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Why Do Dogs Love Babies?

Dogs and babies can make some of the most adorable friends ever.

And, though dogs love their humans as a whole, they seem to go a bit crazy over babies. Why is that?

It would be wonderful to talk to a dog to learn exactly what goes through his mind when he makes goo-goo eyes at babies.

Unfortunately, we can’t have that talk.

We can, however, get a great idea thanks to things we know about dogs.

Below are some of the characteristics dogs have that could easily lead to a love of tiny humans.

1. Young Pups Love Friends

When a puppy is introduced to the baby, there is typically some camaraderie.

They are both little guys and enjoy having a playmate.

When the baby starts crawling, they get to be on all fours together.

They explore together, play together, and — as nasty as it can be — they share their food.

How many times have you caught a baby trying to pick up dog food or your dog sneaking food off the baby’s high chair?

The bottom line is that they share a lot.

And this makes them much more like friends than anything else.

dog looking at baby

2. Older Dogs Are Protective and Patient

All dogs have a sort of pack mentality, and it’s more pronounced as they grow.

The older members of the pack are very protective of the younger, smaller members.

They protect them and a very patient with them.

Have you ever watched a pet with their own young?

It’s quite adorable and comforting to see how patient the parent is.

For instance, a momma cat will sit or lie there, wagging her tail back and forth while their baby constantly jumps on and chases her tail.

She’ll sit there calmly — seemingly unfazed.

And momma and daddy dogs often lie completely still while their pups jump on them, trying to tackle or wrestle with them.

The parent typically doesn’t bark or growl at the little one.

It’s as though they know their babies are just playing and being curious.

They know there is no reason to get defensive.

And when they get tired of the play, they’ll just get up and move away.

This seems to be the same with older dogs and baby humans.

Many dogs will remain still while little babies pull their tails, smack them on the side, or pop them on the head.

The baby isn’t trying to be aggressive — he’s just being curious or trying to play.

Dogs seem to understand this and don’t feel threatened by it.

In fact, they sometimes seem to enjoy it as the baby is paying attention to them.

3. Following the Leader

Dogs are intelligent, and they pick up on what’s going on around them.

You’ve heard dogs can smell fear, right? It really is true.

Humans release scents according to their emotional state.

So when we are afraid, anxious, or happy, we emit a specific scent that dogs understand.

They then respond accordingly.

Additionally, dogs pick up on how we feel by the tone of our voice.

They can tell we’re unhappy or joyful just by how we talk around or to them.

All of this means that dogs learn how to act around babies by learning how we react around them.

So if you are happy and talking in joyful tones when you interact with your baby, your dog mimics that behavior.

Do I Need to Worry About My Dog With My Baby?

Because your dog seems to love your little guy so much, you might think all is good.

The good news is that you’re mostly right.

Under most circumstances, a dog who loves babies is going to keep loving and protecting them.

Still, there are some things to keep in mind.

Everybody Has a Bad Day

Yes, your precious pup may normally let your kid whack him on the side on a regular day.

However, everybody — even our furry friends — can have a bad day.

They might not feel good or might be picking up on some tension in the home.

And, when any of us have a bad day, we can easily snap — even at those we love.

Your Dog Is Stronger

Your dog might be having a wonderful time playing with your little one, and he might decide to play back.

When this happens, there is the potential of him biting your baby.

Although he’s just trying to play, he could accidentally hurt the little guy.

None of this means you shouldn’t let your dog around your baby.

Just use the following tips:

  • Never leave them unattended. Your dog is not a babysitter. Even though he’s protective, it doesn’t mean he can stop your baby from doing harmful things. Also, if you’re not in the room, you can’t follow the remaining tips.
  • Watch your dog. If your dog has seemed more agitated than usual, you might want to keep the baby away for a little while. This agitation could mean he doesn’t feel good or that he’s picking up on negative emotions. Either way, it’s probably safest to keep your little away for the moment.
  • Mind the atmosphere. If your baby and your dog are playing together and all seems good, you can let them continue. However, if you notice your dog or your baby becoming agitated while playing, separate them for a while. This will prevent the mood from turning to disaster. Unless there is some ongoing tension between the two, you don’t want to keep them away from each other. Just give them a breather.


Dogs can be fascinating creatures, and their love is one of purity.

Witnessing this love poured out on babies is a beautiful thing and one that can only be explained by a dog’s incredible nature.

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National Canine Research Association of America