Young children are more interested in playing with live animals than toys.
This is according to a study published by the British Journal of Developmental Psychology and carried out by researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Virginia.
It discovered kids as young as 11 months old showed a greater interest in creatures than playthings, even if the products were made to resemble pets.
Vanessa LoBue, one of the authors of the investigation, stated: "The fact that children find animals so appealing suggests that children may benefit from having an animal, like a pet, in their lives".
Dogs in particular can make a welcome addition to any household and Sarah Gould of Monster Pet Supplies remarked a comfortable environment has to be created for them to prosper.
Kids have to be advised how to act around their four-legged friends, so they know not to pull their hair or tail and to leave them alone when eating, she added.
Ms Gould stated Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Springer Spaniels and Weimaraners are all good breeds for families with young children.