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Find the Best Family Dog to Fit Your Lifestyle

Which breeds are good with young kids? Older kids? Big yards? Quiet neighborhoods? High-energy households?



Every year thousands of dogs are turned over to animal shelters because they were given or chosen without research to determine if the breed will work for the family. Only too late do they learn they brought home a biter, barker, digger, or jumper.

When pets are given away, the pets, their owners, and children all suffer. So before selecting your dog, do your homework.

At the National Dog Show in Oaks, PA, Nov. 16 & 17, you can learn about more than 180 breeds. The dogs and their owners welcome the public to visit them and ask questions.

Here are some breeds with habits that might not work for a family. 

Barkers

A barking dog helps protect against intruders, but excessive barking can be a problem. Some known barkers are:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Water Spaniel
  • Bassett Hound

  • Finnish Spitz
  • 
Terriers

  • Great Pyrenees

  • Miniature Schnauzer

High energy


A playful, energetic puppy can make a great playmate for your child. But as your puppy grows, that hyperactivity could become overwhelming. High-strung dogs often jump on people and tear through the house.

Some breeds tend to maintain that high energy level well into their adult-size bodies. They include:

  • Airedale Terriers
  • Boxer

  • Brittany
  • 
Cocker Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • 
Golden Retriever
  • 
Irish Setter
  • 
Jack Russell Terrier
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pointer

  • Schnauzer

Diggers


Dogs dig for several reasons — to bury a bone, to escape from a fenced yard, to keep cool, or out of boredom. Diggers include:

  • Fox Terriers
  • 
Norwich Terrier

  • Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Aggressive

Dogs can be aggressive for a variety of reasons — poor breeding, physical abuse, disease. Certain dominant breeds can also tend toward aggressiveness if not handled by a firm and skilled handler. These dogs should be chosen with caution and the understanding they require strong leadership:

  • Akita
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Schnauzer
  • Shih Tzu
  • Siberian Husky
  • 
Weimaraner

High maintenance


The upkeep of certain breeds can be overwhelming. In addition to trimmed claws and an occasional bath, some dogs require lengthy daily brushing to remove tangles. High-maintenance breeds include:

  • American Eskimo
  • Cocker Spaniel

  • Collie

  • Great Pyrenees
  • Llaso Apso

  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Poodle
 
  • Schnauzer
  • 
Terriers

Dog breeds that are easy to train, gentle, playful

 

Easy trainers

Many problems can be avoided by finding a dog that’ll be easy for your child to handle and help train.

Easy trainers include:

  • American Water Spaniel
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bichon Frise
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Irish Setter
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Maltese
  • Shetland Sheepdog

Calm and gentle

Calm, gentle breeds are important for families with small children. Keep in mind size alone doesn’t dictate these traits.

Gentle breeds you might consider are:

  • Bassett Hound
  • Beagle
  • Bearded Collie
  • Chinese Crested
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Newfoundland
  • Mastiff

Playful

Playful and energetic puppies work well for older children who won’t feel threatened by the dog’s full-grown size.

Consider:

  • American Eskimo
  • Bloodhound
  • Brittany
  • Dalmatian
  • Golden Retriever
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pointer
  • Poodle
  • Saint Bernard
  • Schnauzer

There are many other traits to consider in choosing a new dog. Before bringing home your puppy, learn about the breed that interests you to determine if it will fit your family’s lifestyle.

Kim Blaker is a freelance writer.

 

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