19 Best Small Dog Breeds for Kids

Best Small Dog Breeds for Kids
Photo by Clint McKoy

When searching for the best small dog breeds for kids, there are several factors to consider, such as how much grooming they require and how much energy they have.

On top of that, you’ll want to ensure they are sturdy enough to handle the rough-and-tumble play that children often bring to the table and don’t mind making occasional visits to the vet’s office.

After considering these points, we’ve hand-picked 19 small dog breeds that are good with kids.

1. American Eskimo Dog

These dogs are descendants of German spitz breeds, originally bred to be companion animals. They’re still great family dogs and one of the best small dog breeds for kids.

American Eskimo Dogs are playful, friendly, and loving, making great playmates for kids of all ages. 

They’re also intelligent and easily trained, so you can easily teach them tricks or obedience commands. And because they’re such people-oriented dogs, they don’t do well when left alone for long periods.

An American Eskimo Dog is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a small dog breed that’s great with kids.

2. Boxer

Boxers are patient, playful, and friendly, making them one of the best small dog breeds for kids. They’re also loyal and protective, so you can rest assured your little ones will be safe when they’re around. Just be sure to give them plenty of exercises, as they are high-energy dogs. 

They tend to drool and slobber, but these habits can be curbed with training. The boxer is an excellent choice for a petite family because they love being surrounded by people!

These pups want nothing more than to keep everyone happy, which makes them an ideal addition to any household. 

You’ll need to ensure that their physical activity needs are met daily. These dogs like going on walks or runs just as much as they enjoy playing fetch in the backyard!

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an excellent choice for families with kids and a small breed that’s big on personality.

Outgoing and affectionate, these dogs are known for being great companions. Cavaliers are also relatively easy to train and are relatively low-maintenance regarding grooming.

While they need daily exercise, they’re generally content to lounge around the house and cuddle up with their human friends.

With short hair, they don’t require much in the way of grooming either. They shed moderately throughout the year but not excessively during any one season.

4. Rat Terrier

A rat terrier is an excellent choice for a family dog. They are small but mighty and full of energy; they are also very loyal and loving and will form a close bond with their family.

Rat terriers are the best small dog breeds with kids and will play with them endlessly. They are also relatively easy to train and are intelligent dogs.

These little guys can be hard to find, so you may have to ask around your local shelter or breeders until you find one that’s right for you.

These small dogs need at least an hour of exercise every day, so if you work long hours, make sure someone else can take care of that!

5. French Bulldog

One of the most popular best small dog breeds, French Bulldogs are gentle and loving and make great companions for kids. They do well in apartments and love to snuggle, making them the perfect lapdog.

While they bark when strangers come around, they are not aggressive and more likely to lick someone to death than bite them. 

Frenchies are also very adaptable and can learn tricks quickly, making them a hit with kids who like to teach their dogs new things. The biggest downside is that they shed quite a bit, so be prepared to vacuum often.

6. Welsh Terrier

The Welsh Terrier is a spunky, happy-go-lucky breed that loves to play. They are confident and intelligent, which can make them easy to train. Welsh Terriers do best with active families who can provide plenty of exercise and stimulation. 

While they are friendly with children, they may not be the best choice for homes with very young kids because of their high energy level and need for attention.

Their intelligence also means they will try to get away with mischief if left alone too often. If you’re looking for the best small dog breeds that are good with kids but have less energy than others, this one might be your pick!

7. Papillon

One of the best things about Papillons is that they come in two sizes: toy and miniature. So, if you’re looking for the best small dog breeds that are good with kids but not too small, this may be the perfect pup.

Papillons are also known for being intelligent and alert, making them excellent watchdogs. And, since they’re not prone to barking excessively, they won’t drive you crazy with their yapping. 

When it comes to exercise, these energetic pups need just 15 minutes or so of playing time per day—though more time will yield more physical benefits.

They’ll enjoy exploring the yard or playing fetch with your child in addition to any other activities they can get up to indoors!

8. Beagle

A Beagle is one the best small dog breeds for a family dog. They are gentle, loving, and playful but also have a bit of an independent streak. Beagles are active dogs who need plenty of exercise but do not require much space to run around. 

A Beagle’s coat is easy to care for and does not shed very much. Beagles are also relatively quiet dogs, which can be helpful if you have young children in the house who need sleep! The downside? Beagles may try to eat your shoes. 

9. Pug

If you’re looking for the best small dog breeds that are good with kids, you can’t go wrong with the Pug. These lovable little dogs are known for their even temperaments and affectionate nature, making them great playmates for children of all ages. 

Pugs are also relatively low-maintenance when grooming, which is another plus if you have young kids in the house. Just be prepared to give your Pug plenty of attention and exercise, as they can become destructive if left alone for too long.

10. Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are intelligent, friendly, and relatively low-maintenance dogs that make great family pets. They do well with children of all ages and can even get along with other pets in the household.

Boston Terriers are relatively calm dogs but need daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. If you consider the best small dog breeds that are good with kids, a Boston Terrier might be the perfect fit for your family.

These dogs are intelligent, easy to train, and love being around people. Their laid-back personality makes them ideal for those with busy schedules or who work from home.

11. Australian Terrier

Australian Terriers are alert and active dogs that make great family pets. They are loving and devoted to their families but can sometimes be independent and stubborn. Australian Terriers need plenty of exercise, but a short daily walk will suffice. 

They are good with other dogs and pets but may chase small animals such as rodents and birds. Australian Terriers are intelligent and trainable, but early socialization and obedience training is necessary. 

These dogs make excellent watchdogs and will bark to alert you of strangers or unusual noises. Overall, Australian Terriers are loving and loyal family dogs that do well with children of all ages.

12. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise is a hypoallergenic best small dog breed known for being cheerful, playful, and loving. They are great with kids and get along well with other animals. Bichon Frises are relatively easy to train and make excellent companion dogs. 

It’s essential to be mindful of this pup’s long hair; otherwise, you may end up with tangled fur! These pups enjoy interacting with their owners, so they will need daily walks to thrive. 

A bored Bichon Frise can develop behavioral problems, such as destructive chewing or barking. If you have time to give them lots of love and attention, these pups could be the perfect fit for your family!

13. English Cocker Spaniel

There’s a reason the English Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They’re loving and outgoing and make great family pets. And, best of all, they’re great with kids! 

If you’re looking for the best small dog breeds that will get along well with your children, look no further than the English Cocker Spaniel.

Here are some things to know about this fantastic breed;

  • They shed very little hair, so they’re great for people who suffer from allergies 
  • Cockers can be wary around strangers or new situations, but once they warm up to someone they love being around them 
  • Cockers love being outside and running free 
  • Cockers can live as long as 14 years

14. Dachshund

Dachshunds are loyal, brave, and tenacious–all qualities that make them excellent family dogs. They can be stubborn sometimes, but with patience and positive reinforcement training, they will quickly learn to obey commands. 

Dachshunds come in two varieties: the standard size, which weighs between 16 and 32 pounds, and the miniature size, which only weighs up to 11 pounds. Regardless of their size, all Dachshunds have long bodies and short legs. 

This combination makes them great cuddlers! They also tend to bark excessively, so if you’re looking for the quiet and best small dog breeds, this isn’t the one for you.

15. Havanese

Havanese are one the best small dog breeds for kids because they are gentle, patient, and loving. They also get along well with other pets and children. However, they do require some grooming due to their long coat. 

Overall, Havanese make great family dogs. But this might not be the best breed for you if you have allergies or asthma. These dogs shed quite a bit, so it’s recommended that you vacuum every day and wash your hands after handling them. 

If you’re looking for a dog who will listen to your commands without much work, these guys may not be suitable for you. They need plenty of exercise and training.

16. Poodle

Poodles are among the most popular dogs worldwide, and it’s no wonder why. They’re intelligent, active, and make great family pets. A poodle is an excellent choice when picking the best small dog breeds that are good for kids. 

Poodles are known for their hypoallergenic coats, which make them a good choice for families with allergies. They come in three sizes (toy, miniature, and standard), so you can find one that is the perfect fit for your family. Poodles are also very trainable and make great obedience and agility dogs.

17. Border Terrier

One of the best small dog breeds for kids is the Border Terrier. This breed is friendly, active, and loves to play, and they are also great protectors of their family and home. Border Terriers do require some grooming but are otherwise low-maintenance dogs. 

If you’re looking for a small breed that’s good with kids, the Border Terrier is a great choice. These feisty little pups are high energy, affectionate, and very loyal. The only downside is they need regular brushing due to shedding.

18. Basset Hound

Bassets are gentle, patient, and loving, making them great family dogs. They love to play and have a relaxed personality, but they can also be stubborn sometimes.

Bassets need plenty of exercises, but their short legs make them better suited for short walks or runs rather than long hikes; they might be the best small dog breeds for you. 

With their sensitive nature, Bassets do best in calm households without too much commotion. These mellow dogs will enjoy spending time with children and other pets as long as they’re not left alone all day.

Bassets require moderate grooming; they brush their teeth daily and clean their ears weekly.

19. Brussels Griffon

This tiny, shaggy-coated breed might not look like much, but the Brussels Griffon is full of personality. Though they can be independent, Brussels Griffons enjoy being around people and are especially good with kids. They’re also relatively easy to train and make excellent watchdogs. 

Just be aware that their hunting instincts may sometimes result in them chasing after smaller prey. You’ll need to keep your Brussels Griffon on a leash or inside your home when you have small animals or birds nearby.


So, there you have it! The 19 best small dog breeds for kids are based on various factors. If you’re looking for a furry friend for your child, any one of these will make an excellent choice. 

Just be sure to do your research before making a decision, and visit a few breeders or animal shelters to meet some of the dogs in person to see which one is the best fit for your family.

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