Choosing a dog to be a part of a family with children can be an exciting yet overwhelming decision.  Dogs can provide unconditional love for children and teach them responsibility as well.  When deciding on the right dog breed it is important to consider the family’s lifestyle and the age of the children.  Lifestyle considerations include where you live and the overall activity level of the family.  Apartments are not usually suitable for large breed dogs or breeds requiring a lot of exercise.  A family who enjoys hiking probably does not want a breed known for its low need for activity.  Families with toddlers need to take into account whether the breed they are considering interacts well with small children because not all dog breeds are suitable.  


1. Bulldogs: The American Kennel Club (AKC) makes recommendations on breeds to help potential dog owners begin their search for the perfect fit for their family. Bulldogs are generally classified as calm and friendly and are not a very active breed.  They do need regular walks and respond well to training.  They typically do well with children and other dogs as well.  Male bulldogs usually weigh around fifty pounds while females weigh about forty pounds.  Bulldogs do not tend to bark a lot and have an eight to ten-year life expectancy.  


girl with dog


2. Beagles: Another child-friendly breed according to the AKC is the beagle. Beagles are friendly and curious as well as very active and energetic. They are however quite vocal and bark frequently.  Beagles can range from thirteen to fifteen inches in height and weigh twenty to thirty pounds. They respond well to training.  


3. Golden Retrievers: The golden retriever is yet another option for families with children. Goldens are one of the most popular breeds in the United States because they are friendly, intelligent, and devoted. This breed is extremely active and requires daily exercise to fit their energetic personalities. Goldens are eager to please during training and are known to only bark when they feel it is necessary. Males average twenty-three to twenty-four inches tall and weight sixty-five to seventy-five pounds. Females range from twenty-one and a half to twenty-two and a half inches tall and weigh from fifty-five to sixty-five pounds.                                           By Nina Buday via Shutterstock


4. Labs: Labrador retrievers are also a good breed to have around children.  They have a friendly and outgoing temperament and only bark when necessary.  This breed is very active and high-spirited.  They are eager to please during training but need supervision around other dogs.  Male labs can measure up to twenty-four and a half inches tall and weigh between sixty-five and eighty pounds.  Females can measure up to twenty-three and a half inches tall and weigh from fifty-five to seventy pounds.   Their average lifespan is ten to twelve years.  


  Once the family has brought home the perfect dog to fit their living arrangements and lifestyle, it is time for puppy potty training.  Children can help with this process by learning to praise and reward the dog when it is successful in the housebreaking process.  Dogs can be trained to relieve themselves indoors or outdoors or a combination of both.  An indoor potty for dogs is usually created for smaller breeds or when the owner cannot be home in a reasonable amount of time to take the dog outside.  Often people who live in apartments or high rise buildings will use indoor training as well.  


   One option for indoor training is to put newspapers down to absorb the urine.  This is a cheap option but a newspaper is not as absorbent as other available options.  Potty pads are another option that is more absorbent and includes a plastic lining to prevent the liquid from leaking through to the floor.  The plastic lining can cause the pads to slide and depending on the dog, they may shred them or chew on them.  Placing a plastic tray under the pee pads will help them not to slide.  The tray will also aid in the clean-up process.  


  Many owners are opting for real grass indoor potties for the dogs. Dogs can easily tell the difference between the texture of the grass and the floor. The grass is REAL so it's the smell they are used to going on outside.  It is a good choice for dogs who will be trained to go potty indoors and outdoors.


    It is important for the entire family, even the children to be clear about the area of the house designated for the indoor dog potty.  It is difficult to change the location once it is established so the family must choose wisely.  A bathroom or laundry room usually works best and avoids having the dog going to the potty near food preparation or storage.  


    Many factors need to be taken into consideration when choosing a dog breed for a family with children.  Research into the right breed to fit the family lifestyle and age of the children is important.  Once the puppy is home it is necessary to train them to go potty in the appropriate place indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both.  The placement of the indoor dog potty is extremely important and is not easily changed once established.