Are Greyhounds Good With Kids? Yes. Golden Retriever Kids.

My friend, who is a vet, calls me a breedist and cringes every time I stereotype dog breeds. She insists that each dog has a unique personality and stereotyping breeds makes people overlook the individual animal.
Maybe so, but I think most people are breedists. It’s just sort of conventional wisdom that Golden Retrievers are friendly, German Shepherds are smart, and Greyhounds are aloof, right?  Our kids are young, but they even know these stereotypes.
Actually, our kids probably learned these stereotypes from M and me. Last year our family toured every animal shelter in the Houston area looking for our next dog. As we walked through the kennels of barking dogs, M and I would read the breeds.
“Oooh. Lab mix. He could learn fetch.” “Look! A Poodle! I bet she’s smart.”
As we talked to animal rescuers, shelter employees, and other families, we discovered there is one dog stereotype that everyone believed: Golden Retrievers are friendly and easy to train because they are eager-to-please.
Because of their gregarious, sweet natures, these dogs are the gold standard for families with kids. A Golden Retriever can go for a jog with the dad in the morning, cuddle by the mom’s feet while she cooks, play fetch with the kids when they get home from school, and still be ready for a training session in the evening. Everything we read reiterated the same stereotype: Golden Retrievers are friendly, energetic, and eager-to-please.
You know who else is friendly, energetic, and eager-to-please?
Every member of our family.
We are Golden Retrievers.
This means the most logical dog for us to adopt would be a Golden Retriever, right? We could bring our high-energy, gregarious kin into our midst to romp around with us all.
We sort-of thought that. Until we really started to think about it.
Then we realized a Golden Retriever was the last dog our family needed.
Like I said, all four of our kids are eager-to-please, lick-your-face friendly, and full of energy. Our house needed more enthusiasm and hyperactivity like we needed to give our kids Red Bull for breakfast.
This realization led our family to Greyhounds. Lazy, calm, aloof, stoic Greyhounds.
One year ago we adopted Manny the Greyhound, who proves the breed stereotype by being one of the laziest, most stoic dog you’ve ever seen.  Manny is the Winston Churchill of dogs. He does not yelp or dance around or ever lick your face. Instead he sleeps about 20 hours a day. And when he’s not sleeping, he is standing perfectly still, looking stoic. In a household of half a dozen people needing something from me, calm, disinterested Manny is a gift from God.
But over Christmas break we found a Golden Retriever. Driving home from dinner, we almost hit this adorable dog, who was roaming the neighborhood streets. We took her to the vet, who couldn’t find a chip or tags or any records. We were pretty sure the beautiful dog belonged to our neighbors, but it wasn’t like them to go out of town without their dog.
So, we tried to track them down. And while we did, our Golden-Retriever kids played fetch and chase and lick-your-face with this dog. The Hergenrader Kids were in heaven to have one-of-their-own in the form of an adorable dog. M and I started to wonder if we’d made the right decision by not adopting the Hergenrader of Dogs, the Golden Retriever.
We got our answer that night when our kids went to bed. With them finally asleep, M and I collapsed onto the couch in an exhausted stupor. We were so done with neediness and energy and bouncing around.
Manny and Madison (our fourteen year old Cocker Spaniel) both collapsed next to us, just as appreciative of the hard-won peace and quiet.
But that Golden Retriever still had energy to burn, she still wanted to go for a run! play fetch! please someone!
Manny looked up at me and all but rolled his eyes. Then we both turned over and took a nap.
Maybe one day when the kids go to college, I’ll be ready for this kind of enthusiasm. But for now, I was relieved when our neighbors came home to retrieve their dog.
What about you? Do you believe dog stereotypes? What kind of dog is best for your family?

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3 Responses
  1. I have a cocker/beagle mix who fits her stereotype fairly well. Typically cocker spaniels are considered friendly but often hyper and high maintenance. Beagles are considered friendly and good with kids and frequently chubby. My mix is definitely friendly and also a bit needy. She loves kids though especially babies and gets quite frustrated when they leave. She demands attention and thinks are laps are her territory. She fits us well though. We love her attention and laugh at her antics and are super excited she enjoys kids in that we are in the process of adopting.

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