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If you have children, or you’re planning to have children in the future, you need to think carefully about adding a dog to your family. While many dog breeds have the potential to get along with children, there are some breeds which are better for family life than others. Many retrievers, for example, have the gentle nature and mild temperament that lends itself well to family life, but not all retrievers get along well with kids. Keep reading to learn more about how the different retriever breeds react to children.

How Do Different Retrievers Get Along with Kids?

As a whole, retrievers were bred as gun dogs for the purpose of retrieving downed game and returning it to the hunter undamaged. Though retrievers were bred to work, many of the qualities that make them good at their job also make them good with children. Retrievers must have a soft mouth, a biddable nature, intelligence, and trainability – all of these things make for a good family pet. Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are two of the most people-oriented retriever breeds and they are generally recognized as two of the most family-friendly breeds as well. Curly Coated and Flat Coated Retrievers are both very kind and personable dogs and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be adaptable to family life as long as his needs for exercise are met. The only retriever breed that may be a challenge with children is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever simply because these dogs are designed primarily for hunting. They can adapt to being a companion pet, but their natural affinity for children and family life is not as strong as for other retrievers.

Which Breed is Best for Children?

All of the different retriever breeds have the potential to get along with children, though there are some additional factors to consider. First and foremost, early training and socialization is a must for any dog. If you don’t start socializing your retriever puppy at a young age, he may not grow up to be an obedient and well-adjusted adult. This is very important if you want your dog to be calm and gentle with children – he needs to be exposed to children early in life so that he will be adaptable to living with them in the future. You also need to consider the age and responsibility level of your children – very young children may not know how to properly handle or interact with a dog so your retriever will need to have some basic training under his belt so you can control him during introductions.

As long as your dog is friendly, mild-mannered, and properly socialized, any retriever could potentially be a good choice for a family with children. Generally speaking, however, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are the most child-friendly. Labrador Retrievers are some of the most playful, adaptable, and social dogs out there and it takes a lot to bother them – this is a great quality for a dog to have if he’s going to spend a lot of time around kids. Golden Retrievers are also very calm and people-oriented so they too can be a good choice for a family with kids.

No matter which breed of retriever you choose, it is important that you take the time to properly train and socialize your puppy from an early age. When you are ready to introduce your new retriever puppy to your kids, make sure to educate them about how to properly handle the puppy. Keep your first introduction session fairly short and don’t force your puppy to interact if he isn’t ready. Some retriever puppies take to children immediately while others need a little extra time to adjust. Just don’t rush things and eventually your retriever and your kids will be the best of friends.

Photo credit: Tatyana Vyc/Shutterstock

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