An online veterinarian’s guide to picking the right dog.
Picking the right dog for your family is a big decision. We all know that certain dog breeds accompany certain personalities. Those personalities are one of multiple reasons why a person who choose to adopt a specific breed. Often during our video telehealth sessions, pet owners ask us advice on buying their next pup.
Which is the right one for their family? What if they have kids? What if they already have pets in the house?
In answer to those questions, let us review some breed personality types and give breed examples that fit that personality. Knowing this, you will be better equipped to make a more informed decision on the type of dog you want to have as part of your family.
Perhaps the most common stereotype of a dog is that happy, go-lucky, and energetic breed that wants to run, play and be by your side constantly. There are no shortage of breeds that fit this personality type. This category of dog are those that need to be exercised or “worked” on a daily basis. They are constantly “on”, needing to utilize their stored energy for running, hunting, playing, climbing, and so forth. These are the same dogs that can also make fun family pets as this personality type tends to also be loving, loyal and gentle, in most cases. This can be a double-edged sword, as those folks who have a family and desire a family-friendly dog, tend to be the same folks who do not have the energy or time to keep these dogs stimulated mentally and physically.
The most prominent examples include:
- The Retrievers (Labrador, Golden, and Chesapeake Bay)
- Hounds (Beagle, Basset, Greyhound)
- Setters (Irish, Irish Red, Irish White)
- Spaniels (English Springer, Field)
- Pointers (German Shorthaired, German Wire-haired)
To name a few.
The polar opposite of the high-energy, nonstop battery breeds are those that are very relaxed, low energy and low-maintenance (when it comes to activity anyway). These are breeds that desire to expend the minimum amount of energy necessary for basic necessities; walk outside for elimination purposes, walk to their water and food bowls, and walk toward their pet parent for cuddles. Maybe. However, the flip side is that these same dogs tend to be the ones who physically cannot handle too much activity. They get winded quickly, are prone to becoming overheated, and seemingly have many potential health problems.
Breed examples include:
- The Bulldogs (French, American, Old English, etc.)
- Mastiffs (English, Bull, Neapolitan, etc.).
Finally we have the in-between breeds. These are the more well-rounded breeds. They can get excited about activities but are not in constant search of them. They have varying temperaments but are overall pleasant companion animals. As an added potential benefit, these also tend to be smaller- or medium-sized dogs. They can fit great in smaller living areas and are a nice match for pet parents who balance an active personal lifestyle with a busy professional one.
- The Poodles (Toy, Miniature, and Standard types)
- Certain Spaniels (Cavalier Kind Charles, Cocker, etc.)
- Terriers (Staffordshire Bull, Jack Russell, Yorkshire, Airedale, Westhighland, Scottish, etc.)
These classifications are not all-inclusive. Breed types will cross over into different activity levels and individual dog personalities will also affect their energy levels. It is important to be honest to yourself and with what your goals are when adopting a dog. The same way individual people have different levels of lifestyle and energy, and therefore tend to congregate with folks of similar types who enjoy similar lifestyles, dogs also need to have their daily desires fulfilled when being matched with their human companion. Do your research and ask questions prior to making the decision and taking the plunge!
-Dr. Shadi Ireifej DVM DACVS