Help with breed of dog for children

(56 Posts)
amatuermummy Sat 23-Mar-13 11:32:58

I feel a bit silly asking this as I have shown and trained dogs for years, however we all tend to stick to our own breed and I need some help picking a breed to own now that we have young children. I prefer big dogs but don't think it would be a good idea to pick a large breed with a baby learning to crawl/walk and a 2 year old running around. We would like to get a small/medium breed that is good with people - especially children. We've researched breeds, looked on breed websites and spoken to some breeders but it's hard to know if they're just trying to sell you a puppy. I just wondered if you wonderful dog owners of mumsnet could give me your experiences, good and bad, of small/medium breeds to help us make our minds up. We're in no rush or anything and will obviously take our time choosing.
The reason we will not be getting a rescue dog at this time is because, having worked in dog rescue for many years, I know that most will not home dogs with young children and, also, I do intend to show the dog as a hobby as I have done this for around 20 years (mostly handling other people's dogs for the past few years).
Thanks for your help.

clam Sat 23-Mar-13 11:43:17

You have now opened the floodgates for everyone to pile on here and sell you their own dog's breed! grin
So I'll start, although mine doesn't count as a breed as he's a poodle-cross (cockapoo). Medium-build (although they vary), intelligent (would be great at agility) and has been easy to train, extremely cute to look at, but his best feature of all is his temperament. He's a real people-pleaser and just wants company, although he can be left alone for reasonable periods too.
Can't fault him. ignores shredded cereal box under table

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 23-Mar-13 11:48:48

All small breeds can be good with children. I would not really say that one is better than another. I would look at what other characterisitics you are looking for. If you maybe prefer maybe bigger dogs it might worth looking at something like borders who are often described as big dogs in a small dog body.

I love my Border and he is fab with my 7 year old as they love bouncy games of football but he is a typical terrier and very boisterous. I find it hard when my friend brings her toddler to visit.

MummyNoName Sat 23-Mar-13 12:09:12

Kc spaniel

Nice size. Nice temperament. Not snappy like some terriers tend to be. Easy to train.

And if you like long walks and lots of exercise then a cocker spaniel.

colditz Sat 23-Mar-13 12:10:41

Not a jack russell

Due to circumstance I have had Labrador puppies alongside mobile babies / toddlers.

Yup they get big and bouncy, but I've never had a pancaked child. grin, however it makes training the children easier as its generally more of a challenge to push 25 kilos of lab around than it is a small.

I think whatever size, breed traits you go for you can generally make work with your children as long as the dog suits your lifestyle.


And that is all I am saying grin

almostanotherday Sat 23-Mar-13 12:32:44

I Second staffy smile

Staffy. Or Pug. But Im biased. I have 3 grin

abbyfromoz Sat 23-Mar-13 12:55:43

We have 2 cocker spaniels (one 'show' one 'working')
Koko (our working) is THE smartest and best tempered dog i have ever known. Same type of dog the d&c of cambridge have. You could do anything to her and she would just look at you like 'please mum- you're on my tail!' Such a gorgeous girl. I know it's probably better to save a dog from a rescue home but if you can look out for this breed from a rescue you will be lucky! i promise you won't be disappointed. Just keep in mind they have LOADS of energy and really need to be challenged like any 'working' dog. We have an almost 2 year old DD and they have been around since the beginning. They are lovely and gentle with her but especially Koko. She's a real mate.

mrslaughan Sat 23-Mar-13 14:19:16

I know you said you don't want a large dog - but we have a Greater Swiss mountian dog - and he is amazing with kids, and comparatively not bouncy, never had a problem with him jumping up......
low energy, doesn't need long walks, but definately enjoys being part of the family

neontetra Sat 23-Mar-13 14:34:25

My working cocker is fab with my almost 12 month dd - v gentle, but also loves a bit of toddler-themed fun. They have a lovely relationship, to the extent that dd says "dog" more reliably than 'mumum" or "dadda". Think she is pretty typical of the breed too. Also nice halfway house between big dog and small - dh is a german shephard man, i grew up around greyhounds, but she is enough dog for both of us, ifswim? Tbh,, we are pretty much agreed now that we would never have another breed.

ruledbyheart Sat 23-Mar-13 14:54:05

I have rescue mongrels so not a breed but totally amazing with my DCs wink

cathpip Sat 23-Mar-13 14:54:10

Another working cocker fan here, we have two a 5 year old and a 1 year old, we also have dc who are 4 and 2. Yes they need exercise, but my they are gentle and are always up for a game of follow my biscuit with the 2 year old (never nick it though!)Which she loves playing, oh and my 2 year old can walk the younger cocker past other dogs and he will ignore the other dogs completely. (think he just knows that she is little and that you could blow on her and she would fall oversmile)

SorryMyLollipop Sat 23-Mar-13 14:59:22

Rescue a greyhound? Very placid, very gentle, great with kids/babies, don't need much exercise (very lazy too!)

Marne Sat 23-Mar-13 17:20:08

Another vote for Staffie grin ,we have a staffie (now 5 years old) and a lab (4 months old), we got our staff when dd2 was 2 and she has been great with both dd's, she's gentle with them, happy to be sat on (although we have taught them not to sit on her) and she looks after the dd's when they are poorly, although my lab is also lovely he is deffently more bouncy and more likely to pinch food out of the dd's hands.

I know Staffies often get a bad name but they really are the best dogs with children, they are family dogs, they are very loving and very gentle.

I second all the spaniel votes. Three friends have spaniels (one cocker two springer) and they've grown up with their kids, been really gentle with no end of ear pulling etc. If you want a slightly bigger dog but my collie x springer is the same, very gentle with kids and totally tolerant of being trodden on and tail pulled by my friend's toddler! Don't know if you'd be interested in a cross breed to show though.

Isandri Sat 23-Mar-13 18:38:07

You want my dog smile he's a black lab crossed with a Gordon setter. He's lovely and very gentle. Alternatively get a setter, but not a red one as they are loopy.

Try the breed quiz on the dogbreedinfo website I found it really useful for highlighting breeds I wouldn't have known/considered

coffeeinbed Sat 23-Mar-13 19:19:37

Retrievers are less bouncy and more relaxed than labs, once you get past the puppy stage.

theynevershutup Sat 23-Mar-13 19:27:11

My friend has a Tibetan Terrier and two small children. Really good with children, like a teddy bear and doesn't moult.

amatuermummy Sat 23-Mar-13 20:00:37

Thanks for all the suggestions, I wouldn't rule out a larger dog or a crossbreed really and we do understand that every dog is different so you can't guarantee anything, but we want to do the best we can by choosing a breed that has the characteristics we would like. The most important thing to us is that it is a breed known for being good with people/children.
We'll go through everyone's suggestions more carefully and hopefully the right breed will become apparent.
Keep the suggestions coming and if anyone has any experiences of breeds that are not good with children, this would also be helpful. Thanks again

MissBetseyTrotwood Sat 23-Mar-13 20:07:42

Re. the small children + dog - I'd say it depends on the dog, not the size. For example, I know a woman from dog walking with border terriers that are adorable but totally unsuitable to live with young DCs.

We have a greyhound. He's affectionate, gentle, lazy and folds up small. He is large when unfolded though. And his poos and wees are massive too...

Our friends have staffies. Their two are laid back, very loyal and very cuddly with their DCs. I'd go for one if we didn't have our chap already. Lots of rescues foster their dogs out too, so you can look for one that's already been in a home with young children.

MissBetseyTrotwood Sat 23-Mar-13 20:08:05

Sorry, x posted.

MissBetseyTrotwood Sat 23-Mar-13 20:09:46

And I should say that our DCs were 3 and 5 when we adopted our grey. Whippets are same temperament as greys but smaller, obv.

TataClaire Sat 23-Mar-13 22:31:49

Smooth Collie - a vulnerable british breed, low upkeep coat and great with kids.

TicTacSir Sat 23-Mar-13 22:38:13

Whippet. WHIPPET!! Rescue whippet. You will never ever ever regret it. <smug intake of breath for enriched life whilst cuddling aforementioned whippet>

Old English Sheepdog

They are beautiful, cuddly gentle dogs. Great with children though maybe too boisterous for your family situation. My aunt and uncle had a puppy when their first child was a baby then had two more children fairly quickly and the babies/toddlers coped really well with being knocked over here and there! No aggression, just playful.

You could show them as well though the grooming needs might be tough with a young family.

Samu2 Sat 23-Mar-13 22:52:49

Another vote for Staffies.

I have a Chihuahua and Jack Russell. Both are fantastic with children, although most things I have read say that Chi's don't mix with children and neither do JR's.

Although having a JR is like having three hyper dogs in one package.

Samu2 Sat 23-Mar-13 22:54:15

Definitely Whippets! I grew up with them and they are so beautiful and placid.

CatPussInACrownOfThorns Sat 23-Mar-13 23:08:18

We got a cocker puppy when dd was 18mo and she was an absolute angel. She passed away last year and is very sadly missed. She was amazing with the Dcs, only thing I'd say is that they are very loyal to the point where mine didn't like to be more than 6ft away from me, which may be a little wearing.
Ddog now is her son. His dad is a collie x basset. (We call him a cock up!)
He's much less clingy than his mum and soft as lights. I think I love him more than I did his mother.
Personally the only terrier I would touch is a staff.
My next dog will be a miniature dachshund or a whippet. Long haired dogs are cuddly but create a lot of mess!

SunnyL Sat 23-Mar-13 23:09:23

Obviously there are breed specific characteristics to take into account but really dogs are shaped by their owners. My mother is a dog trainer and says you get the dog you deserve. So if you put in the work and do lots of training and socialisation you'll likely get a great dog no matter what the breed. Really it depends on your lifestyle and what time of character would suit you best.

However I agree with those above - you can't really go wrong with a whippet or lurcher. They are Solar powered couch potatoes which give you limited harassment once they've had their walk for the day.

Just don't go on gumtree if you don't want o to break your heart. The number of dogs looking for a new home because feckless people got them and now can't be arsed looking after them anymore.

Twattybollocks Sun 24-Mar-13 07:17:32

Staffy Every time with young kids.

pugoff Sun 24-Mar-13 07:45:50

I'd second pugs. Love walks but not mental if they are shortish, people pleasers, love kids and are very unto humans in a way I don't see with other dogs. They are small but tough so happy enough to be moved, sat on etc and just want to be part of family life + sleep a lot.

so friendly and enjoy company. Tho it gets a little claustrophobic when they insist on coming to the loo with you

Booboostoo Sun 24-Mar-13 09:01:41

GSD - the most loyal, lovely, calm and intelligent dogs there are.

We got a Tibetan Terrier pup in the summer when DD was 14mo and it's worked out really well. The two are really close, the dog is exceptionally tolerant of DD but my overall choice for a family dog would always be a GSD (from a line bred for temperatment and from a breeder who is meticulous about health screening).

We've just re-homed an 11 month old show cocker, and have a 3 year old and 7mth old. He has turned out to be the perfect family dog for us.

He's calm and gentle in the house with the children. He can deal with the chaos and slight unpredictability in walks (I had a border collie before that would start stalking you round the house if you didn't leave for a walk on time, which was rather wearing at times). Out on a walk he's a typical, slightly bonkers spaniel, who gets on with other dogs well.

It's still early days with us, and he needs training, but he's so sweet and tolerant (of the noise, we're not letting the 3 year old be rough with him), and robust enough that I don't have to worry if the 3 year old accidentally trips over him.

RVPisnomore Sun 24-Mar-13 09:11:05

Golden retriever for me. Our boy is coming up to 2 and our DS was just 3 when we got him. They are great together and the dog is gentle with him and now he's a little older has calmed down a lot, everyone cannot believe how chilled out he is. We chose the breed for this very reason.

foofooyeah Sun 24-Mar-13 09:16:13

French bulldog: funny, loyal and good with children.

But after reading this hankering after a whippet

gingeme Sun 24-Mar-13 09:35:25

We have a jakwawa, Jack Russell chihouaoua (sp) and she is marvelous with my boys. We got her when my youngest Ds was 3 and she basicaly thought she was one of them right from the start. When they are playing in the garden she will pick up one of her toys and follow them all around the garden. So many people told us she will be snappy with the boys but in the two years Weve had her Weve never seen it. Also I am a childminder and look after a 7 month old and she really doesnt take much notice of him (unless he has a rusk smile ) I agree with the ladies who say as long as you train the pup properly it will grow up to BA a good Family pet no matter the bread. Would love a staff next grin

gingeme Sun 24-Mar-13 09:36:29

breed (stupid phone )

QueenoftheVerse Sun 24-Mar-13 10:46:58

we have a GSD and he's amazing with our two DS's. Gsd is only 7 months old and thinks of DS 1 (4)& 2 (3 months) as his litter mates. we ended up with him by accident as a friend couldn't look after him and he's been the most amazing addition to our family smile . if I were to choose a breed of dog it would either be a GSD or a Staffie. another friend has 2 staffies and I've never met a more patient breed with children. they'll put up with anything and love everyone to death grin

gingeme Sun 24-Mar-13 13:00:39

Keep us posted ? smile

lotsofdogshere Tue 26-Mar-13 09:22:55

I had a cocker spaniel when my children were young, she was a fabulous dog, so gentle. We also had a german shepherd at the same time, again gentle with the babies/toddlers. I have fallen in love with poodle crosses, and currently have a labradoodle and a cockapoo. Labradoodles can be big dogs, and definitely need training and exercise, but mine (and the others I've cared for) have all been fantastic with children of any age. My doodle was also so kind and careful around my mum who had lost her sight and was a bit unsteady on her feet, my doodle was only a pup at this stage, but even at 12 months would just sit quietly by mum, no pestering or getting under the feet. The cockapoo is a joy, he loves everybody and is very gentle around children. My children's child minder had 3 staffies - they were fabulous dogs, and so good with the children.

abbyfromoz Tue 26-Mar-13 10:05:10

Lotsofdogshere- i know i have raved about my working cocker but just wanted to agree with you about cockerpoos- they are lovely temperament like cockers and are gentle and smart- but even better their fur doesn't get everywhere- and having a small child around i do get anxious about dogs hair and hygiene. So in hindsight (although i wouldn't swap my lovely puppies) a cockerpoo is an excellent choice imo.grin

fledtoscotland Tue 26-Mar-13 12:24:21

I don't think it's so much the breed of dog but the way it's socialised. My Lhasa adores DC although grumbles when she's had enough and goes to her bed where DC aren't allowed to touch her. Of my three dogs my GSD is the best natured animal ever both with DC and elderly relatives. He seems to know when to be bouncy and when to be calm. GSDs are a reliable breed (police use them as they are trainable and have a reliable response to situations).

I would steer clear of an older rescue without a clear background

Happiestinwellybobs Tue 26-Mar-13 12:33:04

My dog!! An enormous gorgeous black Labrador - although I'm sure he is part donkey (at 39kg!).

We brought DD home when she was 10 months - he adores her. They play happily together. He is endlessly patient, lets her climb on him, plays gentle tug of war with her, and doesn't mind too much when she tries to lick him grin

puffinnuffin Fri 29-Mar-13 19:35:35

We have been fostering a King Charles Cavalier. He is the most well behaved, kind, friendly dog I have ever had! Excellent with children- sleepy alot of the time but can run really fast on walks and plays beautifully too.

Still18atheart Fri 29-Mar-13 19:37:46

Agree with everyone saying cocker spaniels. My parents had one when I was born until I was and great with children

Also agree with people who say border terrier

clam Fri 29-Mar-13 19:52:19

lotsofdogshere Re: poodle crosses/cockapoos, I'm sure many people would say this about their own breeds too, but my cockapoo has been fantastic since I broke my leg. He has spent long days on the end of my bed, and he picked up straight away that he had to give my leg a wide berth. He gets excited when I come home, but bounces from a distance, unlike with everyone else, where he likes to get up close. He's scared of my crutches probably because I dropped one on him and avoids them like the plague.
I love him to bits.

ithaka Fri 29-Mar-13 19:59:58

I bought a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel specifically because I wanted a safe dog when I had teeny children/babies. There is no safer breed, I don't think.

He is 12 now and despite all the bad press about the breed, he has never had an ill day or needed the vet and is still hale and hearty - I think he will live for years, yet.

stephrick Fri 29-Mar-13 20:09:32

must be from a puppy so you can imprint early, I have a yorkshire terrier, but snappy, also a cross jack and schnauzer, has always been good never snappy and friendly with dogs she meets, I think this might be the schnauzer in her, and she is 14.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 29-Mar-13 20:18:40

My boy is a working cocker. He is utterly lovely.

My name says it all. smile

KLou111 Fri 29-Mar-13 20:19:28

Our springer spaniel is just gorgeous with our 19 month old. She's only 6 months older than him and they adore each other. I honestly don't know how we would get through the day without her sometimes as she provides hours of entertainment for him. He climbs all over her and she never has a go at him, just hides if she's had enough!

MagratGarlik Sat 30-Mar-13 12:05:45

Whippet. Scruples Whippet rescue do rehome to homes with children, they use foster homes too, which helps assess the dogs accurately. The lady who runs scruples has also been a crufts judge for whippets too iirc.

RachaelH1983 Sun 31-Mar-13 11:46:38

I have a male labrador he + my daughter are best of friends and he is so paitent and gentle with her I would never have another breed around children other than labs or retrivers but I do believe children + dogs are a blank canvas and they are what u make them so I'm sure any dog will fit into the family if it is trained + treated right. I do find smaller dogs are snappy and yappy tho so would shy away from smaller dogs

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