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The 10 Best Dogs for Kids & Families

Seeking a great dog companion for your kids? Our Orlando vets have 10 great breeds to recommend. In this post, we also discuss how to choose the right dog for your family.

How Kids Can Benefit from Having a Dog

There are a few benefits (other than lots of love and doggy kisses!) to bringing a dog into your home. Here are some reasons kids benefit from having a pup to love and care for:

Improved Happiness

There's science behind why we feel so happy to come home to a dog's wagging tail; playing with a pet raises levels of dopamine and serotonin, which calms the mind and improves our mood.

Reduced Stress

Giving a dog a pat has proven to lower levels of cortisol - the stress hormone - in both people and pets. Research has also found that children's 

Develop Compassion

Owning and caring for a pet gives children more compassion and empathy for others. Nurturing and caring for an animal that depends on them helps children grow personally, studies have shown.

Stay Healthier

Many dogs require exercise, attention and outdoor activities that can help your kid spend more time outside, getting in their physical activity for the day.  

Picking the Best Dog Breed for Your Family

If you're considering a canine pal for your kids, choosing a breed with qualities that complement your child's personality is important. Would your child like a pet that they can take to the park and run around with, or a cuddle companion?

Make sure to consider your available square footage at home as well. Do you have lots of space or is your home on the smaller side?

At East Orlando Animal Hospital, we want you to find the best family dog for your kids. Read below for a list of our favorite kid-friendly dog breeds. 

1. Boston Terrier

Weight about 25 pounds or less, Boston Terriers love people and always look dapper in their easy-to-care-for "tuxedo" coats. Always game for short walks and happy to play with kids, this charming small dog breed adapts well to apartment living and will make a fantastic companion for children of all ages. 

2. Labrador Retriever

Still one of the most popular family pets, Labrador Retrievers are fun, gentle and loyal - and they can be an excellent dog for kids. Labs relish spending time with people and will likely become your child's best friend quickly. That said, it's important to ensure this breed gets plenty of exercise or they can begin to cause mischief. These pooches vary in stature somewhat - they generally weigh between 55 and 80 pounds. 

3. The Mutt

Your kids' next canine companion might be waiting for you at the local animal shelter. Mixed-breed mutts can be loving and loyal family dogs. These pups can be just as good with children as purebred dogs and are less expensive to care for. They also tend to be less vulnerable to genetic diseases (the vets at our Orlando pet hospital can examine your new pup to check for health conditions and diseases).

If you are thinking of adopting a mutt for your family, make some time to visit local animal shelters and be patient in your search for the right dog to fit in with your family life. Shelter workers might be able to offer you a doggy report card that lists all of the known personality quirks of the dog you're interested in.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This gentle but compact breed (they weigh in at between 10 and 18 pounds) may be an excellent match for smaller homes or apartments. Cavaliers tend to do well with kids and other dogs. They can be both cuddly and playful, which makes this sweet, good-natured pup well-suited for kids of many energy levels and ages. 

5. Beagle

The Beagle is one of the best medium-sized dogs for family life. This mid-sized pooch typically weighs in at between 18-30 lbs and adores spending time with its people, playing games, and going for walks. Beagles are smart and loving dogs that can make terrific family pets provided that they get plenty of family interaction and exercise. Beagles are not appropriate for families who are out of the house a lot. 

6. Pug

Your family will love these adorable little characters! Pugs are pretty happy to just eat and sleep. If your kids are small, or lower energy and would appreciate a dog that will play with them indoors then curl up beside them to watch tv, a Pug may be just the right breed for your family. Weighing around 15 lbs, this is a breed that doesn't need much space, and only requires a couple of short walks each day to be content.

7. Newfoundland

Sweet, loyal and patient are just some of the words that best describe this fluffy giant. This delightful breed has a real affinity for kids and is often referred to as a 'nanny dog' due to its gentle patience with children. Weighing in between 100 -150 lbs you will need space if you plan to get a Newfoundland for your family, and it's important to note that as with many giant breeds Newfs have a relatively short life expectancy of only 8 - 10 whereas many small to medium dogs can live 15 - 20 years or in some cases even longer.

8. Golden Retriever

Affectionate, good with children and playful with other dogs, the faithful Golden Retriever can make an excellent dog for families with kids of any age. Covered in a  dense, lustrous coat of gold this breed is as lovely to cuddle with as it is to play with. Goldens are typically eager-to-please family dogs, that are relatively easy to train. They have a joyous and playful approach to life and keep their youthful spirit well into adulthood. This breed generally weighs in at about 60 - 80 lbs and is a moderate shedder.

9. The Standard Poodle

Active, proud, and very smart the standard poodle can make a great family pet. While known for their distinctive hairstyles, standard poodles shed little and, with some regular grooming, can look handsome whether they are clipped to breed standard or left natural. Poodles are typically easy to train, lively, and fun-loving family dogs with a silly sense of humor. These dogs weigh around 45 - 60 lbs and live 10 - 14 years on average.

10. Bernese Mountain Dog

If your family is looking for a big dog, your kids will love this sweet-natured fluffy breed. Bernese Mountain Dogs typically weigh between 70-100lbs, and in spite of their size, have a reputation for being gentle with kids. One word of warning - these big beautiful dogs are major shedders.

Once you've chosen your new four-legged family member, we recommend bringing them into our Orlando animal hospital for a complete physical exam to assess, diagnose and treat any health conditions. We can also administer any pet vaccinations your animal may need.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have a new family dog? Contact our East Orlando Animal Hospital veterinarians today to book your four-legged companion's preventive care.

Caring for Pets in Orlando

Caring for Pets in Orlando

East Orlando Animal Hospital is always happy to welcome new clients to our full-service animal hospital. We look forward to meeting you and your pet!

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