Dogs to Avoid around Young Kids

Dogs to Avoid

Unfortunately not all dogs are suitable for families with children, especially young children, and so care must be taken in selecting one. However, it is not simply enough to decide this by breed alone because all dogs are individuals with unique personalities, just like people, and there can be a wide range of personalities within the same breed that can stray far from the breed standard. In other words, there can be good and bad dogs in almost every breed, and often the dog's history can become a more important deciding factor than its breed, which begs a question: puppy or adult? Puppies take rather more effort initially but can be trained correctly from the offset; older dogs may be calmer but their socialisation and training history (or lack of) can be the deciding factor.

Although it can be misleading to focus on specific dog breeds alone when choosing a dog, it is wise to take note that some breeds are more suitable than others for families with kids, and some are more demanding than others and require owners to have a little more experience and authority. But before we get down to specific breeds, there are some general dogs to avoid if you have young kids.

Small Fragile Dogs

Some small dogs may feel at risk when left with small children that may play a little rough or are generally careless, and so can be prone to biting in defence or fear. Others can simply be too fragile for kids that may want to pick up and cuddle them, such as Chihuahuas for example, let alone if they then proceed to drop them. At the other end of the scale, some small breeds may be subject to "small man" syndrome and may be a little too dominant for kids.

Hyperactive Dogs

Some dogs are prone to hyperactivity, and energetic young children can often increase these levels of hyperactivity to the point of making these dogs unmanageable. This can lead to stressed out dogs that find it hard relax, something that is not a good mix in itself around kids.

High Energy Dogs

Dogs with high energy levels or drive need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, and so are often not suitable for busy families with little time to spare. If due attention isn't given to meet these dogs' needs then they can often develop behavioural problems, such as becoming bored and often destructive.

Dominant Dogs

Some dogs are more confident than others, something that can often be spotted in puppyhood. Dogs are pack animals, always looking for or to be a pack leader, and so over confident dogs will need strong-willed owners to ensure these dogs continually know their place within the family pack. Some breeds are more likely than others to challenge owners if rules are not laid down. Over confident dogs are not suitable for families with kids as they may see the children as subordinates.

Unknown History

It is important to know the background of any dog you intend bringing into the family home. Dogs such as rescue dogs can come with behavioural problems that may not be obvious immediately, but these can rear up once they are adopted. If a dog has been abused it can be nervous, and the unpredictable actions of children may add to their stress and fears. Many abused dogs can be rehabilitated successfully, but they need to be evaluated carefully prior to adoption.

Unsuitable Breeds for Young Kids

All dogs are unique with individual personalities, and correct socialisation and training account for a lot, but there are some breeds that might not be the best match for families with young kids. This list is the result of our own research, and some people may disagree with the findings in places so apologies in advance.

A medium sized Dalmatian

Dalmatian. These dogs are well loved by the general public thanks to their sweet looks and films such as Disney's "101 Dalmatians", but many people are unaware that they can be highly strung, respond negatively to harsh training and are nervous around children. This breed is also prone to deafness and so can be easily startled, all of which contribute to the fact that even the best behaved dogs have been known to bite without warning.

A small Chihuahua

Chihuahua. These dogs are small and cute and so many people assume them to be pretty harmless. However, they are also very possessive and prone to jealousy, which can lead to constant barking and even snapping or nipping if they feel provoked. They are territorial and may attack people using their favourite areas, and they can be choosy about who they like. In addition they are also nervous dogs by nature and so are not good to have around kids unless socialised early with them, and in contrast young kids can also be unsuitable for these dogs as they are fragile.

A large sized Akita

Akita. As they were bred initially as guard dogs, these animals can be a little more independant and aloof than most other breeds, often making their mood difficult to anticipate. In addition they don't tend to bond as strongly with their owners or families as some dogs do. Correct and consistent training from an early stage is essential with these stubborn and powerful dogs, and they can turn aggressive both with unfamiliar situations and people. They are classed as a dangerous dog in certain countries.

A medium to large sized Chow Chow

Chow Chow. These dogs can seem aloof and a little unfriendly if they are not socialised around other dogs or children from the beginning. They can also become dominant too if owners aren't prepared to let them know their place within the family pack. With short tempers and bullying natures, they will act on any fear that is shown and so are not a dog to have around kids. A firm hand will not work on this breed either as it will not hesitate to bite to let owners know that is not acceptable.

A small Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier. These little dogs are typically possessive and can have issues with authority, at least in the early days of ownership. They will tolerate kids as long as they don't feel cornered or threatened, but having them around young children is probably not for the best as they can be jumpy with a tendency to nip.


Shar-Pei. Bred initially as guard dogs and later used as fighting dogs, these animals are independant and can be suspicious of unfamiliar people, and generally don't warm to people as quickly as other breeds do. Without proper socialisation and training they can become willful, territorial and aggressive. Owners must be confident and consistent in order to keep these strong dogs in check.

A small Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso. These are intelligent dogs that will not tolerate much rough handling from kids, especially when not in the mood. They are friendly and affectionate towards family members but can get stubborn without proper discipline, and as they are prone to small dog syndrome where they think they are pack leader, they must be kept in check. They are not be the best choice for children, especially young ones, who won't always understand where the boundaries lie.

Pitbull Terrier

Pit Bull. The most decorated dog of World War One, this is a loving breed that likes to please owners but also one that has a very bad reputation these days because of what mankind has done to it. The poor old Pit Bull is aggressive thanks to its breeding, and when they bite they go for the throat and don't let go. Some say their high pain-threshold level is a good thing to have around kids as they will be more tolerant of any rough handling, but then they tend to have little patience for kids anyway, and this high pain threshold is not good when trying to persuade an attacking Pit Bull to let go. Owners must continue to show dominance with this breed.

A large sized black Rottweiler

Rottweiller. Again breeding by man has a lot do with it but this is not a dog to have around children. This breed can be completely unpredictable. One moment a rottweiller can be laying quietly by the fire, and the next it can have bitten someone. This dog is best kept well away from young children.

As we stated before, all dogs are individuals and there could well be people out there that have had some of the above dogs live alongside their kids without any problems at all. If so this is great news. However, the law quite rightly steps in with regards to some dogs.

Dangerous Dogs

All countries are different, but in the UK, the Dangerous Dogs Act prohibits ownership of four types of dog:

  1. Pit Bull Terriers
  2. Japanese Tosas
  3. Dogo Argentinos
  4. Fila Brasileiros

It is an offence in the UK to own or keep any of these dogs. It is also an offence to breed from, sell or exchange (even as a gift) any of these dogs. However, it is worth noting that the above aren't necessarily the most dangerous dogs. Going by statistics, the dogs that have actually caused the most harm to children are:

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terriers
  2. Rottweilers
  3. Japanese Akitas
  4. German Shepherds (Alsatians)
  5. Pit Bull Terriers
  6. Bullmastiffs
  7. Huskies
  8. English Bull Terriers
  9. Doberman Pinschers
  10. American Bulldogs

And according to the RSPCA, the two biggest offenders for attacks on children are Cocker Spaniels and Labradors. Thankfully, as they lack the aggressiveness or strength of some other breeds, they rarely cause serious harm. Again though, please remember that all dogs are individuals and in some cases it is not enough to simply rely upon a dog's breed as a guide for suitablility for families with kids. In conclusion, perhaps the best advice I ever heard was to never trust any dog alone with young children, no matter how loving, loyal or dependable it is. It really is just not worth the risk.