canine variety, including the meaningful influences it can have on children. Not only can your four-legged friend teach kids responsibility, kindness, and patience, but studies show that pets can influence children’s social skills, physical health, and cognitive development.
Before you make the leap and adopt a puppy, you need to consider a few things to ensure that you find the most suitable dog breed for your home. If you’ve got older children, bigger more energetic breeds are a good match, but smaller pooches may be better suited for those little ones who will be easily knocked over.
To find out what you’re looking for in your family dog, think about the following questions:
- How big will the dog be?
Consider this in terms of energy levels and temperament.
- Will their temperament match your family’s lifestyle?
This is a matter of preference, but you need to be realistic – if you can’t meet their energy requirements, it could lead to behaviour problems.
- Does the dog need to be social with other pets?
You may own animals that your dog will be surrounded by every day.
- What are the dog’s grooming and exercise requirements?
Different breeds have different grooming and walking requirements. For example, short-haired breeds may require a coat in the winter and less brushing but long-haired breeds may need daily grooming.
The top five best family dog breeds
It may come as no surprise that Labradors are on this list, considering they’re the most popular dog breed in the UK. This medium-to-large breed is known for its even tempers and patient temperament and makes the ideal friend for your children.
Bernese Mountain Dog
For those looking to welcome a gentle giant that has a good-natured temperament to match, then this breed is an excellent choice. They come in at a whopping 34 to 54kg and are known for their willingness to play.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This toy breed is known for its playful yet gentle nature, making them perfect for young children. They have high-maintenance coats so will need to be brushed daily to prevent matting but they’re affectionate with everyone they come across.
The Irish Setter is perfect for any family looking for a medium-to-large dog with a high-spirited but patient nature. Not only are they gorgeous but they are gifted athletes so they will need regular walking and physical stimulation.
Another gentle giant, Newfoundlands comes in at 55 to 80kg and have reputation for being ‘nanny’ dogs. Their watchful, gentle nature means their size isn’t an issue for younger children if you’ve got the space, but they have high-maintenance coats that need daily grooming.