At some time in their growing up years, most children want a dog. They pester and promise until many parents agree; a dog is then picked out of a kennel, or a rescue site often based on size, how cute the dog is, and how friendly it appears to be compared to the other dogs at the kennel or rescue site.
But, what about avoiding dog breeds not generally considered the best choice for kids? This is not to say they aren’t great dogs, many are nice, but they are typically known to be better for adults, not children. Energy level is also a consideration for most families. Dogs who are extremely powerful, protective, or have high prey drive are best suited to be owned by responsible adults. Dogs may be scared by the erratic movements and noises of children. “It’s all in how you raise them” is a common thing you hear, but this is not entirely true. Temperament depends a lot on a dog’s genetics. Not just the breed itself, but a combination of the genetics, training, and how the owner raises and socializes the dog and teaches the children to interact properly with the dog.
This list was compiled based on experience and opinions of trainers, veterinarians, breeders of dogs, and statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
- Chow Chow– may not like to be touched, aloof, independent
- Terriers (Rat Terrier, Jack Russell)– bred to kill vermin, often avoided due to tendency to nip, sometimes too hyper
- Chihuahua– any toy breed is too small and delicate for kids, ex. breaking a leg falling off a bed, and may be intimidated and snap
- Belgian Malinois– like many herding/protection breeds, they are too high-energy, high-drive and too impulsive to be suitable as a child’s pet
- Cane Corso– Large, very powerful, and may not tolerate children well
- Border Collie– any herding breed is not the best choice, may try to “herd” children by nipping, some have fear/anxiety issues and may bite, very energetic
- South African Boerboel– can be dominant, too over-protective, and are very large and powerful
- Siberian Husky– the CDC considers them high risk for bites
- Doberman– territorial, and some may be too protective over children
- Shar Pei– guard dog instincts, independent
Other breeds of dogs that might also not be the best choice for young children are: Rottweiler, Dachshund, Presa Canario, Akita, German Shepherd, and a St.Bernard.
Whatever the breed, never leave your children unattended with dogs. Children need to understand that dogs are not toys. Children need to be taught to respect dogs.
If you are going to get a dog, make the commitment to get the dog obedience training, which is essential for all dogs.