At some point or other nearly everyone’s child asks (or usually begs!) for a dog as a pet; but is it really right for you and your family?. Owning a dog can be fantastic for children, it teaches them about responsibility and consistantancy. Children and adults both build incredibly good bonds and friendships with dogs and they really do become part of the family; a friend for life. However deciding to take the plunge and add a dog to your family unit is a huge step and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not only can dog’s be expensive but they can be hard work, so there are lots to consider before making the decision.
Here are some of the main points you need to consider when choosing a puppy:
- Buy from a good breeder, it’s especially important to buy from a breeder where the puppy has been reared in a home environment; even better if the breeder has children themselves who have socialized with the puppy.
- Choose the right breed; although each puppy will have different personalities, each breed has different needs. You need to decide which breed will be more suited to your family. (more on this later on).
- Choose the right puppy; each litter will contain a range of personalities. Ideally go for a puppy with average temperament; the one who happily comes to greet you without being over excited or too nervous.
- Think about the characteristics you would like in your puppy; how much exercise can you comfortably give it?, what age of children will it be regularly socializing with?, how big is your house/garden?, what type of coat would you prefer it to have?. Answer all these questions and you will be able to start narrowing down the breed most suited to you.
So you have decided your still interested in letting a puppy join your family?, well I’ve done some research and have found some breeds that are highly recommended for families with children, I would however suggest that you still do plenty of research yourself to ensure you get the perfect match possible. Another thing to remember when getting a dog is that it is not all down to the breed and dog personality, your children will need to be taught to how to correctly behave around the puppy and how to treat it. Mutual boundaries are a good grounding for a good relationship between the puppy and the rest of the family.
The Labrador and Golden Retrievers seem to be popular as family pets due to them having a calm,laid back and reliable nature and such a high tolerance to children (they won’t be as annoyed as some dogs if your little ones are a little rougher than they should be). Eager to please, intelligent, loyal and affectionate, they have been family favourites for years. They can be quite lazy at times but equally have more than enough energy to play all day long and love to play outdoors with balls and in water. They are popular due to ease of handling and are relatively easy to train as they learn quickly and are eager to please. With them being very sociable dogs they are not suitable as watchdogs.
Beagles are loveable dogs who love a cuddle and are very patient with children. They very rarely show aggression and thrive on attention. Happy and sociable they love activities and playing and are generally very obedient however they have a highly developed nose which means they can easily get distracted and wander, so be careful when they are outside. They do need to be left alone at mealtimes as being disturbed whilst eating does bother them. Although intelligent dogs they can be single-minded and determined so training can be harder in comparison to other breeds. They are not suited as guard dogs as a stranger could quite easily win them over however they are good as watch dogs due to them barking when confronted with something unfamiliar.
Bichon-frise are happy little dogs with a gentle nature and low shedding hypoallergenic coat. Intelligent and friendly, they learn tricks pretty easily. They are sociable animals who are not bossy or dominate making them good around children however some have been known to occasionally be snappy so its best to watch out for that. Due to their size they benefit from regular short walks and can be effective watchdogs alerting their owners to the arrival of strangers.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs are affectionate and devoted pets that thrive on human contact; they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time at all. They are adaptable dogs making them suitable for most home environments. Intelligent, active and energetic they require a moderate amount of exercise and are relatively easy to train. Due to their strong hunting instinct they do need to be monitored around small animals and birds.
Cocker Spaniels are intelligent, eager to please and eager to learn making them easy to train. Affectionate but sensitive they can be strong-willed; out of choice they would be with you 100% of the time. They need to be groomed regularly and have plenty of regular exercise (they are capable of great speed); you need to keep an eye on them due to them being originally gun dogs they have strong hunting instincts.
Shih-Tzu’s are intelligent little dogs who are fun and lively companions. Alert and playful they surprisingly don’t need much exercise and are actually very hard to train as they learn rather slowly. Friendly and sociable they love children but due to them being independent dogs they are better suited to older children.
Border Terrier’s are sturdy and short-haired dogs ideal for families with active children. They are good-tempered and affectionate and due to them being intelligent and obedient they can be easily trained. You do have to keep an eye on them when let loose in the garden though as they love digging and can easily dig their way out under a fence or even be found climbing a fence! Regular grooming is needed to maintain their short coat and with them being an athletic breed they need regular daily exercise.
Finally I would like to mention cross breeds which can often be overlooked but sometimes are perfect for your family; they also suffer less with genetic and physical problems than a lot of pedigree breeds. Labradoodle is one of the most popular ones currently (Labrador & Poodle Cross) and they are great due to their laid back Labrador temperament plus they have low shed coats and are intelligent like the Poodle. With cross breeds its ideal to meet both parents so that you can really get a feel for the two breeds and the personalities the parents have.
Hopefully this post has helped you narrow down your choice of dog breed a little further or at least given you a few points to think about. If you do decide to have a new addition to the family don’t forget to check out or website where we sell lots of puppy and dog products that you may find useful!