Dogs are a blessing and can add a tremendous amount of joy to a family; however, determining which breed will best suit your family can be challenging. Here is some general advice on family-friendly dog breeds based on my own experiences and those of my family and friends.
A few years before my daughter was in the picture I adopted a Border Collie from an animal shelter. He was and still is my baby boy. A little over a year ago my daughter was born and my dog quickly realized he was no longer the center of attention. At first, he was simply withdrawn, but it did not last long. He accepted the new family member after a couple of weeks. A year later he is enamored with my daughter and she feels the same about him. Border Collies are quite hyper the first 3-4 years and require a lot of activity to release the energy. As my dog has gotten older his hyperactivity has decreased. I would recommend having a large fenced-in area for a Border Collie.
Growing up, my cousins had a Labrador Retriever and she was extremely sweet. I would go so far as to use a cliché – she didn’t have a mean bone in her body. Labrador Retrievers are also easy to train. The only con I am aware of is a lab’s hair sheds quite a bit.
One of my friends has a Golden Retriever and a 1-year old baby. Besides being a beautiful dog, he has a gentle temperament. I have dog-sat several times for them and he has been nothing but a pleasure every time.
My college roommate is now married with a 9-month old baby and a Bichon Frise. You may have heard of this dog from the movie As Good as It Gets. The dog has a distinctive look which makes him very cute. In addition, he has a spunky personality and likes to try to play with the baby.
My Aunt and her family have a female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the same breed of Charlotte’s dog in HBO’s “Sex in the City”. She has babysat for me a few times and not once has an issue arisen between the dog and the baby. I have witnessed a LOT of licking though! There are two children, now teenagers, that have grown up with the Spaniel and there has never been a problem between them. Plus, she is really cute!
When I was born my family had a beautiful Irish Setter. I have an older brother as well and from the stories I have heard the dog was quite motherly toward us. She slept by the nursery door, she allowed us to pet her often even though babies do not fully understand the concept of “gentle”, and she was always close by when we were outside. We have several photos of us playing with her. My mother says she was very graceful and always received compliments.
A family friend breeds Westies and she baby-sits her grandson regularly. The baby is always around several Westies, both puppies and adult. They are extremely playful with him. They seem to enjoy his company as much as he enjoys their company. Plus they are a great size for kids.
Before I was married I lived in a dog-friendly building in Chicago and a neighbor had a Beagle. I had an opportunity to see the dog frequently at a nearby dog park as well. The owner was completely enamored with his dog; the dog was adorable. He played fetch and his howl was the best. I never saw the dog become too rowdy with the other dogs and he provided a lot of entertainment for everyone in the park.
The Boston Terrier breed is just cool. A former coworker had one and stated the dog was a great companion. They are easily trainable and a good size for maintaining in an apartment or a house.
When I was dog searching I was very close to adopting a Basset Hound. They are so laid back and chilled out. We went with a Border Collie because my husband (boyfriend at the time) wanted a dog with a lot of energy to go on adventures; however, I was leaning toward the hound because I personally liked the sedentary behavior. If there was a dog to classify as low maintenance the Basset Hound would fit into that category. This dog is great for a busy family that is looking for a relaxed home environment.DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.