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How To Choose the Right Dog Breed For Your Family

Dec 26, 2007
Getting a pet dog is really a Zen process of self-discovery. You can't know the right dog for you until you know yourself. For example, a jock would prefer an active dog. A lazy slug would prefer a dog that doesn't require much exercise.

A touchy-feely person would prefer a friendly dog. A tightly-wound person would probably prefer a dog that doesn't bark or shed too much. Think of picking a pup like choosing a mate; you have to find one that compliments your personality.

Here are some very general guidelines. Of course, we won't list every dog breed on the planet, but they'll get you thinking in the right direction:

Intelligent dogs

- Poodle
- German Shepherd
- Australian Sheepdog
- Belgian Sheepdog

Dogs with little exercise

- Dachshund
- Brussels Griffon
- French Bulldog
- Manchester Terrier
- Toy breeds (such as a Chihuahua or Pekingese)

Good with kids

- Pug
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Beagle
- Basset Hound
- Brittany Spaniel
- Old English Sheepdog

Good city dogs

- Pug
- Basenji
- Boston Terrier
- Bulldog
- Lhasa Apso
- Welsh Corgi
- Scottish Terrier

Quiet dogs

- Basenji
- Borzoi
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
- Whippet

Friendly dogs

- Brittany Spaniel
- Bichon Frise
- Old English Sheepdog
- Bearded Collie
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever

There are dozens of breeds and dozens of traits to sort them by. You get the idea.

Again, these guidelines are EXTREMELY rough. Picking a dog based on these lists is like getting a phone number off a bathroom wall. There are no shortcuts. You can try going to a dog show or talking to a vet.

In our opinion, though, the absolutely best way to research is to talk to friends who have dogs. Believe us; they'll give you more information than you care to know: Sometimes even more than what we know.

In case you didn't realize it, all of the breeds we listed above are purebreds. This means that they are the product of parents of the same breed. To get a true purebred worthy of being in a dog show, you often have to pay thousands of dollars.

Most people get mixes of some sort (the "cockapoo," a combo of a cocker spaniel and a poodle, is quite popular), because rumor has it that purebred dogs can have personality problems because the gene pool is so small (think of people who marry their cousins). As a result, many people choose to go with a mutt, a mish-mash of different breeds.

Mutts can combine the best of two or more breeds in a one-of-a-
kind dog. Having a mutt is like the canine equivalent of owning an original work of art. Benji was a mutt. And who doesn't like Benji?
About the Author
Paul Counts is the owner of Petronic.com and one of the editors of Leading Edge Pet Care, a blog all about innovative pet care topics. He is a passionate pet owner and entrepreneur, and offers a variety of high end dog training supplies and pet supplies at www.petronic.com .
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