I am going to try to help you with an important decision - Buying a dog. Most people are already saying, "who needs this kind of advice?" but believe me, you do need help if you aren't a dog owner already.
The first thing that I will say is, DON'T buy a dog because it is cute. That is the WORST mistake you will make. They are all very cute (even the hairless ones!EEeek!) but remember, they will grow up & become a dog that you didn't want to have. Chihuahuas, Dachschunds, Shitzu's, Terriers,etc. all the toy breeds are the hardest to raise. Chihuahua's are very fragile & really do NOT like children. They are constantly trying to get away from a toddler & WILL BITE if they feel they are threatened. Chihuahua's are good for single people or a couple that are on the road a lot. They attach themselves very well to you & will be your best friend! The biggest mistake with people and toy breeds is telling their children, "oh, look at the puppy - isn't he/she cute!?". NO NO NO!!! Don't tell children that they are puppies! They are full grown adults and will behave as such! More children get bitten due to their parents inability to explain the difference between a puppy or an adult!
Dachschund females are VERY HARD TO HOUSE TRAIN! They piddle everytime you get them excited! This breed chews continuously as they have more teeth to break - (I also have this dog!) No children's toys are safe! Barbie's will become amputees! Books, too - put them up!
Medium breeds - Chows, Bulldogs, Cattle dogs (Australian Sheperds), etc., these dogs are good for those who understand them. If you have children, please note that they can be protective of the children, but can also turn if an ear is pulled or if they are stepped on. I do not recommend the "fighters" such as bulldogs to be around children (this is my personal feeling, I do not have anything against them) Some people will argue that they are just as loyal as the next, but I wouldn't take a chance with my daughter's face being ripped apart, or worse ( I will not go any farther on that subject!)
Large breeds.....Very cute puppies! (but what did I say? Don't base them on their "cuteness") They grow up very fast, and will eat you out of house and home! They stay in their puppy stage for about 2 years, so be prepared! Just because they look grown up, remember that they are still puppies. St. Bernard's are very loyal dogs - they do shed, but are very sweet. But, I have friends that have a male and were looking to purchase a female. They were swayed when the people they were going to buy them from warned them that the females are very aggressive & territorial. Even with adults. Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepards, all are great if you want a dog that may be aggressive. These breeds were made to attack, so it is very instinctive. If I am not mistaken, they were even used them in wars for that sole purpose. I don't recommend them for a first time owner or a family with little children.
Labradors.....Ahhh.....the labradors. I love this breed. They are probably the most versatile animal you will ever meet. They are loyal, friendly, protective (only when they need to be) and I would say that I would trust my child with them. I was raised around them since I was a baby, and NOT one time can I say that they ever growled or bit at me or my 2 siblings. They are great retrievers, so they will bring you things that you may or may not want! They are wonderful for singles, couples, families, and for crying out loud, they are even trained to be guide dogs!
This is just a little bit of the big spectrum on dogs, but I recommend going to AKC's website to check out the breeds and what they are made for, what size they will be, etc. Or, do your own research online! So, before the holidays, and before you find a fuzzy creature for your child, do yourself, your child and the dog a favor. Please do your research on them! Otherwise, all of you will be unhappy & someone will end up taking the dog to the pound to be re-adopted or put down.
Thank you & feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or need advice!