Dogs can teach children so much about love, responsibility, and life in general. And growing up with a wonderful dog can make for a relationship that your child will cherish for a lifetime. But the secret to a great relationship between child and dog lies first in choosing a suitable breed. Here are 3 dog breeds that will make a fabulous friend for life.
Golden Retriever – These dogs are gentle, kind, people-loving dogs who will greet even strangers with a beautifully feathered wagging tail. They are elegant in appearance with strands of golden hair through their coat that make them shimmer in the sunlight. Available in dark red (almost Irish Setter color), a medium brown, or blonde, you are sure to find a color that is appealing. They also come in a wide range of sizes with females being slightly smaller than males. The standard weight is 75 pounds, but you can find Goldens in all sizes. They are super intelligent, easily trained, and want to please their owners more than life.
They tend to be high maintenance in terms of skin issues and grooming, but these dogs are absolutely worth every moment of care you give as they will return your attention with love 10,000 fold. You'll need a strong ego to walk into a room with this dog, as all eyes will be on the Golden. If you decide to get a Golden Retriever for your child when they are both young, your child will find no great friend.
American Cocker Spaniel – This is the breed that Walt Disney made famous overnight in Lady and the Tramp. Lady, of course, was the beautiful Cocker Spaniel with compassion, grace, and beautiful manners. This describes Cocker Spaniels in real life too. They are small dogs that can weigh 15-30 pounds, and are usually 15 to 16 inches tall. They have a luxurious silky coat, long ears, a docked tail, and sweet facial expression. They come in solid brown or black, and many other color combinations too numerous to mention in this article. Research online or at your local library will give you a starting point for all the possible colors from which you can choose.
Their coat and ears need to be well tended, and they need daily exercise but a small yard will do. Training, formal or informal, is a good idea to establish the pack leader, and help your Cocker be a well-mannered family member. Considered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to be the number 2 dog breed in America, a properly cared for Cocker can live up to 15 years and will make an elegant pet, companion, and friend for your child.
English-Style Labrador Retriever – Well built, intelligent dogs that are exceptionally good with children, Labs come in 3 solid colors-yellow, black, and chocolate. Most weigh in at 70 to 80 pounds with females being slightly smaller. Their coats are fairly easily maintained as they are short-haired without feathering. Obedience training is recommended while it is still a puppy to establish behaviors that will make it a great pet for your child. Bred as working dogs, they need plenty of exercise and a fairly large yard to keep them happy. They are extremely happy retrieving a stick or any other object for you both in and out of the water as they are terrific swimmers.
The English-Style Labrador tend to have a better health record because it is more selectively bred to avoid such conditions as hip dysplasia, elbow defects, and cataracts.
While the exercises described above are generalizations about the breeds, each dog will display individual hits that may or may not confirm to the breed standard. Consulting a breeder about the dog you are considering will go a long way towards helping you choose a specific dog from the litter that is best suited for your lifestyle and your child.