Although dogs and cats will continue to battle one another to hold the top spot as favorite pet, as a society we are pet-lovers regardless of whether those pets meow or bark. Statistics from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association show that roughly 65 percent of American families have a pet at home — and the numbers keep growing.
Those who are looking to add a furry companion to the family and are leaning toward a dog may have questions as to whether there are certain breeds that are a better fit for family life with children in the home. Breed alone does not dictate a dog’s demeanor. Every dog is unique, and how a puppy spent its formative months can be just as influential on the dog’s behavior as its breed.
There are some breeds that are thought of as family dogs because they are patient, calm and not easily provoked. But no dog is perfect, and it often takes working together as a family to develop a sense of trust and a routine that is comfortable for all.
Here is information on some of the more popular breeds of dog.
* Labrador retriever: Labrador retrievers are one of the more popular dog breeds, especially among families. Although it is thought to be a placid dog, a Lab is a member of the working class of canines and will need to be well exercised so the dog behaves well. Otherwise, the dog may be too boisterous and mischievous inside the home.
* Golden retriever: Golden retrievers are another type of retriever that are popular among families. They were originally bred to hunt and retrieve birds. They’re often eager to learn and serve and can become a dedicated family member if well exercised.
* Keeshond: This medium-sized breed is a fluffy ball of fur. Keeshonds learn tricks well and are easily trained. They love to play and can follow along in the antics of children quite well. Keeshonds will alert their owners to visitors but aren’t overly protective of their surroundings.
* Collie: Ever since “Lassie” warmed the hearts of viewers, collies have been viewed as loyal family dogs. Collies were bred for working, but they will eagerly herd children as well as livestock. Collies are generally gentle but active.
* Standard poodle: Although poodles may be viewed as “froo-froo” dogs thanks to their traditional grooming style and their stereotype of being a Parisian pet, poodles are also working dogs that are very intelligent and can be easily trained. Affectionate and patient, they often make great dogs for families.
* Gentle giants: Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs are two larger breeds that tend to be docile, behaving like big teddy bears. These breeds are usually very stable and easily trained, but they may need a little encouragement to be active.
* Cairn terrier: An active small breed, the Cairn is a tough little cookie. The dog will have the energy to keep up with children, but it may be better in homes with older children because of the Cairn’s diminutive size and the risk of rough handling.
* Pug: This dog is generally affectionate, loveable and even-tempered. Pugs love being part of the family and can be playful companions. They also love to nap on your lap; just be prepared for a little snoring.
* Staffordshire bull terrier: Despite the perception of these dogs as being “fighting dogs,” historically they are loyal family dogs. When well trained and raised correctly, including proper socialization, bull terriers are not typically aggressive. However, it is important to note that they are a dominant breed and do well in single-dog households. They may become dog-aggressive.
Many dogs can become well-mannered members of a family. To increase the chances of getting a stable, balanced dog of good temperament, select one that comes from a quality breeder or a respected animal shelter and socialize the dog as early as possible.