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Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Knowing which dog breed will be right for you, especially if you are a family with young children, can be tough. What are the traits that you should look for? In this post, our vets in Crystal Lake share some of the best dog breeds for families with kids and what makes them a good fit.

How to Choose the Right Dog for Kids

Choosing a dog for your family takes more than picking the cutest one. You will need to consider the needs of both your family and the dog and your lifestyle. Take your time to find a dog that suits the space you live in, your family's energy level, and how much time each family member is willing to commit to training your new fur baby. To get you off to a good start picking the dog breed that is best for kids, here are a few favorites from our veterinary team at CASE Hospital in Crystal Lake.

Best Family Dogs For Kids


If you've got a large home and want a dog to help you fill it, the huge Newfoundland might be right for your family. Nicknamed 'Nature's babysitter', these sweet-natured, intelligent dogs love to be around kids. Water-loving and friendly Newfoundlands can make excellent family pets.

Due to their gentle disposition, these dogs are ideal to have around children. Newfoundlands, or 'Newfies', are very protective over their family and will guard young children closely. At the same time, they are forgiving pets and will not show aggression toward children due to accidental rough play.

Irish Setter

Weighing around 65 lbs, this breed is more than just strikingly beautiful! These dogs are lively, intelligent and have a great sense of mischief. Irish Setters love to chase balls and go for long runs, but they also enjoy playing in the backyard with kids. High-energy kids will love spending time with this breed.

These are ideal dog breeds for families as they are sweet-tempered and enjoy companionship. They also love to play with the children, making them pleasant to have around for every family member.

Golden Retriever

If you have kids who will love throwing a ball and playing with the family pup or taking the time to teach the dog new tricks, this could be the breed for you. Golden Retrievers, ranging in weight from 55-75 lbs, are confident, friendly, smart, kind, and loyal, making them perfect for family life. 

Golden Retrievers aim to please! This especially goes for their family. They are among the most loyal and easy-to-train breeds, increasing their appeal as family dogs. Children enjoy the easy-to-train trait, which means they can teach the pup to play fetch and other neat tricks.

English Bulldog

This less energetic breed weighs about 50-55 lbs, making it suitable for smaller homes and apartments. These dogs seek social interactions with their people and will love cuddling up with the family to watch a movie and relax. English bulldogs make sweet, gentle and dependable family pets.

Our veterinarians in Crystal Lake love this dog breed because while it is not the most active dog breed out there, it will enjoy snuggling up and relaxing with the kids, making it a soothing companion.


At between 18-30 lbs, this medium-sized breed craves spending time with its people, playing games, and going for walks. These smart dogs can make very loving family pets when provided with plenty of family interaction and exercise. However, this is not the best breed for families who are often out of the house. 

Like Golden Retrievers, Beagles aim to please their owners and love to show affection. This high-energy dog breed will love playing with your children for hours on end, especially if there is running involved.

Boston Terrier

Checking in at just under 25 pounds, these people-loving dogs come with their own easy-to-care-for 'tuxedo' coats. Content to play with the kids and go for short walks, this charming dog breed adapts well to apartment living and is a great companion for children. Boston terriers are full of personality your kids will love.

Boston Terriers are a very happy breed that loves playing with children. They especially love anything involving running and playing fetch when it comes to playtime.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

At between 10-18 lbs, the portable size of this lively but gentle breed makes it ideal for smaller homes or apartments. Cavaliers get along well with kids and other dogs, loving to play and snuggle in equal measure. These sweet-natured dogs can be great pets for kids of many energy levels and ages.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very gentle, which is a great quality for a family dog, especially if you have young children. These dogs are very loyal and will love to spend time snuggled up with your little ones.


Pugs are considered one of the best small dog breeds for families with kids. These adorable little characters love to eat and sleep. If your kids are small or low-energy and would appreciate a dog that will play indoors, then curl up with them and watch TV. A pug may be the right breed for your family. At around 15 lbs, this breed doesn't need much space, just a couple of short walks each day.

Pugs love playing around, which is a great fit for a home with kids. Because of their small size, they can be an ideal match if you have smaller children in the house.

The Mutt

Mutts are mixed-breed dogs that can be fantastic family dogs! These dogs often come equipped with the best traits of many kid-friendly breeds, such as a gentle, loving nature and loyalty. These dogs can be as good with children as purebred dogs and tend to be less susceptible to genetic diseases and less expensive. The perfect breed for your child may be waiting for you at your local animal shelter.

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.

Our veterinary hospital in Crystal Lake is available 24/7 for emergency care, as well as by referral for specialty services. Feel free to contact our veterinary team in any situation that may meet your pet's needs.

New Patients Welcome

Companion Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital is accepting new patients! Our specialists and experienced emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to animal companions in Crystal Lake.

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