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12 Dog Breeds That Are Good with Babies: History, Pictures, & Facts

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

Breeds that are Good with Babies

If you have a baby at home, it’s important to choose a dog breed that is capable of getting along with them. While most dog breeds can make great family dogs for the right person, they don’t all get along with babies (or toddlers or children).

Luckily, there are a few dog breeds that stand out as being great options for those with babies. Here are some of the most popular options.


What Makes a Dog Breed Good with Babies?

Before we jump into the list, it’s important to consider exactly what makes a dog breed good with babies. Firstly, it’s important to remember that babies very quickly grow into toddlers. Therefore, a dog breed that is good with babies should also be good with toddlers and children. A dog is a long-term commitment that will likely be there throughout the baby’s childhood.

These breeds are typically gentle, affectionate, and patient. They’re relatively easy to train and socialize; as we all know, parents already have their hands full! Avoiding breeds that are aggressive or territorial is important, especially if you see playdates in your future.

Contrary to popular opinion, larger dogs tend to be better with babies and toddlers than smaller dogs. Larger dogs that are well-socialized typically aren’t scared of small children, as they cannot be seriously hurt by them (and they know it). A small 5-pound dog can easily be hurt by a toddler, though. Therefore, smaller dogs tend to be more fearful around children, which leads to more snapping and bites.

Therefore, your best bet is to choose a larger, gentler dog.

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Top 12 Dog Breeds That Are Good with Babies

1. Golden Retriever

Golden retriever dog walking outdoor
Photo Credit: Lunja, Shutterstock
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 21–24 inches

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world for a reason. They are exceptionally gentle and affectionate, making them perfect for homes. They’re also larger, so they’re able to put up with a toddler.

Furthermore, they’re intelligent and exceptionally social. They love attention and are easy to train.

2. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever dog standing on the lawn
Photo Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock
Origin: Newfoundland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 22–24 inches

Labrador Retrievers are very similar to Golden Retrievers. However, they have shorter fur and lower grooming requirements, which may be helpful for already busy parents. They’re also rather large and pretty easygoing.

However, they are very active, so they do best in active families. They’re easy to train, thanks to their high intelligence and obedience. Teaching them to behave around babies isn’t terribly challenging.

3. Beagle

Kerry Beagle dog laying down
Photo Credit: DannyWalsh, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Height: 13–15 inches

Beagles are medium-sized dogs and one of the smaller breeds on this list. However, Beagles are exceptionally friendly and easygoing, so they do well with babies despite their smaller size. They are very pack-oriented, so they prefer to be around others whenever possible.

These dogs can be pretty active, but they aren’t nearly as active as either of the retrievers we previously mentioned. Therefore, they can do better in smaller spaces or in families that don’t have as much time for exercise.

4. Newfoundland

newfoundland dog on the grass
Photo Credit: Roman-Zaiets, Shutterstock
Origin: Newfoundland
Lifespan: 9–10 years
Height: 26–28 inches

Newfoundlands are giant dogs. However, they’re also exceptionally gentle. Therefore, many families find them to be the perfect breed for babies and beyond. They’re often called “nanny dogs” due to their love of children.

Furthermore, these dogs can also be pretty protective. However, they aren’t necessarily as territorial, so they’re suitable for families that want a more protective dog without potentially aggressive tendencies.

5. Poodle

a poodle with amber eyes
Image Credit: Alen thien, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–18 years
Height: 15–22 inches

Poodles can be great dogs for families. That said, they are also quite a bit of work. Therefore, they aren’t a suitable option for those who want to be more casual dog owners. You have to devote time to them daily. This breed comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. The larger options are best with children, while we don’t necessarily recommend the toy variety.

These dogs are very easy to train, but their high intelligence means they need plenty of entertainment. They also require a lot of grooming and plenty of exercise.

6. Bulldog

english bulldog standing on the road
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 8–10 years
Height: 12–15 inches

Bulldogs are gentle and easygoing when correctly socialized and trained. They tend to be more low-maintenance than other breeds on this list, making them a suitable option for busy families. However, they are also prone to several health problems and can be a bit too energetic in some cases. It’s important to train and socialize them well.

That said, these dogs tend to be cuddly and do not need as much exercise as the other breeds on this list.

7. Bull Terrier

bull terrier with heart collar
Image Credit: Melanie Thomas, Pixabay
Origin: England
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 21–22 inches

When properly socialized, Bull Terriers can make great family dogs. However, they are also fairly active. Therefore, they do best in families that spend a lot of time outside moving around. They’re pretty playful dogs, as well, preferring to play rather than cuddle.

Of course, when you have an active toddler, this is sometimes preferable.

8. Pug

pug standing outside
Image Credit: Katrinbechtel, Pixabay
Origin: China
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 10–13 inches

Pugs are one of the few small dogs that can work well with children. They’re pretty low-maintenance dogs, though their shorter snouts can make caring for them a bit complicated. They are prone to many health issues due to their inability to breathe properly.

However, if you’re willing to pay extra in vet bills, they’re very affectionate dogs that love to be around people. They’re also easy to train, though they aren’t necessarily the most intelligent breeds.

9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog outdoors
Image Credit: Courtney Mihaka, Unsplash
Origin: England
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 12–13 inches

This breed is also pretty small and known for being gentle and loving. Therefore, they work great for more laid-back families or those who don’t have much time for exercising. They’re very adaptable, able to live in many different environments and with many different families.

That said, they can be a bit more sensitive to rambunctious toddlers. Therefore, they work best when socialized well.

10. Irish Setter

irish setter dog in the garden
Image Credit: Mr_Incognito, Pixabay
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 25–27 inches

These dogs are known for their exceptionally red coats and very energetic personalities. They’re very intelligent and easy to train, though they do require a bit more mental stimulation than other breeds. They’re also very active, making them best for families with plenty of time to exercise them.

Because these dogs are larger and easy to train, they work well with children if taught how to behave around them.

11. Collie

Black and white Border Collie
Image Credit: Lisjatina, Shutterstock
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 22–26 inches

Collies are medium-sized dogs that are known for being great with children. They get along with both people and other pets, especially when well-socialized. However, they can be protective of their families, so some amount of socialization is required.

These dogs work wonders for those who also want a watchdog or a more protective family dog—without the extreme socialization and training requirements required by many protective dogs.

12. French Bulldog

French Bulldog
Image Credit: Aaron Bookout, Unsplash
Origin: France
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 11–13 inches

French Bulldogs are smaller dogs that have become extremely popular in the United States recently. They’re known for their bat ears and wrinkled faces. They’re exceptionally affectionate and people-oriented, which makes them great family dogs.

That said, they’re prone to many health problems and tend to be exceptionally expensive. Some people even question if bulldogs are ethical, as they are prone to many health issues.



When selecting a dog when you have a baby, everything is a bit more important. You want a dog that is friendly and gentle. Larger dogs tend to work best, as they aren’t as scared of a rambunctious toddler. However, how you raise the dog also matters. Socialization and training are vital when children are involved, even if you get a baby-friendly breed.

Therefore, only commit to a dog if you have the time and energy to meet their needs and train them well.

Featured Image Credit: SarahRichterArt, Pixabay

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