People often ask me what the best dog is, or would be for them—and I always wonder how to answer them. There are so many variables to consider when choosing a dog, the best thing to do is to narrow your choices down based on your lifestyle. Here’s a great list of questions to start with:
- Are you a workaholic, or do you have a lot of free time on your hands?
- Do you live in a studio, apartment, condo, large home?
- Do you have a private outdoor space?
- Do you have a pool? Is it gated off?
- What level of exercise do you enjoy?
- Do you have kids? Other pets in the home?
- Do you have any known pet allergies?
- Are you a “clean freak” or can you stand a bit of dirt and disorganization?
Once you’ve mapped out your lifestyle, you can start to narrow down what kind of dog is best for you! Let’s begin with size - the below is one heck of a reference list, but don’t forget there are MANY more:
- Super Small: Chihuahua, Teacup Poodle, Yorkie, Maltese, Pomeranian, Papillon, etc.
- Small: ShihTzu, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Havanese, Jack Russell or Rat Terrier, Boston Terrier, Dachshund, Bichon Frise, Pug, King Charles, Cairn Terrier, Pekingese, Miniature Pinscher, etc.
- Medium: Frenchies, Beagles, Soft-coated Wheaton Terriers, Border Collies, Aussies, Basset Hounds, Australian Cattle dog, Huskies, Sheltie, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Brittany Spaniel, Welsh Corgi, Bearded Collie, English Bulldog, Foxhound, etc.
- Large: Labrador or Golden Retriever, Doberman, Standard Poodle, Greyhound, German Shepherd, Collie, Weimaraner, Vizsla, Alaskan Malamute, Akita, Bloodhound, Coonhound, Pitbulls, Samoyed, Airedale Terrier, etc.
- Super Large: Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Mastiffs, Irish Wolfhound, St. Bernard, Bernese Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Giant Schnauzer, Black Russian Terrier, Bouvier, etc.
Now start considering the dog’s personality:
- Is your dream dog active? If they need to get plenty of exercise, consider the retrievers, Weimaraners, Beagles, Hunting breeds, Australian Shepherds, Cattle dogs and Border Collies.
- Does your dream dog make a great “couch potato”? If you want to chill out, look at Bulldogs, Great Pyrenees, Newfies, St. Bernards, Greyhounds, Great Danes, and some of the Mastiffs.
- Does this dream dog prefer cooler weather? Consider the “snow dogs” like the Husky, Samoyed, Malamute, American Eskimo, or the Akita.
- Do they love the outdoors? All of the sporting breeds are worth taking a look at!
Onto grooming, do you want a dog who needs multiple spa days a year, or a lower maintenance pup?
- The longer and thicker the coat, the more work for you.
- If you’re squeamish about cleaning your dog’s ears regularly, perhaps steer clear of breeds that grow hair in their ears (Poodles, Doodles, Schnauzers, Bichons, Maltese) and dogs who enjoy swimming frequently (Retrievers, Spaniels, Doodles, many of the sporting and hunting breeds)
- If you’d prefer a dog to be hypoallergenic with minimal shedding, consider Terriers, Poodles, Maltese, and of course...the coveted Doodles.
As you can see, there probably isn’t a single dog that is perfect for you...there are dozens! Each of my dogs (one lab, one havanese-poodle, one terrier-poodle, and one Lhasa rescued from the Yulin meat market) in their own way, is the “perfect dog.” I’ve had dogs throughout my life, and this latest bunch really solidifies how fantastic rescue dogs are. With patience, a little luck, good training, and a lot of love I’m sure you, too, will find your perfect dog.