How old were your children when you had a dog?

Hey, my five year old keeps asking for a dog, we know that that isn’t a reason to get one but me and my wife grew up with dogs and we do want to have a dog again but we also have a 3 year old and a baby on the way. We are also not sure if we will have more children. What age should children be with a dog in the house? And what is the best breed around children? Any advice or experience? Thanks

I don’t have children but my family has always had animals considering we are quite big on rescuing, fostering and adopting. We always had dogs in our house that spanned from American Pitbull Terriers, Rottweilers, American Bulldogs, [name_m]German[/name_m] Shepherds, Staffordshire Terriers, Dachshunds, [name_u]Golden[/name_u] Retrievers, Chocolate Labs, and so forth. I can’t single down to a breed for you as I firmly believe it’s all in how you raise and train the dog, but I would suggest looking at rescues who run tests like being good around children. It can be a huge help with finding the right dog and a tolerance level that both the kids and dog are comfortable with. Whilst everyone’s family life is quite different, I will also say that you should get a dog when you are most comfortable. They require quite a lot of attention and if you think it may be difficult with the three year old and new baby on the way, I’d suggest waiting a little while. All the luck to you!

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We had our dog long before we had my son. [name_f]My[/name_f] son is now 7 and [name_u]Thunder[/name_u] is 14.

If I had a child first I don’t think I would have got a puppy before he was 6 or 7.

As for child friendly breeds you are going to get lots of different answers for that. I have a ton of dog experience and I can honestly say the best family dog I have ever had is my current Rottweiler. I know that is not a popular answer as the breed regularly shows up on dangerous breed lists. [name_u]Thunder[/name_u] is the most laid back and patient dog I have ever met. [name_m]Even[/name_m] in his younger days he was gentle and thrives on attention. He will be greatly missed by all the neighborhood kids when he passes on.


Thanks for the advice, when we feel like the time is right we will look at some rescues

Thank you, I have heard that bigger dogs are better with children (of course that doesn’t mean to say that small dogs aren’t good with children and that all big dogs are) like Newfoundlands and bloodhounds, I don’t like judging dogs on breeds as I heard that [name_m]Jack[/name_m] [name_m]Russell[/name_m]’s are more dangerous then pit bulls and I think that the danger we see is mostly human led. I don’t necessarily care about the breed but I want to make sure that we could look after it properly and that the dog will not be threatened by our children. For example, we wouldn’t want a poodle because we wouldn’t have much time to take them to the groomers, we would need a short haired dog and my mum told me that she had a poodle that had to be put down because it attacked her many times and my mum did not provoke it. I feel like we will have to do a lot more planning around a dog to fit our life and we wouldn’t want to have a dog and not look after it properly.

When I was little, four or so, I would sometimes pull my family dog’s ears. I was too young to understand it was wrong, and the dog ended up biting me, twice. It was very small so it didnt do any actual damage, but we had to give it away afterwards.
I personally wouldn’t feel safe having a large dog around my kids. If they bite, that could be it for a small child, and that’s not something I’d be willing to risk. If you look up the most deadly dog breeds (based on statistics) it’s all larger dogs.

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I wouldn’t recommend getting a dog at all until your new baby is at least a year old as I highly doubt you’ll have time to care for/train it with 3 young children including a new baby. I remember reading somewhere that babies can be introduced to dogs but dogs shouldn’t be introduced to babies (ie, if you already have a dog it’s fine to have a baby but not vice versa).

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[name_f]My[/name_f] dog is 3 years old, and baby is 7 months old. It’s a [name_m]German[/name_m] shepherd x husky. We are considering adopting a new dog in the future.

Advice on breeds: it’s not all training and just being a good dog mom/dad, I’ve met golden retrievers who hated kids, and traditional guard dogs who just tolerated everything. Sometimes it’s just in their personality. If you are worried about this, adopting an older dog from a shelter might be the way to go as they might be able to tell you how they are with children. For size, I think usually larger dogs are better with small kids (generalization of course). I would more so look at the activity level a dog needs, and what your family can provide.

Dog + baby: we were prepared for the dog to be really jealous of baby, as she is jealous of everything. The cat we suspected was going to cuddle up and snuggle the baby. The dog was instantly in love with baby, and so gentle. Now baby is crawling and they just have fun together. The cat has never been the same again, not so happy with tiny human, oops.

[name_u]Baby[/name_u] + dog + timing: I would wait at least until after you settled with the new baby. Our baby was crying up to 12 hour a day. And one of the first thing that went was properly walking the dog (we do have a big back yard but still… ). You don’t know how your new baby will be, even now the only times I can walk the dog is for an hour a day max with baby in the carrier, not ideal. If you have the most chilled baby, than you might be fine getting a dog straight away. The only thing we decided to avoid when possibly getting another dog is just starting to crawl + puppy, and just starting to walk + puppy. If just seems to annoying to have a pup constantly nipping and jumping at baby because it gets excited from sudden crawling etc.


Thank you. This does make me think about my three year old son as he has suspected ADHD and he is very impulsive so I wonder if that might excite and/or scare the dog, I’m not sure but I will have to keep that in mind. Thank you again, this was helpful :slightly_smiling_face:

I love dogs. I had them growing up and have never been without at least one as a companion. They make everything better.

I think as long as your expectation is that the adults are the one taking care of the animal, then it doesn’t matter how old your kids are. I HATE when I see folks rehoming their pets because they got them for their kids and now, surprise, the kid is bored or at school or doing extracurriculars and doesn’t have the time. Barring extreme circumstances, my opinion is that rehoming pets is unacceptable. If you get an animal, you’re committed to that animal for the duration of his or her life.

My son (autistic with ADHD symtomology) got ‘his’ dog, a basset hound named [name_m]Watson[/name_m] [name_u]James[/name_u], when he was around 2. Match made in heaven. They sleep in the same bed. The dog has his own pillow. :sweat_smile:

Highly recommend this breed. They’re stubborn as all get out and can be a bit whiny, but they’re not very excitable and they’re extremely comical. He sleeps most of the day, loves to sunbathe, enjoys but doesn’t ask for walks (same), and is great with our kids. The worst thing he does is steal pizza right out of your hand if you’re not paying attention, but I can’t really blame him. It’s pizza. Oh, the other worst thing is he’s a total drama queen when we clip his nails. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband holds him down and sings to him that he’s a good dog, while he writhes around screaming like a demon on fire trying to bite us. It’s embarrassing, but no one is perfect. :sweat_smile: But other than that 10/10 would recommend.

P.S. [name_f]My[/name_f] favorite breeds I had as a kid are Great Pyrenees and [name_u]Golden[/name_u] Retriever. [name_f]My[/name_f] favorite breed as an adult is a Scottish Terrier. Get the kid a dog. They’re worth the work/money ten times over.

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Thank you so much for this. I agree about the rehoming thing, I wouldn’t expect my children to have full responsibility of the dog, I may ask them to help me/my wife to walk and feed it but I wouldn’t force that. What a beautiful dog you have, it is lovely that your son has that bond/connection with him :blush:

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Yes, that’s great. Pets are a wonderful way to reach responsibility and compassion. Good luck choosing. You’ll know the right one when you see it.

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My son is 2.5 years old. We just bought him a scooter this week. He looped a rope around the handlebars and calls it Wuffy. :joy:

I agree with the above that as long as you’re prepared to take on the responsibility of a dog, there’s no perfect age. Both OH and I grew up with dogs and other pets, and though we talk about it, we travel too often (in non-Covid times) to make having a dog fair.

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My daughter has been around two large dogs since the day she was born. haha We had our dogs before we ever had her. I don’t see a problem with infants or young children being around dogs if you have the time and patience to devote to both children and animals. It’s a good way to teach children at a very young age how to respect and properly treat animals. Also, there’s some evidence that growing up with animals in the house can potentially lessen the chance of children developing allergies. Their immune systems are simply exposed to more potential allergens earlier on.

As far as dog breeds go, my husband and I have owned or had close experience with a number of different dog breeds in our lifetimes so far and both of us hands down would say [name_u]Golden[/name_u] Retrievers are the best family dogs. I do like Labs, as well, but prefer Goldens. They are smart, fun, playful, energetic when you need them to be, but they’ll also just as easily be lazy and cuddly too. Our two go hiking and swimming at the creek all day if we let them, but they’re just as content sitting on the couch with us, too. They are also the gentlest dog breed I’ve ever met. I am fully aware there’s always a chance of something bad happening with a dog, but I 100% trust my dogs to be gentle around our daughter who is 2.5. Since the day she came home, they’ve never once growled, nipped, snapped, or done anything remotely aggressive towards her and she’s pulled ears and tails, stepped on their faces, thrown herself across their bodies, etc. Obviously, we have been teaching her to be kind to animals and not to hurt them, but they’ve been incredibly gentle and patient with them as she’s been learning. The only things about Goldens that I would consider negatives, although I wouldn’t actually call them that, are they can be super, stupid energetic until about the age of 3, they’re food stupid (they will try to eat all the food everywhere), and they shed a good bit. After 3, they’re almost like different dogs. haha They chill out and are just the perfect family dogs. They are so intelligent they can be easily trained to leave food alone, too.

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I grew up with dogs and my children had some dogs (I am more of a cat person). However, you need to consider size of dog and size of your living premises. If you live on a small block, a small dog would be better. If you have a very large block or live in the country a larger dog may be better, You need to consider rescue dog/puppy. big/small and what breed of dog. Some small dogs may not be wise. Some big dogs can be dangerous. Use this time to ask around, asking family and friends what they think. Take your time and definitely do not rush into getting a forever pet… With a new baby, I would wait awhile.

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Our children have always been around cats. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband and I are cat people, and when our first son was born we had two cats, his and mine. We used to say that with our child’s arrival, it became a case of his, mine and ours.

Our elderly cat passed away at age 13, and our deal with the older boys, who really wanted a dog, was that once [name_u]Lucky[/name_u] [name_m]Luciano[/name_m] the black cat was no longer with us, we would adopt a dog so they could experience that.

We have yet to uphold our end of the deal, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the children. Last year [name_u]Lucky[/name_u] [name_m]Luciano[/name_m] had to be put down do to cancer, but we had newborn twins at home and a dog was not what our family needed for the sake of sanity.

I’m thinking that there is a high possibility we will have our dog by the spring of next year. Our older two will be 10 and 8 years old, even if we have yet another newborn with us, they ones who want the dog the most will be perfectly capable of handling the daily joys of cleaning up and feeding. If we make these poor children wait until there aren’t babies at home to get their dog, they’ll probably get it by the time we’re moving them to college.

My oldest keeps insisting that he’s ready now, and shouldn’t be asked to wait, as he has already “trained” 5 younger siblings, which by his estimation are harder than dogs.

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We had 4 dogs when my son was born and lived on a farm with hundreds of farm animals. We now live in a city with 3 dogs. We have two older chihuahua mixes and having a baby, now toddler has been the toughest for the little dogs. They are old and grumpy and a small child is too loud and rough for them. We’ve worked hard to keep them all safe and happy(ish). Our third dog was our farm guard dog, now couch potato and is a great pyrenees. He is great with my son. They are gentle dogs. But, he is 120lbs and is a lot of maintenance, which is hard when managing a house with kids. No breed is going to be absolutely perfect for you. But, I’d definitely say some breeds are not as well suited for family life with littles. We’ve always rescued dogs except our farm dogs that needed to be specific breeds/lineage to have the right instincts around farm animals. Unless your super active, id stay away from a dog thats going to require a ton of exercise. Keep in mind, even with a big yard a dog needs a daily walk. Going into colder months with a baby on the way, that may be tough. Honestly, I’m struggling with that now with a almost 4yo and I’m 4mo pregnant. The dogs behavior just like kids, will be problematic when they don’t get enough attention and exercise. Having a family dog is so much fun though and what great memories I have as a child with my childhood pets. Such a special bond between a kid and their dog. [name_f]Hope[/name_f] I wasn’t too discouraging, just don’t want to complicate a Situation and have the dog or your family suffer with a burden of a dog if it’s too much. Best of luck! :dog:

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We had most of our dogs before we had kids. Our kids are 6,4,2 and 3 months the dogs have been super good with all 4 kids and we haven’t had any issues.

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LO will arrive with their pet waiting for them. Our dog Strelka will go back to school so she can be the a very prepared big sister. She’s a [name_m]German[/name_m] shepherd mix, smart as a wip and generally up to no good.

I was eleven when we got ours, but my mom was eight when she got her first.