Dog expert warns most young families should steer clear of one breed – and it’s not XL Bully

By Staff 8 Min Read

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Niki French, a pup trainer and owner of PupTalk has unveiled the typical breeds that families regret homing – and it’s not a Rottweiler or XL Bully

Dogs have been famously crowned ‘man’s best friend’ – but does this remain true when it comes to those with young kids? One dog expert has unveiled the typical breeds that many families regret getting, but claims it’s not a straight-forward picture.

Niki French, pup trainer and owner of PupTalk, is adamant there’s ‘no such thing as a bad dog’, but explains that new parents should steer clear of homing those that are perhaps a little more needy or boisterous when also caring for babies and toddlers. While your mind may be jumping to the likes of Rottweilers and XL Bullies, it was actually the working Border Collies she had most concerns about.

This is primarily because they’re famous for herding sheep and cattle – and their herding tendencies don’t just stop once they leave the field. She told The Mirror: “There is no such thing as a bad dog. Only a dog in the wrong environment that doesn’t have the skills it needs to feel safe and relaxed. If a dog is scared, or in pain, any dog can bite.

“Genetics plays a huge role in how a dog will behave in any home in the future. If both of a puppy’s parents are calm and relaxed around children, there is a much greater likelihood, in a lovely home, that the puppy will grow up to be the same.

“People need to be aware of certain breeds traits, like a Working Collie may want to try and herd and nip at the heels of people in the home. This may be harder to manage with an excitable toddler, compared to when your nan comes over to visit.”

If you struggle to get your baby to sleep at night, Niki also recommends steering clear of barker breeds, which may include the likes of Chihuahuas, hounds and Yorkshire terriers that are prone to a bit of yapping. Those with a high prey drive, like English Foxhounds and Border Terriers, should also be housed with caution as they may be more inclined to chase a small child.

Niki continued: “Some breeds are bred to bark more than others. A baby or young child may find that upsetting. Equally, a crying baby or screaming toddler can be difficult for some dogs to cope with.

“Time and consistency with kind dog training can do so much to help children and dogs live happily and safely in the same home. Regardless of breed, not all dogs are going to be happy in a busy home with children.”

Niki’s thoughts come amidst a wave of concern over dangerous dogs in the UK, with XL Bullies now banned in England and Wales without an exemption certificate. While Niki personally believes the danger posed by XL Bullies is a product of irresponsible owners and poor breeding, she stresses that it’s important to remain wary of all breeds.

“Bigger breeds obviously have more powerful jaws and can knock children over more easily. But even the smallest mouths can cause a nasty bite. Many bigger dogs are absolute gentle giants,” she added.

“Regardless of breed or the temperament of a dog, young children should never be left unsupervised with a dog. Not even for a moment. Children of different ages will act very differently around dogs. From wanting to grab ears and fur, to screaming and running around, or having tempting food in their hands.

“If you have a high energy dog and a high energy child, while they may appear well-suited, they may be more likely to wind each other up. It’s important to teach children how to interact safely and kindly around dogs. As soon as they’re old enough, teaching them basic body language can have a big impact on reducing the chance of a dog needing to bite.”

Jeanette Muldoon, another dog behaviourist at The Family Dog Club, also stressed that a dog’s temperament can be influenced by something as minor as the weather, or deeper issues like past trauma.

She told The Mirror: “It’s a myth that every bad dog has a bad owner, dogs like us have emotions and feelings, and can have good days and bad days.

“Often with dog attacks there is a build up, the dog may have been taken from all they’ve ever known or not had a nurturing environment, and if the owners aren’t experienced in body language then they often cant see the build up until it is too late.”

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