What's The Best Dog Breed For Me? Find Your Most Compatible Pet
What's The Best Dog Breed For Me?
You’ve purchased the perfect food bowl. You’ve picked out a name, and you’ve started slowly accumulating a treasure trove of treats and dog toys. You’re ready to bring a new pup into your home — but before that happens, you’ll need to consider the most important factor of all: of all the dog breeds out there, which one is the best fit for your lifestyle?
After all, if you’re a couch potato and you decide to adopt an Aussie Shepherd, you’re going to be in for a rough surprise. One of the biggest mistakes new dog owners make is picking a dog because of how cute/fierce/awesome they look. In reality, different breeds will have certain personality traits that may or may not work for your home. It pays to do your research so you can find a dog that will be your true best friend for years to come!
While not every dog will meet breed standards (especially if they’re a lovable mix of breeds), you can still narrow down your selection by considering a few key factors. Keep reading to explore our complete guide to picking the perfect dog for your lifestyle!
1) Energy Level
Not all dogs are created equal! The first thing you should consider is how much time you can realistically devote to your dog. Some dogs, like the German Pointer dog, are hunting breeds that have oodles of energy, so they require an active owner. Will you be out of the house for eight hours each day? Are you able to exercise and play with your pup daily? Do you have a yard for your dog to explore, or do you live in an apartment on the seventh floor?
The Kennel Club’s Breed Information Centre features exercise recommendations for various breeds, but as a general rule for all breeds, you should walk your dog for at least 15 minutes twice a day. Check out how that rule plays out across different types of energy levels:
High Energy Dogs
This group includes herding and working breeds, as well as hounds and terriers. Owning a high energy dog can be tons of fun — but it can also be a headache if you aren’t able to let ‘em stretch their legs throughout the day with frequent exercise. Plan on devoting some extra training time to teach these dogs more than just “sit” — not only will that training come in handy when you’re trying to reign in a hyper pooch, but learning new things is fun for energetic dogs!
You should also plan on giving your high energy dog some mental stimulation: puzzle treats, chewies, and exploring new places are all ways to keep your high energy dog from tearing up your furniture. These types of pooches are ideal for people who live active lifestyles, have homes with yards, and/or live with children.
Low Energy Dogs
While even low energy dogs should still receive daily walks, their activity needs are much lower than your average Husky. This is a good thing if you just want a furry best friend to lounge around with! Breeds like Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Pugs, and Great Danes (really!) are totally content with living a relaxed lifestyle. Low energy dogs are ideal for apartment-dwellers, senior citizens, and fellow couch potatoes.
Keep in mind that your dog’s age can also be a factor in their energy level; older, more mature dogs won’t need nearly as much stimulation as a puppy would. But once you’ve decided how much time you can properly devote to your canine companion, the next step is to make sure you’re giving them the best environment possible!
2) Home Life
Home life is a huge factor in selecting the right dog for you. Do you live in a home with tons of activity, like children running around or neighbors that come and go throughout the day? If so, shy away from dogs that have a tendency to bark when stimulated, like German Shepherds or Chihuahuas.
Do you live in a tiny studio and work long hours? If so, plan on asking/hiring someone to let your dog out during the day, find a dog-friendly workplace, or find an older dog that won’t mind primarily snoozing. Here are some other major things to consider:
Best Dog Breeds For Kids
Dogs are a great way to introduce kids to the concept of cooperation, responsibility, and caring for others. Certain dog breeds are better suited to handle tiny tykes — Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Labradors are great choices for households with kids because their personalities make them great family companions. They’re also energetic and (most importantly) patient! Look for a breed that is naturally friendly, and make sure you devote time to teaching your child how to properly treat their new best friend, too.
Best Dog Breeds For Other Pets
Do you already have a fuzzy friend? Bringing another dog into your home can be a great way to make sure your pet has a companion, especially during those times when you’re away. But before you start adopting every dog you see, make sure you choose a social breed, like a Beagle, Poodle, or Greyhound.
Also, you can’t start taking selfies with your new dog squad without first making sure to socialize your dogs ahead of time — let them meet outdoors first, and reward them for positive interactions (like walking next to each other on separate leashes). Remember: take things slow. It’ll be worth it!
If you have cats or other animals at home, you can still have a peaceful, animal-friendly home. If you’re looking for a puppy, you can work on socializing them to your other pet early on. But if you’re looking for an adolescent, adult, or senior dog, ask if they have lived with cats before or if they have a history of chasing after small animals. If you fall in love with a dog who isn’t cat-friendly, plan on taking protective measures (like dog gates or crate training) to ensure your animals can live safely together.
3) Health And Hygiene
How neat are you? Do you like to keep your floors looking immaculate, or are you pretty laidback when it comes to cleaning? While Malamutes and Newfoundlands are beautiful, their coats require some serious attention throughout the year. And other dogs, like the glorious Pug, overheat quickly because of their squashed snouts. In terms of health and hygiene, here’s what you should consider when you select your perfect dog breed:
All dogs shed. Unless you’re getting a breed that’s mostly hairless, like the Chinese Crested Dog, you can expect to find at least a few hairs — and if you pick a breed like the Husky, you can expect the semiannual event dog owners know as “blowing their coat.” Breeds like Huskies, Shibas, and Chow Chows have dense undercoats because they originated from harsh Northern climates. During major season changes, like winter to spring, these dogs will shed their undercoat in a manner that is both dramatic and messy.
Breeds with long, curly, or silky coats will also require extra attention in order to avoid tangles and matts. Professional groomers will be able to work with your dog’s coat type, or you can learn how to do it at home — check in with your vet and breeder to know how often you should plan on grooming your dog.
As a general rule of thumb, short-haired breeds are super low maintenance compared to their medium- and long-haired companions — daily brushing will keep their shedding down, and the occasional bath will help keep them looking and smelling great.
Just like all dogs shed, all dogs need regular nail clippings, ear cleanings, and teeth brushings. But certain breeds are more predisposed to health conditions that you should know about ahead of time.
As we mentioned before, dogs with short snouts (Pugs and Bulldogs) may suffer from respiratory issues and should not live in hot climates. Golden Retrievers and Boxers have a higher risk for cancer. Large breeds, like German Shepherds, are prone to hereditary hip dysplasia — but if you’re working with a breeder, ask if your pup’s parents have been screened for the condition. And while a chunky dog might look adorable, obesity can contribute to back problems, cardiovascular issues, and joint pain in all breeds.
While no breed is totally immune from health conditions, the benefit of working with a reputable breeder is that you can get a sense of your pup’s healthy future from their parents. And if the thought of health issues is too much to handle, consider finding a mixed breed dog — with lower rates of inbreeding and hereditary illnesses, mutts tend to have fewer health issues than their purebred friends.
Finding The Perfect Dog Breed
After doing your research, it might be heartbreaking to find out that your dream breed doesn’t work for your lifestyle right now. That’s okay! You might discover a breed you never would have considered before.
After all, it pays to know that you’re bringing your dog into the best possible home for them. They’ll be healthier, and you’ll be happier! You’ll both be able to share many great adventures together — whether you’re looking for a hiking buddy, a snuggle-butt, or both!
Luckily, there's an easy way to find out quickly and easily!