The Best Dog for A Scared Child (9 Breed Picks + Photos)

Children are easily intimidated, and if a child has been chased by a dog or knocked over by one, that unpleasant trauma can turn into a memory that can last for years, if not a lifetime. 

When choosing a dog for children, it is important to consider the temperament and energy level of the breed, as well as the size of the dog and the amount of care and exercise it will require. Some breeds are generally more patient and gentle with children, while others may be more energetic and require more supervision.

best dog for a scared child
The Best Dog for Scared Child (9 Breed Picks + Photos)

It is crucial to teach children how to interact responsibly with dogs and to never leave them unsupervised with a dog.

While some dogs accidentally hurt children because of over-enthusiastic affection which isn’t really their fault, other dogs are known to be calmer and less intimidating to a young child. 

If you’ve got a child that is leery of dogs, here are some breeds that could change him or her into a canine-crazy adult, just like the rest of us! 

1. Miniature or Toy Poodle

Poodles are an ideal breed for families with kids, as they have an extraordinary affinity for children. Their patient and playful demeanor make them great companions for little ones. 

toy vs mini poodle
Toy vs Mini Poodle [Breed Comparison]

Additionally, Poodles are known as one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs, meaning that not only are they more likely to be able to handle unpredictable scenarios when playing with children, but also easier to train for basic obedience. 

There is a reason why the Poodle has been known as one of the most beloved family pets around the world, and their unique bond with children is definitely at the forefront in explaining this popularity. 

Just be sure to watch them when they are playing. Their tiny stature often means that THEY are the ones getting hurt accidentally if the children play too rough! 

2. Golden Retriever

While the size of a Golden Retriever might be intimidating to a child that is scared of dogs, the floppy ears and soulful, soft eyes soften the appearance so much that it is difficult to envision a Golden being anything but a lovable, happy-go-lucky pooch. 

golden retriever in the snow with girl
A young girl and her Golden Retriever in the snow

They are naturally kind, gentle dogs with an eagerness to please which make them a great addition to any family. Golden Retrievers also have an innate desire to protect and guard their family members, which is especially important around small children

They also tend to be highly trainable and enjoy activities like playing fetch, making them ideal for activities that kids can participate in, as well as just enjoying a lazy snuggle at home! Their intelligence and loyalty give owners a unique confidence when it comes to having kids around their furry companion. 

This combination of personality traits makes Golden Retrievers one of the best dog breeds for those looking for the perfect family-friendly companion. In addition, their sturdy, athletic build can easily handle the rough-housing of a young child. 

3. Labrador Retriever

Similar in size to the Golden, the Lab has been the #1 most popular dog breed in both the US and the UK for decades, and rightfully so. These calm, gentle-mannered dogs make the best emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, and guide dogs. 

Labrador Retriever with owners
Labrador Retriever with the owners at the park.

Their innate friendly and loyal nature makes them ideal companions for children. Labradors possess incredibly resilient patience when it comes to playing with kids and are usually tolerant of other animals as well.

The breed has even earned its nickname as the “nanny dog” due to its reputation for being incredibly gentle and protective. Labradors also have an abundance of energy which can make playtime extra exciting for both your kids and pup! These traits make them the perfect pet for any family looking for a loving pet that can keep up with their young ones.

4. Beagle

Beagles are beloved for their loyalty, curiosity, and friendliness. When it comes to making them great family pets and companions for interacting with kids, these traits are invaluable. Beagles are intelligent dogs that enjoy learning and playing games, which makes them natural teachers for kids. 

Beagle with a girl
The little girl hugs Beagle.

They have endless energy and tolerance for shows of affection, so children can take part in the long walks and rough-housing that make being a Beagle parent so enjoyable. 

With equal parts love, attention, discipline, and patience, Beagles make great friends for any age, and they’re just as loyal to their young pals as they are to their adult ones.

5. French Bulldog 

French Bulldogs are one of the best breeds to bring into a home with children. This is because they have warm and loving personalities, as well as being extremely loyal to their family. 

French Bulldog on a leash
French Bulldog on a leash at the park.

French Bulldogs also tend to be very patient and tolerant when it comes to dealing with kids, allowing them to wrestle, smother them in hugs, and generally be very rough with the pup without becoming annoyed or yelping for attention. 

French Bulldogs are also small in size, making them an ideal companion for small children who feel secure playing around their smaller stature. They are also brachycephalic dogs, which are known to have short bursts of intense activity, but also shorter bits of stamina. 

That makes them ideal playmates for kids that want to dash around crazily for a bit and then go and relax in the corner. 

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are renowned for their calming temperaments and docile nature, making them ideal companions for children. These gentle, loving dogs have a soft spot for kids; they have been known to take part in games with children or even act as a pillow for naptime. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel tongue out
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sitting in front of a camera while tongue is out.

As a small but sturdy breed with an affectionate personality, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is perfect to cuddle up next to smaller bodies and make sure no one feels left out. This breed’s loyalty and patience with kids also make them top choices for families looking to add a four-legged addition.

7. Basset Hound

Slow-moving, calm, and gentle, Basset Hounds are one of the least intimidating breeds when it comes to their personalities. They may be larger than toy dogs, but their peaceful natures and docile demeanors rarely intimidate anyone. 

Basset Hound fluffy ears
Cute Basset Hound sits with fluffy ears.

Additionally, Basset Hounds are incredibly patient. This patience allows for children to sometimes become wild or excited around them and the Hound will remain calm and wait until the excitement settles down again. 

Their short legs also make it easy for even young kids to play with them outdoors by running around – they can easily keep up with most small activities that children enjoy. Finally, their adorable face makes them lovable additions to all types of households, especially ones with kids!

8. Pug

Pugs are beloved across the world for their endearing personalities and adorable faces, but many don’t realize how great they are with children. Pugs have a playful demeanor and generally docile attitudes that make them perfect for families with kids. 

Pug sits on pillow
The Pug sits comfortably on a pillow.

They also possess an innate friendliness, making them loyal companions who become best friends with their little owners. Pugs are intuitive dogs who know when to act more maturely, no matter the age of their family members. 

This makes them especially loving guardians of any child in a household, whether it’s babies or adolescents. Not only do Pugs provide joy wherever they go, but they also offer protection, love, and comfort as dependable four-legged members of any family.

9. Cocker Spaniels 

Cocker Spaniels are renowned for their docile nature and ultra-sweet personality, making them the ideal companion for kids of all ages. Their soft, gentle eyes and adorable floppy ears can make even the more fearful child feel at ease with this lovable breed. 

American Cocker Spaniels
American Cocker Spaniels with its long coat.

Not only do these dogs get along with children, but they also understand your child better than an adult can. 

With their kind temperament and soft eyes, Cocker Spaniels have a unique ability to put even the most reticent of children at ease. On top of that, these furry friends tend to be very patient and gentle with young ones, which makes them the perfect pet for each family. 

Finally, Cocker Spaniels are extremely intelligent, so children will find it easy to teach them tricks like fetch and basic obedience commands. 

Final Thoughts 

If you are thinking of adding a dog to a household with a scared child, the selection of the dog is more based on personality than breed. You don’t want a boisterous, hyperactive dog that dashes around the house and potentially knocks the child over, causing even more fear.

You’d want a dog that is calm, gentle, and patient, especially when the child is just getting used to having a canine at home. 

While looks don’t matter in many cases, in a situation with a fearful child, it just might. A dog with a soft, gentle expression like a Cocker Spaniel or Golden Retriever might be more readily accepted. In addition, some breeds that look a little goofy like the Pug and the French Bulldog might also be more suitable.

In any case, be sure to always supervise your children and dogs when they are playing together. Good luck!