Doodles have become a popular choice as a family-friendly dog, but not all types and sizes of doodles are created equal for this purpose.
In this article, we will look at a few different popular types of doodles and sizes to see how they typically interact with children. Keep in mind that these are generalizations and that the single most important factor in how a doodle will interact with children is individual socialization.
Finding a breeder that produces well-socialized puppies from parent dogs with non-aggressive or fearful temperaments is the most important key to finding a good fit for your family. Furthermore, training is another important factor.
Two doodles of the same size and breed may have very different behaviors depending on the level of training and boundaries set by their owners.
Which Size Doodle Is Best for Kids?
First, doodle breeds typically come in various sizes. The key difference in the size of the doodle is it’s poodle heritage: whether his line contains standard poodle or miniature poodle.
Standard or larger medium sized doodles are bred from a standard poodle. The Standard Poodle was originally bred as a retrieving dog (specifically for the water).
So Standard Poodles are actually quite athletic, moderately active and extremely intelligent. Retrieving is a skill that requires dutiful obedience on the part of the dog, and the standard poodle is no exception.
The poodle makes a smart, sensitive, but very patient companion. The larger size doodle breeds are typically tolerant and gentle with children Their athletic background provides them with ample energy to keep up with playing fetch and other games with the children.
Their larger size can however make them more likely to knock over a small child when jumping or roughhousing. Their size can also make it difficult for a young child to walk them on the leash if they are not well-leash-trained and prone to pulling.
Positive: Standard Doodles are naturally gentle, patient and tolerant with children’s rough play and touch.
Negative: Standard Doodles can be “a lot of dog” for small children to handle when it comes to exuberant playing, jumping, or leash-walking.
Toy, mini, or smaller medium sized doodles typically are bred using a miniature poodle. The miniature poodle and standard poodle have some similarities but are overall two different breeds.
The miniature poodle was not bred for a sporting purpose, but rather came into existence once the standard poodle made its way into France where it was bred down to become a prized companion of 18th-century European aristocracy.
Bred specifically for its small size and companionship, the Miniature Poodle tends to be more demanding of attention and can be more excitable and less laidback than their standard counterparts.
As a result, miniature doodles can be more high-strung than their standard counterparts. As breeders we very frequently get requests from families with young children wanting a miniature doodle believing that a smaller dog will be a better fit for kids.
It is true that a smaller dog is easier to manage in some ways: children can more easily handle the dog on the leash and are less likely to be knocked over by the dog jumping.
However, the inherent temperament differences can make miniature doodles less patient with and more prone to snap or nip at young children.
Furthermore, their small size can make them more prone to getting stepped on or injured by a young child’s rough play. Their tiny bodies are simply physically more sensitive to rough touches, which can be another factor in a miniature doodle being less tolerant with a small child.
Positive: Mini Doodles are often easier to physically handle. They can be picked up and their jumping, leash-pulling, etc. is less likely to knock a small child over.
Negative: Mini Doodles are known to be “more opinionated” so they can be more sensitive and less tolerant of children’s poor manners/rough play.
Which Doodle Breed Would be Good With Kids?
There are three different breed types to consider for your children.
Working Breed Doodles (i.e. Bernedoodles, Newfypoos):
Working dogs were typically bred for a specific job and are naturally quite large and amiable. Working breed dogs are typically known for being incredibly loyal, devoted and protective of their owners. Bred for tasks ranging from guarding to cart-pulling, these dogs tended to be more braun than brains.
As a result, the working doodle breeds tend to be friendly, kind-hearted, and tolerant with children, but they can also be goofy and overly silly. They are generally less familiar with the concept of personal space and are also prone to be clumsy which is often endearing but can be a challenge for families with younger kids susceptible to being easily knocked over.
Positive: Bernedoodles and other working-breed-doodles are naturally affectionate and tolerant of children.
Negative: Bernedoodles and other working-breed-doodles can be clumsy and easily knock over small children.
Herding Breed Doodles (I.e. Aussiedoodles, Sheepadoodles)
Herding breeds were originally bred to help farmers herd sheep and cattle. The job required a courageous, athletic dog that did not tire easily and could think on his feet (er…paws).
As a result, herding breeds tend to be highly intelligent, independent thinkers with a lot of energy. Their energy can make them fun companions who can keep up with even the most active of children.
This energy-level can help them naturally gravitate towards children as companions. However, herding breeds often carry a strong instinct to chase and nip at fast-moving things. This is great if you are practicing frisbee tricks in the backyard but can be an obnoxious behavior for families with young kids.
Kids obviously fall into the category of “fast-moving” so sometimes sheepadoodles, aussiedoodles, etc. may nip at their ankles while kids are at play. This behavior can result in broken skin, torn clothing, falling down, etc. so is often a source of frustration for the children.
Positive: Sheepadoodles and other herding-breed-doodles are energetic and always up for playing and adventuring with energetic children!
Negative: Sheepadoodles and other herding-breed-doodles may try to nip/herd small children.
Sporting Breed Doodles (i.e. Goldendoodles, Labradoodles)
Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers were bred to work closely with their owners in order to retrieve game on a hunt (hence the name ‘retriever’).
This job requires a high level of self-control, trainability and a willingness to please even in a highly stimulating setting. The dog must wait patiently and only act on the owner’s command — as a result, retrieving breeds typically excel in general obedience and trainability outside of the field as well.
With a trainable and eager-to-please disposition, sporting breed doodles tend to make excellent companions for families. They are very obedient making it easy to curb obnoxious behaviors such as jumping and nipping and are generally patient, happy-go-lucky dogs. However, the retrieval abilities are linked to the dog’s comfortability to use his mouth.
As a result, sporting-breed-doodles can be “mouthy” dogs—using their tongue and mouth quite readily to play, get your attention, etc.
Positive: Goldendoodles and other sporting-breed-doodles are gentle, trainable, and typically quite tolerant of children.
Negative: Goldendoodles and other sporting-breed-doodles can be mouthy and may be prone to using their mouth while playing which can be a negative when playing with small children.
Overall, doodles of all types and breeds can interact well with kids / children provided they have been well-socialized and well-trained. However, we find the standard sized working-breed-doodles and sporting-breed-doodles to be the most natural fit with young kids!
Let us know what you think by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Jenna and the JLDD Team