26 answers

Best Dog for Family of 5 - Aurora,IL

What is the best kind of dog (from a shelter/rescue) to get for a family of 5. Kids age 4, 7, 11. I would also like one who doesn't shed like crazy. What is the best dog with kids.

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Best bet is not breed specific but finding a rescued dog with the personality that fits the family. We love boxers, but they have a swagger that can be overwheling and scary to smaller kids. Yet some are incredibly calm. I would avoid double coated breeds. Smooth single coats still shed but not to bad.(boxers, danes, pits,dobies, many hunting breeds) Singled coated long coated breeds require vigilant brushing and grooming.

I gravitate to rowdy obnoxious chewers,jumpers and hyper dogs but not everyone can handle them.

1 mom found this helpful

About a month ago I asked my cousin, who is a dog afficianado and VERY knowledgable about them, for advice in getting a family dog. She directed me to this website, where I learned a TON about choosing the right breed. Hope it can be of use to you too. http://animal.discovery.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds/que...

I have friends with three boys (now 6, 10, and 15) and a very small house and she is allergic who have a Labradoodle. They LOVE this dog. It is non-allergenic, doesn't shed, and is friendly, cuddly, and romps and runs with the boys. They bought one from a breeder, but I've noticed at the dog park how popular these dogs are that I wonder if they are also becoming more common at shelters.

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There is no "best dog" for kids. Ask yourself these questions:
-Are you willing to walk a dog every day (if not, please don't get a dog. A backyard is not enough.)
-What kind of energy does your family have? (do you play outside every day, are you very active?)
-How much time do you have to invest in training. (If you won't train your dog, don't get one.)
-How much are you at home and away?
- Why do you want a dog? Playmate? Quiet companion? Running partner?
(High energy dogs - labs, herding dogs, terriers- will get destructive if they are bored and home alone all the time. They will also get destructive without a lot of exercise. Daily walks and running around outside. Dogs like labs are essentially puppies for years. If they don't get training, they have no idea their size and strength.)

You should choose a dog that fits your family, not a certain breed. Go to the shelter (kudos for rescuing!) and meet these dogs. Keep in mind, they are in cages, they will all seem to have too much energy. Look at the ones that seem the friendliest and even tempered. Are their tails right in the middle, do they have wiggly butts, do they keep their feet on the ground and not jump, are the gentle with your children? Those are the things to look for. Things you do NOT want...a dog whose tail is between their legs and they take coaxing to come to you (too afraid, may be prone to nipping,) a dog who has stiff body language and a high tail (dominant) knocks over your children, barks like crazy and won't stop, seems overwhelmed, is protective of food, etc. You should be FAR more concerned with how the animal fits into your family over shedding.

7 moms found this helpful

DON'T focus on breed. at all. i am so glad you're going to a rescue. talk to the people there. go alone or with hubby the first time, pick out a few that you like. talk to the people there about the qualities you want. low shed, energy level, size, age, etc. pick out a "short list" then take the kids and spend a few minutes with each dog on your list and decide from there. (and don't listen to people who tell you labs are calm. DON'T focus on breed!)

6 moms found this helpful

go to animal planet dot com and do the dog breed selector program. It will give you a starting place at least.

But I have to really agree with Bug. Her advice mirrors my sister who is a dog groomer, and a good friend of mine who is a vet tech. The BEST way to find a dog at a shelter is to go meet the ones who fit some basic criteria (size, temperment, etc).

Another idea is to go talk to some groomers and vet techs. They can give you some information about breeds you might be interested in.

Training is a HUGE key with EVERY dog breed. ANY dog can bite and be a mean viscious dog if not properly trained and socialized. Just like ANY dog can be a great family dog with proper training and socialization.

Realize some dogs have longer "puppy" phases (labs for one), some can be kinda stupid (beagles), some have more stubborn personalities, some are working breeds and NEED lots of exercise (dalmations NEED to be RUN not walked RUN 3 miles a day), some are super super intelligent and NEED interaction (labs, shepards) and REALLY good training, some have a LOT of bulk to them, Some require a LOT of grooming, etc and so on. Knowing which breeds have tendencies toward what is a good step. Which is where the dog breed selector on animal planet comes in. It asks 10 questions about your family and lifestyle and amount of effort you want to put into a dog.

Also I'd suggest taping (I think I just dated myself with that statement LOL) the show dogs 101 on Animal Planet. Each show goes through about 4 breeds (maybe 5) and you get a really great introduction to breeds.

Be aware though that LOTS (in fact I'd say a good majority of dogs in shelters) are mixed breeds and may or may not have the best of both breeds in them.

I hope this helps some and good luck with your decision :)

ETA: there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Why? because people aren't allergic to the HAIR/FUR, they are allergic to the dander which is the skin and skin oils. Some people react to some and not others.

6 moms found this helpful

if you are going to a shelter, i would focus on the individual dog and its personality, as well as the reason the original owner gave it up. do not even pay attention to what breed you want, instead decide what breeds you dont want(too high energy, too big/small, aggressive breeds, too much hair). any dog that isnt a "no" should be looked at to see if she is gentle and not timid. good .luck

4 moms found this helpful

Black lab...please adopt!

2 moms found this helpful

labs or lab mix they are usually laid back.. Go get your dog from a shelter as he/ she will be tested fixed and they can tell you temperament. I love my lab/ basset mix he's short blond and stubby.. no shedding.. jumps sometimes but he's a lovebug who loves my kids 15,13,10,8 and my kitties.

1 mom found this helpful

You might check out PAWS in Chicago to rescue a dog. They will ask you to first take a survey before showing you any dogs. They will only show you dogs that fit your criteria (engery level, no shedding, etc.). They are great! My brother just adopted a great dog from PAWS a few weeks ago.

As for me, we have a sweet greyhound that we've rescued from REGAP of Illinois. It's the perfect breed for our family. Retired greyhounds are couch potatoes and are great with kids. They do not shed much at all, if any. If interested in greyhounds, I recommend REGAP.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm a fan of petfinder.com. They are all rescues, some from shelters, pounds and some from rescue organizations. The beauty of that website is that, they're all rescues, you can search without getting emotionally involved yet and best yet, you can read about their individual personalities. We're big dog lovers here. My advice would be to take a breed you like, do the search and read about them. They all have their own personalities but at our house, we like the mixed breeds. They are healthier and less neurotic :). Good luck and thanks for rescuing!!

1 mom found this helpful

Be very careful with Lab or lab mixes...what people fail to mention with that breed is there is A LOT of work with them especailly if they are under the age of 2. Labs are chewers and if you don't have enough toys and time for them they will destroy anything and everything they can fit their mouth on. And you will be amazed at what they can fit their mouth on. My brother refused to listen to me when I told him he shouldn't get a lab well I highly doubt he will ever have another one. She managed through her crate to chew off several feet of base board and even some drywall in his house. Another friend who has a lab has had to replace not only the lines to his Direct tv dish but now is having to replace some lines from his A/C unit that go into his house from outside.
If you do decide on a lab or lab mix make sure it is over the age of 2 and ask the shelter/rescue if they have noticed any chewing issues. Even after the age of 2 they can be horrible chewers.

1 mom found this helpful

The kind that clicks with your family. Go into the shelter and tell them what you are looking for. Go on petfinder.com and write to various rescues. Describe a personality that would work well, and tell them about your family. This is what I did, and the rescues got back to us with a number of wonderful dogs, one of whom was perfect for us (and a breed we never would have considered!) You will have more luck finding a dog that is perfect for you if you don't limit yourself to a couple of breeds, but instead tell the rescues about you and let them play matchmaker.

P.S. I think it's wonderful that you plan to rescue your dog. I own 3 rescued dogs, and they are wonderful, loyal, and grateful. I will admit I am particularly fond of one breed: the mutt. They are less prone to genetic disorders, there are plenty of them in shelters and rescues, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. I will warn you about "doodles" or "-poo" designer dogs (since I see a bunch of people recommended them), because half of them shed and half of them don't (the poodle gene is not necessarily dominant). They can be great, intelligent dogs, but a lot of them end up in shelters once their owners realize they have a shedding dog. Don't count on them being fur-free. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Best bet is not breed specific but finding a rescued dog with the personality that fits the family. We love boxers, but they have a swagger that can be overwheling and scary to smaller kids. Yet some are incredibly calm. I would avoid double coated breeds. Smooth single coats still shed but not to bad.(boxers, danes, pits,dobies, many hunting breeds) Singled coated long coated breeds require vigilant brushing and grooming.

I gravitate to rowdy obnoxious chewers,jumpers and hyper dogs but not everyone can handle them.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a golden retriever and a doberman/lab mix. They are both amazing dogs and are great with the kids. The golden does shed , but my doberman/lab mix has really short hair and she doesn't seem to shed at all. I would suggest to spend a lot of time with the dog you want before you bring the dog home to make sure its a good fit for your family. Good Luck!

we have a pek-a-poo. she is great with our son. the dog is now 13 and our son is 9. never any biting issues and she isn't a yippy dog. she doesn't shed but we do take her in to be groomed. she is a small dog about 15 pounds and she is very playful!!!!

I am a dog groomer and an owner of 3 dogs. It depends on if you want a mix or purebred. Also, what size dog?
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a great family dog, does not shed (which means it will require grooming), hypoallergenic, they are about 25-35 pounds. They are big enough to play with but small enough to still cuddle with. Great in between dog, adapts well to any type of situation.
Also, i disagree with shewhitewolf. Labs are great! My mom has 2 of them and my cousins have a few as well. All dogs need a good trainer though! Any type of dog, big or small will have problems if you aren't tough on them. Shelter/Rescue is sometimes harder, unless getting them as puppies. You don't always know exactly what you are getting yourself into. You don't know their background 100%
You should check out the store The Perfect Pup in Saint Charles. All of their dogs are from registered and licensed breeders, they show you and give you all paperwork. They also have great warranties. Even if you don't want to purchase a dog from there, you can play with the dogs and get to know what your family likes or what you are all comfortable with. They are very helpful and back their dogs 100% unlike other puppy stores. They know what they are talking about, the owners mom works for him and she is a certified vet tech (has been for 25 years) as well. Best "Puppy store" The environment is great and friendly and the store is so clean and even smells good. The puppies arent in medal/wire cages the address is 6400 E. Main Street St. Charles, IL 60174

About a month ago I asked my cousin, who is a dog afficianado and VERY knowledgable about them, for advice in getting a family dog. She directed me to this website, where I learned a TON about choosing the right breed. Hope it can be of use to you too. http://animal.discovery.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds/que...

shelter dog? How about a rescue unit dog? We got our Old English Sheepdog mix from the OES rescue unit. You have a little bit more control over what breed/mix you get. :) OES have minor shedding as long as you keep up with the brushing. Most dogs trigger my allergy, including short-haired dogs such as my sister's wiener dog & her Great Dane....but our ChockO does not trigger me.

Our other dog is a labradoodle. This breed mix is a little bigger & longer legged than the goldendoodles. CoCoa averages between 76-80lbs, & is the smartest dog in the world. He opens doors, he is insanely intuitive to individual needs, & he rocks as a toy-playing maniac. Everyone who sees him....stops in their tracks - he's that beautiful! Non-allergenic & non-shedding if the coat is just right....not all labra/goldendoodles have the right coats. You have to be careful with this. Only drawback: doodles require regular grooming.

Other than my two dogs whom I absolutely adore...any mixed breed with poodle in it will do well for low-maintenance on the shedding end of the spectrum. BUT will also require grooming....:)

When you're looking at pups, take the time to really eyeball how they behave with your kids. Also: take the pup, gently flip it on its back (in your arms), & see how it responds. You want a pup which will submit to you, not one which will squirm/fight/freak over your move. See how it reacts to being handfed a treat....is it aggressive with food? Lots of things to look for....:)

Whoops, two more thoughts: please don't pick a small dog. They get freaked around kids, especially as the kids grow. AND short-coated dogs shed a ton....as I mentioned with my sister's dogs- the wiener & Great Dane. Their short little hairs are all over us when we visit....more than my fluffy dogs!

Wow, you have a lot of great advice on here! I can't really recommend a breed in particular, but I will say something about dog size. A rule of thumb, and of course this doesn't apply to EVERY dog, larger breeds (Lab size and larger) are FANTASTIC calm adult dogs, more laid back, less excitable. That said, they are in the "puppy" stage a lot longer than smaller breeds of dog. That means they will tend to want to chew on things and maybe be a little puppy like even though they are getting a bit bigger. If you don't have time to train them, be with them, and get them set in not destroying things, you should get a larger dog that is about 3 years old.
I am a large/giant breed lover! I love Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds, they are so loveable and cuddly, even if they might knock you over in the process, but that is what I love about them. Although in my experience the largest of them don't make good guard dogs, they are a little too nice and would just lick an intruder! HA! HA!

I have friends with three boys (now 6, 10, and 15) and a very small house and she is allergic who have a Labradoodle. They LOVE this dog. It is non-allergenic, doesn't shed, and is friendly, cuddly, and romps and runs with the boys. They bought one from a breeder, but I've noticed at the dog park how popular these dogs are that I wonder if they are also becoming more common at shelters.

Boxers!

NEVER had a problem other than loving them tooooooo much! :)

I agree with a lot of the previous posts about it being more about the dog's personality rather than the breed. I grew up with Westies and a close friend with 2 children (4, 12) recently got a Westie on my recommendation. He's great with kids and very playful. We adopted 2 dogs ourselves: a poodle mix from a Wisconsin rescue and a Jack Russel Terrier from the Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter. The Jack has a lot of energy of course, but is already trained and used to children. That's one of the benefits of a shelter dog. You skip the puppy phase.

Look for a dog that came from a family that had children. The family that had our Jack was moving out of country, but had children, another dog and a cat. So, he's great with children, even those that are a little rough with him. He's incredibly obedient and actually trained our other rescue dog who needed the help badly (she's a puppy mill rescue). It's all about the individual dog's personality and family history. Good luck!

Labs - we have a Lab Weimeriner mix - probably will not find one of those - honestly though just about any mixed breed with lab in it will serve your family well. Mixed breeds tend to have fewer health related problems in the long run.

I have rescued 3 mixed breeds from the shelter and I would have to say they have been some of the best dogs I have ever had. The 2 I have now are both lab mixes(lab/great dane and lab/rott?) I have 2 children(3 and 8) and they are just wonderful with them and really any kid that come over. The only problem I have is that they are big(both about 100 lbs), so they tend to scare people at first glance. My advice is to talk with the shelter/rescue. They know the dogs and can tell which dog would be best suited for your situation. From my experience they really want to find the best dog for your family, so you don't end up bringing them back. Don't be afraid of looking at and older dog either, they can be just as great or better than a puppy because they are already trained. Our lab/dane was a year or two old when we got him and he was housebroken and had some obedience, although 8 years later he still is an obnoxious begger. Good luck in your search.

They're big and hairy, but I say hands down, you can't go wrong with a Labrador Retriever! They are so loyal and loveable. They learn fast and can tolerate kids and what they can dish up very well.

I do agree with Bug about being sure you all have the time to devote to the dog. All breeds will be problematic if they don't get the attention they need on a daily basis. Dogs are a high maintenance pet in general. Having one can be as demanding of your time as having another child.

It's not about breed, it's about training and being a responsible owner. You need to be willing to have the dog trained and have your whole family trained :) You also need to be committed to walking your dog EVERYDAY. A well exercised, well trained dog is what's best with kids. We prefer a larger dogs.
Also glad you are getting a dog from a rescue.
Best wishes on your search!

I have a 70 pound shelter dog mix - she's lovable, loyal and friendly. My only advice to you would be that my dog is too big for my kids to take on a walk. They want to walk her but can't alone because I do not feel like they could safely keep her under contrtol if her curriosity were peaked while they were out.

Also, I think female dogs are easier to potty train, it was my experience with my male dog that we had before that he never really stopped 'marking things' in my house.

Just my opinion, enjoy your new pet!

not from a shelter - but we have a shiba inu. Never heard of one myself till we saw him in the pet store, and he is absolutely the best dog I have ever had, or been around. Very friendly, well mannered, everything we could ask for in a dog. If you find a dog from a shelter, make sure you ask if they know anything about it first. Good luck.

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