Seeking Advice on What Type of Dog to Get for Soon-to-be 4 Year Old Twin Boys.

Updated on August 05, 2009
J.S. asks from Dallas, TX
27 answers

My husband and I have decided that our sons are getting old enough to have a dog. I wanted to get recommendations from the moms out there on what type of dog (preferably medium sized) is a good family dog and a great companion for kids. I look forward to hearing your suggestions!

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K.V.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J. I searched online to find the perfect kid/family dog and Beagles seem to be the best sm/med size dog. We ended up adopting a beagle/mimi shelte mix and she is a great dog. I got her off of criagslist for free. She has her shots, is fixed, the whole bit. There you go thats my suggestion a beagle. Look em up...they're super cute puppies. K.

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M.B.

answers from Wichita Falls on

If you live close to any animal rescue...ASPCA, Humane Society etc. it would be good to go there and get a rescue dog that they have a little history on. So many wonderful, family pets wind up in shelters it is just sad. They may already be house trained and possibly other training as well. People give up pets for so many reasons........moving, can't avoid the pet anymore, don't have time for the pet, etc. The rescue organizations have pedigreed and mixed breeds. It is so rewarding to save a life. The boys can help pick it out.
Good luck.

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J.F.

answers from Dallas on

The best dog in the world is the Cairn Terrier...it's the same breed as Toto from the old movie The Wizard of Oz. Those dogs are super intelligent, very friendly, and great with kids....not to mention very sweet and adorable. They usually average around 20-25 pounds. Good luck!

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D.F.

answers from Dallas on

We have a 12 year old Cocker Spaniel who has been great with our 11 year old son and my daycare children. My son learned to walk by pulling up on him and several of my daycare children have done the same. He allows the children, both mine and daycare, to pull his ears, give him kisses, sleep beside him, cuddle with him, and hold his tail while he walks them around the house. When he was younger his favorite toys were tennis balls, chew toys and old socks that we gave him. We could drag him on his belly all over the house while he held onto the sock, for an awesome tummy rub. When the time comes in the future, another cocker will be ours. Good watchdog as well.

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V.S.

answers from Dallas on

Your boys are still on the young side for a dog, so you need to go with a breed that is super calm. I would go with a golden retriever or a yellow lab. Or possibly a retriever/lab mix. They are incredibly family oriented, sweet natured and easy going. Little kids can climb all over them and they just smile. They are big enough that your sons won't bowl them over, but want to please badly enough that they are easy to train. Plus there is nothing a boy likes better then to throw a ball for a dog and there is nothing a retriever/lab likes then to go get a ball for the boy.

The only reason I'm steering you away from black labs is they have a tendency to be overbred and hyperactive. If you purchased from a very reputable breeder, you'd find that their characteristics are very similar to that of a yellow lab.

VickiS

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L.W.

answers from Lubbock on

I highly recommend a golden retriever. We have one, he was a throwaway that a friend found and we have never regretted it. I have a 4 year old son and and 7 year old daughter, but my son and Buster are inseparable, where Heath goes Buster goes, it is really amazing how they have bonded. Or some kind of retriever or lab mix, just make sure it is a big dog, most kids like to pull tails, ears, etc and the bigger the dog the better they take it. My son, sits on him pulls his tail, ears and all Buster does is sit there very patiently waiting for him to stop. Small dogs do not do that. Good luck and I think it is great you are going to get them a dog, I can't imagine life without our dogs, they help me keep an eye on my kids. Our other dog is a medium size dog I got from the pound 9 years ago, but she has never been that good with the kids, she just avoids them, but then she is old! Take care and good luck!!
L.

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R.F.

answers from Dallas on

My husband and I decided what breed by what was available for rescue (NEVER buy from pet stores) and if the dog breed is or has ever been on the vicious dog list. We ended up with an austrailian shepard/blue heeler mix and a doberman mix. Both are known for their energy and protection abilities. We rescued both as puppies. The best suggestions we received was for one of us to assert our dominance and once that was done for that person to tug gently on their ears and tail and skin so that when kids try and get a little rough and playful the dog would not react negatively to that. Good Luck!

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J.R.

answers from Dallas on

Well of course it's hard to tell you what dog would be good with your family mix. But we got a mini-schauzer a who is now 6 months old and he's great. We got him from a friend and met both the parents and they seemed very well mannered and calm. Wags (our dog) is still a very playful puppy but he has adapted well with the kids. I have a 2 (almost 3) year old and a 6 year old and both play very well with him. I did a lot of breed research before deciding on a schnauzer. He'll be a medium size dog...ours will probably weight about 14-15lbs. full grown. He's very smart and they are known for being watch dogs...not really an attack dog unless you count attacking to he can kiss and love on you! lol. But he barks at noises or strangers and he's (and the breed) are typically guarded to strangers until you welcome them in the home and once he realizes that they're ok...he just wants to play with them. He is very energetic but I think once we get some training, he'll be really good.

We have adopted 2 other dogs previously from a rescue but when you're getting those dogs you are also getting problems that you may not know about. We thought we'd save potty training and behavior training by getting a rescue dog. We got a boston terrier/pug mix and a basset hound...we had to return both! The boston had apparently been abused by a woman or didn't like something because every time I looked at her wrong or if I raised my voice the slightest bit even talking to my daughter-the dog would pee where ever she was-including the bed! The bassett was a sweet thing but she didn't anything to do with the kids. She just waddled around and wanted to be by my side 24-7. I felt so bad for her and didn't want her to be bothered by the kiddos so we sent her back. We just decided starting from scratch would be the best.

We've also had a pomeranien (sp?) and that dog was CRAZY hyper! And then my dog growing up was 1/2 scottie 1/2 cocker and she was the SWEETEST thing alive!

Good luck and hope ya'll find a great dog!

B.B.

answers from Dallas on

We have a pug and a lab, which are both wonderful with our 2 y/o. We had both dogs before having a baby, and they are so gentle with our son, and have been since we brought him home! Even when he's a little rough with the dogs, they never snap at him, they just walk away. I've heard that cocker spaniels are good with kids, as long as you have the kids first. My inlaws had one before they had their first child, and ended up getting rid of the dog because she wasn't good with the baby at all and they were worried something bad would happen. I've heard other people tell me the same thing about cocker spaniels. But people have also told me that as long as the kids are there first, the dogs have been great with the kids (apparently they're very protective of their family...and anyone new is threatening).

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K.D.

answers from Dallas on

It looks like you've gotten great advice. We have 2 dogs - one is a lab-greyhound mix that I've had since I was single and she was a puppy. She is really smart and was easy to train, but VERY hyper as a puppy. Now that she's older, she's much better with kids, just because of the energy thing. Our 2nd dog is a Dalmation that we adopted through a rescue organization. He can still be pretty hyper, but when we've had small children over, he gets down on their level and is very careful... somehow he knows to be careful with smaller kids and smaller dogs. That said, if you're looking at a high-energy dog, I'd look at one that is a few years old, so you can bypass the crazy puppy years. One that is a few years old and has some house and manners training would be great. And I agree with the bigger dog thoughts - since your boys will be very playful, you want a dog that is big enough to not feel threatened.

Just in case it matters to you, the lab and the dalmation shed like crazy! I wouldn't trade either one of them for a clean floor, but it might be important to you.

A family I baby-sat for in college had an old boxer who was great with both girls when they were little... to echo my hyper-big-puppy opinion, our next-door neighbor got a boxer puppy for his 3-year-old son, thinking they could grow up together. Within a couple of months, the dog was way bigger than the boy and so hyper that they had to keep him outside most of the time, because he'd just topple over the child. But once he settled down, he was great.

Good luck, and have fun!

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R.C.

answers from Dallas on

Hi, I highly recommend schnauzer puppies.

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V.P.

answers from Dallas on

In my personal experience, people are too quick to recommend a certain breed, based on their history with one dog of that breed. We had a mini schnauzer for 14 years whom we loved and was an excellent dog. Of course, after he died, we immediately went with another mini-schnauzer puppy. The problem is that each dog is very different, even withing the same breed. We've had the current dog for almost 3 years, and it is nothing like our old dog. She barks at anything that walks/drives by our house, jumps on people, and has chewed countless items over the years.

Although my husband and I have tried the same training techniques with the new dog as we did our former dog, the difference is that we had young kids in the house with the new dog. What trainers have told us is that dogs will be trained to the level of the least agressive/most passive person in the house. In other words, when we got our new dog as a puppy, no matter how much my hubby and I did, because our 5 year old "undermined" our training, the dog learned from her. So if she acted silly or giggled when the puppy jumped on her (which kids will do), all the training we gave about not jumping up on people was overruled.

If I were to do it again, I would probably find a shelter dog, slightly older (2-3 years old) who the shelter employees can give references for (their temperament with kids, other dogs, etc.) That way the dog has also gone through most of the "puppy" stage of chewing, scratching, and potty training, but is still young enough to be playful for many years to come. My mom got a dog from a shelter that was only a few years old, but the owner had died, and it needed a good home. It was well trained, and is wonderful with the kids.

Good luck!
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B.M.

answers from Dallas on

The best dog we ever had was a rescue. I have no idea what breed she is, but she is very good and watchful over the kids from the 12-year-old to the 18-month-old.

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C.B.

answers from Dallas on

My kids have wanted a dog forever so I got them a puppy- bad idea!!! I would suggest that you find one at an animal shelter that has already been trained and is good around kids. It is hard to tell personality of a puppy, ours is bigger and loves to jump up and run you over- my kids won't play with her so I am reading Ceasar Millan's(?) on dogs to see if I can get her to calm down at all.
My in-laws came over with thier year old border collie that has been trained and although she is just as big as our dog, my kids loved playing with her and petting her because she is calm and won't jump up.
I wish I had used my head and got a dog that was a little older and trained because now I am 4 months pregnant and stuck with trying to train her by myself!
Good luck!
~C.

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M.B.

answers from Abilene on

We have a Boston Terrier and love him to pieces. He is our 2nd boston and they are wonderful dogs. We have 4 kids (1-9yrs of age)and they can do almost anything with him and he doesn't mind at all. They are smart and playful dogs, great house dogs if you want that. We only had to get after our dogs a few times to get them trained.

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S.S.

answers from Dallas on

I know someone who has several Aussie puppies for free to a good home. We have one of the litter mates, my friend has another. They are fabulous dogs, not too big, not too little, playful, yet not hyper, very protective of their "people" and other family pets. We got our first Aussie when my children were 3 months and 19 months, she was the perfect dog for their first dog. She lived for 15 wonderful years, and we all still miss her dearly.

In response to other posts regarding you boast what you are familiar with, I have owned a Collie, German Shepherd Mix, Border Collie, Hybrid Wolf, Yellow Lab, 4 Yorkies, 1 Puggle, and 2 Aussies. Out of all the breeds that I have owned the Aussies have been the best around children and the easiest to train.

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B.B.

answers from Dallas on

I have a 5 year old son and a 7 year old girl. We had a German Shepherd when they both were born. The dog was our first child and was 5 years old when my daughter was born so she was already pretty calm and a great dog. She died three years ago and my daughter was begging for another dog. Four weeks ago, we rescued a West Highland White Terrier. She is around 10 months old and not too hyper, but she is not that great with the kids, especially my son. He is just too rough which scares her. Based on this, I would not recommend a small dog unless you have the time to closely supervise your sons' interaction with the new dog/puppy. Older dogs would be calmer and larger dogs would be less intimidated by small active children, but you would definitely want one who has been well socialize with children. You can socialize a puppy but realize they will take the most of your time with training.

We are planning on having the DFW Dog Whisper come to our house to help us learn to safely socialize our new addition with our children since she was found as a stray and we don't know her history. Remember that a new dog is just like a new child. They will require a lot of love, time and training but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Good luck.

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C.J.

answers from Dallas on

We have two children 2 and 3. We have two labs which are great if you want a larger dog. We also have a Brussels Griffon (would not suggest it) we bought for our daughter. He is a great dog, but really too small. I think a beagle would be a fabulous dog for inside and with kids.

C.C.

answers from Dallas on

you can try www.petfinder.com They have a list of every kind of dog and what they are like.

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J., I agree with the one that saide don't get a puppy. she's right, they have to be trained and that is usually a big job. Small dogs tend to be house dogs and training them is hard. Although some come trained but they tend to be a little bit snippy sometimes and bark a lot. My family has had several breeds of dogs & the best dog we've had is a lab & brittney mix. She's very smart a great hunter & loves to play with the kids. She's very affectionate & loving. We also live in the country so bigger breads are easy. At one time we had a blue heeler and he was wonderful he protected her so much but he bit if anyone or thing seemed to harm my grand daughter. Since it's their first dog, get a mixed breed, medium size maybe a border collie they are great dogs as well. My lived to be 12 years old & was my baby. Good luck in whatever you decide. God bless you & your family.

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S.L.

answers from Dallas on

I agree with Jodi..bostons are great with kids. We have a boston terrier and a Pug. My pug is awesome with kids. They are very loving mild mannered dogs. My pug thinks everyone is his friend! I would highly recommend either one, we have had both since my 6 year old was a baby. Also my husband used to have a Border Collie and he was very good too.

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H.D.

answers from Lubbock on

J.,
I would suggest some sort of lab mix. I have a lab-greyhound and we have a heeler and a heeler/collie. All three are great dogs with kids. Heelers heard kids it is really cute and Labs are very playful and easy going. No pitbulls, mastifs or chows with kids. The can turn on kids. Just a suggestions stick with the more good natured types. They will be their best friends and protective towards the kids. I also reccomend kennel training.

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

I don't know if you want an inside or an outside dog, but I will tell you what we have (that we absolutely love!)

We have two Boston Terriers. One is 5 years old and the other one is about 2 1/2 years old. They are WONDERFUL dogs. Very easily trained because they are so smart. Potty training was super easy and they are both crate trained. They are wonderful with our children (3 year old boy and 2 week old daughter).
We also have a Boxer who is 4 years old. He is absolutely wonderful with our children and everyone who comes over.
The only thing I will say about both of these breeds is that they can be very hyper (especially when you have company). But with proper training, this can be controlled. They need room to run and play, but all of ours love to snuggle. The boxer was also very easy to potty train.
Good luck finding the puppy/dog for you -- it's a great choice to raise your kids with dogs -- there's no better companion!

K.S.

answers from Dallas on

We look for a meduim size dog in a big dog body and found the minature austrailian sheppherd - we drove to Oklahoma City to get him - but he is the BEST kid dog and people dog ever. He gets along with all kids and people....very loving typical austrialian dog, but just half the size. He is about 30 lbs! My son was 3 when we got him and we have had him for about 1 1/2 years, and we get so many compliments on him! Good luck!!

K.

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

We have a 10 yr old American Cocker, 4 yr old English Cocker and 3 yr old toy poodle. We had 2 Cockers before daughter was born and never had an issue.

Our English Cocker (our 2nd English cocker) is the most active and LOVES to play. Her life is having someone throw the tennis ball. She sleeps with her tennis balls. The previous English Cocker was very active and loved to play as well.

The poodle is great but for 4 yrs old, might be a little fragile. He tends to favor me (and he is daughter's dog). This might be an issue with 2 boys.

Our American Cocker is the WORST shedder. He is the 2nd American Cocker we've had. He has never been very active or social (but we love him)

Good luck

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J.D.

answers from Dallas on

You will hear a lot of people who recommend beagles. I had beagles growing up and they are great dogs and a lot of fun, but they are stubborn and can be very food aggressive.

For two boys, I recommend a Boston Terrier if you want a medium size dog. They are extremely intelligent and great with kids.

If you want a larger dog, I highly recommend an American Bulldog. We have one and he is 6 months older than my daughter. At 106 lbs, he is the gentlest giant I have ever seen and my 2 year old sits down next to him and hand feeds him. He is so good with her and he always has been.

On the other hand, my bassett is not so good when it comes to the food thing and I don't trust to leave my daughter around her if there is anything edible in the room. Bassetts are absolutely not a good choice for small children because the child may pick them up wrong with the length of their bodies. That leads to expensive vet bills. Also, like I just mentioned, they are VERY food aggressive being hounds.

Good luck in your decision... what a great time! :)

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

I cannot say enough wonderful, fabulous things about our Boxer!!! She's mine from my 1st place on my own in College (got her for protection), and now she's 11 and has been the greatest dog of all time. She is sweet and gentle with my kids and never, ever, have I felt that she would harm them. The breed is consistently one of the best family dogs for young kids. She is extremely protective of our home, and certainly makes her presence known to strangers.

I'm actively involved as a volunteer with Legacy Boxer Rescue. If you like the breed (or even want to meet my dog, just to see), please look into LBR. There are so many in need right now!!! www.savetheboxers.org and click on "Available Boxers". Also, you can look up LBR on Facebook. They even have a litter of puppies right now!!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me!

C. McElroy
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