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Very family friendly dog smaller than a Labrador?

(61 Posts)
SpringSnowdrop Sat 16-Dec-17 18:40:30

I love labradors’ easy temperament but if we ever take in a dog am not sure I want a big dog.

I absolutely love westies but just looked up a rescue site and they immediately point out they don’t like children which I never knew (our DC are very gentle and older but we often have other children round).

I’m just interested in anyone’s experience - I know each dog will very hugely but what breeds are on the whole the most easy and loyal?

Wolfiefan Sat 16-Dec-17 18:43:09

No westies like any children? That's a weird suggestion.
They are prone to quite a few health issues. And could you take on a "terrier" personality?

yearofthehorse Sat 16-Dec-17 18:45:12

SOME Westie's don't like children. Ours adores them and is such an easy and gentle dog that they seem like the perfect choice.

BiteyShark Sat 16-Dec-17 18:46:17

I have a cocker spaniel, working breed so very small and he loves EVERYONE grin

Although I don't have children my dog walker provides day care does and he is great with them.

SpringSnowdrop Sat 16-Dec-17 18:46:39

I thought it seemed weird too as we used to dog sit for a colleague and his Westie was the sweetest, placid chap and so easygoing it was just lovely having him. The website I was looking on was

ScreamingValenta Sat 16-Dec-17 18:47:57

I would say Cavaliers, but there are major issues with genetic health conditions so you have to do your research very carefully. However, they (generally) have a sweet and loving temperament, are great with other pets and very versatile in terms of activity levels - will go out with you all day if you want them to, but equally happy with a couple of 20 minute walks. Aside from health problems, the only other downside is shedding and grooming, as they're long-haired dogs. They bring in lots of mud in the winter, and you have to watch out for fur mats developing.

Unnoticed Sat 16-Dec-17 18:48:17

Labradors aren’t that big and make a great family pet. We have two and a Newfie (that’s a big dog!). We’ve also for a Pug / Jack Russell Cross - nice and small, but very lively. All great with the children, but they do need a fair bit of exercise!

Wolfiefan Sat 16-Dec-17 18:49:46

Reading that it suggests that the dogs they have to rehome won't be used to kids.
Very few dogs would like screaming and screeching kids or kids that grab them. If children are respectful and polite to the dog then few would have an issue with older children (school age)

RubertRoo Sat 16-Dec-17 18:50:34

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are amazing with children. Mine is so good with my niece and nephews who are 6 and 9 and amazing with my 3 month old daughter. So loyal and playful and happy.

Tanaqui Sat 16-Dec-17 18:51:27

Working cocker, needs lots of walking but will love you amazingly!

mustbemad17 Sat 16-Dec-17 18:52:43

I second a staffie. Hands down the best breed i've ever had around my DD & really family orientated

ColonelJackONeil Sat 16-Dec-17 18:53:19

I love my lurcher she a smaller size, maybe collie crossed with a whippet? Our first dog was a lab and they both have similar nice temperaments.

BikeRunSki Sat 16-Dec-17 18:55:49

DM has 2 black lab/cocker spaniel crosses. They look like labs but smaller - about 2/3 the size - and are good with children. My children at least (children are 6 and 9, dogs are older) - we don’t live locally, only see the dogs every couple of months or so, so it’s not like the dogs are accustomed to them everyday.

Bonkersblond Sat 16-Dec-17 18:55:54

We had a lab, RIP gorgeous girl, we replaced her with a Border Terrier who is amazing with our kids and other dogs although a lot we meet out aren’t, we made sure she was socialised, she’s a very easy dog and fits in with our family perfectly.

EvaBlu Sat 16-Dec-17 18:57:21

We have a half Cavalier half Poodle and she’s just amazing with the kids, easy to take care of and a perfect balance of clever and friendly.

SpringSnowdrop Sat 16-Dec-17 18:59:14

Thank you for all this as really interesting.

Wolfiefan Sat 16-Dec-17 19:02:20

I would start by considering lifestyle. How much walking, grooming and training are you prepared to do? My dog is huge but she's happy to sleep for much of the day. Some dogs are very high energy.

Longdistance Sat 16-Dec-17 19:03:49

I came in to say Cocker Spaniel. All the ones we’ve met have been friendly to dds, and they love them. We would love to have a Cocker but we both work full time and we like our holidays.

SpringSnowdrop Sat 16-Dec-17 19:05:48

To be honest I am not sure whether we will ever take the plunge or not: I love dogs so much but have limited energy (it’s improving but I cope better with low exercise) and now and again think about taking in an older dog if the right one needed it.
Grooming and training would be ok, we’d dote on any dog and put a lot in; I’ve helped at puppy classes before

Wolfiefan Sat 16-Dec-17 19:08:25

If you lack energy then do not take a puppy! (See the puppy survival thread for why not!)
Dogs are expensive, a big tie and a huge responsibility. Mine doesn't need a lot of walking but there are no early nights and lazy lie ins.
If you're not sure could you volunteer for a shelter or the Cinnamon Trust?

ScreamingValenta Sat 16-Dec-17 19:09:31

A puppy is exhausting, mainly because some sleepless nights are almost inevitable while it settles into your house; plus, even when settled and no longer crying, you still have to get up at silly o'clock to let it out until its bladder and bowel are big enough to last the night. It sounds like an adult rescue dog would be a better choice.

CornflakeHomunculus Sat 16-Dec-17 19:11:59

If you're happy to consider getting an adult dog from a rescue and would prefer something with lower exercise requirements then have a look at ex-racing greyhounds. Ok, they're are fairly large dogs (although can fold themselves up surprisingly small grin) but they're lovely creatures and have very modest exercise requirements.

Have a look at the Retired Greyhound Trust's 'Greyhounds As Pets' article/FAQ.

Ta1kinPeace Sat 16-Dec-17 19:13:46

Border Terrier
retired Greyhound the perfect dog for busy people

BiteyShark Sat 16-Dec-17 19:14:48

Just seen your last comment about limited energy. Unless you get a very lazy older dog they will require a reasonable amount of energy unless you have the money and resources to outsource things such as walking/day care. Even then I no longer have lie ins as mine needs an early morning pee although he does let me sleep for an hour or so afterwards grin I have never felt so tired since getting a dog but they are so worth it.

DT2016 Sat 16-Dec-17 19:16:06

I would say a spaniel as they generally have fabulous, family friendly temperaments and are not particularly big. Our springer is amazing with my previously scared of all dogs DS. My DS has totally overcome his fear of dogs. Our dog is so much fun to have around. However, if lots of exercise won't fit in with your lives then a springer is not an option.

Perhaps a cocker cross or cavalier King Charles?

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