The Best Dog Breed for Families and Children
Q: Are there some breeds that just shouldn’t be around children?
A: No, all breeds, if socialized properly and brought up with children, will be fine with children.
Q: What about size? Is it OK to get small dogs if you have small children?
A: Usually, I say to get a larger breed if you have smaller children because they’re more durable. If a small child pulls on an ear or steps on the foot of a large dog, that dog is going to tolerate it more. If a child steps on the foot of a miniature pincher or a Chihuahua, the dog could be injured and sometimes that’s how a child gets bitten. The dog reacts to being injured and bites the child. So I always say the larger dogs, the sturdier dogs, are better for small children.
Q: My child has allergies. Are there truly hypoallergenic dogs?
A: There are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs, but there are dogs that shed less. Those dogs produce less dander, so people with allergies tend to tolerate them better. Those are breeds like the Bichon, the Portuguese water dog, the Kerry blue terrier, the Maltese, poodles.
I’d also suggest you spend time with the individual dog you’re thinking about bringing home. Even in the hypoallergenic breeds, you may have a sensitivity to one particular dog more than another. You also can be sensitive to their saliva, so let them lick your hand or kiss your face just to be sure that doesn’t cause a reaction.
Q: How can I be sure our new pet will match my family’s energy level?
A: Look at what the dogs were bred to do. If you want a quiet, mellow dog, don’t get a dog that was bred for hunting. If you want a high-energy dog, look at the sporting breeds, the herding breeds, and a lot of the working breeds. These are dogs that were bred to work outside all day long, so they’re going to have a lot of energy. But keep in mind that dogs bred to work usually need both physical and mental exercise or they’re going to be unhappy. And an unhappy dog can be a destructive dog.