Most dogs that are raised in a family with children and given the proper training and socialisation can grow up to be calm, gentle and tolerant of kids. However, there are some dog breeds that are naturally great with kids and love being around them right from the start.
There’s a lot to love about small dog breeds—they’re cuddly, shed minimally, require less food, and easier to handle. It’s not surprising that parents tend to adopt small dogs with calm and non-aggressive temperaments because they are suitable companions for kids of all ages.
Here are the nine best small dogs for kids that will give their unconditional loyalty and affection to their little humans.
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The Havanese has a compact and sturdy body with fewer tendencies to develop hereditary health issues. The Havenese is a gorgeous canine with silky, low- to non-shedding coat. This mini-size breed is native to Cuba and is the country’s national dog. The breed’s lifespan is 14 to 15 years.
Friendly, affectionate, and good-natured, the Havanese is the best choice for families with children. Being a sturdy breed, the Havanese can keep up well with family activities, but at the same time, he can settle as a lapdog.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
A breed favoured by royalty, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was named after King Charles II. The King was deeply attached with the breed that he was always accompanied by at least three spaniels. The King Charles Spaniel is gorgeous and graceful with its long, silky, and straight coat having slight waves but never curly. The breed’s lifespan is 10-15 years.
Being a small-sized breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is perfect for apartment living. However, due to the breed’s affectionate personality, it may develop separation anxiety when ignored or left alone. As he is very eager to please, he easily gets along with children, other pets and even strangers.
One of the ancient breeds, the Pug was a favourite breed among royalties known for accompanying the emperors of China. In the past, the Pugs lived a luxurious life, guarded by soldiers and they were often depicted in popular paintings. The Pug remains one of the most popular toy breeds in the world.
The Pug makes for a wonderful family pet because of his comical and affectionate personality. Laid-back by nature, the Pug is suitable for apartment living. This breed oftentimes reflects the owner’s mood so whenever you or your kids decide to be playful or laid-back, your pug is always up for it. This pooch has an average lifespan of 12-15 years.
Often featured in movies and cartoons, the Beagle is one of the most popular breeds in the hound group. The Beagle sports a distinctive tricoloured coat that comes in a variety of colours.
The Beagle is a great choice for a family pet because of his sociable character. This charming sweet-natured pooch can be funny and naughty at times. Playful and friendly to everybody, including strangers, the Beagle will always want to be in the company of humans. If left alone for a long time, he can get into mischief. With a high-energy level, the Beagle can certainly keep up with the energy of kids during playtime. This breed has a lifespan of 10-15 years.
5. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is an energetic and sporty little dog that can keep up with children. Impeccably well-mannered, the Boston Terrier earned the moniker, “The American Gentleman”. The breed is a popular companion dog with a life expectancy of 9 to 15 years.
The Boston Terrier is a certified lapdog that will be happy staying indoors and get cuddles. He has a clownish nature and can be hyperactive which might cause troubles. With an eager-to-please personality, the Boston Terrier is easy to train.
Because the Boston Terrier is not an excessive barker, he is suitable for apartment living. With a smooth and fine coat, the Boston Terrier is easy to groom. Weekly brushing and occasional bath can be a bonding experience between the Boston Terrier and the kids.
The Maltese is a toy dog with a gorgeous silky long coat that’s simply elegant and luxurious. Despite their aristocratic and seemingly delicate bearing, the Maltese is a sturdy and alert dog that makes for a great watchdog.
The Maltese can excel in agility sports and can be a great small dog for a family with energetic children. Highly intelligent and eager to please, the Maltese responds well to rewards-based training.
This is a spunky dog with a zest for the outdoor. Because of the breed’s adaptability to any living situation, the Maltese is an ideal dog for first-time dog owners whether in the city or the countryside.
7. Poodle (Miniature and Toy)
The Miniature poodle and the Toy poodle are the mini versions of the Standard Poodle. Both varieties have extreme curls and wires that can be worn in various hairstyles with clips. Initially bred to perform in the circus, this pooch has an athletic build with remarkable agility.
Poodles are people-oriented dogs and they are gentle and patient with children. They are incredibly smart and respond well to fun and positive training methods. Poodles are eager to please and they make for a great companion for kids of any age. They are fiercely loyal to their family but it takes time for them to warm up to new people.
8. Bichon Frise
The small but sturdy Bichon Frise is a gorgeous hypoallergenic dog with a rounded head hair. Charming and smart, the Bichon Frise is an adaptable companion that’s great with children and other dogs.
The Bichons are naturally alert and curious that they make for great watchdogs. They are people-oriented dogs and love to be the centre of attention. As affectionate furballs, the Bichons love playtimes with the children. They can quickly learn new tricks and training them can be a great bonding activity with the kids.
9. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is a stocky and study dog built as an all-around utility dog. Tough and muscular, the Miniature Schnauzer is a dedicated farm dog and fierce ratter. This highly trainable breed is a great companion for a family with children.
This friendly little furball has incredible adaptability. The Miniature Schnauzer can adapt well to city living or country living as long as he is kept close to his family. His calm temperament tolerates even small children. He also makes for a good watchdog as it is wary of strangers but would most likely keep his distance rather than show extreme aggression.