What is the best breed of dog for me? Experts reveal how to choose

If you have ever owned a dog or even considered getting a dog, chances are you’re wondering if there’s a breed of dog that’s right for you.

Countless quizzes claim to choose the perfect puppy for your setup. But is there really a specific breed that’s right for you?

Reverse spoke to pet experts to answer all your burning questions about the “fit” dog breed, including independent dogs, family dogs, and more.

“When choosing a dog, breed is one of many factors to consider,” says Certified Veterinary Behaviorist Katherine Pankratz. Reverse. “It’s important to find a mate who is most likely to suit your lifestyle.”

Is breed important when choosing a dog?

Some studies show correlations between dog breed and personality, but it’s a slippery slope, experts suggest. David Leahy/Getty Images

A 2021 study analyzed the link between dog breeds, personality, and stress levels in humans and dogs. The study analyzed three types of dog breeds:

  • Solitary hunting or working dogs
  • Dogs bred for human companionship
  • Ancient dogs were more closely related to wolves

According to the study, the personality of some dog owners may be more compatible with certain groups of dogs. For example, owners of dogs who ranked higher in terms of “openness” caused greater stress in hunting dogs, suggesting instead that these owners would be better suited to – and naturally seek out – ancient dog breeds.

Similarly, a 2015 study found some correlation between dog breeds and behavior. The study reported three key findings, suggesting “working” dogs:

  1. Were easier to train and showed more interest in playing with humans
  2. Showed more aggression towards other dogs and was less afraid of human strangers
  3. Demonstrate greater attachment and attention-seeking behavior

“Breed function — i.e. working, herding, etc. — can be a valuable consideration when anticipating potential behaviors,” Pankratz says.

But discussing dog breed can also be tricky business. Pankratz says that “breed associations are mostly based on purebred dogs.” When it comes to dogs with “unknown pedigrees,” Pankratz points out that people — even experienced dog shelter staff — often misidentify their breed based on the dog’s actual genetics.

“It’s a major problem when wrong breed names are given to certain dogs and aren’t necessarily predictive of their potential behaviors,” Pankratz says.

A dog’s appearance “is only superficial” and isn’t always an indicator of behavior, Pankratz says.

Which dog breeds are the most independent?

Dogs like Shiba Inus tend to be more independent, but breed alone cannot determine a dog’s independence, experts suggest. Yuki Cheung/Getty Images

If you work outside the home or travel frequently, you might be wondering if there are certain dogs that are more independent to fit into your lifestyle.

Renee Streeter, veterinary nutritionist at PetPlate, and Yui Shapard, educational director, Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals, tell Reverse that the following dog breeds tend to be more independent:

  • Akita
  • shiba inus
  • Jindos (and other Asia-Pacific races)
  • german shepherds
  • border collie
  • Greyhounds
  • Schnauzers
  • boston terrier
  • Shar peis

But other factors, like the dog’s environment, might be more important than its breed in determining its independence.

As working dogs, Border Collies and German Shepherds tend to be more independent, but “those who live in a city primarily as companionship may not be very independent,” Shapard says.

If you live in a city and your dogs are used to being around you frequently, even independent dogs could “show anxiety disorders if they don’t get the mental and physical stimulation they need to thrive. “, warns Shapard.

Additionally, much of a dog’s independence — or lack thereof — comes down to training rather than the breed.

“When it comes to independence, a lot of it comes down to how dogs are trained by their owners and their relationships,” Shapard says.

Shapard points out that, regardless of dog breed, you shouldn’t leave a puppy alone for more than six to eight hours.

Dogs are “social animals and it’s not ideal for them to be isolated for long periods of time,” says Shapard.

Read our article on “How long can I leave my dog ​​at home?”

Are certain dog breeds less destructive?

Many factors beyond breed, such as the dog’s early experiences, can impact destructive behaviors. Gandee Vasan/Getty

The short answer to that question: “Not really,” says Shapard.

She points out that “although certain hunting breeds may have a higher incidence of destructive behaviors in the home”, destructive behavior is a “learned behavior” that can indicate anxiety, extreme boredom or a lack of training. .

Pet owners should take care to train all that their dogs function on their own when owners are away, whether some dogs are more independent or not.

“These breeds can handle being alone more easily, but all dogs need to be taught to be comfortable being alone and not chew on household items,” said Brad Phifer, executive director of the Certification Council. professional dog trainers. Reverse.

“I wish it was so simple to just look at the breed to determine the likelihood of a behavior, but there are so many other factors to consider,” Pankratz says.

Factors beyond breed, such as the genetics of the dog’s parents, the dog’s early socialization and learned behaviors, age and sex, can all play a significant role in shaping personality.

Shapard concludes, “There is no easy way to avoid a misbehaving dog, regardless of breed.”

Are there dog breeds suitable for families?

On the other hand, if you’re planning on starting a family, you might be looking for a dog that’s more attentive – and probably needs more attention in return.

“Toy breeds are bred only for human companionship, so dogs of the toy breed gender are generally more dependent on people,” Shapard explains.

Common toy dogs include:

  • maltese dogs
  • Poodles
  • Pomeranians
  • Shih Tzu
  • burrows
  • King Charles Spaniel

Streeter agrees. “Highly active breeds like gun dogs, Huskies, Poodles and Poodle mixes tend to do worse when left alone and confined.”

She adds, “Retrievers and Sheepdogs are very intelligent and like to have chores to fill their day.

Dogs like retrievers and terriers belong to a family of canines known to be more family-oriented and social, according to Shapard. Brachycephalic – short-headed – dog breeds are often family-friendly.

If you are looking for very social and family-friendly dogs, you can consider these breeds:

  • golden retrievers
  • Labradors
  • pugs
  • French
  • bulldogs
  • burrows

But Pankratz says “the literature is still uncovering” the answers to these complex questions about dog breed, personality and behavior.

“We have our ‘beliefs’ about what type of dog breed we think would be more prone to certain behaviors, but we need to consult the literature to validate those assumptions.”

Ultimately, breed is just one of many factors that make up a dog’s personality and behavior.