Getting a dog is a nothing less than getting a new family member. So you want to make sure that you made the perfect choice, for the sake of both. Having a dog has so many proven health benefits, but choosing the right dog breed can make or break that deal. If you choose a breed that is not compatible with your lifestyle, you’re in for a bumpy ride – and dogs deserve nothing less than a happy home. So let’s help you choose!
The first thing you have to do is answer these questions as they will greatly narrow the range of your choices:
- Which kind of home do you have – a flat or a house?
- Do you have a yard?
- Are you at work all day?
- Are you often away from home?
- Do you have children?
- Do you have any other pets in your household?
- Are you allergic to dog hair or generally mind it?
- Do you want a small (toy), medium or large dog?
This is by no means a complete list, as each breed’s characteristics will impose new ones. But we will do our best to categorise the most popular breeds for you.
Keep in mind that each breed has unique attributes, sometimes even specific behaviour. Dogs in fact often do some things that we find bizarre. Yet, once we get to the bottom of it, it actually makes perfect sense. Getting to know your dog is an exhaustive process, one that should begin before you get your new pet to the household and last throughout its lifetime.
Family dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone knows about Golden retrievers, the world’s most beloved dog breed. The same goes for Labrador Retrievers, also known as just Labradors, which are the most popular breed in the U.S. and among the most favourite ones in the U.K. It is not surprising considering the kind temper and loving spirit of this breed. But Beagles can also be amazing family dogs and super fun companions to your children. Just keep in mind that this is a very energetic breed so your dog will need plenty of exercise! But Beagles are simple to groom and are happy with regular walks during which they have plenty of time to sniff around. It is a scent-hound after all, meaning they actually live to use their nose!
This category was named literally according to the fact that these dogs are happy to sit in their owner’s lap. Till infinity and beyond! Cavalier King Charles was obviously in the lap of English Royals whereas the Bichon Frise was adorned by the French Royalty.
As far as the legend goes, when royals got sick, the doctor prescribed rest by advising to pet a dog in their lap. There are many paintings that show the kingdom of cavaliers. Bichon Frise was even designated as the court’s “Pet of Choice” during Louis XIV’s rule. Perhaps this was due to them being easy to carry about but what remains certain is that these breeds were nothing else but pampered.
Needless to say, this is not the breed for you if your dog will often be home alone. On one hand, they are the easiest dogs to handle as they are happy just by being in your lap – but not by being left alone. You would think that after four centuries of lap-warming, they would get bored by it but no – this loving, kind, gentle and sweet breed are perhaps the most affectionate companion dogs. Also, don’t forget the bouncy Havanese nor the snuggly Miniature Schnauzer, all of which are great with kids.
Also, you have ‘laid-back’ breeds such as the famous Men in Black star- the pug. This star is known as the clown of the dog world as some even claim that this breed has a sense of humour! They thrive with human companionship as they are literally bred to be lap dogs and are very loyal. Unfortunately, this loving breed is quite prone to health issues, especially respiratory and eye disorders due to their constitution. Believe it or not, training is also challenging as they have a will of their own. But with proper care, your pug can live a long and healthy life.
French bulldog is also easy to handle. This little funny breed with bat ears and snorting noises does make a lovely companion, as it was used to keep lace makers and other industrial workers company while they worked.
Yes, there are even dogs that do not shed hair! To start with the previously mentioned Bichon Frise which are indeed wonderful toy dogs.
Then you have Yorkshire Terriers, also known as Yorkies by their fans. This breed did not start on a royal position, but on the contrary, at the bottom, chasing rats. However, despite the lack of aristocratic roots, this is perhaps the world’s second favourite breed that sometimes seems like it runs on batteries.
However, there is a cost to pay for this shedding-free benefit and it is grooming. Their coats can develop quite tricky tangles so get ready for some serious brushing!
Working and Watch Dogs
Working dogs are not advised for new dog owners as they can often be dangerous without proper training. These breeds are highly intelligent, strong and robust. Usually, they are large and powerful dogs. Examples include Akita, the Great Dane, Boxer, Doberman, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Saint Bernard (also known as Beethoven from the movie franchise) and Mastiff.
These breeds are good in guarding property and livestock. But more importantly, they are often in the role of rescue and sled dogs. Not knowing how to handle them properly does not only eliminate their strength but indeed can make them dangerous as they could even see children as a threat unless properly trained.
If you have other pets in your household, golden retrievers, cavaliers and labradors are a safe choice for you as they are known to mix well. But, this will also depend on how you train your dog. Even cats and dogs can get along and live in harmony!
Let’s not forget breeds that do not fall under these categories but could be your perfect choice! For example, there is a breed which is small yet anything but a lap dog, the Legally Blonde star – the chihuahua.
And guess what, this is a fiercely intelligent dog. They were even once believed to be spirit guides that protect the dead through their journey to the underworld – talking about spooky! If you are willing to spend quite some time training your dog, this high-energy and easy to groom breed could be your perfect fit! You will definitely not have to worry about traveling and airline restrictions. A chihuahua will fit in your bag with more ease than your laptop.
The list goes on and on…
The list does go on and on as there are so many other breeds that could be right for you. So make sure to check out useful websites such as Animal Planet to have an A-Z overview of each breed.
Also, there’s always the option of adopt-don’t shop, with which you could save an innocent life and gain a dog just as loving as a pure breed one. Ultimately, your dog’s behaviour will be a reflection of your emotional state. A stressed owner is likely to have an anxious dog. And after all, love does not know labels.
All dog owners will agree that every dog deserves more than just a home – it deserves a loving home. To make sure you made the right choice, you need to do a detailed research about the breed you are interested in. This loving creature will be so much more than a pet to you – it will be your most loyal friend and companion. Whichever breed you opt for, do not forget that it is your responsibility to train and find creative ways to entertain your dog. But most importantly, whatever its breed may be, give your dog your unbounded love and attention!