Finding a Dog Breed That Matches Your Personality
Will you soon be adding a new dog to your family? Selecting a breed that meshes well with your lifestyle and personality will help you make the best choice.
Things to Think About Before Selecting a Dog
Whether you've had dogs before or are considering getting a dog for the first time, you'll need to think about:
- Who Lives in Your House. Do you live alone or with a spouse, children, or elderly family members? What about other pets? Do you already have dogs, cats, or small animals? Although some dog breeds thrive in busy homes with young children, others are best-suited for a life with a single person or a family with older children.
- Your Work Schedule. Some dogs are more active than others. A pet that needs hours of exercise every day won't be the best choice if you have long or irregular work hours.
- Your Activity Level. Do you want a dog that will enthusiastically accompany you on runs or enjoy competing in agility competitions, or would you prefer a pet that's most happy sitting by your side on the couch?
- Your Experience with Dogs. A laidback breed may be a better choice than a breed that's full of energy or difficult to train if you've never had a dog before.
- Allergies. Allergies won't necessarily prevent you from adopting a dog but will limit the number of breeds that will make good pets.
Which Dog Breed Should You Choose?
Once you've thought about your preferences and lifestyle, it's time to spend a little time researching breed characteristics. You may want to consider these breeds if you want a dog that's:
- Good with Kids. A Labrador retriever is an excellent choice if you have children. In fact, the breed is the most popular one in the U.S., according to the American Kennel Club. Labradors are friendly, affectionate, and enjoy the company of kids, adults, and other pets. Other good options for families are golden retrievers, beagles, bulldogs, Irish setters, pugs, poodles, boxers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and collies.
- Energetic and Athletic. If you envision afternoons spent tossing a Frisbee to your new dog or hiking mountain trails, you'll want to choose a high-energy breed like the border collie. Originally bred for herding, border collies are happiest when they have something to do. They're easy to train and often excel in flyball and agility competitions. German shorthaired pointers, golden retrievers, labrador retrievers, vizslas (also called Hungarian pointer), Russell terriers, poodles, Airedale terriers, German shepherds, Dalmatians, Pembroke Welsh corgis, Australian shepherds, and Irish setters are also energetic breeds.
- Gentle and Calm. Looking for a calm, affectionate dog? A bulldog may be the perfect option. These dogs love nothing more than spending time with you and are playful and fairly easy to train. Other good choices include Basset hounds, greyhounds, Saint Bernards, Boston terriers, Bichon Frise, bloodhounds, great Pyrenees, Pekingese, Great Danes, Shih Tzus, and bullmastiffs. Although these dogs are lower energy than some dogs they still need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy.
- Better for People with Allergies. Although no dog breed is one hundred percent hypoallergenic, some are less likely to trigger allergies than others. Breeds that have less hair or don't shed as much are good choices. Shedding sends dander, a common allergen, floating through the air, triggering sneezing, itchy eyes, and other allergy symptoms. The Yorkshire terrier, one of several breeds that don't shed, may be the ideal dog for you if you have allergies. These dogs are energetic, friendly, and get along well with family members and strangers. You may also want to consider poodles, American hairless terriers, Afghan hounds, Irish water spaniels, schnauzers, Pulis, Chinese cresteds, Kerry blue terriers, Portuguese water dogs, and soft-coated Wheaten terriers. Spend a little time with the dog before you bring it home to ensure it doesn't cause an allergic reaction.
Have you recently welcomed a new pet to your home? We'll help you make sure your dog is in good health and has all its shots. Contact our office to make an appointment for your pet.
American Kennel Club: Labrador Retriever
PetMD: Low Energy Dog Breeds, 7/8/21
American Kennel Club: 10 Best Family Dogs, 3/26/21
American Kennel Club: Can I Have A Dog If I Have Allergies?, 10/7/20