What is the best dog choice for you ? Is there a "best" breed? For each person, the choice is different. when choosing a dog, many people focus only on the appearance........what size, hair type or color appeals to them. Many people unfortunately wind up with a dog that does not mesh well with their lifestyle due to reasons that they had not considered before falling in love with the cute puppy in a pet store window. People assume that a dog is a dog.......only in different "packaging", ( different sizes and shapes). This cannot be further from the truth.
Some dogs are non-shedding, while others shed tumbleweeds of hair. Some are incredibly active while others are content to be "couch potatoes". Some are typically friendly and outgoing with strangers or other dogs, while others are instinctively more suspicious and guarded, requiring extra socialization. Some breeds are cuddly while others are more aloof. The variables are endless!
When choosing a dog it is very important to consider your lifestyle and time constraints. If you enjoy physical activity....walking, jogging, ect.....or if you have a huge yard, you may want an active dog like a Labrador, Golden Retriever or Doberman. If you live in an apartment and don't like walking, these would be poor choices for you. Conversely, if you enjoy running, a basset hound, pug, dachshund or bulldog may not be a good choice for you. Due to physical characteristics of these breeds, ( short legs on the Basset and Dachshund , and short muzzles on the Pug and Bulldog), this type of strenuous pastime would be difficult for the dog.
If you don't think you would enjoy a commitment of a daily grooming session......don't choose a breed like a Bichon, Maltese, or Old English Sheepdog, all of which require intensive grooming. If you are looking for the perfect dog for your children, keep in mind that children and dogs need supervision at all times. Also be aware that young children cannot handle the training and grooming of a dog on their own without your help.
There are currently 161 AKC breeds and many more European breeds to choose from. While it is difficult to give you an evaluation of each breed here, there are some traits that are "typical" of individual "groups" of dogs..... Sometimes....these traits, which make them succeed at the various jobs they were bred to do, cause problems in another setting.
Herding breeds for example, have a natural instinct to chase moving objects, so.......if you have a herding breed with a group of active, running, squealing children, chasing and nipping can become a problem.
Guarding breeds like Dobermans, ( my breed) and Rottweilers may become overly protective and unfriendly toward strangers if they are not properly socialized. Suspicion of strangers is what makes them excel at guard work, but they can become overzealous if they are kept strictly at home seeing only a limited number of people.
Terriers were bred to go after a variety of "varmints". This instinct may also cause a terrier to become a cat chaser.
This by NO MEANS indicates that you cannot have a herding breed that is great with children, a terrier that lives with your cat in harmony, or a Dobe or Rott who loves people. It means that you need to be aware of typical traits of whichever breed you choose and train accordingly.
Please also see our page on where to get a dog.
Most importantly, TRAIN whichever breed you choose to make your new puppy your "Best Dog EVER ! "