Why introduce a dog to your child?
They say that a dog is man's best friend, but there are benefits to children as well. A dog can very well be your child's best friend. If your child is shy and has difficulty making friends, having a dog is like giving your child a best friend. The dog is always there waiting for your child to come home from school. They can play together in the backyard getting fresh air and exercise. The dog will be a cuddle buddy too and is almost like a real life teddy bear.
There are on-going studies about children reading out loud to dogs and how it improves the child's attitude on reading and literacy. Children are not always confident in their ability to read out loud in school, so reading at home to a dog could be beneficial in building their confidence. If you stumble over a word, your dog is not going to make fun of you. Petting a dog can alleviate stress and anxiety as well and there is evidence to suggest that petting a dog may also lower your blood pressure.
If you are still wondering whether it is a good idea to introduce a dog to your child, then consider this important reason. It will help to teach your child responsibility. I'm sure you have had your share of fish that you had to take care of for your child, but a dog is different. A dog is in your face. It is always there, and will try to get your attention. If it is dinner time, your dog will let you know it's time to eat. Yes, as the adult, you are responsible for the well-being of the dog. However, you can encourage your child to take up specific tasks for the dog's overall happiness.
Depending on your child's age, there are some specific tasks that can be their responsibility. They can feed the dog, make sure there is always fresh water in the dog's bowl, give treats, brush their fur, take him for a walk, pick up poop, train the dog to do tricks (best for an older child), and help bathe the dog. These are all ways that your dog will know that he is loved too.
Top 20 family dog breeds which are child friendly
Some breeds are simply more child friendly than others. I love the Chihuahua breed, but they are temperamental and are not the best for children. Will you find some that are great with kids? Absolutely, but in general, that breed is not recommended as being child friendly. The American Kennel Club (AKC) ranks dogs, by a variety of factors such as intelligence, size and friendliness. Below are the top AKC rated breeds suitable for kids.
1. Airedale Terrier
Airedales are in the terrier family and this makes them an energetic breed. They need exercise and love to play. If you are looking for a terrier, but want a larger dog, an Airdale would be worth checking out.
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terriers are a sturdy dog that can weigh up to 70 pounds. They thrive with mental a physical training. Be sure to get one of these dogs from a reputable breeder as you want to be sure they have been properly socialized.
3. Australian Terrier
The Australian Terrier is a spunky breed in a compact package. They have long hair that will require brushing and grooming.
4. Basset Hound
The Bassett Hound may only be 15 inches nigh, but they weigh up to 65 pounds. This breed is patient with kids and is a very chill type of dog. Your child will have no complaints from this dog should she choose to dress the hound in clothing and accessories.
Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy was a Beagle, so you have some idea of what this breed is like. It is no wonder that Beagles are one of the most popular breeds for families with their saucy facial expressions and good temperment.
Boxers are a larger breed and can weigh up to 80 pounds and can stand at 25 inches high. They are smart and love to play.
Bulldogs stand at 15 inches high and can weigh up to 50 pounds. They are kind and gentle giants which makes them a good breed for kids.
8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs are on the smaller end of the mid-size. They stand at 13 inches high and can weigh up to 18 pounds. The Cavalier is affectionate and has a silky coat.
Collies are a larger breed at 26 inches high and 75 pounds. They are a smart breed that learns quickly and requires a lot of exercise.
10. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs or "Frenchies" stand at 13 inches high and weigh up to 28 pounds. They are ideal for city folks since this breed does not require a lot of exercise and they do not bark much.
11. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is the ultimate when it comes to family dogs. They are outgoing and easy to train, which is why they are often used as guide dogs for the seeing imparied. Goldens are 24 inches high and weigh up to 75 pounds.
Havanese dogs belong to the toy group of dogs standing up to 11.5 inches and weighing up to 13 pounds. They are smart and can be trained to do tricks.
13. Irish Setter
Part of the sporting group, the Irish Setter syands at 27 inches and weighs up to 70 pounds. This is an active dog who loves to fetch.
14. Labrador Retriever
Also part of the sporting group, the Labrador Retriever stands at 24.5 inches high and weighing up to 80 pounds. Labs are friendly and require a lot of exercise. They come in yellow, black and chocolate brown.
The Newfoundland is part of the working group standing at 28 inches high and weighing in at 150 pounds, so this is a large dog. This breed is prized for it's sweet temperment characteristic, which makes this a great dog for children.
16. Old English Sheepdog
A member of the herding group, the Old English Sheepdog stands at 22 inches high and weighs up to 100 pounds. This shaggy dog needs lots of exercise and they are intelligent, patient and watchful.
A member of the toy group, the Papillon stands at 11 inches high and weighs up to 10 pounds. They are intelligent and agile and thrive doing agility training. They have an affinity for learning tricks which makes it another good choice for families.
Poodles come in toy, miniature, and standard sizes so height and weight vary from 10 to 15 inches high and 4 to 50 pounds in weight. Poodles are intelligent dogs that are easily trained. They have a long life expectancy, often living up to 18 years.
19. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier stands at 19 inches high and weighs up to 40 pounds. This is a friendly dog with a silky coat. The silky coat is what sets this breed apart from other terriers. It requires lots of grooming to maintain the coat as it is easily matted.
20. Spanish Mastiff
The Spanish Mastiff is a true gentle giant. They stand at 35 inches high and weigh up to 200 pounds. It is a kind and gentle breed of dog.
Magazine and Books to read for dog breeds
There is no short supply of books and magazines to read up on dog breeds. There are a number of general dog magazines that are a good place to start. Once you have narrowed down to a breed, check out some breed specific books. You will get more targeted information specific to the breed you have chosen. These books can help you with training and obedience.
1. AKC Family Dog
AKC Family Dog magazine publishes 6 traditional issues per year and subscriptions include the digital versions on the website. It is a good source for tips on training, behavior, dog health and nutrition.
2. Modern Dog
Modern Dog publishes 4 issues per year. Each issue contains features on dog accessories and celebrity interviews. Issues feature training tips and breed profiles.
Dogster used to be Dog Fancy, but although the name has changed, it is still a quality magazine full of tips to enhance your life with your dog. You can buy a digital subscription, a print subscription or a combination. They publish 6 issues a year.
4. Golden Retriever: How to Train Your Golden Retriever in 30 Days or Less
This book is aimed at the novice pet owner and for those of us who have busy lives, yet still want to have a well-trained dog. You will find lots of helpful tips and training pointers to get your dog well behaved.
5. The Poodle Handbook: The Essential Guide to Standard, Miniature & Toy Poodles
The Poodle Handbook contains all the essential information you need to own and operate your dog! Whether you are getting a puppy, adult or rescue, this book has all of the answers you will need and includes tips from breeders and trainers.
So while all of these breeds are good with kids, the truth is that any dog can fit into a family, but it requires work to get them socialized (your kids and the dog)! If you go to an animal shelter, you can find purebreds, but you will usually wind up with some sort of mix. Mixed dogs can make wonderful family pets, so do not rule them out. If you have your heart set on a specific breed, then do your research and only buy from a reputable breeder. Or even better, adopt a dog!