What dogs should i get ? ( full guide )

In my last post I talked a bit about how we should use common sense when choosing our pet, specifically our dog. Today I want to reinforce that point by providing you with a list of the best dog breeds for families . Based on my experience, that of breeders and several texts that I have read, I hope I can help you if you are thinking of having a new pet. Let’s get started!

All dogs, both purebred and non-purebred, can be excellent company as long as they are lovingly trained

Having pets implies responsibility and care, which is why we must be willing to dedicate ourselves to them. While all dogs can be excellent company as long as they are lovingly trained, there are some breeds with particularities of physical build and character that can make them more conducive to family life. We tell you which are the best dog breeds for children and families. 

It is important to note that it is best to adopt pets that need a home before buying them. Not only do homeless animals need it, but it is a gesture that teaches children a lot

Best dog breeds for kids and families

Although it is complex to talk about better or worse breeds because the education and treatment that a dog receives in a family will be key to having a pet that can live without problems, there are more friendly breeds and others with stronger character or more closely related genetics to the defense.

The range is very wide. There are more than 700 breeds of dogs and, of course, there are some more docile, ideal for living in a family environment; others that have a need for constant physical activity, such as the Labrador or the Golden Retriever, and are not good for an apartment; and others who have more aggressive instincts and that it is better to put aside if we have children who can pull their ears and things like that, or if we receive many friends at home, for example (You can see: Sleeping with the enemy? of dogs should be avoided at home).

Half Blood

It is good to start with the dogs that, in general, are the ones that need adoption the most: crosses them, the mongrels. Kennels and pet homes or humane societies are full of companion animals looking for a home. Adopting a mongrel puppy or an adult dog is an excellent option for children, because they are usually very affectionate and unconditional.

Labrador retriever

It is a highly recommended breed for the home. They are affectionate and easy to educate. They have an affectionate, friendly personality and are easy to educate or train. This breed enjoys outdoor activity and is passionate about swimming. They are medium in size and because they are dogs that have a lot of energy, they are ideal for spacious homes with a patio where they can play.

For their helpful and caring sense, Labradors are excellent company for children, as they will protect them at all times.

Collie

Popular friend of children, he has a strong family instinct and a great sense of ownership, which also makes him a good guardian. He is loyal, adores boys and protects them with zeal. Its medium size requires open spaces and fresh air in which it can run and play. It is not a department dog. It is an intelligent dog and easy to train.

Golden retriever

With a calm temperament and a docile personality, the Golden Retriever is extremely sociable, intelligent and good-natured. It adapts very well to living at home, provided the necessary exercise is provided. He is sociable, intelligent, caring, friendly, trusting and of a balanced character. They are great companions for children and large families. Lovers of the water, like the Labradors, the Golden takes his life as play and fun, demanding attention to perform physical activity.

If we have children, we must consider that they are breeds that can more tolerate some type of childish game such as pulling the tail or the ears. The most recommended are the Labrador, the Boxer and the Golden Retriever.

Spanish Greyhound

It is an obedient and calm dog. He may be a bit shy, so it can be difficult to win his affection, but he is still a great companion dog. With its owners it is faithful and can be very sweet.

Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is a cheerful, affectionate dog with inexhaustible energy. Energetic and playful by nature, this pet requires a great deal of activity and exercise, making them excellent companions for more active people.

They are tremendously faithful and adapt to a multitude of situations: work, protection or company. In general, they are also very sociable and love to play and physical activity, perfect for supporting a young child’s trot.

German shepherd

They are active, curious and territorial, characteristics that make them great guard dogs: they can even become a bit overprotective with their family, and therefore can take time to socialize with people outside their family or even with other dogs. They have a knack for learning tasks and are obedient. It is recommended that children grow up together with the puppy.

Newfoundland

Although their appearance is a bit scary, they are calm, friendly and unpretentious dogs. They adapt well to everything and are lovers of the family environment, especially if there are children.

A pet benefits children on multiple levels: it helps to develop bonds of affection, empathy and care, favors the development of verbal and non-verbal communication and stimulates movement

Saint Bernard

He is loyal and peaceful. They love children and are very protective. It is a gentle and affectionate breed. Due to their large size, they require wide spaces to function, so it is not recommended to have them in an apartment. They suffer from the heat.

Due to its size, care must be taken to socialize the dog correctly in order to prevent it from reacting negatively to unfamiliar people in defense of its territory.

Beagle

They are smaller dogs, which makes them a great option if we don’t have much space. They have a great sense of smell. They are characterized by being cheerful, patient, docile and intelligent.

They adore boys and never tire of playing. They are a bit stubborn. You have to be patient when it comes to “educating” them. Their training may take a bit longer compared to other breeds such as the Golden or the Labrador Retriever.

Boxer

Energetic and passionate, they are an active breed that adores children. It is very difficult to find a breed with such a complete and balanced character. They are protectors and guardians of the family, they ensure that children will be safe at all times and are characterized by adapting to the type of home.

A fact: they are emotionally demanding and require a good dose of daily physical activity so that you can discharge your energy while playing.

Breeds such as Rottweiler, Doberman, Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro and others potentially dangerous due to their aggressive profile, are not suitable for households with children.

Schnauzer

It is a breed with a lot of variety among its specimens, both in size and coat. In general, all of them are very versatile for family life, but the Dwarf Schnauzer is the best of them as a companion dog. They have innate qualities for vigilance, they pay constant attention to everything around them, which together with their complicity with people, make them a good friend to children. He will take care of them and will play smoothly.

Pug

Faithful, sensitive, cheerful and friendly, he is a great playmate for children. It is lazy, so it is appropriate for people who are homemakers and do not like to play sports.

Irish setter

It is characterized by its reddish hair, long ears and its sweet expression. It is ideal for families looking to train an intelligent dog and want to spend time with it. It is a very energetic breed and has a very good relationship with children. It is a playful and affectionate dog, they are known for their cheerful nature, especially when they are puppies. He is mischievous and known for his intelligence and being very clean. It can be an ideal pet for children, as they can play with them for hours.

Tips for choosing the right pet for your family

Thinking of getting a family pet?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers some helpful tips and things to consider before choosing an animal.

Before choosing a pet, consider your child’s developmental level. 

  • If you are looking for a pet as a companion for your child, it is a good idea to wait until he is mature enough to take care of the animal and care for it when he is around 5 or 6 years old. Younger children have a hard time distinguishing an animal from a toy, so they may inadvertently cause a bite by teasing or treating the animal badly.
  • If your child is ready, from a developmental point of view, first of all talk about the needs of the animal and everything that goes into caring for the pet. Some books on pet care you find in the library may help your child understand responsibility. Visit a friend or family member who has a pet and let your child see for himself what it takes to care for a pet.

Some pets have good character and are more suitable to be around children. 

  • Dogs such as Labradors, oldenre triever(golden retriever) and beagles (hound) tend to be affectionate with children. Other breeds, such as Boxers, German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, and Doberman Pinschers , as well as French Poodles, can be more unpredictable. When choosing a pet, take into account the characteristics of the animal.

And in the case of allergies?

  • Dander (dead skin cells, hairs, and feathers) from some animals can cause allergic symptoms in certain children. If your child has allergies (eczema, allergic rhinitis, asthma ) or if there is a long history of allergic disorders in your family, it may not be a good idea to bring a pet home. Consult with your pediatrician or a local veterinarian

And in the case of diseases?

  • Almost all types of pets are a potential source of illness that can infect your child. For example, all reptiles can be carriers and transmitters of the salmonella bacteria, which cause severe diarrhea. However, as long as your child follows reasonable hygiene practices, especially washing their hands after playing with a pet and before eating, they are safe. 

Be mindful of the time your family has to care for a pet.

  • Some pets, such as dogs or cats , require attention every day. They have to be fed, brushed, cleaned after they relieve themselves, and taken out to exercise. Other pets such as fish, turtles, birds , guinea pigs, and hamsters require minimal attention, and might be a good option for a younger child who needs to learn what it means to have a pet or for a family with less time to spend. dedicate. A fish like goldfish only needs to be fed every two or three days and the water changed from time to time. A dog cannot be neglected for even one day.

Is it better to start with a young pet or an older one?

  • Look for a pet with good character. An older animal is generally a good choice for a child, because puppies or kittens may bite just from playing. However, it is preferable to avoid older pets that have been raised in a home without children.
  • Only buy dogs from reputable kennels and shelters. Otherwise, you are at greater risk of buying a sick animal and endangering both your child and yourself.

Precautions to avoid animal bites:

While most animals are friendly, some can be dangerous. Children between the ages of 5 and 9, more than any other age group, are victims of animal bites; about 5% of all children this age are bitten by animals each year. Children between the ages of 9 and 14 are the next most common victims of animal bites

As a parent, you have the ultimate responsibility for the safety of your child around any animal, whether it be your own pets, neighborhood pets, or wild animals. Here is a guide to what to talk about with your child.

  • Do not disturb or be abusive to animals . Treat your pet humanely so that it enjoys the company of humans. For example, don’t tie a dog on a short leash or chain, as extreme restraint will make him anxious and aggressive. Don’t let your child bother your pet by pulling on its tail or taking a toy or bone away from it. Make sure you do not disturb the animal when it is sleeping or eating.

–Deliberate animal abuse is a cause for concern and you should discuss this with your child’s pediatrician. If your child continues to bother animals after you have talked about it and made it clear that it is cruel and dangerous, it may be good for your child to receive guidance, either from a pediatrician or a mental health professional.

  • Never leave a young child alone with an animal. Many bites occur during rough play because the child does not realize that the animal is overexcited. Incidents in which a dog, for example, aggressively attacks without being provoked are rare. Teach your child not to put his face near an animal’s face.
  • Find out which neighbors have pets.  Get your child to know the pets he is likely to come in contact with. Teach him to greet a dog: The child should stand still while the dog sniffs, and then he can slowly reach out to pet the animal.
  • Never pet unfamiliar cats or dogs . Warn your child to stay out of yards where there are dogs that seem nervous or hostile. Teach older children the signs of a dangerous dog: stiff body, stiff “half-mast” tail, hysterical barking, crouching posture, and staring. Also, be careful when handling puppies or kittens when they are with their mother.
  • If a strange animal approaches or chases you, stay still . Tell your child not to run, not to ride a bike, not to kick, and not to make threatening gestures. Do not make direct eye contact, back up slowly, and avoid sudden movements, always keeping the dog in sight. If your child is riding a bike and is being pursued by a dog, he should not try to get away by pedaling quickly. Instead, he should stop the bike and get off, so that the bike is between him and the dog. In short, the animal is likely to lose interest in a target that is not moving.
  • Teach your child to avoid all undomesticated animals . Wild animals can carry very serious diseases that could be transmitted to humans. Fortunately, most wild animals only come out at night and tend to hide from humans. Avoid contact with rodents and other wild animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes), as they can carry diseases ranging from hantavirus to bubonic plague and from toxoplasmosis up to rage. A wild animal in your yard or in your neighborhood during the day could have an infectious disease, such as rabies; you should call your local public health authorities.

To avoid wild animal bites : Inform the health department whenever you see an animal that appears to be sick or injured, or one that is behaving strangely. Do not try to catch or carry the animal.

If your child is bitten by a pet or other animal : Do not ignore the wound as it can become infected: they are more common from cat bites than from dog bites. Make sure all the dogs or cats you have are fully vaccinated against rabies so that both your pet and family are protected. Wild animal bites should be promptly examined by a pediatrician, and public health recommendations for treatment to prevent rabies should be followed. Often times, the psychological damage associated with an animal bite is at least as serious as the wound itself. Once a dog bites you, or even growls loudly, your child may be afraid of all dogs and other animals for life

10 questions to ask yourself before getting a dog

Are you going to have a dog for the first time? If so, be sure to read the recommendations of Eli & Santi, experts in canine education. They give you the keys to give the best welcome to the new member of the family.

Having a dog, or any other pet, is a great responsibility. And if it is the first, many doubts arise that it is better that we clarify before to avoid problems. We have asked Santi Vidal and Eli Hinojosa, from the Mas que Guau canine center, two leaders in dog education, about what we should know before adopting or buying our partner. 

Is it better to buy or adopt?

Incorporating a new member to the family is, first of all, an act of responsibility , a thoughtful decision and in which what it means to have a dog in all aspects has been well valued, including economic and acceptance by all components of the family. Once you have thought about it, if you decide to have a dog, without a doubt adopting is the best option.. It is an excellent opportunity to have a dog because we want to enjoy the experience and at the same time we are improving three lives, ours, that of the newly adopted who will finally have a dignified life and that of a third who can be rescued and take the place of our dog in the shelter. If you have any prejudice regarding the purchase, you have to put it aside and enjoy the possibility of choosing someone for the family, being able to choose their personality and physical traits that interest you. When we choose a puppy we have no guarantee of a role model. However, when we adopt we have much more information about what that dog is like and if it fits what we are looking for.

What should I take into account when choosing the type of dog?

We must assess whether our life model is very active or, on the other hand, it is rather relaxed and we like to spend a lot of time at home. We must also take into account  if we have children at home or elderly people . All this will help us to choose the right one that can most easily adapt to our family. We must listen to what the shelter keepers recommend us, because they are the ones who know the dog best, and make a mixbetween his advice and what we are seeing. It is also convenient to assess the emotional state of the dog we choose, if it has any behavioral problems and our experience with dogs. They are all adoptable. And everyone will improve, leaving their past behind. But if you have little experience, it is better that the dog you choose does not pose too high a challenge at first.

Is it advisable to expand the family if we are pregnant?

It is always advisable to adopt, but it is interesting to assess the moment of pregnancy. It is not the same to be eight months than three. If the pregnancy is very advanced, it may be better to wait for the child to be born and wait until we have adapted to the new routines.  If the pregnancy is still incipient, adopting does not bring any problem. The important consideration is that we take into account the changes that will happen in a few months and accustom the newcomer to the life that we will have and not be excessively dependent.

Dogs, in general, do not take the presence of children badly. On the contrary, what they do wrong is that we turn their lives upside down with abrupt changes. If we get used to these changes gradually, we should not have any problem with the arrival of the baby. When dogs have moderate stress levels, they are able to realize that the newcomer is a ‘puppy’ and empathize with him, becoming more delicate and even showing interest in caring for and protecting him . On the other hand, if stress is high (and sudden changes in routines cause stress) the opposite can happen and our dog may not take the change well. 

I live in an apartment, is it a problem to have a dog or cat?

No problem. For dogs, even large ones, being around people is wonderful. Many of our clients tell us in amazement that their dog has a large garden and, instead, always wants to be indoors. A dog is happier in a 30-square-meter apartment if it has a proper walking routine, than on a ten-hectare farm where it cannot live with its owners. For them it is important to be part of the family and living outside a house does not favor this. It is the same with cats: they love to have their own places inside the house and, except for times when they feel the call of nature if they are not neutered, they do not show much interest in leaving their comfort zone.

If it’s a puppy, when can I start taking it outside?

Veterinary logic and the prevention of infections require that the puppy go outside when he has all the vaccines in place. We recommend a compromise between prevention and not neglecting the importance of socialization . Puppies need to know environments, people, objects and other dogs, this being especially important until 16 weeks, because that is when socialization is easier and more intense. That is why we suggest that the puppy go outside as soon as possible, on short walks and in places where the probability of contagion is very low. Never take him to parks or pipicanes in this period, but to places little traveled by other dogs and notifying the owner if he is willing to accept that small risk to access other benefits.

If he has a behavior problem, what do you advise us to do?

First, assess whether it really is a behavior problem or, simply, completely normal situations in certain stages of life. Many people think that a puppy or young dog should behave well and this is not possible. We cannot expect an 8-month-old dog to behave like a three-year-old. Like a 15-year-old human being, he cannot behave like a 35-year-old man. The goal of raising puppies and young dogs is not to make them behave well, it is to prepare them to become balanced and smooth dogs in maturity. That is why we recommend that owners assess the frequency and intensity of what they consider to be a problem.

For a young dog ever to get bored and break something inappropriate at home is normal. Eating half a house every day is a problem. If we believe that there really is a problem, these are some tips: the first would be to try to remain calm and not get angry. Yelling, punishing or shaking our dog will not solve the problem , the opposite will probably be achieved. The second thing would be to review the routines of walks and interaction with us. Some quality walks accompanied without excessive attention, caresses, demands, etc. can improve the problem. Finally, if the behavior persists, it is advisable to consult. 

Is it better I think or homemade food?

The best diet for a dog is raw food within a balanced diet, such as the BARF diet (acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). There is a lot of information on the internet about how to create a diet of this type for the needs of each dog. But obviously this leads to more discomfort and is not as comfortable as feeding our dog with feed. When an owner does not have time, or his life model does not facilitate being able to use BARF diets, then the recommendation is the use of dry food. But it is important that we use a good feed, especially in some stages of life. It is not a good idea that the base of the diet is cheap food from the supermarket. Food not only influences physical and health aspects. It can also influence behavior.

Is it normal for dog to eat his stool?

For a dog to eat its feces sporadically or those of another dog or other species (including humans) is completely normal, although it is very unpleasant for us. On the other hand, if you do it obsessively and frequently, it is a clear symptom of a problem. It could be a problem of stress or related to food and a lack of some nutrient . Some adopted dogs have this problem temporarily. As soon as their lives improve and they regain a proper walking routine, the problem usually goes away. In any case, getting angry or punishing him will not improve anything. 

Should I train him with a trainer when he is a puppy?

Among the priorities in the education of a puppy, obedience is none of them. The priority in the education of puppies is that they grow up confident, with full confidence in us and that they can experiment and explore to integrate into different environments,to interact with different animals, objects, people and places and not be afraid of these situations in their adulthood. When they are puppies, we should not think too much about rewarding or punishing (the latter should NEVER be done). It is better to focus our efforts so that what we do not like does not happen. When something cannot happen, it is not learned. For example, if we anticipate that our puppy will steal our dinner and simply prevent him from taking it, without getting angry, he will learn that this is not possible and will stop trying.

A visit of a couple of hours by an expert or a specialized center could be enough, and is even recommended, to guide us on how to do things right. What we do not recommend would be to hire a trainer to do a visitation program to train our puppy in obedience.

If you have separation anxiety, what do I do?

Separation anxiety is a serious condition. A great idea would be for everyone to know how to prevent it. Learning to be alone is something very unnatural for a dog, so it is highly recommended not to leave them alone at first, until they feel comfortable and safe in the house and then do it gradually and pleasantly . Punishing dogs or generating more fear (using, for example, an anti-bark collar) makes them more dependent and insecure and this does not favor learning to be alone and realizing that it is not bad, but something normal and inevitable in our models of life. For this reason, if it is suspected that the dog has developed this pathology, it is necessary to turn to a professional as soon as possible

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