Pair your child with the best pooch based on their personalities.
In his book “The Modern Dog,” renowned psychologist and dog expert Stanley Coren states, “Pets provide children the opportunity to learn about, practice and become interested in nurturing living things.”
That said, every child and breed have distinct personalities, and so certain breeds are right (and wrong) for certain children. According to Coren, “Generally speaking, small companion dogs, such as Pomeranians, pugs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, work well with all children as they’re tolerant, friendly, and too small to do any damage.”
Maximize your kids’ potential to learn, love and grow with the following suggestions for their perfect pooch.
Perfect playmate: There’s no better way to encourage your athletic child to flex his muscles than with an equally athletic breed such as
Labrador retrievers. They’ll want to be included in just about every physical activity your child partakes in, from fetching to swimming. Boxers are also wildly athletic, and are known for having a strong bond with children of all ages. For smaller-sized athletic dogs, Coren suggests cocker spaniels.
Wrong match: Bulldogs are not very active and prefer sleeping and eating to walking and running.
Perfect playmate: A smart child bonds best with a breed that can enhance their inner prodigy such as the standard poodle, known as a “thinking” dog. They’re consistently ranked above others because they crave mental stimulation and obedience training. Similarly, border collies and Rottweilers are also smart breeds, though they have herding instincts, which may be a bit dangerous to introduce to young children.
Wrong match: Bloodhounds, basset hounds and Afghan hounds, which have a mentality for tracking rather than obedience, are known for being less than intelligent and therefore less than stimulating for your poindexter at home.
Perfect playmate: From tots in their terrible two’s to hyperactive tweens, extroverted children can be a handful, so it’s important to pair them with a patient, calm and playful dog. The “all-American” choice would be a golden retriever because they’re outgoing in all situations. Bulldogs tolerate pretty much anything without putting up a fight. Plus, when they’re through playing, they’ll just walk away, which will help teach your social (and maybe stubborn) child the meaning of no.
Wrong match: Chihuahuas can be a bit aggressive and tend to be loyal to just one “parent,” usually an adult.
FOR CREATIVE KIDS
Perfect playmate: A pug is a great match for an artistic child because they delight in being patient and are always game for a variety of activities, even if it’s just sitting patiently while your child paints or draws. Beagles also feed off love and playfulness, so they get along well with imaginative kids. Bichon frises play with a great attitude and have a rich artistic history: Sixteenth-century Spanish painters like Francisco de Goya enjoyed their company, and during the rein of Napoleon III, bichons ran freely in the streets and performed tricks in circuses and fairs.
Wrong match: Greyhounds are not the best for creative kids, as they’re known to sleep upwards of 18 hours a day and can be completely satisfied staying in a crate, leaving little time to assist your young Picasso in his or her next masterpiece.
IMPORTANT NOTE: No dog is exempt from the potential to bite or endanger a child. There’s also no “right” age to introduce a pup into a household; it’s up to the parents to properly assess their child’s behavior at whatever age they may be. If you’re expecting a new child in the home and already have a dog, condition him by inviting friends with newborns over, allowing him to get acquainted to the smell and moves of a baby. Never, under any circumstances, leave small children unattended with any dog.