If it’s a safe dog you want, you probably don’t want a Pit Bull Terrier. Nor, sadly, would you want a German Shepherd. I speak from personal experience here, as the mostly Shepherd mixed-breed that we once acquired in Kentucky was a lovely and loyal dog but prone to nip at children. The smaller the kid, the bigger the nip, and with two-inch fangs, she could strike fear into the heart of child and adult alike. Heck, I didn’t even lock our doors most nights, knowing that the dog was on patrol – she was a shepherd, after all – and was ready, willing, and able to take on all comers.
Big dogs trained to guard tend not be the best pets: Shepherds, Rottweilers, Boxers, and St. Bernards – which are territorial – to boot. But there are other breeds, just a hair smaller, that fill the bill. The Labrador Retriever, for instance, is a great pet for the family, as it is listed by petMD as “playful, patient, loving, protective, and reliable.” It has a great disposition, as well.
Third on the list, perhaps surprisingly, is the Poodle. It’s smart and gentle, as well, and it’s a good dog to have if you have allergies, since it sheds very little. Though we know the Poodle to be French, the breed actually started in Germany. And although we figure it to be the ultimate pampered pooch, it seems quite a few Poodles were drafted into World War II and used to guard American munitions factories (the Shepherd eventually became the Army’s official duty dog).
Next up on the “safe and popular” list is the Irish Setter. It’s described as playful and energetic and able to play well with children. Like the Retrievers, Irish Setters need a lot of exercise.
A dog you don’t hear much about, but which is also great for a family is the Vizla. It’s reported to have a lively disposition but a gentle manner. The Vizla is also loyal and affectionate. It’s able to learn new tricks – something I’ve never figured out with a dog – and has the added allure of casting off little “doggy” smell.
Though there’s a lot of fur to deal with, Collies are known for being gentle. They are easily trained – which certainly came in handy on the set of the Lassie TV series – and they love to please their owners and protect their family. Collies are traditional herders, so without instructions to the contrary, your Collie might try to corral your kids every now and then!
Other top “safe” dogs include the Beagle, the Bull Terrier, and the Bull Dog, Bull Dogs, however, might been described as on the lovable ugly side; however; they are very docile animals and apparently don’t mind the cramped quarters of an apartment.
Adding a new member to your family – one with four legs, a wagging tail, and an unlimited appetite – is a decision every new pet owner must make based upon a number of criteria – not the least of which is pure emotion! If you have young children in your family, you might want to follow my suggestions here and a little more research so that the dog you choose is both a joy to love and a safe new addition to your home!