Top 5 kid-friendly dogs

Kiersten Benitez, owner of Bark Orlando, shares her top picks for family dogs

Welcoming a new dog into the family can be a lot of fun.

But Kiersten Benitez with Bark Orlando said it’s important to consider what kind of breed you adopt.

Benitez started Bark Orlando in 2016 as a dog training company and eventually expanded it to a full-service pet care company.

Every day she comes in contact with different breeds of dogs.

She shared her experience and advice for first-time dog owners with Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin on Florida’s Fourth Estate.

She said while training can make a big impact genetics do too.

Benitez’s number one choice for first-time dog owners with young children is a Labrador Retriever.

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Lab (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

“I’ve never met a lab that didn’t just want to be in my lap,” Benitez said

In addition to being friendly, she said they are also very amenable.

“They can adapt pretty well to a lot of change and that’s good with a family and they have a pretty even temperament. Overall, they are actually pretty gentle dogs. They are super silly, and they are really easy to train,” she said.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

If you are looking for a smaller dog Benitez said a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a good choice.

“They are probably the most patient dogs I have ever met and also the happiest dog I have ever met,” she said. “I have never seen a Cavalier walking down the street with a frown on its face. They always look happy. They are always wagging their tail. They want everyone to say hi to them. They’re very gentle and they are always just content, and they love lots of attention. They don’t need lots of exercise. If you are looking for a small dog and maybe you have a very busy lifestyle, this is a good dog.”


Poodle (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Poodles are not just popular for breeding with other dogs, Benitez said they’re also very good for families.

“They are actually one of the most intelligent breeds. They are super super easy to train,” she said.

However, she pointed out grooming is time-consuming and expensive.

“Even though they have such a regal presence, they are super super goofy and playful,” Benitez said.


Mutt (Mates)

Some people think it’s risky to go to the pound and adopt a mutt, but Benitez said mutts can be a very good choice for first-time dog owners.

“Overall mutts take on a more even temperament. The pure breed dogs are bred for a job, the mutts are not,” she said.

She also pointed out that they tend to live longer because they have more diverse genetics.


Beagle (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Benitez said a beagle can also make a great addition to your family.

“They are actually super intelligent,” she said. “They are also extremely outgoing and very eager to please, so that makes training a lot easier. Overall, they are low maintenance, especially with grooming and adapting to new spaces and climates. They can really adapt to cold and hot.”

She said the one drawback is their signature howl.

Even with the best-bred pets, there are still challenges people considering pet ownership need to watch out for.

Benitez shares more of those tips and the top dogs you may want to avoid if you have children under 10, including the lead in the popular children’s show Bluey, a blue heeler, on Florida’s Fourth Estate.

You can download the podcast from wherever you listen to podcasts, watch Mondays and Fridays on News 6 at 3:30 p.m. or anytime on the News 6+ app for your smart TV.

About the Authors:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 3:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.

Ginger Gadsden joined the News 6 team in June 2014 as an anchor/reporter. She currently co-anchors the 4 p.m. 5:30 p.m. and the 7 p.m. newscasts.