Sometimes, Moms Don’t Know Best

The other week someone forwarded me this blog advocating small dogs for kids. Now, I know that I’m completely assuming that Ms. Borboa is a mother (at least I hope she is; otherwise, what is she doing writing a blog about dogs and kids?), but as a father of four kids I tell you Ms. Borboa is wrong. Sure, anyone who knows me knows that I love big dogs and that I think big dogs are both great with kids and great for urban life, but even putting my personal predilections to the side I still think that Ms. Borboa is off base both in her basic premise and in her breed suggestions.

Ms. Borboa’s basic premise is that parents should get their kids a small dog because “smaller canines can be less intimidating to children…” This premise seems to be entirely based on the size of the child relative to the size of the dog. While relative size has some merit in discussing intimidation, we’re discussing dogs and not bullies on the playground. Rather than focusing on the size of the dog, parents should focus on the behavior of the dog and the characteristics of the breed (assuming we’re discussing pure breed dogs as Ms. Borboa did). A small dog which nips or yaps can be plenty intimidating – even to an adult – while a snoozing big dog is just a living rug. A dog that reflects your lifestyle is more important than the size of the dog.  You need a dog that can “stand up” to having kids around it: the noise, the running around, and the chaos (or is that just my house?). Consider how a dog fits into your lifestyle first, and size second.

Ms. Borboa’s breed suggestions also require some more attention. I’m not going to go through each breed, but here’s an example. Ms. Borboa suggests a Corgi as a good small child family pet. Granted, she acknowledges that the Corgi is “considered a herding dog,” but she fails to address that this herding instinct will also kick in for small children and that Corgis often herd by nipping at heels. Now this isn’t meant to say that Corgis aren’t wonderful dogs (they are), but only that just because they are small dogs doesn’t mean that that they are best dog for a family with kids.

So, where does this leave us? First, it means that you and your family need to make a decision about a dog based on your situation and lifestyle. The size of the dog may be less relevant than the behavior of the dog, the characteristics of the breed, and the characteristics of your family. Second, it means that I’ll probably never be asked to be a guest blogger on

Thanks for reading.