All dogs can interact well with children, especially if they're introduced as puppies to a home where children are already underfoot, says pet expert Marc Morrone. Still, many breeds have proven over the years to be particularly gentle and accepting of children in the household. To create this list, we turned to the World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition, which rates breeds for their compatibility with children. Remember, however, that no matter the breed, be sure to monitor the first interactions between your children and any new pet.
It's easy to see why the beagle is one of the most popular dogs in the United States. It's a happy-go-lucky, friendly breed and makes a wonderful family pet.
Like many breeds within the herding group, the beauceron is happiest when assigned a task. He is eager to learn and easily trained, but may display independence. The breed's short coat does not require extensive grooming. Although the beauceron can be reserved with strangers, he is loving, loyal and protective of his family.
Energetic and intelligent, curly coated retrievers are an excellent companion, but they require training and daily exercise or a job to keep them from getting bored and destructive. Being among the more independent retriever breeds, curly coated retrievers may appear somewhat aloof, but they are always willing to please. The breed's coat is easy to care for, requiring only occasional bathing.
These gentle, affectionate family dogs love to be with their people and do not thrive when isolated in a yard or kennel. Athletic and energetic, they also require vigorous daily exercise either on leash or in a fenced area. Their beautiful, feathered coat requires regular maintenance, including brushing and clipping.
The German shorthaired pointer thrives as part of an active family. It makes an even-tempered, intelligent, and loyal family watchdog that has enthusiasm for its work. An athlete, a German shorthaired pointer can adapt to most living situations but requires consistent exercise.
Consistently one of the most popular breeds in America, the active and energetic golden can adapt to many different living situations but requires daily exercise. With his friendly temperament and striking golden color, this breed is both beautiful to look at and a joy to own.
Alert and confident, the Gordon setter is devoted to his family. Although they are bright, they are not blindly obedient and may appear stubborn. Gordons are capable of adapting to a variety of living situations but need plenty of daily exercise on a leash or in a fenced area.
This breed's kind and friendly attitude makes it a great family dog. Courageous, spirited and determined, red and white setters require regular exercise. They need minimal brushing or trimming since owners prize a natural appearance, and the breed tends to carry less coat than the Irish setter.
Lagotti are working dogs with lots of energy, so owners must be prepared to exercise their new dog daily. The breed especially enjoys swimming and retrieving work. They are easy to train, affectionate, and devoted to their families but can be somewhat reserved around strangers.
This breed makes a wonderful companion for active people or families and will thrive in a home where plenty of exercise is provided. While Norwegian buhunds make excellent watch dogs, they are also content to lie at your feet at the end of a hard day. Grooming is minimal -- brushing will maintain the breed's medium to short easy care coat. Training wise, the buhund is considered by many to be the most trainable of the spitz breeds, but obedience training is still a necessity.
Amiable, boisterous, and even-tempered, the otterhound makes a great addition to an active family with older children, but may not be the best breed for toddlers or a frail elderly person due to his size. Exercise should be on leash or in a fenced yard due to the breed's tendency to follow his nose.
Confident, happy and extroverted, the PBGV is best suited to the active, experienced dog owner with older children and a well-fenced yard. The breed is not a couch potato and needs daily exercise -- if not, he may express his displeasure by using his "hound voice" or creating amusing diversions of his own.
Plotts are eager to please, loyal, intelligent, and alert in the home -- but aggressive, bold, and fearless while hunting. Owners should be prepared to hear the Plott's "voice" in the home at times. An athletic breed, they require daily exercise, but their short coats are low-maintenance.
The PWD is good with children and a great watchdog who takes a vested interest in the well-being of his family, to whom he is devoted. This breed, chosen by the Obama family for its hypoallergenic coat, requires daily vigorous exercise. He is very intelligent and responds well to obedience training.
The Staffordshire bull terrier is extremely courageous and obedient, highly intelligent, and affectionate with a sense of humor. This, coupled with its affection for its friends -- children in particular -- off-duty quietness, and trustworthy stability makes it an all-purpose dog. He looks forward to daily exercise, and his powerful jaws enjoy a supply of sturdy chew toys. While he is a sweet-tempered, affectionate dog, his strength and determination require an experienced owner who can work with him in a firm but gentle way. The staffie's coat is short and smooth and needs only a quick brushing once a week.
Despite its somber and serious expression, the Sussex is friendly, with a cheerful and tractable disposition. They enjoy walks with their families and are good with children and other dogs. The Sussex requires weekly brushing, with special attention paid to anything that might have gotten caught in their long, thick ear hair. Owners should also be prepared for a large quantity of drool.
The griffon's easy trainability, devotion to family, and friendly temperament endear him to all. He thrives on human companionship and prefers to be house dog. The breed's wiry coat will not develop fully until the dog is about 2-3 years old and is maintained with regular brushing and stripping. This sporting dog needs plenty of exercise to keep it physically and mentally fit.