20 Worst Dogs For Small Children


There is always a number of factors that you need to keep in mind when choosing a dog and this number only grows if you happen to have small children living in the same household. You need to make sure that the dog is going to be a good fit and that it will get along with the child(ren) as well as possible.

While pretty much all breeds can be trained and made to play nice with children, some of them are just more likely to give you trouble and require more of you to ensure they will be great companions for your children. We will be looking at 20 such breeds here.

1. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua got its name from the Mexican state of Chihuahua and is considered to be the smallest breed of dogs according to many kennels. Quite naturally, you would assume that it is also one of the best breeds for small children. In reality, it is not.

Chihuahuas are actually very strong-willed and if they notice that human leadership is not strong, they can become quite dominant and hard to train. If they are allowed to become “pack leaders”, these dogs can become quite aggressive and jealous.

Finally, the problem is that they are often not treated the same way larger dogs are, meaning that owners cut them a lot more slack because they are tiny. This is a big problem. Add small children to the mix and this quickly becomes a huge problem.


2. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are large dogs which have traditionally worked for a living, so to say. They were used for pulling carts and herding livestock. These days, they are most commonly utilized as guard dogs, rescue dogs and police dogs.

They are strong, they are hardworking and they pull their own weight. Unfortunately, they are not exactly the perfect dogs to have around small children. While rotts are extremely courageous and loyal to a fault, there is a reason why they have garnered somewhat of a reputation as violent.

They do have a violent streak in them which can definitely be controlled and mitigated, but only through strong leadership. In addition to this, Rotts can sometimes mistake play for one of the children being attacked, causing them to go in full attack mode.


3. Akita

Akita has traditionally been used as a guard dog in Japan and throughout history; it has garnered a reputation of a household guard with whom the children were left alone, knowing that no one could ever get to them. In modern society, this becomes somewhat of a fault, considering the fact that children are likely to socialize with other children.

The problem is that Akita can sometimes still see other children as intruders, especially if they are not trained well enough. This can lead to Akitas biting these new, strange children.

Of course, the dog can be trained to be more welcoming to other children, but kids also need to be educated about how to approach this particular breed. Furthermore, you should never allow Akita to position itself as a pack leader.


4. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a very strong and resilient breed of dog which historically lived in an extremely harsh environment, perhaps making it too strong to be around children. Namely, these dogs can easily cause harm to a child without ever having the intention to do so.

They can also be a difficult breed to train, especially if the owner shows weakness. They need a very firm pack leader and they need quite a lot of socialization. Most experts would also not advise leaving them unsupervised with smaller animals or small children.

Another reason why the Malamute is not the perfect breed to have around children is that it is a messy dog that sheds a lot which can also become a problem if you have a small child in the same household.


5. Saint Bernard

Despite what the Beethoven movies might want you to believe, the Saint Bernard is actually not the most ideal breed to have in a household with small kids.

The biggest problem with this particular breed is their enormous size, which can lead them to unwillingly hurt a small child, for instance by knocking them over without actually realizing it. Furthermore, they are one of the slowest breeds to mature and they can basically remain these giant puppies that are much harder to train than more mature dogs.

In addition to this, they are used to very strong leadership where their role and their position are very clearly defined. They can be trained to be around small children, but their size will still remain a problem.


6. Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff is another breed of dog that can prove to be somewhat of a problem for owners who have small children. One of the reasons for this is their size.

Bullmastiffs are very large dogs and this can lead to them knocking over a child or doing harm to them without any wish to do so. Furthermore, they are considered to be a more aggressive breed of dog than average, which can fortunately be mitigated with strong leadership which must never show any weaknesses.

They need to know their place and they need to understand that the owner is the person in charge of the “pack”. Another important fact to remember is that bullmastiffs can be difficult to train later in life and that the training needs to start as soon as possible.


7. Weimaraner

Weimaraner is a hunting breed of dog and as such, they are just bursting with energy that they have to spend somewhere. They can get bored very easily and their hunting nature can come through unannounced, especially in presence of smaller animals.

Their energy, as well as their size, is the primary reasons why they might not be the most perfect choice for a family with small children. They can become too needy in terms of exercise and on top of that, their energy combined with significant size can lead to dangerous situations where they unwillingly injure a child.

It is also very important to remain calm yet authoritative as Weimaraners do not respond well to any violence or aggression.


8. Siberian Husky

Another breed of dog famed for their inexhaustible energy is definitely the Siberian husky, a strong breed which can be trained quite successfully but which usually has no interest in guarding and protecting its family.

And while they can be trained, they have been known to become disobedient at the slightest display of weakness by the pack leader. In a pack with a small child, this can be too much of a task and they are therefore not perfect for families with small children.

Their energy also requires a lot and this can all become too tasking on a family with children. All that being said, with proper training and care, huskies can be extremely loving pets.


9. Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is one of the more courageous and energetic breeds and because of this, they have traditionally been used as watchdogs, disaster dogs, rescue dogs, detection dogs and even guides. As you can imagine, this means that they are simply teaming with energy and that they can take up quite a lot of your time.

In fact, exercise is so important to them that without enough of it they can develop behavioral problems. Due to this “neediness” Australian shepherds can become a bit too much for a family with children.

Another reason why they might not be perfect for such households is that they can sometimes mistake the family and the kids for their herd, at which point they can become aggressive. They also require proper introduction to all new people around them, including family members.


10. Affenpinscher

To put things as simply as possible, Affenpinschers can be mischievous. They have terrier-like personalities, and they are also inquisitive and often stubborn to a fault.

In addition, they are known for monkeying around, so to speak. This can make them quite endearing and amusing, but it can also be a problem in households with children. It is also necessary to understand that these little dogs have to be trained just as strictly as larger dogs and they should be given no leeway due to their small size.

If they notice a lack of leadership, they can become untrustworthy and disobedient. Due to their size, children often see them as toys and tend to mishandle them. Affenpinschers may tolerate this to a point, but they know how to defend themselves. And they will do it.


11. Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world, and since the 20th century, they have been used as both guardians and hunting dogs. As such, they are quite naturally strong-willed and they need firm leadership at all times.

If early and proper training is lacking, Afghan hounds can become disobedient and even destructive. It is also important to remain kind and calm when interacting with this dog. Another reason why this breed may not be the most suitable for families with smaller children is their size which makes them a potential, unwitting hazard for small children who can get knocked over.

Most experts will agree that while Afghan hounds can be exquisite family dogs when children grow up a bit, when smaller children are around the house, it is perhaps a better idea to go with another breed.


12. Chow Chow

When you first see a Chow Chow, it can seem like the perfect companion for a small child – they are so fluffy and toy-like. In reality, there are many breeds that are a better choice for a household with children than this one.

For one, Chows are quite large and they can pose a danger for a small child without holding any ill will towards it. They have been known to unintentionally injure small children. Furthermore, they need structure and very strong leadership, which is something smaller children often have trouble understanding and practicing.

Finally, Chows can get extremely attached to a single owner, when they can become jealous. In such cases, they will not even allow children to approach and play with them.


13. The English Toy Spaniel

Everything about the English toy spaniel leads one to believe that it should be a great dog for small children. For one, they are called toy spaniels.

Also, they are so cute and their size also indicates a dog that goes well with little children. And herein lies the danger. Namely, children often mistake these cute canines for toys and this can lead to something called Small Dog Syndrome.

What this means is that these small dogs are not to be perceived in such a fashion and that they might react quite violently if mistreated. They should also never be allowed to become dominant in the household because they can become untrustworthy and even aggressive. When everyone is on the same page, however, toy spaniels can be amazing pets.


14. French Bulldog

The French bulldog is generally considered to be a very playful breed, but this should never be cue for owners to give them free reign. These cute dogs still require discipline and they need to be made to understand who calls the shots in the family.

This also means that small children will need to understand that they need to be authoritative to the dogs and that they should never treat them as toys. Another reason why you might choose another breed if you have small children in the household is the fact that French Bulldogs can be quite demanding in terms of time and affection.

One thing that is always lacking in households with small children is the time and this can result in the dogs feeling unappreciated and ignored, causing behavioral problems down the line.


15. Greyhound

As dogs that have been used for racing for the better part of the last century or more, greyhounds are a breed with incredible energy and all this can actually become the crucial reason for why you wouldn’t want to have them as family dogs when you have small children.

Their exercise can require a lot of time, which is always in short supply with small children around. Greyhounds also need to be trained not to attack smaller animals and cats as they have a certain propensity towards this. Furthermore, these dogs are not too happy when there is roughhouse play and they do not respond too well to this.

If they lack proper training, greyhounds can become reserved towards the master, which can make them unpredictable. Finally, they need to know who the leader is at all times.


16. Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin may seem like the perfect dog for small children due to their petite size and their cute looks. And while they have traditionally been companion dogs – to royalty no less – they can still be quite tricky to have in a household with small kids.

Japanese chins are extremely demanding in terms of time and love and if they notice that they are being ignored even in the slightest, they can become very jealous and feel neglected. Of course, you will also need to take care not to pamper them too much or let them call the shots.

In essence, with a Japanese chin, you are simply adding another child to the household and if this does not sound like a great idea to you, it is better to go another way.


17. Pekingese

Pekingese are, despite their looks, extremely courageous and independent. Due to this idiosyncratic nature of theirs, they do not like to be treated like toys, which is something that can happen when small children are around, especially if they are not told and educated about how to treat these little cuties.

Due to their fierce nature, Pekingese also require strong leadership which must not falter at any time. If they notice weakness, they will try to take charge and if they are allowed to do so, they can be difficult to control and become untrustworthy.

It is because of this that your children need to understand that they need to step up as pack leaders when you are not around and that they need to show authority when around the Pekingese.


18. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is among the least recommended breeds for households with small kids. In fact, there are breeders who will refuse to sell their dogs to families with children who are too young. The reason for this is that Shih Tzus are easily frightened and overexcited, which can lead to them biting the child.

This is a perfectly natural defense mechanism and it is best never to leave them unsupervised around small children who often see them as toys. In addition to this, they easily develop separation anxiety and they can easily start feeling neglected if they are not given enough attention.

Considering the limited time that parents of small children often have at their disposal, this can be another problem with owning Shih Tzus while raising small children. In short, it is best to go with another breed for the time being.


19. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are well-known as one of the more demanding breeds of dog. They require almost consistent training which needs to be structured and firm at all time. They require a lot of time and attention and if they are handled improperly, they can snap which is something you do not want around small children.

They are also not exactly tolerant to rough play which often happens when small children are involved. They will not tolerate pinching, poking and pulling and this can even make them bite in order to defend themselves and their space.

All in all, due to their energy level, their “pride,” and their low tolerance threshold, Jack Russells are usually not recommended to families with pre-school children.


20. Chinese Shar-Pei

Sure, the Shar Pei may look like the ideal kids’ dog, so deliciously cute with their folds of extra skin and their seemingly docile nature. In reality, they could not be less suitable for small children and for a number of different reasons.

The first of these are the actual skin folds, which can often become home for infections that you would never want around your children. In addition to this, Shar Peis often suffer from other health issues, many of which are still not well-known in the veterinary profession.

Furthermore, these dogs are notoriously difficult to train which has a lot to do with the fact that they actually have a rather aggressive disposition. If you are bent on training them, doing so around small children might not be the best idea.

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