Not the Best Dogs for Children

dogsAt 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).

  1. Chow Chow– may not like to be touched, aloof, independent
  2. Terriers (Rat Terrier, Jack Russell)– bred to kill vermin, often avoided due to tendency to nip, sometimes too hyper
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Cane Corso– Large, very powerful, and may not tolerate children well
  6. 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
  7. South African Boerboel– can be dominant, too over-protective, and are very large and powerful
  8. Siberian Husky– the CDC considers them high risk for bites
  9. Doberman– territorial, and some may be too protective over children
  10. 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.


 Dynamic Dogs Training & Behavior, The CDC Dog Bite Prevention


PAWS For Reading

pawsDogs are amazing creatures who can make a difference in our lives in so many ways!

Recently I came across an article about dogs helping children to read. I am sharing the article in its entirety as it appeared on

The PAWS for Reading Program places dogs in a classroom or library setting in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. The dogs act as an incentive for the children to read. A dog is viewed as a non-threatening entity to promote reading, writing, and increased interaction and social skills in children.

The dogs that participate in the program have been trained through the TOUCH Program (Therapy of Unique Canine Helpers) and selected by the Support Dogs staff based on the qualities that make them suitable for the program. These dogs are especially calm and unobtrusive and settle in as part of the class. The children view the dogs as lovable and non-judgmental, which are the keys to success in this program. Children have said that the dogs give them confidence because the dog does not make fun of them if they read slowly or mess up pronouncing a word. The dogs are great listeners and give the child a sense of comfort while reading. Children have been known to practice with their personal pets at home in preparation for the Paws for Reading dogs.

Support Dogs, Inc. has developed an incentive program for the classroom in which children that read a specific number of books receive a special book of their choosing and a certificate signed by the canine classmate. If the child reads a high number of books, a special book is donated to the school library in the student’s honor. The incentive program can stand alone or be used in conjunction with a current incentive program already being offered by the school.

The PAWS for Reading Program serves children in first to tenth grades in St. Louis area schools and/or who attend the St. Louis Public Library program. Results have shown an increase in reading levels and word recognition, a higher desire to read and write, and an increase in intra and interpersonal skills among the children.


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