Small dog and small child, what could be cuter, right? Except the reality is that it rarely works out. Italian Greyhounds are typically not a good choice for a household with very small children, or older children who want to be able to “roughhouse” with a dog, because of their small size. This breed does not like quick movements or loud noises. Even simple crying can really stress this breed out causing them to avoid children all together! Toy dogs are also prone to injuries due to their size. While most kids are definitely angels and would never mistreat any animal, any home with a dog and children requires lots of extra commitment and constant supervision by the adults in the household to ensure that everyone treats each other responsibly. We find when people add an Italian Greyhound to a household with children, the parents usually have a dog and have kids, but the kids don’t have a dog. Please consider this if you’ve found our page while searching for a child’s pet or a family pet.
Very small dogs and Toy dogs are too easily injured to live with young children and toddlers. Italian Greyhounds are very prone to leg breaks which can cost between $2,000 to $3,000 to repair. Most Toy breeds can survive visits from the grandchildren as long as the dogs have been thoroughly socialized and the children are supervised. The following are sturdier small dogs that do well with considerate older children.
- Bichon Frise
- English Toy Spaniel
The following small dog breeds make good family pets and can survive young children if the toddlers are supervised at all times.
- Boston Terrier
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Poodle (Miniature not Toy)
Sometimes it’s better to wait until your children reach school age before acquiring a dog. This doesn’t mean your children can’t have positive contact with dogs in the meantime. One thing you can do is make friends with a responsible breeder and help socialize puppies to children in the right way. Your kids can also be involved with therapy dogs and good dogs who live with your extended family and friends.
After the mental development of empathy at age 5 to 7 years, children have increased ability to treat dogs properly. Parents still need to be careful, especially with boys up to age 9, who are the most common victims of severe dog bites.
The decision to add a dog to the family is a big one. The right dog at the right time can add a great deal to a child’s life. Memories from many happy years with the dog carry the meaning of a child’s relationship with a dog far beyond that snapshot on a holiday morning.