Preparing for Dog and Baby - The Hounds

The Hounds

Most hounds can be great with kids. Hounds in my opinion are more difficult to train. People say hounds are stubborn and actually what it really breaks down to is you have nothing that trumps smelling stuff. For most hounds smelling stuff is their end all be all and anything you can give them is second string. Some hounds come from strong hunting lines and have a pretty high prey drive, so watch for signs. Sight hounds such as Greyhounds may chase toddlers.

Toy Breeds

Most toy breeds are not so great with kids. Again all dogs within the same breed may have different personalities. It seems to me that when children are in the toddler stage is when problems with these toy breeds arise. However, small dogs can harm a baby too so keeping your baby and dog safe is a number one priority.

The Sporting Group

This group, even though most have strong hunting instincts, are traditionally great with children. There are four different categories within the sporting group.They are Spaniels, Retrievers, Setters, and Pointers. Retrievers are pretty much the most popular breed in America because they are so good as family dogs. That doesn't mean that if you have a lab you have no worries. There is still work to do.  

Don't tell Oprah, but from personal experience Spaniels make me a tad nervous around kids. I have met quite a few hunting spaniels that have aggression issues. Cocker Spaniels as a breed, fell victim to becoming too popular too quick, about 30 years ago. Careless breeding, and over-breeding had done some long term damage to this breed. But, not irreversible damage they are on a great comeback and you can now find very nice Cocker Spaniels. The same thing happened to Dobermans, Dalmatians, Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers, and German Shepherds. Right now the popular breed is a mix of poodle and anything. We are seeing more temperament and health issues with poodle mix dogs now. Each breed eventually loses popularity and only the people who really care about good breeding bring back the traits that made us fall in love with the breed in the first place.

The Non-Sporting Group

This group is a mixed bag of sizes and breeds of dogs. Some can be great with children and some dogs in this group I wouldn't trust at all. I don't mean to be a breed snob but, you couldn't pay me to own a Chow Chow...I have never met one that wasn't nasty (sorry Martha Stewart). A relatively unknown breed in this group that I do really like is the Tibetan Terrier. This is also the group that poodles are in and, as I said earlier, they are the hot dog to mix right now. If you have a poodle mix dog keep an eye on potential issues that may arise.

The Herding Group

Most of these dogs were meant to drive, chase, and nip (when necessary), livestock but to never damage them. These dogs can be a potential problem with toddlers and running children. Guinness, my border collie mix, retains a strong herding instinct, that is why she loves fetch so much. So as my son toddles I watch her and my White German Shepherd Dog closely. My WGSD will bark and chase bicycles but does not nip thank goodness. I use a sit stay and a down stay as my son races by them. Herding breeds can become over protective of children as well.


Remember this about pure bred dogs. The breeding is everything. In dog breeding there are dogs bred for the field (hunting), and dogs bred for conformation (show dogs), and dogs bred for money. A good example of the wide variety with in the same breed is Golden Retrievers. A field golden is more rust in color, with a slightly smaller build, and a higher energy level. A conformation Golden is usually a light buff color, with a larger head, and very mellow personality. A golden retriever bred with a poodle is a dog bred for money. So if you want a pure bred dog do your research on the dogs lineage and on the breeder. A good breeder will interview you to see if they think you're a good candidate for their dog.You should be able to see the mother, father, and siblings from a litter. Look at the conditions that the dogs are kept in. If you are not allowed to go to their home or farm, and they want to meet you at a location or just ship you a dog, think twice about this purchase. There are several pure bred dog rescues out there please check them out.

Within the breeding of dogs there is a very ugly underworld of puppy mills and backyard breeders (people who breed dogs only for money. With no concern for the health or well being of the breeding stock or offspring). Dogs that come from puppy mills or back yard breeders tend to have temperament issues, health issues and it perpetuates the abuse and mistreatment of millions of dogs in this country.