April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, a day to celebrate the special bond children have with animals. Choosing to welcome a pet into a home with children can be an overwhelming commitment, but knowing the characteristics that are common to certain cat and dog breeds can aid in the decision making process and help families find the breed that best fits their lifestyle. While just about any breed can be raised to be a loving and affectionate pet, petMD.comhas pulled together the following top 10 kid friendly dogs and cats.
Top 5 Dog Breeds for Kids
- The Bulldog: Known for its sturdy build, the Bulldog is an excellent choice for families with children who like to roughhouse. A docile, friendly, and loyal breed, the Bulldog will not retaliate to the poking and prodding of little children. Not overly active, this breed can live comfortably in a house with a sprawling backyard or in a small apartment.
- The Vizsla: A lesser known breed, the Vizsla has a gentle disposition and manner perfect for living with children. Loyal, quiet, and affectionate, the Vizsla breed is extremely obedient and can pick up on tricks and commands quickly. Another benefit appreciated by many Vizsla owners is that they lack the common "eau de dog" that many breeds possess.
- The Golden Retriever: The most popular dog breed in America, the Golden Retriever is smaller than the Labrador Retriever but they share similar personalities. Golden Retrievers are known for being confident, smart, loyal, and kind, qualities appreciated by families with children. Needing plenty of exercise, this breed is best suited for active families who can take their dog with them on outings.
- The Bull Terrier: Known to be friendly and loving, the Bull Terrier was bred to be a companion dog and is an excellent breed to own if your children are learning to handle a dog for the first time. Bull Terriers are built with a high threshold for pain so they can withstand a few tugs of their tails from little hands.
- The Newfoundland: A large dog, the Newfoundland, or "Newfie," is known to love and protect the children in the family. Gentle, kind, intelligent, and patient, this dog is easily trained and enjoys human companionship. An active breed, Newfies need a daily walk or romp in the backyard.
Top 5 Cat Breeds for Kids
- The Birman: A social cat, the Birman loves to love his human family. Not a stereotypical "scaredy-cat," this breed will run up and greet new guests in your home rather than hide in a different room. However, the Birman is not an active breed of cat, preferring to lounge around instead of play.
- The Ragdoll: Named from the limp position it assumes when you pick it up, the Ragdoll breed is a great choice for a child-friendly pet. Although this breed is soft-voiced and gentle, they enjoy playing games and running around with their human families, only to be followed by long periods of relaxation afterwards.
- Himalayan: Quiet yet active, this breed of cat enjoys a daily game of laser tag and then plenty of quiet and relaxing time afterwards. An indoor breed, Himalayans will bond and love their family for their entire lives.
- Maine Coon: One of the oldest companion cat breeds, the Maine Coon is naturally familiar with human temperaments and is adaptive to our needs. A patient breed, Coons are very calm around even the most rambunctious of children, and can help them expel their energy by playing active games of fetch and catch.
- Exotic Shorthair: Known for its easy going and laid back personality, Exotic Shorthairs are quiet and loving. Greeting you at the door when you come home and curling up with you as you watch T.V., all this breed needs is affection.
Having pets in the family can create entirely new adventures and experiences for children, as well as teach them responsibility. Before welcoming a pet into your home, research what breeds best match your family's lifestyle.