A few posts back I wrote about what breeds of dogs are best for households with young children. I put a lot of emphasis not on dog breed but dog characteristics. In this post on the best small dogs for kids, I’ll put some more specific emphasis on breeds.

But I encourage you to take a look at the previous post for a well-rounded discussion of best dogs for kids. In essence, I agree with many other dog authorities. When asked about small dogs for kids the answer isn’t so simple. As the folks over at Small Dog Place put it:

As parents who are interested in getting a family dog, we often wonder if one breed is better than another for our children. The answer may be more complex than the average parent wants to hear.

In the end, it’s true that small dogs for kids can be great because, due to their size, they are often much easier to manage in an already busy household than a large dog. The main thing to consider is the dog’s level of physical robustness along with its sociability and tolerance for the often rough and unpredictable handling a young child can dish out.

The 6 Best Small Dogs for Kids

And while you can’t make blanket statements about any breed when it comes to these characteristics, the following breeds tend to do pretty well in these departments. With that said, let’s take a look at some of my favorites in no particular order.

small dogs for kids1. Bichon Frises are generally fantastic fuzzy playmates for young kids. They are usually happy go lucky fluff balls that don’t shed (making them hypo-allergenic), have a great sense of humor (yes, dogs have a sense of humor) and love to play.


the best small dogs for kids2. Miniature poodles have many of the same characteristics of Bichon Frises although in some cases they can be more aloof and physically fragile. That said, on the whole poodles of any size are fantastic family companions. Absurdly smart, loving and intuitive, they can adapt well to just about any situation.

What are the Best Small Dogs for Kids3. Maltese are also excellent dogs for young kids. They compensate for their small size, often ranging only between 3-7 pounds, with a massive personality and fun loving outlook on life. They are usually cheerful and fun family companions.


small dogs4. Maltipoo – a Maltese/Poodle mix – combine the best of the best. They are usually fun loving, playful, easy to train and physically robust. The main thing to watch out for is that since they are not a recognized AKC breed many of them come from terrible puppy mills.


dogs for kids5. Corgis are another great breed for active families with kids. Extremely good-natured, social and highly intelligent, the are considerably larger than the breeds mentioned above and are probably more accurately described as medium sized dogs.

However, their short legs put them firmly in as a contender in the small dog group. They are physically tolerant, fun loving and friendly. The downside is that they shed like mad and can develop problems with chronic barking if that’s not checked early on.

pugs are good small dogs for kids6. Pugs are fantastic, fun little dogs. Like the others, the have a great sense of humor. On top of that they are just comical in their demeanor and appearance. Curious, playful and generally quite tolerant these former lapdogs for Chinese emperors can easily make fantastic companions for your young child.


Other breeds that have many of the same characteristics as the ones mentioned above include:

Of course there is also the other side of the coin. Small dogs to avoid, at least in my opinion, include Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Italian Greyhounds and any other dogs that tend to be physically and emotionally frail and sensitive.

As you look over this list please bear in mind that these are loose suggestions, even though based on a lot of experience.

At the end of the day you have to look at any given individual and consider her in light of the criteria I set out in my previous post about dogs that are good with children.

Want to learn more about preparing your dog for the arrival of your baby? Check out my book: Good Dog, Happy Baby

(Breed photos via Flickr CC: mrRobotA KlarLennart TangeKyrasⓘndy°Alex Brown)



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