Looking for a caring, loving companion who's always there to cheer you up when you're down, is 100-percent ready and willing to snuggle, and who gives the best kisses? (No, we're not talking about a husband!) Maybe it's time to consider getting a dog. But finding the perfect furry friend is tricky and there are a few things to take into account. Before you start searching, you'll need to consider the size of your space, how much free time you have, and the relationship you want to have with your pooch (so, if you're never home and you're not big on cuddling, you should probably just get a cat).
Aside from time and space constraints, you should also take your personality into account. Are you an introvert who prefers to stay inside with a cup of tea and a book, or are you an adventurous extrovert who enjoys spontaneous weekend trips? Read on for a list of the best dog breeds for all kinds of personalities and lifestyles.
Energetic Nurturer: Get an American Eskimo
If you're looking for a dog who can learn new tricks, then the American Eskimo is the breed for you. American Eskimo dogs are known for their fluffy white coats, jet black facial features (eye rims, lips, and nose), and erect triangular ears. Historically used as circus dogs, American Eskimos are perky, playful, and intelligent.
Personality: Eskies, though lovable, require a lot of attention, which means they shouldn't be left alone for too long — especially if there's a sofa, curtains, or anything else around that has the potential to be chewed into a million pieces. In addition to wreaking havoc, Eskies can also suffer from separation anxiety. If you're going to be away from home for a while, be sure to find a pet sitter who's fully equipped with durable chew toys.
Born Leader: Get an Australian Shepherd
Originally bred to herd livestock, Australian shepherds — also known as Aussies — are agile and obedient creatures. Aussies are known for their uniquely dappled appearance; their coats can be black, blue merle, or red merle, with or without white markings.
Personality: Aussies are happiest when they have a job to do. That being said, you'll want to make sure your Aussie has plenty of space to run around (read: a secure fence). While Aussies are loyal companions, they tend to have a nipping problem, which is a perfect trait for herding, but it doesn't do much good anywhere else. However, Aussies aim to please, so a few obedience classes should clear up any behavioral problems.
Couch Potato: Get a Basset Hound
Although basset hounds are bred to hunt small game, such as rabbits, they're the ultimate lounge dogs. They're known for their long floppy ears, meaty paws, and loose, elastic skin.
Personality: Though basset hounds are quite lazy, they're not opposed to going on long, slow walks with plenty of sniffing time. Basset hounds are perfect pets for kids and should be exposed to socialization early on. Like most hounds, bassets can be stubborn when it comes to training. The best way to train a basset is with savory treats. Because basset hounds are prone to obesity, treats should be used for training purposes only. Feed your basset a pre-measured amount of dog food two times a day to keep him svelte.
Avid Explorer: Get a Beagle
Beagles are the compact, turbo-charged version of a basset hound. Like basset hounds, beagles can be stubborn and require patient and creative training techniques. Beagles are perfect for kids and adult owners alike, but they're quite vocal. So, if you're weary of a loud-mouthed dog, you might want to choose a different breed.
Personalty: Beagles are a sweet and gentle breed. They'll also make you laugh when they're not trying to escape into the woods to chase down a rabbit, that is. Even so, a beagle's naughty behavior can be fixed with a firm tone and a sweet treat.
Drama Queen: Get a Boston Terrier
Originally bred as fighting dogs, Boston terriers — nicknamed the “American Gentleman” because of their coat's tuxedo-like appearance — have evolved into gentle and affectionate companions. Boston terriers are usually small and compact with short tails and erect ears.
Personality: Boston terriers have a happy-go-lucky attitude and a quirky sense of humor, but they're a little bit dramatic when it comes to punishment. Using a loud or harsh tone could cause them shut down completely. Boston terriers don't require too much exercise, making them the perfect indoor dog.