All breeds of dogs can be trusted around children if they have been properly socialized and bred. Breeds known for being highly trainable can often excel as family dogs, since they are eager to please. Sporting dogs, a category that includes golden retrievers and Labradors, have been bred to work alongside humans. Herding dogs like German shepherds and collies also make excellent family pets.
While any dog and child can be taught how to interact pleasantly and politely with others, families with small children are advised to look into larger dogs that are better able to tolerate the mild injury that children can accidentally cause. A Rottweiler hardly notices a toddler pulling on its ear, but a Chihuahua may be seriously hurt or scared and lash out. Although pit bulls are infamous for their presence in dog-fighting rings, they were once known as the ideal family pet for their gentleness and sociability.
Look for a dog that matches the family's energy levels. High-energy dogs, especially hunting and herding dogs, require a great deal of exercise and interaction to be healthy and well-behaved indoors; bored and under-stimulated dogs can be extremely destructive.
If purchasing from a breeder, notify the breeder if a family has children immediately so that they remember to socialize the puppy with children before it arrives in its new home.