Best Dog For A Little Girl


You’re nine years old. It’s your birthday, and you get to pick out a puppy. It can be any breed of dog you want. What do you look for when making your selection? Is it the toy breed, or perhaps the larger breed that is perfect for cuddling up to at night? You might want to think about how much you’ll want to walk or play with this dog. Will this dog stay inside or is it one that will go outside with you as well? You also want to make sure that dog will get along well with your parents and other family members in your house.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The happy, even-tempered Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a friend to all, including children—especially those who are part of the family. Sweet and affectionate, this breed enjoys cuddles and gentle play. These diminutive dogs are not fond of roughhousing, so show the kids how to interact appropriately.

One of the largest members of the AKC Toy Group, along with the Pug, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is still small enough to happily live in small spaces and is easy to travel with.

Although spirited and active, it’s simple enough to provide a Cavalier with adequate exercise with daily walks around the park or neighborhood. The easy-care coat does not require any major trimming.

Breed Overview

BREED: Toy Group

HEIGHT: 12 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder

WEIGHT: About 13 to 18 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Long, sleek and silky coat with feathering around ears, feet, chest, and tail. There are four color varieties; Tricolor, Blenheim, Ruby, and Black and Tan.

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 14 years

Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is a happy little dog that loves being with its favorite people. Like many other breeds in the AKC Sporting Group, they were bred to be peaceful with people, other dogs, and even other pets like cats.

Well-socialized Cocker Spaniels are great companions for kids, provided the children are gentle and respectful. Cockers love to play and will retrieve as many balls as the kids can throw, as well as join in on almost any game or adventure. These dogs are small enough that they won’t knock little kids down but robust enough to withstand a little gentle roughhousing.

Cockers are energetic but need only moderate amounts of exercise in the form of daily walks and off-leash running in the backyard. Their coat, however, needs regular professional grooming. 

Breed Overview

GROUP: Sporting

HEIGHT: 14 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder

WEIGHT: 20 to 30 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Silky and flat or slightly wavy. Short and fine on the head, medium length on the body, and well-feathered on the ears, chest, belly, and legs; Black, ASCOB (any solid color other than black) or parti-color (black and white, brown and white, red and white, and tri-color)

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 14 years

French Bulldog

French Bulldog

The French Bulldog, or Frenchie to his friends, is an adaptable and playful breed that loves to do whatever you’re doing.

In looks, the French Bulldogs is essentially a smaller version of the also kid-friendly Bulldog, sometimes called the English Bulldog. The one big difference is that the Frenchie has distinctive, large “bat” ears, which stand up. When you combine their unique appearance with their curious and affectionate nature, everything about the Frenchie just draws people in—adults and kids alike.

Compact but heavily built, Frenchies can be great companions for kids provided they are taught to play nice and interact with the dog respectfully. The breed requires moderate daily exercise and the smooth coat requires little upkeep. Simply brush once a week to remove loose hair. 

Be aware that brachycephalic breeds like Frenchies can be prone to respiratory issues and are more prone to overheating.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Non-sporting

HEIGHT: 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder 

WEIGHT: 19 to 28 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Short, smooth coat in brindle, fawn, white, or combination of brindle and white or fawn and white

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years


As the name suggests, this breed was developed in Havana more than 300 years ago. The only breed native to Cuba, Havanese were the treasured lapdogs of the wealthy plantation owners, largely unknown outside the island until the mid-1900s.

Havanese are charming and social, making friends wherever they go. Although many toy breeds are not recommended for kids, this dog is small but sturdy and known for being exceptionally good with respectful children.

The Havanese is also lively and whip-smart—the kids will love teaching them endless fun tricks. The silky hypoallergenic coat needs daily brushing, and you can enlist the kids to help out, or it can be clipped short for easier maintenance.

Breed Overview

BREED: Toy Group

HEIGHT: 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder

WEIGHT: 7 to 13 pounds

COAT AND COLORS: The breed may have one or two colors including, but not limited to, black, silver, white, cream, tan, fawn, gold, sable, and red. Its coat can vary drastically from silky straight to very wavy with ringlets.

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 14 to 16 years



Another member of the AKC Toy Group known for its affinity with children, the Pug is friendly, outgoing, silly, and just plain fun. In the Pug’s breed standard, the written description of the ideal example of the breed, the dog is described as multum in parvo, a Latin phrase that means “a lot in a little.” These dogs are small but cobby and solidly built, and they soak up lots of loving from gentle children.

Pugs need only daily walks for exercise, but caution must be used on warm days as the Pug’s pushed-in muzzle means they cannot tolerate hot temperatures. The short coat is easy to care for, but these dogs do shed a fair amount, so brush daily to cut down on hair in the house.

Breed Overview

BREED: Toy Group

HEIGHT: 10 to 13 inches

WEIGHT: 14 to 18 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Smooth, short double coat in fawn or black

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 13 to 15 years

Shih Tzu

Charming, outgoing and irresistibly cute, the Shih Tzu loves people of all ages, including well-mannered kids. Because Shih Tzu puppies are very small, some breeders may be hesitant to place Shih Tzu puppies into families with children younger than 5 years old. However, full-grown Shih Tzu are sturdy for their size. So, as long as extra care is taken to supervise puppy-kid interactions diligently, the Shih Tzu can be a wonderful playmate for gentle kids.

The breed hails from China where for centuries it was a prized and pampered lapdog of Chinese royalty. The luxurious long coat requires daily brushing when left long, although some Shih Tzu owners keep their dogs in a shorter pet clip for convenience. 

Breed Overview

BREED: Toy Group

HEIGHT: 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder

WEIGHT: 9 to 16 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Long double coat in nearly any color, most commonly in black, white, blue, gold, liver, or combinations

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 16 years


There are a wide variety of dog breeds to choose from, so it all depends on what you are looking for in a dog. Some dogs are more active than others and some, like the Affenpinscher, love to play. Those that have a knack for hunting wildlife have a smaller chance of becoming bored at home than those that don’t. Likewise, those that don’t like water enjoy lounging around but hate taking baths or swimming. If your little girl would rather play with dolls or ride bicycles, stick to dogs that aren’t as active or try out other pet options, like cats.

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