two children sitting on a sofa with a small dog

Are Small Dogs Best for Kids?

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Small dogs are a popular choice for families with children, but are small dogs best for kids? It’s a question that many parents ask themselves when considering adding a new dog to their household. While small dogs can be great companions for kids, there are also some potential drawbacks to think about.

One of the biggest advantages of small dogs is that they are easier to manage than larger breeds. They take up less space, require less exercise, and are generally less intimidating for young children. Small dogs can also be easier to train, which can be a big plus for families with busy schedules.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to get a small dog for your family is yours. 

However, there are also some downsides to consider. For example, small dogs can be more fragile and prone to biting youngsters than large dog breeds. This means they may not be the best choice for families with very young children. After all, little kids may accidentally hurt or rile small dogs.  Additionally, some small dogs can have health problems, which are always costly and time-consuming to accommodate. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to get a small dog for your family will depend on your individual circumstances and preferences.

Are Small Dogs Best for Kids?

Easier to Handle

Small dogs are easier for kids to handle than big dogs. Small dogs are lightweight and can be easily picked up, carried and moved around. This makes it easier for kids to take care of them, especially when they need to take them for a walk or play with them.

Small dogs are also less likely to knock over or accidentally injure kids. That is, small dogs are less likely to cause accidental harm or injury to kids while walking or playing with them. This makes them a safer dog for kids to walk or play with.

Less Intimidating

Small dogs are less intimidating for little kids due to the small dogs’ size and cute appearance. Small dogs are less likely to scare little kids or make them feel uncomfortable.  

Small dogs are also less demanding and need less space and attention compared to larger breeds. They can adapt to smaller living spaces, e.g. apartments or starter houses. Small dogs also don’t need as much exercise and attention as big dogs. This makes them a more practical option for families with busy schedules or smaller living spaces.

To recap — small dogs are usually a good choice for young families with little kids due to their ease of handling, less intimidating appearance, and lower overall needs. Small dogs can be great friends for kids without being as overwhelming, demanding, or scary as big dogs can be.

Factors to Consider 

When choosing a small dog for your kids, there are several important factors you should think about. You’ll find three of those things below.


The temperament of a dog should always be a determining factor when choosing a new dog for your young family. Some small dog breeds are naturally friendly and gentle, while others often snarl and can be too aggressive. It’s crucial to choose a breed that is known to be patient with little kids. Three such breeds are Beagles, Bichon Frises, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


The breed of the dog also plays a significant role in determining its suitability as a pet for kids. Some breeds are more active and need more exercise than others, while some breeds are more laid back and are happy to spend most of their time indoors. 

Breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire Terriers are known for their small size and adaptability to apartment living.  However, while the Yorkshire Terriers are quite good with kids, the Chihuahuas and the Poms are not especially well-suited for small children because of their nervous tendency to nip. 

Energy Level

The energy level of a dog is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a small breed for kids. Some small dog breeds are high-energy and require a lot of exercise, while others are more laid back and happy to snuggle on the couch. It’s important, but often overlooked, to choose a small dog breed that matches your family’s lifestyle and energy level. Examples of low-energy breeds include French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus.

In summary, when choosing a small dog for your kids, it’s important to consider their temperament, breed, and energy level. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that you choose a breed that is a good fit for your family and will provide years of love and enjoyment.

Benefits of Small Dogs for Kids

Teaching Responsibility

Small dogs can be a great way to teach young kids about responsibility. Taking care of a dog requires a lot of work, and small dogs are good for that because the necessary chores of dog care mean kids need to be thoughtful and kind. Kids can learn how to feed and water the dog, as well as take it for walks and clean up after it. These tasks can help kids develop a clear sense of duty and a respect for animals.


Small dogs offer great companionship for kids. There is a harmonious kinship that springs up between a kid and a dog.  In fact, small dogs are often more affectionate and loyal to kids than larger dogs, consequently small dogs can be wonderful playmates for kids. Small dogs are also easier to handle, which can make them better for younger kids. Small dogs can be an excellent source of comfort and emotional support for kids. They are an instant “pick-me-up” for kids who are feeling sad or lonely.

Small dogs are always a good choice for families who live in apartments or have limited outdoor space but want a family pet. They require less exercise than larger dogs and can be content living in a smaller space. They are also less intimidating to kids who may be afraid of larger dogs.

Overall, small dogs can be a great pet choice for young families with kids. Dogs can help teach kids about personal responsibility, humane care for animals, and provide them with companionship coupled with emotional support.

Potential Challenges 


Small dogs are fragile and can easily get injured by rough child’s play or accidental falls. Children, unless taught otherwise by parental example, may not realize how vulnerable small dogs really are and may unintentionally hurt them. Small dogs are also prone to injuries like broken bones, which can be painful and expensive to treat.

To avoid injuries to the family dog, it is very important to supervise interactions between small dogs and kids. This will also help avoid bites from frightened or injured family dogs. Teach your kids how to handle small dogs gently and with loving care. If your small dog is injured, take them to the vet immediately.  If you are worried about veterinary costs, then opt for pet insurance in advance of any mishaps.

Behavioural Issues

Small dogs are well known for their big personalities, but they can also have behavioural issues like aggression, barking, and nervous anxiety. Behavioural problems in pet dogs can be intensified by the high energy and unpredictability of children.

To avoid behavioural issues from happening, it is important to socialize your small dog from the get-go and provide the dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. You should also teach your children how to interact with small dogs in a calm and positive manner to prevent scares and injuries.

Small dogs can make great family pets, especially in families with young kids, but small dogs also come with potential challenges. It is important to supervise all interactions between small dogs and kids.  After all, it only takes a moment for a serious problem or injury to occur. Teach your kids how to handle small dogs gently.  And, quickly attend to any behavioural issues that  arise, whether that issue is with the child or the dog.

Are Small Dogs Best for Kids?

Small dogs can be great family companions, especially for kids. Small dogs are often playful, loyal, and easy to care for. However, it’s important to remember that not all small dogs are good with children. It’s important to do your research and pick a family-friendly breed that fits your family’s lifestyle and needs.

When it comes to small dogs, there are a few breeds that tend to be especially good with children. These include the Beagle, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and the Bichon Frisé. These breeds are known for their friendly and gentle nature, and they tend to be fun playmates for kids.

On the other hand, some small breeds may not be the best fit for families with young children. Temperamental breeds like the Chihuahua and Dachshund can be prone to biting and may not have the patience for children’s playful antics. It’s always important to understand the temperament of the breed before bringing a small dog into your home.  The shelters are full of dogs that were not good fits in their previous home.  So, Don’t Be A Part of the Problem — Be A Part of the Solution!

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