Having a dog is a priceless addition to a family. Kids learn many lessons, like responsibility and compassion, from having a furry companion around. Concerns should not be overblown, but there are a few areas parents should consider before bringing a pet home. So, what issues should parents think about and which dogs are best in these areas?

Allergies

One unfortunate concern for many families is allergies. Pet allergies are due to the immune system’s overreaction to dander from the pet’s skin. The dander is connected to a dog’s fur, so the more a dog sheds, often the worse it will be for allergy sufferers. No dog will be totally free of dander, but some are more “hypoallergenic.” These breeds include poodles, schnauzers, many types of terriers, and Portuguese Water Dogs, among others.

Safety

There is a lot of debate around pit bulls, “attack dogs,” guard dogs, bully breeds, and other terms that suggest increased danger from specific breeds. Some do not accept that there is any additional risk from these breeds. Nevertheless, there are certain breeds that were selectively bred over time to fight, attack, or protect. This makes their size and temperament potentially more concerning as a family pet.

Another complicating factor can be that these breeds are chosen by owners who are more likely to use them for these functions. This means they are more likely to be socialized poorly or abused. Dogs in this category can make great family pets for the right family, but you should do a bit more research and know what to expect first. Those usually included on these lists are pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, chows, and Doberman Pinschers.

Pure Breds vs Mutts

There is a lot to be said for those who take in a “rescue” from a shelter. They give a dog another lease at life so they aren’t stuck in a shelter or euthanized. While this is noble, there are some risks involved. Shelter dogs may not have papers that give details on the pedigree of the animal. This means you may never know what breed, or breeds, the dog is derived from. You will likely have some good clues, though, from look, size, and temperament.

Another concern is the prior environment. When choosing a dog to be around your children, having details on the dog’s history can eliminate unexpected issues. Breeders are constantly rated and visited by customers and need to be inspected by any kennel associations they belong to. You’ll have some clues on whether the location is respectable from their reputation and from your visit to the facility. By contrast, a dog from a shelter may not come with much information on their past. This past could include abuse done to them or even aggression done by them.

Safe Breeds for Families

While a well socialized and loved dog of any breed can be a great family pet, certain breeds have developed a status as reliable family dogs. Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers both are held high in this regard. Other breeds often mentioned are beagles, standard poodles, collies, and bulldogs. If you need advice on a breed, or even a specific breeder in the Chapel Hill area, we are happy to give a recommendation.