There is no better way to harness the energy of a child than to add a dog to the family. While a big, friendly Labrador might be the first breed to come to mind, small dogs can also give your kids the companionship, entertainment and exercise they need within a smaller living space, or with less maintenance than what is needed for a larger dog. More important, these breeds are less prone to knock over small children by accident. Within the wide spectrum of small dog breeds, several are especially compatible with children. Let’s look at some of the best kid-friendly small dog breeds and see what makes them ideal.
Why are some small dog breeds good with kids and others are not?
Several pet websites offer their recommendations for kid-friendly small dog breeds who share these traits: their temperaments are friendly and social; their energy levels are within the range of a child’s attention span and activity threshold; and they are easier to train than other breeds.
Small dog breeds that are not so protective of their owners are better bets for families. These breeds are friendly toward strangers and children and love to be the center of attention. Within the range of family-friendly small dogs are sweet “couch potato” breeds like the Pug and French Bulldog, who are content to cuddle and be pampered with adoration, and breeds like the Miniature Schnauzer, Corgi and Poodle, who are inquisitive and need lots of mental stimulation. Just like kids, these social small dog breeds have a variety of personality types. By matching your child’s temperament with one of these friendly breeds, they can bring out the best in any kid!
Finding a small dog breed that equates with your child’s energy level is also important. Small dog breeds requiring more exercise are great for kids who need some coaxing to be active. These breeds can also give high-energy kids great opportunities to let off some steam while playing with them. Usual recommendation are little fireball breeds like the Beagle, Shih Tzu, and Boston Terrier for active kids. For the really active family with some room to run, there are medium dog breeds that are great with kids, like the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Canadian Retriever and Keeshond, as recommended by Iheartdogs.com.
For younger children and toddlers, there are docile breeds like the Havanese and Cocker Spaniel, “the perfect family pet,” according to Vetstreet.com. Also worth considering are the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Norfolk Terrier. A smaller dog breed does not necessarily mean the dog will be more docile and sedentary. Tiny dogs like the Shih Tzu, and Yorkshire Terrier have bold and playful personalities. They also tend to be more fragile, so as active as they are, children need to be especially careful in handling them.
All of the small dog breeds mentioned share are ranked as easily trainable. And because of their size, kids can help with the process!
What are some other small dog breeds that are good for kids?
If allergies are an issue, http://shihtzuexpert.com/ provides information on small dog breeds for families who are sensitive to dog shedding. It recommends the Miniature Schnauzer and Bichon Frise. These breeds do require more grooming than other family-friendly small dog breeds. While they are small, there may be economical factors to consider.
If you have a household with existing pets, chances are that kid-friendly small dog breeds are amenable to other dogs or cats if introduced properly. There are, however, dog breeds who are known to bond more easily with other four-legged siblings: they are the Maltese and Miniature Poodle. Equally important is the temperament of your other family dog or cat, and there are tips on the sites mentioned on how to introduce your new canine companion to his four-legged siblings. The goal of adding a kid-friendly small dog to the fold is overall harmony.
When is the best time to introduce a small dog to kids?
There are benefits and challenges when bringing home a puppy to the family, especially with small dog breeds. When teaching kids about their new canine companions, consider that small dog puppies like the Maltese and Shih Tzu are especially tiny. It does take more time and patience with both puppy and children, but when they are taught the basics of gentle handling and proper training of puppies, the bonding experience can be tremendous.
There is an equally rewarding experience in bringing home a trained adult small dog to the family. When it comes to housebreaking puppies, some breeds are more difficult than others. And adult small dogs generally have a calmer temperament than do puppies. If family schedules seem to busy for training puppies (and teaching children puppy-handling techniques), there are wonderful adult small dogs already trained and grateful to be adopted. Your local veterinary community and rescue organizations can help you find a match.