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Best Dog Breeds - Find A Puppy

Updated on August 22, 2013
How do you decide the best dog breeds for you and your family?
How do you decide the best dog breeds for you and your family? | Source

How to Choose a Dog

What are the best dog breeds, and how do you find a puppy that’s going to grow into a great dog? If you’re thinking about getting a dog, there are literally hundreds of dog breeds from which to choose. Add to that number the “designer” crossbreeds and the mongrels, and you’ll see that your choices are practically infinite. Choosing a dog can be a lot of fun, but it should be taken seriously. When you choose a dog or puppy, you’re making a huge commitment, so the selection process is extremely important. Choosing the right dog for you and your family can mean years of happiness, not only for the pet, but also for all the humans involved. Try to take an objective look at your home and family, and go from there. If you’re a first time dog owner, talk to more experienced dog owners for some ideas before choosing a dog breed. I'm a lifelong dog owner and former breeder and trainer. Below, I’ve offered some tips on how to choose the best dog breeds for you and how to find a puppy, which you might find helpful.

Choosing the right dog can make all the difference!
Choosing the right dog can make all the difference!

Best Dog Breeds

The best dog breeds are usually just a matter of personal choice. For example, in my opinion, canines in the working class are the best dog breeds. I’d also say that the best dogs in the world are Great Danes, but that’s because I’ve such wonderful experiences with the breed. You might prefer a toy poodle or a Labrador retriever. There are some ways you can narrow down your choices, however.

Where is your new pet going to reside most of the time – indoors or outdoors? If the pet is going to live mostly outdoors, you need to take your climate into account. If your summers are hot and humid, a canine with a long and/or heavy coat might suffer in the heat. Conversely, dogs that have very short coats might get too cold in the winters.

If the dog is going to be an indoor pet, climate isn’t nearly as important, of course, but shedding might be a problem. Heavy shedders can make a big mess all over your home. Don’t despair – there are several dog breeds that shed very little.

Another thing to consider is the amount of room you have. Some dog breeds need lots of space to run and play, while others are perfectly happy in very small quarters. The size of the dog doesn’t necessarily always correspond to the amount of space you need. Some large breeds and giant dog breeds are pretty lazy dogs and can be content in small homes, as long as they can get a good walk every day. Such is the case with the two dogs I have now. My two male Great Danes do well in our 1,800 square foot-home, but they get outdoor playtime a couple of times a day, along with a nice walk.

When you’re choosing the best dog breeds for you, you need to honestly assess your family’s lifestyle. Is there going to be someone who’s willing to walk the dog on a daily basis? If you travel a lot, will the dog be going with you? Think about the activities you and your family enjoy. If you plan on your pet’s being a part of these, choose a dog that will fit in well. For example, if your family enjoys the water, you might want to choose from dog breeds that enjoy the water, too. If you enjoy hiking, you might want a dog that can pull its own weight by carrying a pouch on its back and still be able to keep up and navigate challenging terrain. If, on the other hand, you and your family are mostly sedentary, you’ll do best with a dog that’s happy just snuggling with you on the couch, one that doesn’t require a lot of exercise to stay happy and healthy. You'll probably be happier with lazy dogs.

Not all large and giant dog breeds need a lot of room.
Not all large and giant dog breeds need a lot of room. | Source

Working Dogs

Why do you want a dog? This is one of the most important aspects as to what kind of dog you need to get. Certain dog breeds, like working dogs, excel at different tasks, so this is an important consideration. By working dogs, I’m not referring to the working class only. I’m talking about any dog that works for a living: hunting dogs, sled dogs, guard dogs, herding dogs, etc. Some dog breeds make excellent guard dogs or watch dogs, while other breeds can be good alarm dogs that will alert you in case of potential intruders. If you’re a hunter, you can find dog breeds to help you in your pursuit of wild game or game birds. Many people want a dog that can pull “double duty.” In other words, the best dog breeds for them might be those that can serve a specific task and be a companion at the same time. Not all dog breeds are good at this, however. Some dogs are so focused on their “job” that they might never be a really good companion. And, in fact, some dogs aren’t happy unless they have work to keep them busy.

This big boy is a dual-purpose dog - a watch dog and a companion.
This big boy is a dual-purpose dog - a watch dog and a companion. | Source
Some of the best dogs for kids are working dogs.
Some of the best dogs for kids are working dogs. | Source
Basset hounds are often among the best dogs for kids.
Basset hounds are often among the best dogs for kids. | Source

Best Dogs For Kids

What are the best dogs for kids? When choosing a dog, the ages of your children should be strongly considered. Some dog breeds are great with babies and toddlers, but some aren’t. Small, high-strung dogs won’t be very forgiving when it comes to the unintentional rough treatment small kids are capable of. The best dog breeds in this case might be larger dogs that are calm and that have a higher threshold for pain. Our Great Danes are wonderful with kids of all ages, and we’ve also had labs, English pointers, and golden retrievers that fit the bill – all working dogs.

That’s not to say that there aren’t small and medium-sized dog breeds that are good with small kids. Beagles, Basset hounds, and pugs are usually great with children and some of the best small dogs for kids. Hubby’s Basset hound adores the grandkids and all their pals. We also had a Maltese that was good with kids. In addition to the ones already mentioned, in the small and medium category, some of the best dog breeds for kids include the English bulldog, the collie, the poodle, the Bichon Frise, the Shetland sheepdog, and the Keeshond.

Calm, laid-back dogs are usually the best dogs for small children.
Calm, laid-back dogs are usually the best dogs for small children.

Dog Care – Puppy Care

Something else you need to consider is “pet maintenance.” Dog care and puppy care can get very expensive and/or time consuming. Some dogs are high maintenance and might require grooming on a daily basis. This usually includes dog breeds that have long coats. If you choose a dog like this and aren’t committed to meet the grooming requirements, the dog will suffer. Painful mats of tangled hair can actually pull at the skin, and in extreme cases, a heavily matted dog might find it difficult to eat or to walk. If your idea of happy dog ownership doesn’t include hours of brushing and combing, you’ll probably be a lot happier with a short-haired breed.

Maintenance isn’t just about grooming, either. Some dogs might have other requirements that can be pretty demanding for an owner. These might include excessive exercise, medications, or mental stimulation. Of course, you also have to consider the cost of food with dog care and puppy care. Large and giant dog breeds are going to cost more to feed. Their supplies and medications are usually more expensive, too. Make sure you find a puppy you can afford to care for once it grows up

Starting out with a puppy has advantages and disadvantages.
Starting out with a puppy has advantages and disadvantages.

Dogs and Puppies

You’ll also have to choose between dogs and puppies. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. The age of the canine should be an important element in how to choose a dog. Many people like to get a puppy, and there are some sound reasons for doing so. Puppies don’t have a “past,” so you can impact what kind of adult the dog will become. And, of course, puppies are super cute and loveable. If you have kids, allowing a pup to grow up with your children is a tempting prospect, which can also be very rewarding. It usually doesn’t take long for a puppy to adopt its new human family.

There are some disadvantages of starting out with a puppy, too, however. You’ll have to go through lots of training, lots of “accidents” and clean-ups, and lots of chewing. That first year can be very demanding!

If you’re looking for a dog for work or for hunting, buying an adult dog that’s already trained might be a good idea. Such working dogs usually cost considerably more than untrained puppies, however. Also, it will probably take an adult canine longer to acclimate to its new home and to accept your family as its pack than it would for a puppy to do.

Older dogs are not considered often enough when people are choosing a dog or when they decide to adopt a pet. There’s a lot to be said for older dogs. In many cases, these pooches are super laid back and are usually already potty trained. If you’re considering an older dog, be sure to learn about its history and its health.

When it comes to pet dogs, price isn't always indicative of quality. Sometimes "mutts" make the best pets!
When it comes to pet dogs, price isn't always indicative of quality. Sometimes "mutts" make the best pets! | Source

Puppies For Sale

When considering puppies for sale, remember that price isn’t always an indication of quality. Unless you plan on showing or breeding the canine, there’s really no reason to be too concerned with impressive pedigrees, as long as the dog’s line doesn’t include aggressive tendencies or other negative traits, like hereditary health problems. A “pet quality” dog from a reputable breeder will have the potential of making a wonderful addition to your family, although it might lack certain traits that would make it a candidate for a show dog. Sometimes these qualities can be as minor as coat color or markings, which obviously would have no impact on whether or not the dog would make a good pet.

Lazy owners need lazy dogs!
Lazy owners need lazy dogs!

Puppies For Free

You can usually find plenty of puppies for free. In some cases, unfortunately, the owner might have no idea what dog fathered the litter. In that case, it’s impossible to know anything about the health and temperament of both parents. It would also be difficult to figure out how large the puppy will be when it grows up. If the father’s health and temperament are known, there’s nothing wrong with free puppies. Sure, they might be mutts of unknown dog breeds, but that might not be important to you.

One problem you might encounter with free puppies is that they might not be up to date on wormings and puppy vaccinations. Make sure you find out about that before taking a puppy home with you. If you find a puppy you really like from a puppies for free ad, take it to the vet for a health check. If the owner won’t consent to that, a red flag should pop up in your brain.

Two dogs can keep each other company when you're away from home.
Two dogs can keep each other company when you're away from home. | Source
Dog Behavior Problems
Dog Behavior Problems | Source

Dog Behavior Problems

It always bothers me when people get a dog and leave it home all day alone. Dogs are pack animals, so they’re not happy spending hours by themselves. That could lead to some serious dog behavior problems. If you’re away from home for long periods at a time, please consider getting two dogs. Two pooches really aren’t much more trouble than having just one dog, and in some ways, you’ll actually find that it might be easier. Lonely canines will often turn to destructive behavior when they get bored, and such a pet can wreak havoc on your home and on your belongings.

When one of our Danes was a puppy, he was an only dog for a couple of months, and hubby and I worked all day. The pup began exhibiting some dog behavior problems, mostly related to destructive tendencies. He chewed molding from the wall, destroyed a chair, and tried to eat a door. When we bought another Great Dane puppy, most of this bad behavior stopped. Instead of “playing” with our belongings, he played with his new brother.

If you decide to get two puppies to entertain each other while they're left alone, it's best to get two puppies that are about the same size. Puppies play rough, and if one pup is much larger than the other, the little guy could get hurt while the canines are playing together while unsupervised.

Adopting a dog is always an option.
Adopting a dog is always an option. | Source

More tips for choosing the right dog:

Puppies For Adoption

A wonderful dog doesn’t have to be expensive, so you might want to consider dogs or puppies for adoption. When you adopt a pet, the cost is often negligible, and in some cases, it might even be free. You can find all sorts of purebred dogs, crossbred dogs, and mutts at shelters and dog rescues. With most rescues and shelters, you can return the dog if it doesn’t work out. Some of our best dogs have come from local animal shelters. When you’re choosing a dog from a shelter or rescue, try to learn as much about the dog as you can, and be sure to take it to the vet for a health checkup before you take it home and fall in love. I speak here from experience. Years ago, we decided to adopt a dog from the animal shelter. It was an adorable black-and-white spotted pup. We adopted the puppy on a Friday afternoon and planned to take it to the vet first thing Monday morning. Of course, the little guy won our hearts over the weekend. Unfortunately, the vet check revealed that the puppy had parvo, and it had to be euthanized.

Using a dog breed selector is a good way to get a general idea about a breed's temperament.
Using a dog breed selector is a good way to get a general idea about a breed's temperament.

The ten most popular dog breeds:

Dog Breed Selector

A dog breed selector might help you decide on the best dog breeds. Several sites on the internet feature a Dog Breed Selector, where you can enter specific information about the kind of pet you want. Your information is matched with dog breeds that fill your requirements. This is a great tool, but it’s not perfect. The problem is that every dog is an individual, but not all humans take this into account. For example, not every golden retriever on the planet is good with kids, and not every Chihuahua is bad with kids. Use some common sense here, along with an added dose of research. If you’re buying a purebreed, find out about the temperament of the dog’s parents. Of course, you might also be able to do this with a crossbreed or even with a mutt. Scrupulous breeders try to “breed out” undesirable traits, but there are many unscrupulous breeders who are interested only in making money. When you’re choosing a dog, use the Dog Breed Selector tool only as a general guide.

Find a Puppy
Find a Puppy | Source

Find A Puppy

Perhaps now you’ve decided on the best dog breeds, and you’re ready to find a puppy. Where do you look? Your local veterinary offices often post puppies for sale and puppies for free. The vet might even be able to give you some information on the parent dogs. Check your local newspaper for pet ads, too. If you want to adopt a puppy or a dog, visit your local animal shelters and search dog rescue organizations. If you’re looking for specific dog breeds, search the internet for breeder and kennel sites. Sites like Next Day Pets, Puppy Find, and Puppy Finder are great places to start your search. You’ll get to browse lots of dog breeds, and photographs are usually included. You can use advanced searches by breed, sex, age, and location. What you consider to be the best dog breeds for you will almost certainly be represented, so it’s easy to find a puppy you can fall in love with!


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