Introducing pets into your children’s lives can be a rewarding experience for them, especially as they age with their new companions. Dogs are one of the most popular pets and are generally safe to have with children. They’re loyal to their families and enjoy bonding with each family member, which can last for years.
However, not all dog breeds are the same. While there are plenty of dogs that are safe with children, these breeds are usually large and can seem intimidating. Small dog breeds can be excellent for families looking for a new pet, without the presence of a large dog that can require a lot of work. There are plenty of small dog breeds to choose from, but not all of them are suitable for kids. Here are the best small family dogs that are good with children:
The 15 Small Dogs That Are Good With Children
1. French Bulldog
Weight: 16-24 lbs.
French Bulldogs are one of the best small family dogs, characterized by their large, upright, bat-like ears and compact muzzles. These small dogs have enough energy to keep up with children, so they’re popular family pets. Their short snouts make it difficult to regulate their temperatures, which can lead to overheating.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Weight: 13-18 lbs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are toy-sized dogs with a long history of being companions to wealthy, upper-class people. Though they can be somewhat delicate, these Spaniels make our list of best small family dogs because they get along with well-behaved children. They’re generally eager to please and enjoy the company of people, but they require a lot of attention to be happy.
Weight: 14-18 lbs.
With their curly tails and “smashed-in” faces, Pugs are one of the most recognizable and highly sought-after dog breeds in the world. They’re patient and gentle with children, making them great family pets. Even though their facial structure can cause a slew of medical problems, pugs can live for up to 12-16 years.
4. Miniature Poodles
Weight: 12-20 lbs.
Miniature Poodles are one of three Poodle size variants, though all three are considered one breed. Not only are they highly trainable, but they’re also extremely intelligent and can adapt to most environments. Miniature Poodles are bigger and more durable than Toys and smaller than Standards, making them ideal for families with playful children.
Weight: 20-24 lbs.
Beagles are energetic dogs that love to play, known for their gentleness and patience with children. These small hunting dogs are prone to obesity if they don’t get proper exercise, which makes them great for active families. Beagles are friendly and social with people, rarely showing indifference or aggression.
6. Boston Terrier
Weight: 12-25 lbs.
Boston Terriers are small dogs that can vary in personality, though most are friendly and polite with people. These hardy terriers are especially great with children but don’t require hours of exercise. These dogs are mostly known for their tuxedo coat patterns that give them their dapper look.
7. English Cocker Spaniel
Weight: 26-35 lbs.
English Cocker Spaniels are gun dogs that have the athleticism and trainability to excel in various physical activities. Larger than American Cockers, they are cheerful and enjoy spending time with their families. Their appetites seem bigger than they are, and they’re usually found begging for food.
Weight: 15-31 lbs.
Whippets are small dogs that resemble their larger cousins, the swift and agile Greyhounds. These lean dogs may seem fragile, but they have lots of energy and can handle playing with children. They’re so fast that they can reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour, so they require fenced-in yards to romp around in.
9. Italian Greyhounds
Weight: 7.9-11 lbs.
Italian Greyhounds are the smallest of the sighthound group, originally bred in Italy to develop a smaller Greyhound companion. These sighthounds do well with well-behaved children that can be gentle with their slightly fragile bodies. Their short coats make them more sensitive to colder climates and require a jacket during the winter.
10. Shetland Sheepdog
Weight: 14-27 lbs.
Often called Shelties, Shetland Sheepdogs are small herding dogs, originally bred for the farmlands in Scotland. These little sheepdogs are great with “their” children but may be reserved with other kids in the neighborhood. Consistent training will help dissuade nipping and herding the household.
11. Shih Tzu
Weight: 8.8-16 lbs.
Though Shih Tzus carry themselves with dignified grace, they can be just as playful and comical when bonding with their family members. They love attention and companionship, often following one person or another from room to room. Shih Tzus need early socialization and training to prevent aggression with strangers.
Weight: 7-13 lbs.
Havanese dogs are toy-sized cousins of Bichons and Maltese dogs, with cheerful dispositions and an eagerness for attention. These Cuba-native dogs are great with children, as well as other pets in the household. Though they do require daily brushing, Havanese dogs are good-natured and perfect for new dog owners.
Weight: 16-33 lbs.
Famously known as wiener dogs, Dachshunds are low-set dogs with long bodies that give them their hotdog shape. These little scent dogs are good with kids they were raised with but may not be as friendly to other children. They’re also loyal to their families, willingly taking up the role of watchdog.
Weight: 4.2-7.7 lbs.
Pomeranians are toy-sized dogs belonging to the Spitz breed group, descended from the larger German Spitz dog. Pomeranians are lively by nature and love bonding with their families, so they make great dogs for active and playful children. These little dogs are naturally vocal about everything, including strangers and other animals outside.
15. Border Terrier
Weight: 11-16 lbs.
Border Terriers are hunting dogs with surprisingly mild temperaments, saving their energy and resilience for the field. These tiny terriers are more energetic than most small dogs, so they’re perfect for active families that can match their needs. They’re also food-motivated, making them relatively easier to train than other small dogs.
- You might also be interested in: 20 Companion Dog Breeds
Featured Image Credit: Yuliya Evstratenko, Shutterstock