Are you at a stage where it seems like a great time to add a furry friend to your home? As exciting as this is, you will need to keep a level head and choose a breed based on more than just appearances. In this post, our vets in Rochester talk about what dog breeds are best for kids and families.

What are the best small dog breeds or family dogs for kids?

Choosing the best dog for your kids takes more than just picking the cutest one. You will need to take the needs of both your family and the dog as well as your lifestyle into account. Take your time to find a dog that suits the space you live in, as well as the energy level of your family, and the effort that you are willing to give for training. To get you off to a good start picking the dog breed that is best for kids here are a few favorites from our veterinary team at Ridgemont Animal Hospital in Rochester:


Newfoundland dogs are great for large homes. Nicknamed 'Nature's babysitter', these sweet-natured, intelligent dogs love to be around kids. Water-loving and friendly Newfoundlands can make excellent family pets.

Due to their gentle disposition, these dogs are ideal to have around children. Newfoundlands or 'Newfies', are very protective over their family and will guard young children closely. At the same time, they are forgiving pets and will not show aggression toward children due to accidental rough play.

Irish Setter

Weighing around 65 lbs, this breed is more than just strikingly beautiful! These dogs are lively, intelligent, and have a great sense of mischief. Irish Setters love to chase balls, and go for long runs, but also enjoy playing in the backyard with kids. High-energy kids will love spending time with this breed.

Irish setters love being a loyal family companion and make a great addition to any family. They also love to spend their time playing with the children making them pleasant to have around for every member of the family.

Golden Retriever

If you have kids that will love throwing a ball and playing with the family pup, or taking the time to teach the dog new tricks, this could be the breed for you. Ranging in weight from 55-75 lbs Golden Retrievers are confident, friendly, smart, kind, and loyal, making them perfect for family life. 

Golden Retrievers aim to please! This especially goes for their family. They are one of the most loyal and easy-to-train breeds as well, increasing their appeal as a family dog. Children enjoy the easy-to-train trait as this means they can teach the pup to play fetch and other neat tricks.

English Bulldog

This small and calm dog is well-suited to apartment living. These dogs seek out social interactions with their people and will love cuddling up with the family to watch a movie and relax. English bulldogs make sweet, gentle, and dependable family pets.

Our veterinarians in Rochester love this dog breed because while they are not the most active dog breed out there, they will enjoy getting to snuggle up and relax with the kids making them a soothing companion.


At between 18-30 lbs this medium-sized breed craves spending time with its people, playing games, and going for walks. These smart dogs can make very loving family pets when provided with plenty of family interaction and exercise. This is not the best breed for families who are out of the house a lot. 

Much like Golden Retrievers, Beagles have a goal of pleasing their owners and love to show affection. This is a high-energy dog breed that will love playing with your children for hours on end, especially if there is running involved.

Boston Terrier

Checking in at just under 25 pounds, these people-loving dogs come with their own easy-to-care-for "tuxedo" coats. Content to play with the kids and go for short walks this charming dog breed adapts well to apartment living and makes a great companion for children. Boston terriers are full of personality your kids will love.

Boston Terriers are a very happy breed that loves playing with children. When it comes to playtime they especially love anything that involves running and playing fetch.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

At between 10-18 lbs, the portable size of this lively but gentle breed makes it ideal for smaller homes or apartments. Cavaliers get along well with kids as well as other dogs, loving to play and snuggle in equal measure. These sweet-natured dogs can be great pets for kids of many energy levels and ages.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very gentle which is a great quality in a family dog, especially if you have young children in the house. These dogs are very loyal and will love to spend time snuggled up with your little ones.


These adorable little characters love to eat and sleep. If your kids are small, or lower energy and would appreciate a dog that will play indoors then curl up with them and watch TV, a pug may be the right breed for your family.  At around 15 lbs, this is a breed that doesn't need much space just a couple of short walks each day.

Pugs love playing around, which is a great fit for a home with kids. Because of their small size, they can be an ideal match if you have smaller children in the house.

The Mutt

Mutts are mixed-breed dogs that can be fantastic family dogs! These dogs often come equipped with the best traits of many kid-friendly breeds such as a gentle loving nature and loyalty. These dogs can be as good with children as purebred dogs and tend to be less susceptible to genetic diseases, and less expensive. The perfect breed for your child may be waiting for you at your local animal shelter. If you would like help with locating local animal shelters, the team at our animal hospital in Rochester would be happy to help.

The Importance of Routine Care For Your New Dog

Bringing your new family pet in for routine care can help monitor their health and prevent many different conditions and illnesses.

Consisting of regular vaccinations combined with parasite prevention and proper nutrition, these routine pet examinations also include regular physical checkups to give your pet the best chance at excellent lifelong health.

When you bring your dog in for their routine checkup, we can prevent your pet from developing health issues, or catch them early when they are most treatable.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you've added a new dog to your family and need to schedule their first visit and preventive care, please contact the veterinary team at our Rochester vet hospital today.