VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital
Published: Nov 09, 2012

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You may remember the often-heroic adventures of Lassie, a collie, or the gentle demeanor portrayed by golden retriever Shadow in family movie "Homeward Bound." There's a reason families, real and fictional, choose breeds like collies, retrievers and beagles as their canine companions. These dogs, and several others, are known for being good with children. So what makes a great family dog?

Sturdy build, plenty of energy
Looking for a playmate for the kids? Make sure your dog is large enough that it cannot be injured by the often-rough hands of children, especially if you have kids under the age of three. As the kids grow, you'll also want to make sure your dog will be able to keep up with their fast-paced lives. Large, high-energy breeds like boxers, Staffordshire bull terriers, retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs fit these categories. Bred to work, they are ready to run and play all day with their child companions.

Wouldn't hurt a fly
Of course, a key concern for many parents is the safety of their children. Although most dogs can be trained to be friendly and gentle, some are simply more amiable by nature. Dogs who were bred for human companionship, like beagles and retrievers who spent much of their time in the field with a master when they were at work, are particularly friendly and tolerant. If you are looking for an easygoing gentle giant, you might choose a Great Dane. However, many smaller breeds like miniature poodles and pugs are loving and devoted family dogs, too. If you are choosing a smaller or larger dog, make sure your children are old enough so they don't feel overwhelmed by the dog's size, or unintentionally harm a smaller one.

Loyal and loving
They say dogs are a man's best friend, but some breeds are particularly family-oriented and loyal. Breeds like the Newfoundland are known for their sweet demeanor and temperament, and can be incredibly loyal to their owners. In fact, these canines may become protective if they sense that their family is threatened. Bernese mountain dogs are also known for their sensitivity and loyal, devoted personalities. Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers are also known for loyalty to their families.

While these traits are important to consider when choosing a dog, you should also think about what type of care the breed will require and whether you have enough time and energy to give it. For example, Bernies, Newfoundlands and golden retrievers may require a fair share of dog grooming, since they tend to have fluffy fur. Larger breeds may also be prone to arthritis in dogs, and smaller breeds like pugs are prone to obesity in dogs. Do your research and talk to your vet to decide which breed would best fit your family. 

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

See all VCA Animal Hospitals >

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Emergency Care

OUR EMERGENCY NUMBER - 703-823-3601

VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital is here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can count on our critical care team to be here when you need them the most.

Your pet's health deserves the finest care. Each member of our team strives for the advancement of veterinary medicine. When you bring your pet to us, you can be certain you will receive the dedication and compassion that makes our hospital stand out in patient care. 

Please call us at 703-823-3601 immediately if you believe your pet is experiencing an emergency.

Find out what might constitute an Emergencyor read more about our Services.

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