New Pet Recommendation?

Updated on June 29, 2008
L.A. asks from O Fallon, MO
43 answers

I am looking for advice on the best kind of dog to get for our family that will work well with an active 2 year old. My last pet of 11 1/2 years passed away in March. I adopted her from the humaine society. She had a hard time with my son as the last 2 years she was sick and not as active as my son would have liked, although they adored each other. It was tough.

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E.E.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi, we have two boys ages 4 and 5 1/2. Last year we bought a Boxer puppy. She has be so great. My boys love her and she does really well with them. We have not had one problem and the boys can get a little rough sometimes. Hope this helps, Boxers are a great family pet.

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V.T.

answers from Topeka on

Golden retrievers are the best dogs with children. When my son was a baby she laid by him any time we put our son on the floor. She would try to get in between my husband and I when we would change his diaper and he would start to fuss. I have so many pictures of my son laying on top of her when he was two, and they still today are just as close. He is nine. Our dog sleeps by him, waits for him to come home after school right by the door, and plays with him outside all the time. She is about 11 and it will be a sad day when something happens to her. I know they are bigger dogs, but they are wonderful!! We were also lucky and got her at the HS, when she was about 9 months old. Good luck.

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B.H.

answers from Kansas City on

Cavalier King Charles are a great breed to have especially for children. My 10 month old son pulls on my Cavalier's ears and tail ALL the time and my dog does nothing. I did a lot of research about them also on how they are with children. They are the most wonderful dogs but they are pricey (avg is 1,000.00). I love the breed but ever since I saw the Puppy Mill episode on Oprah, I will definitely get the next animal from a shelter.

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S.B.

answers from Kansas City on

It depends on what size dog you are looking for. If you prefer a smaller dog, Boston Terriers are very energetic, love to run and play fetch, and are very affectionate. If you like bigger breeds, Australian Shepards are great. They love to run and play and are very affectionate (of course with all breed it just depends on the dog sometimes too :) ) You also might check out the Wayside Waifs site and see if there is a dog whose good with kids that needs adopting. Good luck!

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K.P.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi L. A. So sorry for the loss of your last dog. My boys who are now 22 and 18 have been raised with Golden Retrievers. We are on our third one now. You may be the type to want to adopt from a shelter so I would suggest a golden mix if you can find one. It always seems that the part golden retreiver always seems to come out the most as far as disposition. I have yet to see a mean or teretorial golden. Or you might want to check into one of the many Golden Retreiver Rescue groups. They are such a great family dog and very patient. I can't say enough about them. Good luck with whatever you decide. I'm sure he or she will have a good home. Let me know what you decided on. Have a Great Day, K. P.

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L.B.

answers from St. Joseph on

A lab...never once has either of the dogs maliciously bitten the kids...our male, however (he he he) when he has had enough of the tormenting will gently put his mouth around their arm (like he would bite but doesn't)...his gentle reminder to say "knock it off." We got him as a freebie!

If you are anywhere near NW Missouri there is a GREAT and I do mean GREAT no kill animal rescue shelter in Savannah, MO. They take in everything and last I heard had some 400 animals in house...certainly your pick of the litter (sorry for the pun). Anything from newborns, animals left by road, or animals dropped off b/c owners couldn't keep any longer. Many already housebroken. $55 gets you a spayed/neutered animal with all shots. As far as I'm concerned they ROCK! My baby has had 3 lumpectomies and any other vet would have charged at least $500 each time but they only charge for what you use (drugs, labs, anthesia, etc.) on ave $150. You never pay a Vet charge.... Donations are always accepted, of course, and welcomed.

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S.T.

answers from St. Louis on

I would recommend going to the Humane Society or APA again, and checking out all the dogs. Little terriers are high energy. I can speak from experience. I own a Rat Terrier and he is almost six years old, and still can play like a puppy. Just bring your son with you, and you'll know when you find the right dog for your family. Good luck.

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J.W.

answers from St. Louis on

Wow, lots of advice already! I hear a lot of 'the humane society, etc.. will advise' and they undoubtable will BUT while we were shopping for a puppy for Christmas we were told over and over by pet rescue people we should not get a puppy - at times they were quite rude! (4 young children) My husband and I researched breads online for months - you could maybe do the same. We ended up with a Boxer because it is rated best with families \ children AND not a big shedder! (Important to us). When you research though, you look for the qualities that are important to you - straight 'advise' from others has to be half listened to; half thrown out. It should go without saying that training a puppy and caring for a toddler is challenging, but if you are willing to see it through - it shouldn't matter to anyone else!! Happy hunting!

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R.K.

answers from St. Louis on

The Missouri Humane Society will help you determine what dog works best with your family. They want pets to be adopted for life so a good fit is important. Please don't overlook black dogs - they are the hardest to adopt because people perceive them as scary. Good luck! Also, since you have a toddler, consider an adult dog so you don't have to be potty training your child and dog at the same time!

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R.C.

answers from St. Louis on

good morning-
we had great success with a rescue we found on petfinder.org
strayrescue.org is also a great website. most rescue groups let you "try-on" a pet to make sure the pet is a great fit for your house.

good luck with your new addition :)

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J.K.

answers from St. Louis on

L.,

I am sorry you lost you furry family member. I would recomend going back to the Humaine Society or a Rescue group. Be honest with them about the active 2 year old. Labs or Goldens are great with children. Look at the older animals, a year old or better. These dogs will be thru the boncey stage, house broken and not chew as much. Often a wonderful dog has to find a new home and the older ones are looked over for a cute puppy.
Good luck and look a few times before the best dog will find you.

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K.C.

answers from St. Louis on

L.,

If calm and laid back is what you are looking for. Tolerant of children and at the same time in love with them, all ages and sizes (the children) you would be very happy with a Great Dane. Although the dog is big, the dogs are very laid back, they love kids even babies. They do not have aggressive tendencies, they do not tear everything up, like some other breeds. They are big lovies they love attention and are not mean spirited. I have 2 adult males and 1 autistic child, now 11 these dogs are wonderful with him and all of my friends children as well. The humane society can help you locate rescues that will have already approved dogs for homes with children and you would then have a great companion for you and your child.

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M.F.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi, I hope I spell it right. A Pinbrock-welch-corkie. It is small, it is one of the dogs that was recommended for if you have allergies, active and gentle, protective of the children it lives with. A great loving dog.
Good luck M.

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P.T.

answers from Kansas City on

L.,

We adopted an Akita mix from Wayside Waifs when my oldest son was 3 years old. When my yongest son was born, he loved him just as much as he loved my oldest son. We have heard that Akita's don't like other male breeds, but we have since adopted another wonderful male Shiba Inu mix and they are so happy together. I think it helped that we adopted the new puppy at a young age, but they are both incredibly smart dogs. Teach them the rules young. These two breeds are highly intelligent and are very obedient, rarely bark unless someone is very close to the yard, very loyal, and love children. I would recommend either of their breeds. A Shiba Inu is related to the Akita, just to let you know. I will now always stick with one of these breeds. I am very picky about the type of dogs that I like. They are like family.

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R.H.

answers from St. Louis on

This is probably going to sound so weird, but I talked with my dog trainer on what the best dog would be for children and he told me that the best dog for a young child is a pitbull, under 2 very strict conditions. The first was make sure that you get the dog as a puppy, preferably just weaned from it's mother. And the second, to know the person who has the puppies, make sure that the parents were not abused and/or used for fighting or made mean for guarding purposes. He told me that if I followed those 2 conditions that a pitbull would be very loyal to my children, would be protective without being a "viscious dog", and would have the energy level to keep up with young children. He also told me that retrievers were good dogs for kids (ie goldens or labradors). He also told me that these dogs don't necessarily have to be full-bred. He also told me of certain breeds to stay clear of, he said that any type of spaniel, terrier, or chow were breeds to stay away from, they tend to be overly hyper and can get overly aggressive when provoked and can cause quite a bit of damage when they attack.

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A.Z.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi L.,

I would recommend a Bichon Frise. We have a three year old Bichon and she is wonderful with our two boys. My parents also had one when I was growing up and she had the same temperment as ours does, kind and loyal. Bichons are VERY well mannered and smart. They do not shed, so you don't have to worry about allergies or constantly house cleaning! I would definitely recommend this breed for your family. Good luck!

A.

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P.H.

answers from Wichita on

Everyone has their favorites! My personal favorite breed is Boston Terrier. I have owned Boston's since we got one when I was in 2nd grade. My Mom had one when she was a kid, her Dad had one too.
Now my kids have them, and our current Boston is great with our grandaughter who just turned 1 in April. They are very gentle with little ones, yet will play like crazy with the older kids. There isn't a mean bone in their wiry little bodies. We got our female at a Shelter, someone dumped her when she was 6 months old. She's been a great dog.

I'm also partial to Corgi's because we had one up until I was about 5 years old. That dog was my buddy, I thought he was my little brother, we even ate peanut butter off the same spoon....(to my mother's horror!) lol

The main thing I think is to do alot of research into dog breeds and how they are recommended for small children. Some dogs you would think would be good with kids are notorious face biters, and not good with young children. Research and make sure you get a dog that is from either a REPUTABLE breeder, or one from the Shelter that has been screened for aggression with small children. It will save you the heartbreak of having to relocate an unsuitable pet.

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H.J.

answers from Kansas City on

My suggestion to you would be to adopt a basset hound. These are the most gentle and non aggressive dogs. We have 2, they are now 8 and 7, but my son was 3 when we got our first one and they have grown up together and are wonderful. These dogs do not mind if a small child grabs at their ears or pulls on their tale. Also, don't let the hype get you, these are not lazy dogs! Ours are very active and love to play outside with both of our kids, my oldest is now 12 and our youngest is 3. I think by far that bassets are the best family pets. I know I am a little biased, but they are really great pets.

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C.L.

answers from Kansas City on

I always grew up with a Beagle as a pet. They can be very active, and need room to run depending on their personailty how active they are. I had the dog I grew up with til my oldest was 3 or 4 then he sadly passed away. My oldest's Grandma also has a beagle (who's slowly getting worse), that's good with the kids. I've also had 2 Pit Bulls (raised from birth by my ex) who were wonderful with my son. I think it depends on the age of the dog, and how it's been raised, as to how it will be compatible with your child. Also are you wanting a larger breed, or smaller breed? Boxers are a wonderful larger breed. If you google it, there was a dog compatability test I took once, that tells you which breeds would be best for you and your lifestyle. Good luck and hope you find a new friend soon! Remember Shelters are good places to find a new friend!!

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B.H.

answers from Kansas City on

We have a greyhound and a shepard mix, they both just "tolerate" my daughter. My brother has a golden retriever who we dog sat while they were on vacation and he was great. He's very laid back and let her crawl all over him and pull and prod (she's just 11 months). He does play with my nieces and nephews, but is also very mellow, so I think our next dog may be a golden.

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A.S.

answers from Springfield on

We got a Sheltie (miniature collie) when my daughter was 2 and it was the best dog in the world. She was extremely smart, gentle and loyal. They're energetic but not to the point of tearing things up if they get bored. Mine didn't take a lot of extra grooming, but she was a house dog, not running through the weeds. A good brushing every week or so was enough...which my daughter liked to help with and the dog enjoyed.

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C.L.

answers from St. Louis on

We went with the Shih Tzu's and now have 2 of them. They are small family dogs and do not shed. We get them shaved in the summer, and a short puppy cut in the winter. They love playing with our daughter (just turned 3) We have them poty trained for outside and potty pads. That way if we are going to be gone for an extended period thru the day we can throw a pad out for them and they use it! They never bite or bark,and trust me a small child can sure bother them! I have never heard a growl from either of them.
Our family members love our dogs so much the there has been 3 other members bought Shih Tzus too.

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A.P.

answers from Kansas City on

I've had golden retrievers all my life and absolutely love them. They are wonderful with children. I have had yellow goldens as opposed to red.
We did adopt a yellow lab this past year who is geat with our kids but way more high strung than a golden.

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A.K.

answers from St. Louis on

I don't have a specific recommendation, but you need to ask yourself a few questions. Do you want a small, medium, or large dog? Are you home during the day or will it spend the work day inside? Do you want to deal with a puppy, housebreaking,etc. or an older dog.

If I were you, I would adopt again. You can find a lot of shelters and pets on line at Petfinders.com. You can find a dog that is a year or so old, you can see it's size and temperment. It may take a little while to get the dog on your schedule, but it will be a whole lot easier than housebreaking a puppy from scratch.

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S.W.

answers from Kansas City on

I too, love to rescue dogs, I wouldnt trade my crazy adopted dog zoie for anything, BUT my dream dog is a Bernise Mountain dog. They are beautiful, protective, agile, friendly, tollerant. They are the most excellent family dog. They rank f stars in every catogory. Check them out. Good luck!

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A.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Sorry, L., but a two year old does NOT need a pet...it sounds more like you do.

If you are determined to get one, please again, go to the humane society and adopt an older dog (more than one year) as it will be tough on you to have have a toddler and a puppy.

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J.C.

answers from St. Louis on

Wow, a new dog with a 2 year old. NOT easy. 2 year olds aren't always as easy with animals as they try to be. Puppies (of any breed) can be hyper & have sharp teeth and nails & may scratch & nip with out meaning to. You have to decide what you will be able to tolerate from an animal around your child & also look at how "gentle & capable" your 2 year old is at handling a small animal. I typically would not recomend a small dog with little ones as seem to be more sensitive to "rough touch". I have had little dogs that have done well with children, but would nip if pushed too far (it would take a lot, but visitors kids, sometimes didn't have any animal manners) I prefer to get larger dogs (40-50 lbs) that are about 2 years old, as long as they haven't been too neglected. This way they are passed the chewing, hyper, scratching stage & are calm enough for you and your child to work with. I'm sure once you look for a dog you will sense when you come across the one that's right for your family; big/small, puppy/grown

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K.O.

answers from St. Louis on

we have a miniature beagle (who is now 5) . . . but he is awesome with our daughter! They love each other very much!

Good luck!

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A.C.

answers from Kansas City on

L.,
I am a dauchsand lover. My husband and I have an 11 year old male black and tan minature dauchsand. He is delightful and still acts like a puppy!! When I was four years old, we also had a black and tan dauchsand. They are great dogs for kids. I will warn you that the black and tan ones are MUCH BETTER temperment than the brown ones. My first dauchsand lived to be 13 years old and never had a single problem ever (female). However, my current dauchsand has had back surgery twice from ruptured discs in his back. You do have to be careful with these dogs backs. They should not jump off of high beds, etc...however, my dauchsand as a kid would jump off our top bunk of our bunk beds and never hurt a thing. They are truly wonderful and loving with kids!!
Another dog, which I have never owned but are known to be great with children, are Springer Spaniels. They are a medium to large size dog, but boy are they wonderful dogs. I have been around several and they are great!! Good luck with your search. I commend you for getting your last dog from the animal shelter as there are so many great dogs out there that need a good home!!
Keep us updated in what you do get!!

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K.B.

answers from Wichita on

Good Morning L., I think the best bet would be to take your son with you to the HS and you look together. If they have puppy's some with let you play with them and see if there is one that takes to your son.

You have to decide first if you want a big dog when its grown or a small or mid sized one. Male or female?

Like your little dog you had before, I think you have to decide also if you want a low maintenance pet or one that goes to groomer reg.

We used to have a miniature collie who was great with kids, and just needed baths & extra brushing once in a while. My Shi Tuz (?) takes a lot of care. Also my last thought is
"To shed or Not to Shed" that is the question. ;)

Best of everything to you and yours
K.

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J.N.

answers from St. Louis on

We have a chocolate lab, that we got as a puppy when my daughter was 11 months old. Nesleigh (our dog) and Evie (my daughter) are best friends. Nesleigh knows when its play time and when its not. We however, did pay a pretty penny for her from the breeder. It is worth it though to us. Labs are great family dogs, and are friendly and protective. I would suggest that you make sure and do your research though, I really do not like sweeping up all of the dog hair everyday so that is the downfall to our situation. Hope this helped

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L.D.

answers from Topeka on

i dont know much about specific breeds, but we got a two year old basset hound from out local vet. she was our 15 dollar dog and has been wonderful.... AnnaBelle rolls around with the baby and sleeps in the boys room when we let her inside. she was not trained or i was not trained to get up in the night to let her out but we our working on this. i suggest the pound, they might not be pure but they are loving

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S.M.

answers from St. Louis on

I don't need to recommend any dog as you have every size, shape and breed already here- the thing to d whatever dog you choose is to teach them together-to love each otherto take care of each other and yes Idon't know why you can't potty break both of them at the same time too. Ok you will have to explain why the dog gets to go outside and the kids need to use the bathroom but other than that they can all learn good manners-table and social. (And no feeding each other from the other one's dish.:)) This will be great fun and a life long respect for all of you. Enjoy! We have and still do. We have had a golden retreiver, schnauzer, and now a pug, not to mention all the cats also. Our kids now have their own-so this has been a wonderful experience and you don't want to miss out on it.

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T.M.

answers from Kansas City on

L.

Some brief history on myself. I'm a SAHM of six children with ages ranging from 16-4months old.

With that said I've had many pets in my home. The best dog that I've had is a Gold Retreiver. They are so loving and protective of the family. You can look up on the internet for the local Golden Retreiver Rescue organization and there is one in the KC area to get a golden instead of finding a breeding and this being very expensive. I pet sit several times a year for a week at a time a Golden Reteiver who is wonderful to my family and gets along with our three cats. This is just my opinion but I would have nothing else but a Golden Retreiver exspecially with my younger children.

T.

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S.H.

answers from St. Louis on

choose from the heart & from your living conditions....which will help determine the size that suites your needs best.

We have had several lab mixes....all have been excellent with children, but do require exercise daily!!

Our current dog is the BEST dog we've ever owned: a LABRADOODLE ...his parents were a black lab & a chocolate standard poodle. He is for the most part (95%) shed-free, allergen-reduced. I usually have difficulties with allergies, & only notice it when he goes more than 2 weeks without a bath. He does require regular grooming & brushing. We have him shaved/buzzed about twice during the warm months, allowing his beautiful curls to grow thru the winter! He's the most intelligent dog we've ever owned, & definitely shows more of the poodle personality. He's a clown, he obediant (even with toddlers!), & gears his personality toward whomever he's with.....psycho with my 20 y.o., responsive with my 11 y.o., & the absolutely perfect guest in others homes!!

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S.W.

answers from St. Louis on

I really like Lab mixes. My first dog was a Scottie Poodle mix and she was the sweetest pup. She lived almost 18 yrs, never bit, hardly barked and loved to cuddle. Whatever you get, try to adopt from the dog pound and look at the black ones first, they are usually the last to go.

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K.C.

answers from Wichita on

I don't have a recommendation, just watch your son. We have a HavaChon (Havaneese Bichon mix - full grown He is only about 12" from floor to shoulder) & even under careful watch our son has broken our dog's tail twice! He just grabs & yanks! Before I can get to him. He also tries to 'dog pile' the dog & cat. So far no broken bones (except the dog's tail).
Actually if your home is large enough (with backyard): (Most) Labrador Retrievers are very gentle & handle children climbing & pulling on them.

God Bless!

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H.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Large - Golden Retriever hands down
Medium - Spaniels (almost any type)
Small - Corgis, Beagles, Puggles

Dachshunds are good dogs but they aren't usually great around young kids. Occasionally you will find that one that will be, or if you raise it from a pup. The other problem with dachshunds is they are VERY loyal so while they will be fine with your children, they may not be okay with his friends that come over. Dachshunds are best with kids over the age of 7.

Things to keep in mind, The breeds I put up there have energy but they aren't so hyper they will bowl over your child. I have a dog that is a Heinz 57 and works great in our house. He is Basset/Beagle/Dachshund/Labrador. We raised him since a pup but he still has the loyalty problem. He informs us if anyone is walking anywhere near our house or our vehicle. He will not bite but his bark scares a lot of people away. That is something else to look at is, the temperament of the animal. I suggest you look at some of the breeds suggested, and then go online and look up care, temperament, best living conditions, etc. and find what is best for you. Oh, and also look up common health concerns (i.e. Bassets & Dachshunds have back problems, look out for dogs that might be prone to hip dysplasia, etc.

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C.F.

answers from Topeka on

Labs! They are really good pets, and love kids, and people! WE rescued ours from the Humane Society and was a puppy! C. Freeman/[email protected]____.com

J.W.

answers from St. Louis on

I would have to vote with the Golden suggestions. I bought my golden when my oldest daughter was three. They are big enough that you don't have to worry about the dog getting hurt, nothing the children do seem to upset the dog and the best is that they are intelligent enough that they train so easily. I brought Dianne home at 7 weeks and she was trained to go outside and ring bells to do so in two weeks. When my two younger kids were learing to pull themselves up and walk they used her featherings to grip and pull themselves up. I usually got a look from her like why did you have more kids but other than that she sat still and let them do it. Never showed teeth, never growled. A bonus for me since I hate barking dogs is that she only barked five times in her life.

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E.M.

answers from Lawrence on

An English Springer Spaniel! Thats what we have, and he is wonderful with the kids. He has never snapped at them or even growled, and they have deserved it in my opinion. I'm amazed at what he puts up with. He's high energy, which can be annoying, but that is my only complaint. He's a great family dog. I've also heard that German shorthairs are great with kids too. Labs and Golden retrievers are good family dogs, but I think that they both are high shedders and labs tend to bark a lot. Our Springer only barks when necessary. Good luck.

D.H.

answers from Kansas City on

If you want a small loyal dog...we have a rat terrier. He is really good with the kids I sit. They were infants when we got the dog, who was 3 months old at the time. He is smart enought to know that how hard to play with them. He is very protective of our kids and very loving (lots of kisses).
Whatever size dog you want, if you get it as a puppy then you shouldn't have any trouble with him adjusting to your son. Dogs who are around kids as puppies tend to do better and grow with the kids as well. I hope you find another fluffy friend for your family. Good Luck and God Bless.

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A.B.

answers from St. Louis on

I have to tell yah, I used to breed Jack russell terriers & I have found that they are one of the best dogs for kids out there. They have so much energy that they will actually wear your kids out! Another benefit of the breed is that Wishbone on PBS is a Jack Russell & I've found that, that also helps the child bond with the dog & helps get them interested in books! Good Luck! Watch out for those horrid puppy mills!

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