Any dog can be good with children, but adult dogs may have prior bad experiences -- or none at all. If you adopt an adult dog, ask about its' past history with children, or ask the shelter to test him. As long as he's okay with kids, an adult may be easier for you to cope with!
Every breed of dog can be good with children, but some make more sense than others. Consider these factors:
- Size: Large dogs can overpower or knock over small children, and can be too powerful for even an older child to take for a walk. They can also inflict more damage if they do bite. But very small dogs are too fragile to do well with young children. In general, small to medium breeds are best.
- Activity: Lethargic breeds may not be playful enough for children, and may be irritated at a child's constant efforts to get them to do something. Overly excitable dogs may feed off an already hectic household, driving you insane. In general, a playful but not overly energetic breed is best.
- Trainability: An independent dog can be extremely frustrating for a child, and a danger to both if the dog decides to run off. Trainable dogs give the child a sense of accomplishment by teaching the dog tricks. In general, a biddable breed is the best playmate for a child.
Don't forget: Sporting breeds, such as Spaniels and Retrievers, can be very active, as can herding breeds, such as Corgis and Border Collies. Hounds, such as Beagles and Whippets, can be independent, as can Terriers.