You go to your local animal shelter and walk up and down the rows of cages filled with dogs of all sizes, their pleading eyes begging you to free them from their misery. You wonder how they each ended up in that horrible place. Puppies cry out to you, and you feel the need to take care of them. Lonely, senior dogs look back at you with eyes that have given up on life and no longer have hope that someone will take them home. Other dogs jump at the gates, begging you to notice them.
How do you choose just one dog? You know the importance of selecting the right dog for the way you live. What will happen if you make the wrong selection? Dogs live from 8 – 15 years, depending on their breed.
Your entire family falls in love with the puppy you bring home, and you go about the business of house-breaking and trying to train the new family member. Unfortunately, you work fulltime; your kids are in school. Little Rover is left alone all day, barking, crying and destroying everything in sight. What will you do? Could it be that your choice of a young puppy was not the best option for your busy family? What happens next? Will Rover be returned to the shelter or will you keep him and resent him for the damage he continues to cause in your home?
Dogs enhance our lives in so many ways, from companionship, to adventure partner, to fellow couch potato, to assisting with health issues. But selecting the wrong breed for your lifestyle could turn a loving pet into an unwanted problem, and that precious dog could end up in a shelter or worse.
Some Breeds Don’t Co-Exist Well with Everyone
Many years ago, before we knew better, my husband surprised me with a miniature Poodle puppy purchased at a retail pet store. Our 2 young sons were quickly taught to respect the dog and weren’t a problem. A few years went by and our next child presented challenges with his curiosity. Our Poodle grew up with a testy personality and even though she lived with them, she didn’t care for children. One day, our 3-year-old decided he wanted to see what Misty’s “foot” looked like. I was across the room and didn’t get there in time. My son bears the scars on his upper lip today.
I didn’t blame my dog. If there was blame to be had, it landed on me for not anticipating my child’s behavior. We decided to re-home Misty, and it was the correct decision. She spent her remaining years with my in-laws where she was a spoiled “only child.” Clearly, Misty was not meant to live in a house full of rowdy little boys. My son’s injury and Misty being uprooted from her only home and family could have been avoided, had we chosen a dog breed to fit our lifestyle.
What happens if you are a working adult and want a dog? Mary fell in love with a Great Dane puppy and soon learned that such a large dog breed did not fit her lifestyle. Mary worked long hours, and Sam spent them confined to a large room with newspaper for his bathroom and no companionship. It didn’t take long for him to chew up the door frame and part of the vinyl floor. By this time, Mary loved the dog and couldn’t give him away. But clearly, she would have been better served with an adult dog of a breed that could handle spending several hours alone each day.
Many situations in life suggest that one particular dog breed might be a better choice than another. Here are 10 recommendations of preferred breeds that work best with certain lifestyles.
#1 Best Breeds for Babies (by Ben Team from K9 of Mine)
With babies, the dog breed should be one that will treat the human babies like their own, showing only love and affection towards them. Ben Team tells us in “Dogs + Babies: Which Breeds Will Mingle Best with Your Baby” that dogs that are good with babies possess certain characteristics, such as calmness, gentleness and tolerance, among others. The author also emphasizes the need to teach our babies as they grow older how to touch the dog, when to leave the dog alone, and how to be kind to animals.
- Most important are suggestions for recognizing your dog’s stress points and anxiety signals.
- 7 great dog breeds are recommended for babies with valid reasons for each breed to be included on this list, and even some negatives are given.
- Helpful safety tips are listed to assist with introducing a dog to an infant and even prepare for the baby’s arrival
#2 Dog Breeds that Could Become Your Child’s Best Friend (by Justin Palmer from I Heart Dogs)
It goes without saying that the most important match-up we can make is pairing children with a dog breed known for patience and love of kids, because a mistake could be disastrous. We must protect our babies and young children, and also protect the animal we pair them with.
The author tells us in “The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Children” that a dog will become more like a sibling to our children than a pet and recommends 10 breeds that are known by experienced dog owners to be great with kids.
- You want a dog for children that is calm, affectionate, loyal and gentle with plenty of energy to keep up with the kiddos.
- A mid – to large-size breed may be best with children.
- The author won me over with his last breed suggestion: Often, the best dog for a child is a mutt!
#3 Most Versatile Dog Breeds for Women (from Love Pets)
Single women may not look for the same breeds as others, because their lifestyles and needs differ. Some may prefer a cuddly small dog they can baby, but others may welcome a strong protector. If you live alone and find yourself in the market for a new dog, ideas from the following source may help.
This article seeks to fulfill the particular needs of women living alone with their 5 breed selections. The author recognizes that women want a versatile dog – one that is friendly but also protective. In “5 Best Dogs for Single Women,” the post promises that these 5 breeds should do just that.
- Each suggested breed displays the versatility women want in a pet – to get along with friends and guard the owner from potential dangers.
#4 Top Dog Breeds that Men Will Love (from Dog Notebook)
Where I live, I often see men walking Chihuahuas or Yorkies. But the one sure thing is that men have to reach a certain age before they feel comfortable standing on the other end of the leash from a delicate little pup. Seems they are conditioned from an early age that men and big, tough dogs go together. Whether that’s true or not, my research says that men prefer dogs that fit their macho lifestyle, and the selected breeds in the following source bear that out.
In their article, “Top 12 Best Dog Breeds for Guys,” Dog Notebook created their list with what they believed were the most agreeable dogs for men. While most of the dogs pictured are large breeds, there were 3 smaller dogs that could gamely hold up to a guy’s routine.
- Men vary in reasons for selecting dog breeds. Some want a sporting dog to hunt with; others may want a dog to run and exercise with them. One thing for sure, they look for dogs that may attract the ladies.
- Each breed selection includes a description of why that dog would appeal to men.
#5 Best Breeds for Apartment Living that Aren’t Likely to Annoy the Neighbors (by Alexandra Cannon from Dogtime)
After selling our larger Florida home, we moved to an apartment for a couple of years with our 2 older dogs. Neither breed was perfect for apartment living, but they were older and the complex accepted large dogs. Our Weimaraner had suffered from separation anxiety all his life and when left alone in the apartment, he barked and howled at anyone passing by our first-floor slider. Needless to say, Gator wasn’t a popular resident with the neighbors.
If you live in an apartment or think one might be in your future, it will pay you to select your pet carefully. A dog whose breed fits apartment living will make everyone happy.
As the article states, size matters here. But it’s not the only important factor. In “29 Breeds that Will Fit in Your Apartment,” the author writes that her breed suggestions also possess other traits. For example, the dog’s sociability could determine how well it handles so many people living around him.
- Size matters in apartment dogs, along with friendliness and quiet personality.
- All dogs need exercise, even apartment dwellers.
- Yappy dogs may be a challenge in a small space.
#6 7 Best Dogs Breeds to Keep Those Miserable Allergies at Bay (by Angie Hill from Woof Dog)
If you suffer from dog allergies you know to avoid that kind of misery. But what happens when you love dogs or your little boy wants a dog? Fortunately, many products on the market actually work to alleviate the congestion, wheezing, burning-itching eyes, the hallmarks of pet allergies.
My friend, Debbie, loved my dog Gator. He couldn’t wait for her to visit. But Debbie entered my home, stoked up on allergy meds, and immediately began tearing up and sneezing. She wanted a dog of her own but always believed she couldn’t risk it. Debbie may have been correct, but there are dog breeds that don’t produce the heavy dander and flying fur that cause misery to people like her. There are no guarantees that a dog is totally hypoallergenic for humans suffering from allergies, but the following sources offer some excellent suggestions of breeds that may come close.
In “10 Most Popular Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for People and Kids with Allergies,” writer Angie Hill agrees that plenty of ways exist to combat allergies and enjoy life with a dog. She admits that not everyone with dog allergies will be able to live comfortably with a pup but following her suggestions, you can eliminate many of the problems that arise.
- No one breed is entirely hypoallergenic.
- Allergy sufferers should look for low-shedding breeds
- Establish a pet-free zone in your home to lessen chances of fur and dander reaching those areas. Just remember to give the dog plenty of love and attention, so he doesn’t feel isolated.
#7 How to Select a Couch Potato Dog Breed (by Karen Soukiasian from Dog’s Best Life)
Some of us don’t enjoy the outdoors and exercise. Perhaps we would rather stay at home, live a quiet life, watch television, read or just chill. But we still want a dog in our lives. Yes, it’s possible! Some dogs, once they have a good morning walk, are content to spend the bulk of their day on the sofa with you. You may be surprised at some of the breeds included in this source.
The author, in “Couch Potato Dogs for Couch Potato Owners,” discusses lifestyles and energy levels as well as specific breeds that adapt well to a kicked-back lifestyle. She includes dogs of all sizes, so you don’t have to settle for a small dog if you find yourself more attracted to the big guys.
- All dogs need some exercise, as in a couple of decent walks a day or a fenced-in back yard that allows them to do their own thing.
- An older dog from a shelter desperately needs a home and love. Older dogs make great couch potatoes.
#8 A Guide for Pet Parents Selecting a Clean Dog Breed (from Canna-Pet)
At first thought, dogs and “Mr. or Mrs. Clean” do not blend well. But a little compromise from the humans and careful selection of the right breed might create a marriage made in Heaven. You’ll want to look for dogs that don’t shed and tend to display fastidious grooming habits. This source offers some good suggestions.
A clean dog does not necessarily translate to “no sign a dog lives here.” Dogs do require maintenance. In “What Are the Cleanest Dog Breeds,” the author details what’s required for the various breeds mentioned, including the bathing-grooming routines. Then it’s up to you to decide if one of these dog breeds appeals to you.
- Even if a dog is hairless, it will still shed skin cells.
- Some long-haired breeds give off very little odor.
#9 Dog Breeds that Up Your Dog’s Chances of High Intelligence (from The Smart Canine)
Let’s face it! Some dogs’ I.Q. appears lower than dirt. I owned one of those, and he was extremely loveable. But if you find the need for a dog with an Einstein’s brain, some breeds do possess high intelligence.
Great dogs don’t have to be particularly intelligent, as “The Top 100 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds – the Complete Guide to How Smart Dogs Are Measured” tells us, but many dog owners want to know where their pet ranks. A University of British Columbia professor developed a method for ranking dog intelligence and the results of his study helped him rank every recognized breed. The results are quite interesting in the way they are applied to various breeds. This source also includes 100 of the most intelligent breeds.
- Choose a dog breed by temperament and personality – not by intelligence.
- Criteria for judging a dog’s intelligence may include the number of repetitions needed for the dog to understand a new command.
- In the testing, Border Collies were always in the top 10, while Afghan Hounds were always at the bottom.
#10 Protective Dog Breeds that Will Keep You Safe (by Richard Rowlands from SitStay)
Has your dog ever saved you in an uncomfortable situation? Imagine someone trying to break into your home. What would you do? If you share your life with a protective dog, chances are his barking would scare off the intruder. Especially, if the dog possesses a deep, loud bark. Whether large or small, a devoted canine wants to take care of you. In this article, you will find 10 protective breeds that will also offer love and companionship.
Freelance writer, Richard Rowlands, writes in “Top 10 Protection Dog Breeds” that protection dogs should be chosen for characteristics like bravery, loyalty and strength, as well as the desire to be with you at all times.
- Ease of training and adaptability to a family environment are just as important as bravery, loyalty and strength.
- Socialize your dog early.
- Proper training is crucial
Many of us choose the wrong dog for our lifestyles at some point in our lives. I made my own mistake but later went on to raise Great Danes when we had the lifestyle to accommodate such giant dogs. Today, we share our lives with a 38-lb. Bulldog-Dachshund mix, and he is perfect for our condo lifestyle.
When presented with an adorable, wiggling puppy, it may be difficult to say no. But that pup might grow up to be the total opposite of what you really needed in a pet. Perhaps these suggestions will assist you in selecting your next dog breed.