Getting a dog can be fun but taking on a pet owner role is a life-changing thing. Being responsible for a canine isn’t just about owning a pet — it’s about welcoming a new member into the family. And like with other families, they’re all different, which means that a dog or breed may be right for someone but totally wrong for someone else.
We reached out to Haeleigh Hyatt, director of training at SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence, to find out what dogs suit particular lifestyles and you may be surprised by her findings. Check out these dog breeds that are ideal for very specific people.
Hyatt calls labs "the quintessential family dog" as they "love everyone and everything" and "are extremely versatile and obedient." Basically, they're great all-around dogs, ideal for all kinds of activities.
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Hyatt says "herding breeds should be avoided" as they "have a tendency to herd children as they would livestock, occasionally nipping at their heels."
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There are several breeds singles can choose from, but that person's lifestyle and activity level is the most important factor. "Be sure to pick an active dog if you are active, or a more laid-back dog if you enjoy snuggling on the couch," suggests Hyatt. "If you are single and looking to mingle, try a unique looking dog with a friendly disposition, like a Corgi. They are surefire conversation starters!"
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"Chihuahuas, although wonderful apartment dogs, have a tendency to become possessive of their owners and may not be best for those looking to socialize," warns Hyatt, but concedes that "not all chihuahuas are like this, but many can be."
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They may be huge but they're considered "gentle giants of the dog world," says Hyatt. "These dogs are generally very calm and even tempered, making them perfect for children."
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"Avoid toy breeds like Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers," advises Hyatt. "While these may be a decent choice for older children, their small stature and delicate nature are not a good match for younger children."
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They might not seem it but Hyatt calls Greyhounds the perfect apartment dog. "They are bred to run — and run FAST. These gentle dogs love to join their owners out and about, but they are equally happy napping on the couch."
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"The Belgian Malinois are frequently used in police and military applications, and for good reason," says Hyatt. "These powerful dogs love to work and will get destructive if left to their own devices." Oy. That's a hard no then.
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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a sweet little dog that is not much bigger than a cat," describes Hyatt. "With their gentle and curious nature, your cat would be a welcome playmate." Aw.
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"Siberian Huskies have an incredibly high prey drive that could cause your cat or other small pet to be seen as lunch, versus a family member," says Hyatt. So not a good partner for any other non-human in the house. Shudder.
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"Poodles have hair versus fur — a key trait that makes them one of the best choices for allergy sufferers," informs Hyatt. "Poodles are one of the smartest breeds of dog and come in three different sizes (toy, miniature and standard) to fit a variety of lifestyles." Um, how are poodles not tops on all the lists?
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"Breeds that are heavy shedders or are prone to dry skin should be avoided, as well as dogs that are known droolers," says Hyatt. "The German Shepherd is both a heavy shedder and is prone to dry skin — a double whammy — and so may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers."
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"It shares many favourable traits with its larger Greyhound cousin, including a low exercise requirement and a fondness of lounging on the sofa," details Hyatt. "The smaller package makes the Whippet easier to handle for seniors."
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"Bulldogs are incredibly stubborn and can be difficult to train," says Hyatt, especially considering how powerful these stocky dogs are. "This can be particularly problematic for someone who may not be as strong as they once were.
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"Chihuahuas, or other toy dogs, are a great choice for those who work longs hours," says Hyatt. "They are usually happy with a nightly stroll around the block, or playing in the living room. Their small size also means that you can train these dogs to use pee pads, so your dog is never crossing his legs waiting for you to get home."
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"Border Collies require a very dedicated owner and often thrive when given exercise and training multiple times daily," informs Hyatt. "If you are not able to keep them busy, they will find a way of entertaining themselves and you may not like what they choose!"
"The Basenji is known as the 'barkless dog,' making it a great choice if you are at all concerned about your dog upsetting your neighbours," says Hyatt. "While they are an active breed and require daily exercise, the tradeoff is worth it." Um, where can we get one?
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The breed is meant to herd sheep and as far as Shetland Sheepdogs go, their style includes "continuous barking at the sheep until they move to the desired location." What does that mean when you sub out sheep for you? "The Sheltie has become one of the noisiest breeds out there and is not suited well to city living."
"Golden Retrievers are a very popular breed for a good reason," says Hyatt. "They are friendly, relatively easy to train, and great companions."
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"While they are majestic dogs, Akitas are not for the faint of heart," warns Hyatt. "They are a challenge to train and their large size, high prey drive and heavy shedding make them difficult for even the most experienced of dog owners." So when you see one with its owner on the street or in the park, maybe give that person a round of applause for everything they deal with.
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