There are 340 or so dog breeds recognized worldwide, and each one of them is the perfect companion for somebody – breeders are not inclined to produce dogs nobody wants. But that doesn’t mean you can pick one on a whim and expect a glorious relationship to unfold; in fact, most breeds are probably wrong for you.
Instead, you must pick a breed whose personality matches your own and is likely to provide you with the type of companionship you desire.
There are few better playmates for a child than a good dog. But some breeds tend to put up with the noise and chaos that accompany kids better than others do. Accordingly, you want to make sure you select a patient, gentle breed that loves to play.
- Beagle– Beagles are fun-loving dogs, who are ready to play whenever you are. Most beagles tend to follow the family kids around all day, just trying to be a part of the excitement.
- Golden Retriever– Golden retrievers are gentle, loving dogs, who will happily hang out with the kids. In fact, because these happy-go-lucky dogs need a great deal of attention and exercise, they’re probably better off in homes with children than those without.
- Boxer– Boxers may look tough, but they’re actually big softies who love spending time with their families. They love kids and will be ready and waiting when they get home from school. While some boxers can be a little rambunctious, they’re usually gentle with kids.
The Best Breeds for Guarding Your Home and Family
Just about any dog will provide some measure of safety for your family, as no criminal likes to hear the sound of a barking dog. However, some dogs are certainly more intimidating than others and more likely to protect their home.
- Rottweiler– Rottweilers are not only brave and scary looking, they seem to enjoy protecting their home and family. Rottweilers are stubborn and can be tricky to train, so they aren’t ideal for first-time dog owners. However, strong puppy parents will find them to be one of the most loving and loyal breeds in the world.
- Doberman– Unsurprisingly, given their German roots, Dobermans share a lot of similarities with Rottweilers. Like Rottweilers, Dobermans are fiercely protective of their family, and yet sensitive and gentle when hanging out with their people.
- German Shepherd– German shepherds are famous for their protective instincts and brave demeanor – it’s part of the reason they have been used by police and military organizations around the world.
The Best Breeds for Runners and Joggers
Many dogs make great running or jogging companions; in fact, just about any healthy adult dog will love to trot alongside you for a mile or so. But if you really like to wear out one pair of sneakers after another, you’ll need to select a breed capable of keeping up.
- Rhodesian Ridgeback– Originally used to hunt lions, these African dogs can not only run for days, they handle the heat well too.
- Australian Cattle Dog– Cattle dogs were originally bred to run alongside cows and keep them in a nice, tight herd. They’ll have no trouble keeping up with you while you jog through suburbia.
- Dalmatian– Few dogs have the stamina that Dalmatians do, and provided that they’re properly conditioned, they’ll be willing to keep running long after you’ve thrown in the towel.
The Best Breeds for Weekend Warriors
If your weekends are full of adventure and lack routine from time to time, you’ll need an adaptable breed, who gets along well with everyone and doesn’t mind sharing a tent or your friend’s couch. You need a no-frills, lunch-pail dog, who is not only willing but able to thrive in this kind of lifestyle.
- Labrador Retriever– A good lab will accompany you everywhere and look forward to the adventures that lie before them. Labrador Retrievers are generally very friendly – throw their ball once and you’ve made a friend for life.
- Otterhound–Otterhounds are playful goofballs who make friends quickly and take chaos in relative stride. They aren’t the easiest dog to train, but they love hanging out with active people.
- Harrier– The Harrier is a medium-sized hunting dog that is full of energy and ready for adventure. Harriers are easy-going dogs, who make friends with everyone they meet (although small animals may be seen as prey).
The Best Breeds for Working Families
If your life is dictated by an air-tight schedule full of soccer games, work, parent-teacher conferences and grocery shopping, you are going to need a dog that tolerates a little bit of alone time. Otherwise, he’s going to get lonely, bored and destructive while you’re gone, and this isn’t good for anyone.
Stick with independent breeds; they’ll still love their families, they just won’t be quite so needy.
- Chow Chow – Chows are just as happy when you’re home as when you’re away. They definitely love their people, but they just don’t need as much attention as many other dogs do.
- Miniature Schnauzer – Miniature Schnauzers are proud little terriers, whose modest size belies their self-confidence. Schnauzers prefer when their owner is home, but they are rarely anxious when their people are away.
- Shiba Inu – The Shiba Inu is a Japanese breed, well-known for their independent nature. While they aren’t the easiest breed to train, they’re great at keeping themselves occupiedwhile you are gone.
The Best Breeds for Homebodies
If you’re the type of person that prefers hanging out around the house to being out and about, you should select a breed with relatively low energy and exercise requirements. You’ll still have to ensure your dog gets enough exercise to stave off depression and encourage good health, but the following three breeds are pretty content to lie on the couch watching movies.
- Basset Hound– Despite their super-mellow dispositions, Basset Hounds were actually bred to hunt rabbits and other small game. Nevertheless, as long as they get a couple of long walks a day, Basset Hounds don’t need much more than a comfortable place to watch the world go by.
- Bulldog– Also known as the English bulldog, these four-footers are loveable lumps that are happy sitting around, snuggling with their human all day. Originally used to fight bulls, modern bulldogs are generally quick to make friends with anyone who scratches their haunches.
- Saint Bernard– Even though they were bred to trek for miles to find injured or lost people, Saint Bernards are just as happy sitting around the house. Aside from their daily walks, they need relatively little additional exercise.
Don’t forget that while most breeds do exhibit characteristic personalities, each dog is an individual. Some chows are needy, while some Dobermans are cowards; some Harriers are shy, while some boxers are subdued. Accordingly, it is always wise to meet the specific dog you intend to adopt or purchase, before making a commitment.
What breed suits your lifestyle best? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.