Dog Breed FAQ

Researching for your next furry family member? We have compiled our dog experts’ answers to the most common questions regarding dog breeds!

What dog breeds are best for families?

Bringing a puppy or dog into your family is a big decision, especially if you have young children or plan to have kids in the future. There are many benefits to having your kids grow up with a dog, dogs can help children learn responsibility, patience, compassion, and respect for animals, and are a lot of fun! While there isn’t a perfect breed per se, there are temperaments that better suit a family environment. However, no matter what breed you choose, adequate socialization is key for every dog in order to do well around children. What are some temperaments to look for? With little kid hands, loud noises and lots of movement, a great family dog needs to be patient and tolerant. Below we’ve compiled some great breed options to look into before bringing home your new furry family member!

Small Breeds

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are described as gentle and affectionate making them a fantastic choice for families. They are a great option if you are looking for a smaller dog as they typically grow to about 12” – 18” tall and weigh roughly 13 to 18 pounds.
  • Havanese – for families that live in the city, this playful and intelligent breed makes for a fantastic city dog!

Medium Breeds

  • Labrador and Golden Retrievers – you’re probably not surprised to see these two lovable breeds on our list, since they are two of the most popular! Labrador and Golden Retrievers are typically very friendly, interact well with young children, and will thrive in an active family environment. If you’re looking for a more laid back personality, look for yellow or black labs.
  • Boxers – fun-loving, athletic, patient, and sometimes silly, Boxers make an excellent addition to any family. Socialization is crucial to set this breed up for success.

Large Breeds

  • Bernese Mountain Dog – The beautiful and sweet-natured Berner is like living with a giant teddy bear. Who doesn’t want that? This gentle and affectionate breed is a tremendous family companion, as long as you have enough room! These powerful and eager to please pups can range from 70 – 115 pounds and stand around 27 inches at the shoulder. For people who have a big backyard and a gentle spirit, a Berner could be the perfect addition.
Don’t rule out rescue dogs in fear that you may not know their history. Rescues can be gentle and patient and can be a great addition to your family! The key is to do some research in order to find a reputable rescue group or organization. Most shelters, rescue groups, and fosters will conduct meet and greets where you and your family can interact with the dog and learn more about them to help you find the right fit. Oftentimes, there will be a trial period where you can take the dog home with you for a couple of days to get to know each other a little better before making the commitment.

What should you consider before buying a dog?

Here are some things to consider before you decide to become a pet parent.
  1. How much time can you dedicate to the puppy or dog? Young puppies will require a lot of time initially to properly socialize and train regardless of breed. However, as they age some breeds will need more exercise (shepherds, retrievers), coat maintenance (daily brushing for longer coats), etc. than others.
  2. Consider the costs that come with owning a dog. After the fun purchases like a collar, leash, dog bed, and toys there are also costs associated with keeping your dog healthy. There are regular vet visits, grooming appointments (depending on your pup’s coat), and food to account for. Of course, we can’t forget training! It’s kind of our thing, and we highly recommend starting training as soon as you get your dog. Check out our blog for more details about when to start training your pup!
  3. What is your home environment like? Do you live in an apartment or have a big yard? All dogs require daily exercise and potty breaks. Check out a couple routes in your neighborhood before bringing home a new addition.
  4. How does a dog fit into your lifestyle? Are you outdoorsy or a homebody? Do you travel often? High-energy breeds like Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and Retrievers are best suited for those with an active lifestyle. While Cavaliers and Pugs are typically more laid back and make wonderful lap warmers.

What are the seven major dog groups?

According to the AKC, each registered dog breed is divided into “one of seven groups representing the characteristics and functions the breeds were originally bred for.” Herding Group – Some of the most recognizable breeds fall into this group, including German Shepherds, Corgi’s, Australian Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois. Before 1983 the Herding Dogs were a part of the Working Group. These agile and smart dogs excel when provided with adequate mental and physical exercise. Hound Group – When you think of hounds you probably think of hunting, and you’d be right! Most hounds share a common trait of being bred for hunting. Beagles, Afgan Hounds, Bloodhounds, and Dachshunds are all a part of this interesting group. Toy Group – This spunky group encompasses a wide range of personalities, from the feisty Chihuahua to the endearing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These tiny delights are fantastic city and apartment dogs and can be great cuddlers. Non-sporting Group – Probably the most diverse, the Non-sporting Group brings together French Bulldogs, Poodles, Chow Chows, Lhasa Apsos, and Dalmations. With various personalities, sizes, and coats, this is the melting pot of breed groups. What’s not to love? Sporting Group – The active and charming Sporting Group is filled with fun-loving retrievers, happy spaniels, and smart pointers. With some of the most popular breeds, potential owners of this group should be prepared to provide regular and stimulating mental and physical exercise! Terrier Group – Breeds in this group are known for their spirited and energetic personalities and were originally bred to hunt vermin. With a variety of sizes and coats, the tenacious Terrier Group includes the Airedale Terrier, Rat Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, just to name a few. Working Group – Last but certainly not least, the Working Group contains dogs bred to perform jobs. Siberian Huskies have pulled sleds, Great Pyrenees have served as guardians of livestock, and Newfoundlands have performed water rescues. To quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Potential owners of these breeds should not go into it lightly, the strength and size alone of working dogs will require proper training in order to thrive.