A dog provides a fantastic companion for you and your children. But this is a lifetime commitment, and so care is needed to find the perfect breed and size of dog for your family.
You may be surprised to learn that there are some little breeds that make excellent pets for young children. These dogs typically have a patient and gentle nature as well as being bright and obedient. Don’t forget, though, that you should always supervise when your dog and children are together.
While Poodle mixes have become incredibly popular, it’s still really important to know a little about the breeds they’re crossed with to find your perfect new family addition.
Here’s our list of the top 9 small breeds suitable for kids:
1. The Pug
Believed to have been developed from Bolognese dogs brought to Germany by the Romans, the Pug was bred down in size around the 16th century. This cheerful little dog soon became popular as lapdogs for nobility across Europe. The Pug’s expressive face has made it a favorite of painters, writers, and cartoonists over the years, with its image appearing in many famous works.
Pugs are very good with children and other pets. Care is needed in hot weather as the Pug can suffer from heat exhaustion because of the flat structure of their face.
2. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles was developed from spaniels used by hunters in France in the 16th century. It was named after Charles I of England, whose courtiers portrayed him with this type of spaniel.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is gentle and affectionate, making it an ideal family pet. While small (it weighs in at around 14 lbs), Cavaliers are playful and energetic when young but often become calmer with age, requiring less exercise than larger breeds.
3. The French Bulldog
The French Bulldog originates from a cross between English Bulldogs and French Terriers imported to England in the 1800s. Its appearance has changed dramatically over the years, with its popularity sadly leading to indiscriminate breeding for show rather than type. So do make sure that you find a breeder who ensures that their pups are fit and healthy.
French Bulldogs are small dogs, typically weighing around 14 lbs, although they can get up to 16 lbs. Generally, they are very affectionate and tolerant of children.
The Beagle was originally bred in France for hunting hare and rabbits and later, were popular with huntsmen in the UK who produced their own strain. They were introduced to America in 1885 and have remained a popular breed there ever since. They weigh around 25 lbs and come in a variety of colors, including red, lemon, black and white, or tri-color (white with orange or lemon markings).
Due to their hound heritage, Beagles are independent dogs who like exploring. They can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods, but they do well as family pets as long as the children are gentle. In fact, Beagles have been described as ‘the perfect family pet’ due to their even temperament and lack of aggression towards people or other dogs.
5. The Dachshund
Dachshund means ‘badger dog’ in German, and this is a popular breed throughout Europe and America. Thought to have been developed from a cross between a Black and Tan Terrier and a French Hound, there have also been links made with Weimaraners and Pomeranians.
Dachshunds originate from a landrace of dogs bred for hunting small, burrowing animals at ground level, such as badgers and rabbits. As such, they are known to be tenacious diggers with great stamina and determination, although they can make excellent pets for families with children who treat them gently.
Dachshunds come in two sizes, the standard and the miniature. The standard is 8 – 9inches tall and weighs 16-32 lbs., while the miniature is 5-6 inches in height and weighs 11 pounds and under.
6. The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is a popular breed across the globe, but it originates from Tibet. Here it was kept by noblemen as a lapdog and prized for its ‘lion-like appearance. It is the official dog of Thailand and was used as a guard dog in Imperial China. They can get up to 14 lbs. in weight and come in a variety of colors, including black, white, brown, and gold. They have dark eyes and long hair (which requires regular grooming).
Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs that love attention, but they need to be handled gently and taught not to jump up on humans or furniture. Training them not only makes life easier but also helps build your relationship with your pet.
7. The Chihuahua
Originating from Mexico, the Toltec civilization bred the Chihuahua from dogs believed to have been brought from Asia over 1,000 years ago. They became favored by the aristocracy in the 16th century when Hernan Cortez brought them back to Spain. They began appearing in the UK and America during the 1920s and were officially recognized by The Kennel Club (UK) as a breed in 1928.
The Chihuahua weighs just a few pounds but is very strong for its size. It has a smooth, glossy coat that comes in a wide range of colors, including fawn, black, white, silver, and parti-color. Like other toy breeds, they can be prone to dental problems, so regular brushing of teeth is essential.
8. Miniature Poodles
The Miniature Poodle has been around since at least the 15th century when they appeared as companions of French Royalty. In France, they are called ‘Caniche,’ which means ‘duck dog’ in French, although they are known as ‘poodle’ in other countries.
The Poodle’s coat requires regular clipping to keep it tangle and mat-free, and this is best done by a professional groomer. This breed does make a good family pet but can sometimes be timid around small children. That means that it’s best to get them used to kids while they’re still young.
9. Yorkshire Terriers
Originating from Yorkshire, England, the Yorkshire Terrier was bred by local mill owners as ratters on the many cotton mills across the region. They became popular through Queen Victoria, who was given one of these terriers by her cousin, Princess Alexandra of Denmark (the wife of Edward, Prince of Wales).
Yorkshire Terriers are lively and intelligent dogs that can be very affectionate with children. They require regular grooming but only need a small apartment to live in as they’re very small (weighing 4 lbs or less) and don’t need much exercise.