05/09/2012 11:03 EDT

Best Pets For Kids: Which Animal Should You Bring Home?


By Jaclyn Bertner,

You may already have a house full of kids or you may still be in the planning stages of starting your family. Either way, if you hope to add some four-legged friends to your home, it’s essential to know what kind of pet will play the best with your children. And petMD has got you covered with its top five dog and cat breeds that will be your kids’ new best friend.

Best Pets For Kids


If your kids fancy themselves WWF wrestlers, the bulldog could be a good choice. Thanks to its sturdy build, this breed is docile, friendly and loyal and won't retaliate when poked and prodded. Since bulldogs aren't overly active, they are suitable for both houses with a backyard and small apartments.


The Vizsla is gentle, loyal, quiet, affectionate and obedient, and picks up on tricks and commands quickly.

Golden Retriever

One of the most popular breeds, golden retrievers are smart, loyal and kind. They also need a lot of exercise, so they're best suited for active families.

Bull Terrier

Bred to be a companion dog, the friendly bull terrier is great for a child's first dog. And even though we don't condone dog bullying, the bull terrier does have a high threshold for pain -- perfect for children with a propensity for tail tugging.


Weighing in at 100-plus pounds, the Newfoundland is known to love and protect the children in the family, according to petMD. Active and easy to train, this breed is gentle, kind, intelligent and patient.


Very much the social cat, the birman will run up and greet guests rather than hiding in a corner. But if you're looking for an active breed, the birman, which would rather lounge around the house, may not be right for your family.


Aptly named for the limp, ragdoll position it takes when you pick it up, this breed is gentle, likes playing games and relaxing afterward.


An indoor breed that will bond with its family, the Himalayan is quiet and active, but also enjoys a little relaxation.

Maine Coon

One of the oldest companion cat breeds, according to petMD, this patient breed is calm around rambunctious children. Maine coons are also "naturally familiar" with human temperaments and will adapt to their owners' needs.

Exotic Shorthair

Easygoing and laid-back, exotic shorthairs are quiet and will lovingly greet you and your family at the door -- just show them plenty of affection.