Dog Breeds that Make Great First Pets for Kids

Dog breeds that make great first pets for kids.

dog breeds for kids

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

If your kids have finally convinced you it’s time to get a dog, congratulations – you are about to set off on an amazing adventure. There’s nothing quite like watching your kids play with their dog, or walk in on them sleeping on the sofa together. 

However, the question that now naturally arises is which dog to choose. There are so many breeds out there it can be quite difficult to know which will best blend into your family. 

We’ll give you a very brief overview of 7 breeds that make great first pets for kids, hopefully making your choice a bit easier. 

And before you point out that adopting a dog is always better than getting them from a breeder, remember that we’re talking about a child’s first pet. You want the dog to behave as is expected of their breed, and know what to expect from them. Once the kids are older and you have had sufficient dog training experience, you can head down to your local shelter and adopt your next pet. 

Golden or labrador retrievers

Both of these breeds are incredibly popular, and with good reason. Not only are they absolutely gorgeous, they also make great first pets. 

The Golden Retriever is smart, kind, and patient. It’s not exactly a timid breed, but neither is it aggressive, so it will be a great companion to your kids, able to protect them, but mild in their playtime. They do need a lot of exercises, so be prepared for a lot of walks and a lot of catch. 

The Labrador is similarly patient, playful, and kind, and it’s also highly intelligent and easy to train. They require just as much exercise, if not more, as the Golden, so you will need to be able to keep up with them. 


The vizsla is a less common breed, but an amazing companion to kids nevertheless. It’s energetic and active, so if your kids are a bit older and ready for action, they will have a swell time together. 

This breed is also gentle and loyal and will form a close bond with your kids, making them easier to train. It’s also low maintenance, so you won’t have to worry about too much shedding. 


If you are looking for a slightly smaller dog, you might want to consider the Beagle. You can easily carry them if need be, so they might be a better fit for your lifestyle. 

They love being outdoors and exploring, so if you like to hike and take long walks, they will always be ready to join you. 

Beagles are considered very happy dogs, and they are also smart and friendly, able to get along with other pets too. They do shed though, so you will need to groom them often and give them a proper bath as well.


If you are not looking for a ball of energy, on the other hand, you should definitely consider the Bulldog. This breed is ideal for kids, as it’s very friendly and loyal, but is also docile, so it won’t mind relaxing on the sofa with you instead of going for a walk. 

They can comfortably live in any size home, so you can have them join their family even if you live in a small apartment. Their unique jaw makes them prone to snoring and drooling though, and you will need to be extra vigilant with teeth and wrinkle cleaning, but they are likely to let you do it without too much fuss. 

Boston terrier

Another small dog you may like, the Boston Terrier is easily recognizable for its tuxedo-like coat. It’s small and can thus live in a tiny apartment, but it does need to be taken out for a walk to remain healthy and hearty.

They have a talent for comedy, so you’ll never be bored around them, and as they are so compact, you’ll be able to take them with you wherever you go, even if it means you have to carry them yourself.


Another very entertaining breed, the Pug will love to lounge around with you if you are more of a low-key family. They also love to eat, but as they are prone to weight gain, you will have to be very careful with their diet and make sure they get plenty of exercises. 

They do love to play with the kids though, so you can count on the Pug to keep the kids busy while you watch TV or cozy up with a book.

Alaskan malamute

Finally, let’s mention one more large breed you might want to consider. 

While the Alaskan Malamute was bred to pull sleighs in the far North, it is a great dog for children. It’s affectionate and loyal, and when trained well, it can be an amazing companion. Do bear in mind that you need to train it well and start early on. 

Malamutes are pack animals, so you will need to ensure you are the leader of their pack, not the other way around. If you have some experience with training, this breed will love to play with the kids. And the kids are likely to tire before the Malamute does. 

To sum it up

All of these breeds will make excellent first-time pets for your kids. Consider how well they would fit into your lifestyle, and choose a breed whose happiness and health you can ensure in the long term. The cuteness factor is of course also important but go by temperament and activity levels first. 

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