Thinking About a Dog for Christmas; Would like Input on Breed, Puppy Vs. Young..

Updated on October 30, 2011
L.N. asks from Nashville, TN
22 answers

So, we are thinking about getting our kids a dog for Christmas.

Slight back story - when my son was younger we had two dogs, who we just loved. My daughter came along and one of the dogs turned on her; growled, snapped, etc. Obviously it was not safe to have the dog around her and so we found them a new home together, since they had been together since they were puppies.

The kids have been asking for a dog for awhile and we often go to the local animal shelter to play with the dogs and take them for walks. My son is definitely at the age, now, where he would do well to be able to have that "best bud" bond with a dog.

What we have in mind is a mid-size to larger breed dog...

So, here is what I would love for some feedback on:

1. Breed - what breed do you have? What do you like/dislike about the breed? Do you have young children around it?

2. We are debating between puppy vs. a young adult dog. While we love the idea of adopting a young adult dog, I am fearful of it having "hidden" qualities - e.g. I would have never expected our previous dog to have turned on my daughter as she had always done well with kids (hence the reason I gave the "back story")

Just looking for some thoughts as we consider this as a possible Christmas present or just sometime in the not-too-distant future.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Addendum: My kids are 10 and 4. Yes, I stay at home so I would be around during the day. We actually have the dog whisper book here - good stuff!

To answer the question posted - of course that was me that posted, to say otherwise would be stupid because you can go straight to the link that Diana ƸӜƷ D put in her "response" I have nothing to hide.
The quick answer - the moving issue was resolved - it was a question that I should not have posted, was premature and done in a moment of panic - it was not relevant as we were going to take the dogs with us.
The behavior issues arose after the post - at which point we contacted a trainer, who found a good home for the dogs, without kids.
I am fully aware that pets are not a commodity or something to be tossed aside - to suggest otherwise would be to state the obvious - you. don't. know. me.

Now - the Christmas idea - you all have some really valid points with Christmas and I appreciate those. They are definitely something to seriously consider.
Breeds - thank you for the thoughts, I really appreciate it!

Featured Answers



answers from Augusta on

Sheltie Mix. Shelties are great family dogs. GREAT with kids.
LOVE them. They are very smart and easy to train.
We've got two one yr old Sheltie/Pointer mix litter mates. They are great dogs , they do need lots of exercise but with two kids one that's ADHD they get lots of exercise.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

Boxers, labs, golden retrievers are great family dogs. I have a pug and I will always own a pug. They are wonderful dogs and amazing with kids.

More Answers


answers from Phoenix on


Were these two dogs you got rid, for bad behavior, the same two dogs you wanted to get rid of back in 2008 because and I quote you, "We have two wonderful dogs and need to find them a home. We will be moving to a new home in January and are not going to be able to take them with us."

In the ad, L., you placed on mamapedia, you said they were "They are super sweet, good with kids, good with people, good with other dogs and other animals."

Perhaps it is best if you reconsider getting a pet. Having a pet is a lifetime commitment. It's worse to get a pet and give it up than to never get one in the first place.

A pet is not a toy to be given at Christmas, only to be tossed aside when the novelty wears off, the family is relocating and taking the pet is just too much of a hassle, the kids aren't that great with the pet, the family has no time to properly socialize and train the pets, the family gives up on the pets too the slightest inconvenience or even, substantial medical bill.


"Desperately need to find a home for two dogs

We have two wonderful dogs and need to find them a home. We will be moving to a new home in January and are not going to be able to take them with us. They are super sweet, good with kids, good with people, good with other dogs and other animals. One is a 3 1/2 year old German Shepherd mix and the other is a 2 1/2 year old lab mix, both are around 60 pounds. They are both housebroken and have been kept up to date on all shots. They have been together since they were puppies, so we want to try to keep them together.
We have tried all of the Humane organizations (e.g. Happy Tales) around the area, have listed them on, visited our local vet, sent out emails, etc, etc.
Please! Any help or suggestions you can give, I would really appreciate it! Thanks. "

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

NO gift animals during the holidays....too much other stuff going on. Wait until spring time.

Labs are good family animals


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I grew up around dogs. My granny had a Palmeranian and she was so adorable. She loved to chase the squirrels. lol I had a mut mix dog and she was so sweet and gentle.

Golden Retrievers are very mild mannered and gentle with children. Mastif's can be gentle too.

Labs are great too! If you have a big yard, Terriers are very active, funny and loves to play.

And of course raising a dog from a pup size is always best. Dogs will pick up any body language you show. He/she will pick up tension, fear, anger, stress, happiness, calmness etc. They respond to body language.

I love watching the Dog Whisperer. I have gotten so much information from Cesar Milan. He's awesome with dogs. Such a great guy!

You're going to make one puppy a very happy puppy! :-D Oh, and of course your kiddos are going to remember this Christmas forever!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

We have a yellow lab and my kids absolutely adore her and she them. She was 1 when our oldest son was born. She's never once shown any aggression toward either one of them. She is now 8 and has lupus so we are very careful about how aggressive they get with her (the little one tries to climb on her/ride her). She is 90+ lb. dog but as gentle as can be. When she was a puppy I would mess with her while she was eating, I taught her "no bite", "off", "sit", "stay", "down" and other basics. I think dog training is necessary if you do get a puppy. Labs are amazing family dogs ~ the only downfall is that they are "puppies" for 2-3 years :) but it can also be a good thing with the proper training.

My MIL breads Golden Retrievers. They too are amazing family dogs. One of the main reasons we didn't go with a Golden is b/c I am allergic to their long fur.

My Mom has 2 boxers and my sister had 1. They are great with the kids but love to be lazy and hang out too. If they weren't so sensitive to being outside in the cold I would consider getting one myself. They are very sweet, loving dogs.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

A dog can be a great family member, but not so great a Christmas present. Think of it as a baby (or young child) coming into your home to stay. The joy, noise, and confusion of Christmas can make the adjustment much more difficult than a quieter period of time would do.

If it were me, and I had definitely decided we needed a dog, I might give the family a dog leash and bowl for Christmas as a "teaser," and announce that some time after Christmas, when the right dog is found, the family will adopt it. That gives you time to do lots of homework.

My husband and I have raised pups for Canine Companions for Independence, so we've had experience with Labs, Golden Retrievers, and mixtures of the two. Their temperaments are generally very good, but how they're raised and treated makes a difference. Just like children, temperament differs even among pups of the same litter.

Any dog, however sweet, who is teased, hurt (even in friendly play), or frightened by a child - or grown-up - can become defensive and growl or snap out of fear. Some older dogs become stressed out by young children, probably also out of some sort of worry.

You can research different breeds - I believe there is an online organization for every dog breed (including mixed-breeds) on the planet! Pick people's brains. Talk not only animal shelters but to your local animal-adoption agencies. Many of the agencies do a lot of temperament testing, in order for the match to be a success. A friend of mine fosters for one of our local ones, and she interviews anybody who wants to adopt one of her foster pets. She's pretty demanding, too!

Outside of our CCI pups, most of our other dogs came to us, as it were - they'd show up in the yard and just stay. They were of varying ages and breeds, and most did just fine with our kids and their friends. The only major trouble we had was with a German Shepherd who decided to become too protective of the family. It was very sad because the kids loved him.

If you adopt a puppy, someone has to be responsible for training him, taking him out every hour until it's reliably house-trained, feeding him, supervising his play, socializing him, teaching him manners, etc., etc., etc. That work usually falls to Mama, even if it's the children's dog, because children just aren't responsible enough. (If a new little person came to your home, you'd let six-year-old brother help, but you wouldn't expect him to raise the baby.)

Hope this helps a bit. I hope you find your forever dog!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I did a mess of research and went with Golden Retriever. I needed a sturdy dog, that if a kid accidentally fell on them they would be fine but also a patient dog so if they fell on him they wouldn't get attacked.

My youngest at the time was three when we brought her home. Never growled, never even showed teeth. She was seven when number three was starting to walk. He always used her featherings to pull himself up. She would just look at me like you had to have more didn't you? but never moved an inch so not to topple the baby.

I will always recommend a Golden to anyone with kids who wants a bigger dog.

Oh added bonus, wicked smart and easy to train, it is like they want to please you.

Oh our dog was a Christmas present but all that was under the tree was the card saying a dog was coming. She was born January 28 and came home on March 10th.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

I went through this exact same thing 6 years ago...I did lots of research because I didn't want to have a lot of hair to deal with nor did I want a big dog because it was going to be in the house.

Austalian Shepherd's are GREAT dogs for a family. We have a mini Aussie and he is the best gift we ever bought.

He does not shed hardly at all, he is very loving and good with all the family members. Aussie's are typically a working dog but we have not had any issues with Chewy. We give him a large ball and the back yard and he chases and herds the ball and it is great entertainment.

Good luck. Do your research and if you have any more Aussie questions let me know.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Whether Christmas is the right time to get a dog or not I don't know, some said no but whatever I will just answer what kind of dog I have. We have had outside dogs that the kids played with, we had Great Dane, Cocker, Collie, and Poodle in the house. We always come back to Poodle for in the house. They don't shed, are very gentle with kids and learn very quickly. We had a miniature when the kids were younger and she was 'family' and died at 17 yrs. old. All the kids loved her and the grandkids even loved her, the ones we had then. Now we have a Standard Poodle who is 70 lbs. and still gentle, just big and can bump little kids if not careful. He loves the grandchildren and is so smart he is like a person. I can say something and he knows it already. I think some people, especially men, think they are sissy dogs but they are not. I'd recommend either miniature or standard Poodle.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

don't get an english bulldog. they are great with kids but very hard to train and are STUPID. we have one and its our second!

we had a mutt that was half schnauzer and our neighbors also had a schnauzer. it was our dogs mom and they were both minnies! friends had two schnauzer dogs while growing up and they lived a very long time.

i also had a boxer and LOVED it. but not sure how old your kids are as they do actually box with ppl! super fun active dogs.

Can i also not recomend a chihuahua as they are aggressive dogs if not trained properly.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Be very careful about getting a dog for Christmas. You don't say how old your children are now...are they old enough to understand how to treat a dog? Are you ready for the amount of work it is to house train a puppy? If you are already frazzled and overwhelmed, bringing in a puppy that pees/poops everywhere and chews everything in sight is not going to help your stress level...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New Orleans on

We have a mini daschund.(a boy) We adopted him in March of this year which he was 10 months old at the time. He's good around are kids. Never bit or snap at our children. But if anyone bangs of knocks on our door he starts barking like crazy. We had to put him in another room or his cage because he seems like he wants to snap or bite at people. Someone told us Daschunds are good dogs as pets but are very overprotective of children. He only weighs about 10-12 pounds and is about a year in a half old now. About the size of a cat. To be honest I kinda like "small" dogs. Almost everyone in our family has some allergie issues,and he's really short hair which kinda helps the hair issues from a dog.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

When I knew I was gonna get a dog....I researched for a dog that didn't shed (couldn't stand the hair all over the house). I got a Yorkie and a Shitzu. But be mindful...whatever breed you always have to monitor children and the dog. A dog can be agressive when food is involved...or if it is accidently tripped over while it is sleeping. To be quite honest with you...a dog is alot of work and dedication...and expensive.Their newness wears off fast and the parents are left with the chore of the dog. Frankly, that is why the SPCA does not adopt out animals in December....too many of them are returned. Makes great Christmas photos....but a dog has feeling too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


There are several things I don't know.

How much of a yard you have.
Will you be able to spend time with the dog during the day - are you a SAHM?

I would NOT give a puppy to a child for Christmas - that is just MY opinion. I truly believe that a dog or any pet, needs to be checked out by ALL of the family.

I prefer puppies - then YOU get to train it. You don't have to worry about what someone else did to the dog.

This doesn't mean that a young adult dog can't be adopted. We have adopted an young adult dog and had him for over 7 years - he died at 14.5 years in December 2008.

We have a Boxer/Pitbull mix and Grady is the best puppy dog ever - he is VERY loving, VERY well behaved.

I've had a German Shepard mix, Australian Shepard, Great Pyrenees and full pit bull. I've never had problems with them.

Don't be afraid to spend the day with the dog with everyone!!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Joseph on

geesh, dont know what crawled up Diana's butt today....some people do actually put human beings, like their own children, ahead of an animal.... that being said, I have read and seen on many animal tv shows that Labs are great with families and kids. There are a lot of dogs that are great with kids. I do think getting a pup would be best simply because then you are the one to train, you know the animals history and then the dog "grows up" with your kids so there is no shock value of coming into a home with young children. I, personally, would love love love to get a Siberian Husky. They are extremely loyal and are just awesome dogs. it will be a few years at least for us though, we have a small house, our yard isnt fenced and we have a 2 1/2 year old and 11 month old twins. no way we could give a dog the proper ammount of attention and discipline. I think a dog for a Christmas gift is a wonderful idea. dont listen to anyone who says otherwise!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I would suggest an adult dog. As for breed I prefer mutts or coonhounds. I've had both (and spent tons of time with rottweiler, cocker spaniel, lab, shitzu, and dachshund), but the mutt was the absolute best dog we've ever owned. She was a Christmas present for our son many years ago and we never once regretted getting her.

We wanted an adult that was already at least partially house trained and obedience trained. Dogs are a big commitment, as you know, but puppies are more work. She was 4 years old when we got her, so well past the puppy stage, yet she was still full of energy. She and my son quickly became best friends and spent hours playing outside together. They were nearly inseparable for the 8 years she was with us before she passed away.

Since you have a 4 year old I think an adult dog would be better because they are usually calmer (at least in my experience). If you got the dog from the shelter they would probably know if the dog was good with kids. You said y'all play with and walk dogs at the shelter, so maybe you could let the kids spend some time with a few that you like to see which one would be best for your family.

Good luck, and I think the dog is a wonderful idea for Christmas!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

pugs are really mom has one and her grandchildren are always over and messing and playing and picking its front legs up dancing with him and he has never tried to bite or grow or anything

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Pugs are some the best dogs on the planet, especially with kids. They are small but sturdy and have much better temperments than most toy breed dogs. They are just super-sweet and love to just play and cuddle and be around you all the time. They do have their fair share of health issues, including the fact that they have the "smushed-in" faces that can sometimes cause respiratory problems. But then again, I have 2 pugs and they are fine. I have to be careful with them in hot weather though - if it's 90 degrees and the middle of summer, they can't tolerate being outside for any longer than it takes to go the bathroom. They don't drool, but they do snore and shed like crazy. But then again, why not just consider a dog from the shelter since you guys like going there and walking them anyway? Then you can hopefully get a better idea if one in particular will do well in your family if you spend some one-on-one time with it.

That being said, I would not get a new dog or puppy at Christmas - too much other stuff going on, and not that you would do this, but too often people think a pet would be a great Christmas gift, only to realize too late how much work and how much of a commitment they really are. They are not toys that you can get bored with and toss aside. Also, it's no fun trying to house-train a puppy in winter! Wait until spring - the weather will be warmer for taking the puppy out more frequently and your younger child will be a little older too (I usually recommend waiting until kids are 5 and up before introducing a new pet into the home).



answers from Dallas on

I know you are going to get a ton of different responses all over the place. When we were looking for a pet we had no clue what to look for and had the worst time trying to get unbiased opinions on the certain breeds, ages, temperments. We finally decided on cats as we both have very busy, long days and no back yard to speak of. I was recently given this book as a gift and even though I don't have a dog I am recommending it because after working in the veterinary field for almost 10 years this is the best Dog Manual I have found. It goes through the entire process of picking the right dog for your lifestyle and so much more.

BTW, I am very partial to Beagles. In general any dog can be taught to be good around children although an older adult dog is more discriminating.



answers from Washington DC on

We have a Corgi and he is AWESOME!
Corgis are smaller -- smaller dog, smaller poop. Ours thinks he's a big dog. He is sweet. He is easily trained. Love love love my corgi! (He is also my last dog. I am home, but I've found that I'm busy... I don't have time for the dog and neither do the kids...)

That said -- don't get a dog for Christmas. Get a dog in the early summer so you can have help -- as the kids will be home for summer vacation.




answers from Houston on

I have a 150 lb great pyrenees, and a 9 lb daschsund.
The pyrenees is fantastic with my kids, is the most protective dog I have ever known. If one of my kids (3 and 9) fall, or cry out, he takes off like a shot, and stands over them until I get there. They are well known for their protecting. He protects us, kids, property. He is the best, I love him so!
The daschsund, like so many tiny dogs is nervous, and runs from my kids, he doesn't listen at all, eats his own poo, and my dog and cats poo, licks my pyr's butthole and winky, and is just a nasty dog. I am not a big fan of small dogs, I really don't see much point to them - this one was my FIL, and we look after it now, I pet him and love on him a bit, but I would never have a little dog by choice.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions