For some people, their dogs are their kids. Others have the real thing, complete with car seats, piano lessons, and a couch full of cheerios. For this admirable group of adventurous folks, choosing a dog that can patiently tolerate the inevitable ear tugging and tail pulling is important. These eight breeds have the right combination of patience and durability that’s essential for families with children.
With three boys, your dining room feels more like a locker room, and you play referee so much that you’ve started wearing a black and white striped shirt and a whistle. Famously patient, the golden retriever might be the perfect match for your rambunctious family. Originally bred as gun dogs, they’re frequently used as service animals and are excellent swimmers.
She might drool and shed a little more than your old nanny, but your Newfoundland won’t expect a Christmas bonus or flirt with your husband either. Their reputation for being gentle with children is well deserved, and they’re among the most loving breeds, always happy to be where the family is.
It might be a stretch to say that your husband lives to make you happy, but a collie would like nothing more than to see you smile. With their naturally herding instinct and infinite trainability, you might one day be able to teach your collie to give the kids a bath and tuck them in to bed while you savor Belgian dark chocolate and a glass of Chardonnay.
Slightly less versatile than a Swiss army knife, and much easier to cuddle, the Labrador retriever has everything you could want in a family dog. They’re energetic, loyal, and eager to please, and are the first and only choice for many families around the world. Don’t feel up for a walk? Your lab is happy to play fetch in the backyard instead.
Affectionate. Friendly. Easy to train. Not only will your Labradoodle patiently overlook all that pulling and grabbing from little hands, but she’ll raise the bar for good behavior around the house too. Combining the best traits of a golden retriever and poodle, this family friendly breed hardly sheds, making it a great choice for families with allergies.
A mixed breed dog might combine the best of the traits that these purebreds have, plus you can feel good about providing a loving home to a shelter animal. Be especially cautious with pit bull, boxer, and chow mixed breeds, and be sure to avoid smaller sized mutts, that can be injured if stepped on, and tend to be crankier and less patient with children. Mid to large sized dogs that can withstand well intended, if not slightly rough attention from children are a good choice for families with kids.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Your son’s room is so clean it earned three Michelin stars, and calmly continued eating lunch during the latest food fight at the school cafeteria. Consider the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – one of the original lap dog breeds, and a great choice for families that raised children with manners. Intelligent and energetic, they never tire of affection and love interaction with kids.
Weighing in at only 5-7 lbs, the Yorkshire terrier may not be the best choice if a busy weekend with the family includes backyard boxing, and your bumper sticker reads, “My kid beat up your honor student.” Affectionate and eager to please, Yorkies are the most popular small breed in America, and can be a great addition to families with children.