Dogs are a great part of growing up, with many of us able to look back fondly to the first dog we ever owned and all the fun and companionship they provided, as well as being taught responsibility, compassion, and caring for another living being.
And with dogs and children proving such a fantastic match - capable of sharing very special, unique, close bonds together – it’s hard to select one particular breed that’s best for youngsters.
In fact there’s no right or wrong answer, as breed of dog never solely determines how your kids and dog will get along.
All dogs, regardless of breed, are individuals. The specific breed is an important factor but only one ingredient helping to shape a dog’s temperament and behaviour; so never expect to pick out a breed of dog and assume it’ll automatically slot in as a reliable and trusted family member.
Of course some breeds are more popular, with size, strength, temperament, tolerance, and always appeal to young families e.g. Labrador, Golden Retriever, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Staffies, Greyhounds. But where you buy or adopt your dog from also counts greatly.
Remember all breeds have their own breed rescue societies too. Only choose a reputable rescue or responsible breeder as pups sold by a breeder without seeing mum interacting with them are usually born miles away on cruel puppy farms supplying pet shops, free newspaper adverts or websites.
Before deciding which dog, hold a family discussion about its needs, then research, and research again.
Ask as many experts as possible, attend local fun dog shows, and don’t miss specific shows especially the excellent Discover Dogs next month at London’s Earls Court.
Some breeds require more grooming, increased exercise, mental stimulation, even desiring instinctive jobs to do e.g. herding.
Also, consider whether your kids are allergic to dogs in which case hypoallergenic breeds, e.g. Schnauzers or Portuguese Water Dogs (like Obama’s dogs) are ideal.