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

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If you have ever had a dog or even considered having a dog, chances are you are wondering if there is a suitable dog breed for you.

Countless quizzes claim to pick 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 of your burning questions regarding the “fit” dog breed, including independent dogs, family-friendly dogs, and more.

“When choosing a dog, breed is one of many factors to consider,” says Katherine Pankratz, a certified veterinary behaviorist. Reverse. “It’s important to find a companion that will best 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 more closely related to wolves

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

Likewise, 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 a greater 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

“The function of the breed – ie labor, herding, etc. – can be a valuable consideration when anticipating potential behaviors,” Pankratz explains.

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

“This is a major problem when the wrong breed names are assigned to certain dogs and is not necessarily predictive of their potential behaviors,” Pankratz explains.

A dog’s appearance “is only superficial” and isn’t always a predictor of how he’ll behave, Pankratz says.

Which breeds of dogs 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 take frequent trips, you may be wondering if there are some more independent dogs to suit your lifestyle.

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

  • Akitas
  • Shiba Inus
  • Jindos (and other Asia-Pacific breeds)
  • german shepherds
  • Border collie
  • Greyhounds
  • Schnauzer
  • 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 as companionship may not show a lot of independence,” Shapard explains.

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

Plus, a lot of a dog’s independence – or lack of it – comes down to training rather than breed.

“When it comes to independence, a lot has to do with the way dogs are trained by their owners and their relationships,” says Shapard.

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

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

Read our article on “How Long Can I Leave My Dog At Home?”

Are some 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,” Shapard says.

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

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

“These breeds can cope with being alone more easily, but all dogs must learn to be comfortable being alone and trained not to chew on household items,” said Brad Phifer, Executive Director of the Council. certification of professional dog trainers. Reverse.

“I wish it were so simple to just look at 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 gender, can all play an important role in shaping the 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 flip side, if you’re planning on starting a family, you might be looking for a dog that is more attentive – and one that will likely require more attention in return.

“Toy breeds are bred only for human companionship, so dogs of the toy breed genus are generally more reliant on humans,” Shapard explains.

Common toy dogs include:

  • Maltese dogs
  • Poodles
  • Pomeranians
  • Shih tzu
  • Terrier
  • King Charles Spaniel

Streeter agrees. “Highly active breeds like hunting dogs, huskies, poodles and poodle mixes tend to do less well when left alone and confined.”

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

Dogs like retrievers and terriers belong to a family of dogs known to be more familiar and sociable, according to Shapard. Brachycephalic – short-headed – dog breeds are often family friendly as well.

If you are looking for very sociable and family friendly dogs, you may want to consider these breeds:

  • Golden retrievers
  • labradors
  • Pugs
  • the French
  • Bulldogs
  • Terrier

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

“We have our ‘beliefs’ about what type of dog breed we think is more prone to certain behaviors, but we need to review the literature to validate these hypotheses.”

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


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