How To Choose The Right Dog Breed For You


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What are the best dog breeds? That comes down to who you ask. Dog breeds are very much a matter of personal preference, and usually the best choice depends on the pet parents’ lifestyle.

For instance, those of us with an active lifestyle and a big yard might prefer a high energy pup like a Jack Russell. While those of us looking for a more sedentary cuddle companion might want a Maltese dog instead.

If you’re looking to acquire a new pup, there are several key factors to consider. This article will outline important ones to help you make your pick.

The most im(paw)tant factors

Responsible pet parents know that the best match is one where the dog’s needs are considered as much as the human’s.

Much as you might like a Border Collie, they might not be suited to your pristine upstairs apartment. While pondering your pooch decision, make sure you know about your potential breeds’ exercise requirements, training and socialisation needs, financial requirements and space needs.

You’ll also need to consider your own lifestyle as well as the preferences and lifestyle of your household members.

Let’s go over them all below.

this border collie with frisbee practices pet safety in summer

The best dog breeds need exercise

Most dogs require some level of exercise and stimulation, but some especially so.

Dogs fall into seven different groups, which are:

  • Toys like the Maltese, Pug, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian and Chihuahua
  • Terriers like the Jack Russell, Fox Terrier, Irish Terrier and Airedale Terrier
  • Gundogs like the Cocker Spaniel, Pointer, Weimaraner and Golden Retriever
  • Hounds like the Dachshund, Whippet, Basset and Beagle
  • Working dogs like the Border Collie, Huntaway, Sheepdog, Australian Cattle Dog and Komondor
  • Utility dogs like the Boxer, Bullmastiff, Schnauzer, Husky and Rottweiler
  • Non-sporting dogs like the Poodle, Dalmatian, Boston Terrier and Bulldog

Working dogs especially need a lot of exercise and stimulation – thus their name. They are bred to perform a function and will become neurotic or anxious if confined without exercise. Toys on the other hand require less exercise and may have certain health problems that prevent them from doing too much activity. This applies particularly to brachycephalic breeds.

Here is a comprehensive guide on dog breed exercise requirements.

wheaten scottish terrier on leash

Training and socialisation, whatever the breed

All dogs require some level of training. Not just so you can show off how they sit and lift their paws when guest come round, but for the safety of other dogs and humans.

Some breeds have a stronger guarding instinct than others, and will need more training. This is particularly true of the Rottweiler and German Shepherd. For this you will need to find a good puppy school and attend classes diligently.

Puppy school is a great idea for any breed, really.

If you feel like you won’t be able to handle a more strong willed dog, then that is not one of the best dog breeds for you! Be sure to read about the kindest dog breeds, popularity.

This German Shepherd puppy needs lots of attention, exercise and training on a regular basis.

Best dog breeds by budget

Money is an important consideration when choosing a dog.

In general, purebred dogs are more expensive to purchase than mixed breeds. But money is not just a consideration when it comes to buying, it also applies to grooming, feeding and tending to your dog’s health needs during their lifetime. Ongoing costs can take a lot out of your budget.

Just like us, some dogs are lower maintenance than others.

For example, Poodles require regular grooming to avoid getting matted. Yorkshire Terriers are known to have sensitive stomachs, and might require a more specialised (and perhaps more pricey) diet than other breeds. French Bulldogs are prone to skin conditions. And so on.

Some dogs have more health problems than others, and will require more vet visits. You can check out our guide to dog breed health problems here.

Whatever your breed, you’ll want quality pet insurance to cover your pooch in case of accident, illness, infection, allergies and more.

Maltese Shih Ztu purchased from an ethical dog breeder.

Appropriate space makes the best of a dog breed

Do you have enough space at home for the dog breed of your choice? A yard or dog park close by if necessary? Space, and access to it, will dictate more than anything the dog you’ll be able to have.

Adequate space will not only benefit your dog’s health, but stop them from tearing up or destroying your home due to boredom and frustration.

Generally, bigger and more active dogs will require more outdoor space. But this is not a hard and fast rule – Jack Russells, for instance, require a lot of exercise and will benefit from a big yard as much as a big dog with the same exercise requirements. ‘Toy’ dogs and other less active dogs are more able to adapt to smaller homes and apartments.

Even if you have a large yard, it’s always a good idea to take your dog on regular walks to get them out and about and stimulated in a healthy way. It’s important they socialise with other dogs and people regularly, too.

blonde woman sitting with her Rottweiler face to face best dog breeds

Other household members are key

Choosing the best dog breeds is not just about you – it’s about everyone in your household.

Is your partner highly allergic to fur? You might have to opt for a so-called hypoallergenic breed like a Spoodle if you don’t want them to be on constant medication.

Do you have small children who are prone to pulling on tails and ears? You’ll want a patient family dog that won’t nip or bite. If they haven’t grown up with children around or been socialised properly, Scottish Terriers are known to not get along with babies and kids.

That said, you should always teach your children how to respect your dog’s boundaries. Read our guide to choosing the perfect family pet here. You might also want to check out how to introduce a dog to a baby.

Remember that your household members ALSO include your existing pets. Watch the PD vet vlog with more tips from Dr Cath Watson on choosing the right breed:

Cats and dogs

If you have a cat it’s a good idea to ensure they have the temperament to get along with your new pup. Dogs already in the household can pose issues too. For example, if you have a male dog, introducing another male can lead to fighting and aggression. You may find you need to rope in the services of a pet behaviourist.

Perhaps chat with your vet first to see what advice they give.

Take all these factors into consideration carefully. After all, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you have to rehome your new pup because of your household setup.

baby/toddler pushing new labrador dog in wooden crate best dog breeds

Best dog breeds by lifestyle

Lastly, your personal lifestyle is a big consideration when it comes to the best dog breeds.

If you live a busy lifestyle where you’ll be away from home for most of the day and often in the evenings, getting a dog may not be the best idea. It could only lead to stress, frustration and separation anxiety in pets – definitely not something you want to put an animal through.

Our Should I Get A Pet If I Work Full Time? article will give you more insight to make this decision.

Remember that dogs are our best friends and want to spend as much time with us as possible. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow this, a lower maintenance pet might be a better option.

Be sure to check out our piece on Easy Pets for People with Limited Mobility, which is all about the right companion or emotional support animal for those living with disability.

best dog breeds

The best insurance for the best dog breeds

No matter the breed you choose, you will want to have dog insurance in place so that you have their tushes covered in case of an accident or an emergency.

When you sign up with us online we’ll give you your first month free at the very least! Depending on the age of your pet or a promo we have going at the time, you might get even more. Plus you’ll get a discount if you take out a policy for more than one pet.

Your plan can help cover the cost of non-routine vet visits, treatment for accidents and illnesses, tick paralysis, third party liability and more.

Why wait for medical mishaps to happen; safeguard your pet today. Click below to start your plan.

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