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Pets! The Best Cats and Dogs for Kids

Pets! The Best Cats and Dogs for Kids

It happens to all families with young children.

"Mom, Dad, I want a pet."

Kids as Pet Owners

Forget the guinea pigs! No goldfish story here. Don't even think about different kinds of pets. We recommend you consider a dog or a cat.

Let's look at two picture books where the main character talks to his cousin about becoming a pet owner. They discuss the best pet for each family and at the end of the book, they are rewarded with a great addition to the family. These are a great way to talk about the best type of pet before you go to the pet store or the local pound.

I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay

In simple text, the young boy, Dennis, considers different dog breeds, discussing it with his cousin, Mellie. This is a great book for teaching essay writing, but even more basic for young readers, it's a book that helps you decide on the perfect pet.

I Want a Dog book cover

What are the most popular dog breeds in the US?

Here are the top 10 most popular dog breeds (in no particular order).

  • Golden retriever
  • German shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Poodle
  • Bulldog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Dachshunds
  • Beagle
  •  Yorkshire terrier
10 Most Popular dog breeds


What are good criteria for deciding on the best dog for your family?

These are some of the criteria you should consider before getting a dog.

  • Big or little?
  • How energetic?
  • Needs exercise?
  • Needs play time?
  • A loving dog?
  • Get along with other pets?
  • Easy to train?
  • A guard dog?
  • Grooming needs?

Add any other criteria particular to your family. For example, your family may love a particular breed. Does anyone have allergies so you need a dog who doesn't shed hair? Or one girl told me that they needed a big dog because her father had back problems and couldn't bend over to pet a small dog. Discuss all the criteria with kids to help them understand the implications of becoming a dog owner. Then use an interactive Dog Breed Selector tool. Different tools will emphasize different criteria, but each will give you a list of breeds making your criteria.

How Can You Help Kids Write a Dog Essay or Pet Essay?

When a child goes through the ten criteria listed above, they start to formulate opinions. My Pet Dog Essay becomes simple because they have already thought about the criteria. To get you started on writing opinion essays, download our Printables pack for the Read and Write series.  The book includes a sample essay to make it even easier.

I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay

This story features the same cousins, but this time from Mellie's point of view. She talks to her cousin, Dennis, about getting a new cat for each family. Again, there's essay writing, but mostly the story talks about evaluating different cat breeds.

 I want a cat book cover

What are the top 10 most popular cat breeds in the US?

Here are the 10 most popular cat breeds in the US (in no particular order).

  • British Shorthair
  • Siamese
  • Ragdoll
  • Abyssinian
  • Exotic
  • Sphynx
  • Maine Coon
  • Devon Rex
  • American Shorthair
  • Persian

10 Most popular cat breeds in the US

What are good criteria for deciding on the best cat for your family?

 Here's an interactive cat breed selection tool. Depending on the tool you use, here are some of the criteria.

  • How active?
  • How playful?
  • Needs attention?
  • Nees affection?
  • How noisy?
  • Likes petting?
  • Intelligent?
  • Independent?
  • Grooming?
  • Get along with other pets?

Again, add any other criteria that make sense. Then use a cat breed selector tool for suggestions on breeds. Here's a suggested interactive Cat Breed Selector tool.

How Can You Help Kids Write a Cat Essay or Pet Essay?

As with the I Want a Dog book, the My Pet Dog Essay becomes simple when you have thought about the criteria to start with. To get you started on writing opinion essays about choosing a cat breed, download our Printables pack for the Read and Write series. 

Good Decision Making: Calling All Animal Lovers

Both books, I Want a Dog and I Want a Cat, help kids decide on their new pet by insisting they develop criteria for a decision. Once they have the criteria firmly in mind, use a selector tool to find suggested breeds that match your criteria. 

While you research the breeds, look for fun facts and a fun story. Help kids enjoy the process of making a decision that will have a lasting impact on the family.

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About Darcy Pattison

Children’s book author and indie publisher DARCY PATTISON writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction books for children. Five books have received starred PW, Kirkus, or BCCB reviews. Awards include the Irma Black Honor award, five NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books, two Eureka! Nonfiction Honor book, two Junior Library Guild selections, two NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book, an Arkansiana Award, and the Susannah DeBlack Arkansas Children’s History Book
award. She’s the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist for her work in children’s literature. Her books have been translated into ten languages.

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