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When adopting or buying a dog, many parents are faced with the difficulty in choosing the most suitable to live with their children. In this post we tell you which are the ideal dogs for children.

When adopting or buying a dog, many parents worry about choosing the right kind to live with their children. In this post we’ll explain which the best dogs are for children.

The benefits of having dogs and children living under one roof

Before we discuss the best dogs for children, we should look at the benefits of kids and dogs living together:

  • Physical benefits
  • Socio-educational and emotional benefits

One of the physical benefits of children and dogs living together is a lower risk of respiratory allergies. “Children who have a dog at home have a much lower risk of sensitisation to pollen and of developing respiratory allergies.” Dr. Joachim Heinrich, European Respiratory Journal.

In addition, specialist publications such as the journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy suggest that contact with dogs and cats at home during a baby’s first year is the most important factor in reducing the risk of allergies to these animals.

The socio-educational and emotional benefits of children and dogs living together include the fact that dogs demonstrate friendship and loyalty, while boosting children’s self-esteem and psychological well-being, acting as a social ice-breaker, encouraging psychomotor development and helping to develop a sense of responsibility.

That said, experts in canine behaviour warn that the benefits of having both children and dogs at home are only possible if the animal is well-cared for and its needs are properly met.

Dogs for children: how to choose the right one

Once you have made the decision to bring a dog into your family, if you already have children, the first thing to do is to find out all you can about what type of dog will be the best fit for a family home. It’s also important to consider what the relationship between the child or children and the dog should look like.

There is no such thing as an ideal dog for children: any dog can be right or wrong, depending on the circumstances. As we noted above, any dog that is not looked after responsibly and properly trained could be potentially dangerous. That’s why, rather than talking about breeds of dog for children, it’s important to understand the character traits that a dog who is going to live with a family with children should have:

  1. Well-socialised with children: a dog who doesn’t like children, or who is scared of them, isn’t the right dog to live with a family with small children. It’s particularly important to take into account this character trait when adopting an adult dog, because with puppies there is always more scope for socialisation.
  2. Good-natured: a dog who is self-assured and even-tempered will always be a safer option when living with a child. Fearful dogs, for example, can show their fear through aggression.

When it comes to size, there is no simple rule: both small dogs and large dogs can be fine, as long as they are good-natured and well-trained. The same can be said for different breeds. It’s not so much a case of choosing the right breed for living with children, as choosing an individual dog from that breed who is good-natured, and training him properly, in a way that is respectful of his character and not punishment-based. Remember that punishment-based training may lead to aggression, as well as undermining the animal’s well-being.

Children, dogs and supervision: If we're talking about children and dogs, we need to talk about supervision. No matter how “good” a dog is, it always needs an adult to keep an eye on it when it comes to children. Even unintentionally, a dog can harm a child or a baby, and vice versa. That’s why there must always be adult supervision by a responsible adult.

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