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Are Pitbulls Good With Kids? Training & FAQ

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

a merle pitbull lying on the ground

The Pitbull is a breed of dog that can divide opinion more than any other. Unfortunately, the breed has a checkered history, having been first bred for bloodsports including bullbaiting, and then used for illegal dog fighting. There have also been a lot of media reports of Pitbull breeds causing fatal dog attacks, and the Pitbull has been banned in a lot of countries around the world, as well as some cities in the U.S.

But, many owners and breed groups point to the fact that the breed is not only loving and loyal to its human owners but is gentle and affectionate with younger owners. Generally, as long as the Pitbull comes from a reputable breeder and has undergone adequate socialization and training, and the child treats the dog with respect, Pitbulls are very good with and around children.

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Socialization and Training

Whatever breed of dog you get, socialization and training are important stages in their life.

Socialization means introducing the dog to different situations so that they not only get used to those particular situations, but they learn that new surroundings and new people aren’t necessarily bad. It can help prevent anxiety in your dog as it gets older and, therefore, reduce your own anxiety. Socialization should start when your dog is a puppy, and continue throughout its life. Expose your dog, gradually, to new groups of people including all genders, people of all ages, and groups of people such as those in uniforms, on bikes, and, for example, construction workers.

Training is also important because it helps teach your dog how to behave and gives you the tools required to encourage positive behavior and discourage negative behavior. Again, it needs to start when your dog is young so that you can reap the rewards of positive training throughout your dog’s life. If you have kids, socialization should expose your dog to situations it is likely to face, such as groups of children. Training should concentrate on preventing the dog from jumping up and stopping it from mouthing and scratching.

Blue Brindle Pitbull
Image Credit: Zanna Pesnina, Shutterstock

Are Pitbulls Good With Kids?

Generally speaking, Pitbulls are no worse or better with children than any other breed of dog. It is all about the individual and the socialization and training the dog has undergone. You should always supervise time between dogs and very young children, and never leave them alone. And, as well as training the dog to behave around children, you will also need to teach children how to behave respectfully around dogs.

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5 Of The Best Breeds For Families With Kids

If you are unsure about getting a Pitbull but are looking for a breed of dog that is good with children, the following breeds are some of the most appropriate:

1. Golden Retriever

golden retriever as therapy dog
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

The Golden Retriever is loving, loyal, smart, and incredibly understanding. These traits have seen the breed utilized as service dogs in a variety of settings and are some of the reasons that they make such good pets for families with children. It is their patience that really makes them stand out as a good choice. They forgive easily and will even put up with young children pulling at their ears and grabbing clumps of fur, although this should always be discouraged because if it causes pain, any dog may nip.

2. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers
Image Credit: fotorince, Shutterstock

The Labrador Retriever is similar, in many respects, to the Golden Retriever, except its coat requires less maintenance and it can be a little goofier than the Golden. For older kids, the Labrador is a great choice because it has buckets of energy and will play for hours on end before curling up at your feet at the end of the day.

3. Beagle

Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

The Beagle is a pack animal which means that, even in a family setting, it thrives on companionship and attention. It is also energetic and lively and loves to play chase. The Beagle is a little smaller than the Retriever breed, which means that it is less likely to cause accidental injuries, too. It is worth noting that if your child is school-age and the whole family will be out during the day, the Beagle can suffer separation anxiety when left alone for this length of time, so you may want to consider a different breed.

4. French Bulldog

brindle and white french bulldog playing with a ball
Image Credit: Jagodka, Shutterstock

The French Bulldog is a very popular dog breed and while it might be small in size, it has a huge character that will entertain the whole family all day long. The breed loves to be around children, is always willing to play, and is a very patient breed.

5. Cocker Spaniel

little girl with cocker spaniel on the grass
Image Credit: Roger costa morera, Shutterstock

The Cocker Spaniel loves a ball game and gets along with pretty much all its family members. The breed is very sensitive to its humans’ needs and the Spaniel breeds are intelligent so they are easily trained and easy to socialize, too.

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Are Pitbulls a Cuddly Breed?

Pitbulls might look strong and muscular, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love a good cuddle. They really enjoy snuggling up to their human owners, most of the time, while also being ready to spring into action when it is playtime or walk time.

Do Pitbulls Get Aggressive With Age?

Hormone levels in dogs change with age, which means that, in rare cases, Pitbulls may become aggressive with age. But, ensuring that your dog is socialized, trained, and that it is healthy and loved, can ensure that this isn’t a problem for you and your family.

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The Pitbull can make an excellent family pet and will usually get along with all family members, as well as visitors to the family home. Ensure yours is well socialized from a young age and that you embark on regular training. You should also ensure that your child knows how to behave around dogs to ensure that everybody gets along well.

Featured Image Credit: PPstudio, Shutterstock

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