Best dog breed for three year old

(56 Posts)
Rua13 Wed 07-Aug-19 16:25:58

What would be the best dog breed for a family with a young child who have no experience with dogs? We've been offered a Jack Russell by friends of friends but read that they are best suited to experienced owners. TIA

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Wed 07-Aug-19 16:31:55

Hell no to a Jack Russell. I would be looking at a Golden Retriever or Lab. I would also not even consider a rescue having a child that young. Please think very long and hard before getting a dog/puppy. They are a tremendous amount of work, and if you have no experience with dogs, you really don't know what you're signing up for.

Nesssie Wed 07-Aug-19 16:38:32

Young child - a small or lightweight or calm breed as you don't want them to get knocked over.

You need to think about what breed suits your family as a whole not just what you have been offered.

How much exercise are you willing to give- its ok to not want to devote hours of your day to walking a dog, just choose a lower energy breed

What size dog do you want - house size, garden size, what size dog can you realistic control whilst also holding a 3 year old child?

Have you thought about coat length? Are you happy with dog hair? Can you afford to get a dog groomed every 3 months?

Have you looked at cavaliers? Very placid dogs. Shih Tzu/lhasa apsos are also small breeds but will require some grooming.

Rua13 Wed 07-Aug-19 17:14:50

Thanks for the advice.I want to wait until DC is older but dh is gung ho about getting a dog.Just to note it's a new born puppy not a rescue dog.We would be able to walk it as we walk each day.I agree about getting a Lab or Retriever .Thanks again

OP’s posts: |
Pipandmum Wed 07-Aug-19 17:18:53

That breed can be nippers and your child is just the right height. I have two cocker spaniel sized dogs and 4 out of five times there’s an issue with another dog it’s a Jack Russell. Issue being they growl and snarl at my dogs and the owner has to pick them up.
Wait til your child is school age too.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 07-Aug-19 17:24:58

Who will be stuck doing the lion's share of the work with the dog? You, correct? No WAY should you get a puppy unless both of you are 100% willing and committed. Who's going to get up multiple times a night to deal with the dog? Who's going to pick up after it everyday? Do you want to be that person? Because that's what's going to happen.

stucknoue Wed 07-Aug-19 17:34:02

A female dog is best usually with younger kids in my experience and a breed used for herding etc can be good and they adopt the kid as their flock, but such dogs need good training, do you have time to devote to training??? We have had collies, amazing dogs but training I can't emphasise enough is key. Small breeds tend to be nippier and less trainable though a Jack Russell can be trained well.


adaline Wed 07-Aug-19 17:34:21

Labs and retrievers are both big strong dogs - they're also mouthy. The puppy/teenage phase also lasts a considerably long time as they're large breeds.

Don't get me wrong, they're great dogs but they also have the ability to knock a small child flying without much effort at all.

What about something smaller - a poodle or a schnauzer perhaps?

forestdweller11 Wed 07-Aug-19 17:45:17

I think you need to persuade your DH to wait a bit until DC are older. We have had terriers and labs. Terriers - completely manic. The one we have at the moment - heinz - Jack RussellxBorderxYorkshire is focused on either escape or food and unless he's asleep he's basically a full time job making sure he's not made a hole in the fence or found a dead vole to eat/roll in or bark at invisible things. We've not had nippy/possessive terriers (and have had 5 over the years) though, and can make great buddies for littlies, but they are high maintenance. We've also had a lab and a labx, the lab was totally untrainable and always in the way and would stand/lay directly where you wanted to be so was always huffing and puffing about moving. The labx was The Best Dog Ever - he was a rescue who because of his size had been overlooked. Pups can be a nightmare and tricky.
There is a reason why rescues tend to refuse potential adopters who have young children. Having said that we had a dog prior to children but after it died when youngest was 4 we didn't get another dog until the youngest was 11 and it's still been hard establishing boundaries for the pup. Can you 'borrow a dog' just to see what its like. My mum has ours two days a week and though she's always had dogs of her own until recently those two days are enough for her!

BrokenWing Wed 07-Aug-19 18:01:34

Wait. We got our lab when ds was 9 years old. Felt like the right time.

Love him to bits but we seriously underestimated the commitment and running costs!

Roughly 2 x 1hr off lead walks a day, preferably in a few different locations to keep it interesting, come rain, snow, wind, winter evenings 7 days a week 52 weeks a year. I couldn't have done that with a 3 year old. Whatever both your social life/hobbies/work commitments are you will need to factor in someone walking the dog in the pissing rain while the other stays in with your 3 year old.

Even if you are lucky enough, because you cant plan it, to get a fabulous, placid, well trained dog you will never be able to leave the 3yr old alone with the puppy even to leave the room for a second, or with the unpredictable growing dog for a least a year or more.

Want to go to mums for Xmas dinner, need to work out what to do with dog as niece doesnt like dogs. Want to go to beach for day, need to take dog, ds wants to play footie whats happening with the dog, dc in

The costs, if done right, are ridiculous, big ones are:

Insurance (6yr old lab) £54/month (will increase as he gets older)
Health care £11/month
Food £50/month
Walkers (2 days a week) £90/month
but the others add up too - weather proof clothes/boots for you/dh, treats, beds, vet bills that arent worth the £85 excess claiming on insurance etc etc

BrokenWing Wed 07-Aug-19 18:04:28

Oh forgot. dog gets an injury and needs surgery and 6 weeks of recovery, need to use a lot of annual leave (need to cover school holidays) for the dog!

allthekingsshoes Wed 07-Aug-19 18:08:38

What pp have said. We have a lab puppy. He is completely wonderful and everything you’d expect a puppy to be BUT I thank God every day I don’t have young children in the house! Ours are 11 and 14. The only answer I can think of to best breed for 3 years olds is ‘none’ but loads of people do it. Our friend has 3 DC under 7 and her bitch just had a litter!

PixieLumos Wed 07-Aug-19 18:10:03

I would avoid Jack Russels - very playful so would be great for older kids but they’re not the most patient of breeds and can be quite reactive. Golden retrievers are great with little ones.

Usherusherusher Wed 07-Aug-19 18:10:54

Definitely not a JR.
Golden retrievers are lovely. Also poodles or greyhounds

Costacoffeeplease Wed 07-Aug-19 18:15:09


Your child is too young

Don’t take a pup just because it’s ‘on offer’ it has to be right for you and for the pup, it’s not something to rush into or you’ll regret it

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Wed 07-Aug-19 18:39:20

We had a JRT X other random terrier when our DC were small and she was brilliant with them - though she always had plenty of exercise which probably helped to keep her chilled. Her brother, on the other hand, had a confirmed and justified local rep for being a little shit, and not to be trusted with children. The PILs also had a JRT which the DC knew to leave well alone. A friend has a JRT who loathes most other dogs. So on balance we struck lucky...

You can manage a young child and a puppy, but you have to be committed to exercising it. I did (had several DC in fact), and was, but the dog, while very social, wasn't well trained because I never really had the time or energy.

My advice would be to get something smallish, so even if it pulls on the lead you can still cope with your DC. A showline cocker might work well (not working line unless you definitely have the time and energy for over an hour of exercise and training every day). Before you settle on any breed, check out it's health issues. Cavaliers are sweet-natured dogs but the breed is riddled with health issues.

Fucksandflowers Wed 07-Aug-19 19:04:05

a breed used for herding etc can be good and they adopt the kid as their flock, but such dogs need good training, do you have time to devote to training???

Fuck me this is bloody awful advice!

Allowing collies to 'adopt the kid as their flock' is how bites happen!
Children are not sheep!
Collies should not be allowed to practise herding behaviour on humans. Period.

Border collies are consistently rated high up in the breed statistics for bites and I suspect a large reason why is because people think it's soooo cute and funny when the sheepdog 'rounds' up the kids.

They don't find it quite so funny though when the kid doesn't do what the collie is trying to force it to do and it escalates and ends up biting (as it has been bred to do!) to try and regain control...

And I speak as the owner of a working bred border collie with a family of young children.

My collie was born into a home with children and is kind and gentle and tolerant with children as an adult.

She tried to herd the kids, and everything else that moved, as a pup but was taught straightaway that herding people will not be tolerated.
It isnt funny or cute or the dog 'adopting/looking after his little flock', it's dangerous.

They don't need massive amounts of training and exercise either, they are a breed prone to overstimulation and do best with peace and quiet and calm activities.

Fucksandflowers Wed 07-Aug-19 19:22:44

And personally, I probably wouldn't go for a jack Russel or lab/golden either.

The only dog that has ever bit me was a jack, no warning whatsoever, just because I dared to stroke it's friend it launched at me and bit me.
My in laws have one that is both dog aggressive and nervous and growls around young children.
The one at the stables as a child also vicious, I'm not keen on the breed.

Labs and goldens are big and boisterous and very strong dogs.
Severe Resource guarding is a big problem in some lines of retriever and spaniel and i have come across plenty of aggressive labradors.

teacherspet Wed 07-Aug-19 19:29:45

Get yourself a beautiful, docile, affectionate French bulldog. Love mine to bits and they are so comical. They do need a walk every day but then they pass out asleep for the rest of the day.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Wed 07-Aug-19 20:18:51

Frenchies have lovely personalities but they're another breed riddled with health problems, mostly connected to their short muzzles. A lot of them have serious breathing problems.

lorisparkle Wed 07-Aug-19 21:43:21

Our 12 month Labrador puppy whilst gorgeous would be horrendous around toddlers. When we first had him it was like having a new born baby again and now he is like a huge over zealous toddler himself. People see well trained Labrador's as ideal pets however training a dog is a huge commitment and 'teenage' Labradors are often given up to rescue centres as they are not cute Andrex puppies nor well trained 'guide dogs'. He is also expensive and has ruined our lawn with his wee and huge poos! Reading the units and posts on the Facebook group 'dog training advice and support ' is very enlightening to the challenges of dog ownership.

TripleSeptic Wed 07-Aug-19 21:45:00

Lhasa apso

Moondust001 Wed 07-Aug-19 21:57:09

My Borders - a life times of them - would be in rehab if they "adopted the kids as a flock". FFS, herding behaviour is innate controlled pack hunting behaviour - and if not controlled, then it's bloody obvious - it's HUNTING behaviour.

Another vote here for NOT getting a three year old a dog! They do some really nice stuffed varieties, and at three that is definitely the safest option. If you were experienced owners, that would be different, but honestly, this is not the time or the circumstances to learn how to train and look after a dog of any size.

Skinnyunderneath Wed 07-Aug-19 22:05:03

Another fan here of the French bulldog, a small breed, great with the kids, very loving, not too arsed about going for walks, just love to be near you and love to sleep. Need their face folds cleaning regularly but no hassle with a baby wipe if you get them used to it, some also have tail pockets that need keeping clean. Some have breathing issues, not all though.

longearedbat Wed 07-Aug-19 22:30:37

The biggest problem with a puppy and a 3 year old is that all puppies bite. Their is no 'if' about it, your child will get bitten unless you keep them apart, which is obviously not practical. Puppy teeth (and claws) are needle sharp and easily draw blood. What would your reaction be to a screaming child telling you the puppy is horrible and you must take it away? Small children don't understand that the puppy is just doing what comes naturally, they just get frightened. Also, monitoring and caring for a 3 year old and a puppy, the inevitable pee and poo accidents indoors, the propensity to chew favourite toys not put away, well, my advice would be don't, not yet. Wait until your child is older.

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