The most common question I get asked by soon-to-be- and current dog owners is, “What is the best dog breed?” As each and every breed of dog was selected for a specific purpose (herding, hunting, pointing, companionship, etc.), there is no absolute correct answer.
I’m a pet dog trainer, so typically what people mean when they ask me what the best dog breed is, is what the best pet dog breed is. I am basing my list on temperament, trainability and overall health.
Please feel free to contact me if you’d like more information on the breeds listed below, or any breed; and, as always, consider adopting a rescue before buying from a breeder.
I’ve divided the 20 dog breeds into four different size categories: small (up to 20lbs), medium (20-60lbs), large (60-90lbs) and giant (90+lbs)
– Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: wonderful, calm family dog, though over-breeding is ruining the breed’s health.
– Pug: a happy and silly companion, selecting for an overly “squished” nose has led to the breed’s diminished health.
– Cairn Terrier: playful, energetic and generally healthy.
– Bichon Frise: friendly and energetic, these sweet little dogs are fluffy and generally hypoallergenic.
– Havanese: slightly larger than their Maltese cousins, these dogs are medium-energy, trainable and generally people-oriented.
– Australian Shepherd: beautiful and very trainable, these dogs require quite a bit of grooming and exercise, great for an active household.
– Whippet: Sighthounds are some of the healthiest dog breeds, but with fragile skin and slender bones, care needs to be taken to exercise them appropriately.
– Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever: a smaller dog with all the charm of a Retriever.
– Cocker Spaniel: like most Spaniels, the Cocker is an elegant, energetic and happy dog.
– Corgi: friendly and sweet, the Corgi is all the “snuggliness” of a larger dog in a smaller package.
– Golden Retriever: trainable and very affectionate, Goldens are a very popular pet companion choice.
– Setters (English, Gordon and Irish): goofy, loving and generally healthy, all three types of setters are in their element indoors and out.
– Labrador: the most popular breed worldwide for a reason, these playful, intelligent and highly trainable dogs are great for a wide variety of pet owners.
– Basset Hound: adorable and calm, these low-energy dogs are great family pets.
– Greyhound: healthy and low-maintenance, they make great companions.
– Bernese Mountain Dog
– Saint Bernard: for those of you worried about shedding, the cuddly St. Bernard breed comes in both long and short coat lengths.
– English Mastiff
– Newfoundland Dog
The giant dog breeds in general, despite great variation in appearance, tend to be mellow to the point of appearing lazy. They’re generally more prone to health issues, and obviously cost more to maintain. They make great pets because they are tendentiously calm, sweet dogs as adults.