Let’s face it, dogs are not affectionately called “man’s best friend” for nothing. People love dogs! In fact, the ASPCA estimates that nearly half of all American homes are inhabited by at least one of these furry friends, and more than one parent has had a child beg “Please, can we keep him?” Pets, like people, have varied needs and personalities. So, how do you choose the best dog breed for your family? Well, the American Kennel Club and Dogtime.com have some suggestions to get you started.
Once adopted, a dog becomes part of your family. To find the right fit, it’s important to consider breed personality traits, family lifestyle, and health considerations such as allergies. Let’s look at a few of the breeds that experts recommend for families from each of these perspectives.
Labrador Retrievers are the top chosen breed of family dog in the United States. This breed is known to be intelligent and good natured. They are friendly with kids, parents and most strangers too! This dog is a lover, not a fighter. Your lab will need frequent grooming, but luckily labs are easy going and don’t mind a bath and a brush. In fact, they love it so much that it may turn into playtime for them and you! Family lifestyle is important to consider with a lab breed. These dogs are active and social and do best with a family that has similar traits. Small spaces – such as apartments – and lots of alone time are hard on these high-energy, social animals. Lack of exercise and separation anxiety can cause destructive behavior such as chewing. Allergies are also a consideration. These dogs shed – a lot – and that can be tough if a family member has allergies.
Beagles are another popular family breed. These dogs are known for their lovable, cheery, curious nature. He will, like the Fruit Loops Toucan, follow his nose. This breed is dynamite in a small package. With so much energy, Beagles will enjoy playing with the kids, being outdoors with the family, jogs and long walks, but these little guys are still small enough to curl up on the couch at the end of an active day for a nap. Beagles have a short coat and require less maintenance than long hair breeds. They can do well in an apartment, provided they have enough exercise each day. These dogs are not hypoallergenic, so pet allergies are also a consideration with this breed.
Loyal and even-tempered, a Portuguese Water Dog may be the best dog breed for your family. While these animals can be shy and reserved with people they don’t know, they are affectionate and gentle with family members. These dogs adapt well to spaces large or small and can thrive in an apartment or home. While they are playful and love regular exercise, this intelligent breed is also happy keeping an active mind through training and games. The breed loves water too, so families along the coast, near lakes and rivers or those who love the great outdoors, may consider the Portie as a companion. Regular grooming is helpful, but this pup doesn’t shed nearly as much as other breeds and tends to be easier for people with allergies.
Bulldogs are yet another popular family breed. Despite their stout frame, these guys are affectionate, gentle and adorably lazy. The bulldog breed does best when he or she is an only dog as they tend not to get along as well with other dogs as some breeds. The Bully adapts very well living spaces large or small and is happy to nap the day away while the family is at work and school. Bulldogs have a short coat and are easy to groom making them a great choice for a first-time pet owner. Daily walks are helpful as these pups tend to put on weight due to their laid-back nature. Allergy sufferers will notice that this dog sheds less, however, the breed may still cause a reaction in those prone to allergies.
Choosing a furry friend for your household is a big decision and falling in love with a sweet face is only the beginning! By taking the time to consider breed characteristics, your family can choose a pet that fits your own unique family personality, lifestyle, and health needs and will make a new addition to the family as smooth as possible.