The following article was prepared by Ron Lueth of Pet Guardian Angels of America (PGAA) to help people chose the right dog breed for their lifestyle
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The different breed characteristics displayed should help you find the breed that fits your lifestyle and your home. The matrix following this text is divided into weight classes. Additional information about the breed can be found by clocking the breed name.
The dog that lives down the street just had a litter of puppies. They’re soooo cute! Sooo cuddly! Your kids want one. You want one. They’re sooo cute. They’re sooo cuddly.
Every puppy needs a loving home and most puppies do find loving homes. It’s grown puppies that have the problem. That two pound ball of fur licking your face becomes a 130 pound St. Bernard; or a 110 pound Bullmastiff; or a 90 pound Akita. One eats 7 cups of dog food a day, the other wants to walk four miles a day, and the third has knocked your mother-in-law flat on her back every time she comes to visit. You think, “Enough is enough”. So before you rush out and buy that leash, collar or frisbee STOP and THINK. Is this cute and cuddly puppy the right puppy for your loving home? Each year over 1 million dogs are dropped off at local pounds or shelters by the very same people who once thought they were irresistibly cute and cuddly puppies.
There are over 400 breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC) and the National Kennel Club (NKC) grouped according to the JOB they’re meant to do, or the dominant traits they share to help them do that JOB. All dogs have a JOB; it’s in the genes. And unlike humans, DOGS CAN’T CHANGE JOBS. If a puppy is a pure bred, that means that all the puppies and dogs of that breed have the same JOB. If a puppy is mixed breed, that is it has more than one breed in its family tree, it (the pup) may have more than one job to do. Be sure you understand both the JOB and the characteristics your puppy was born with BEFORE you take him or her home. Such understanding will help you and may save the pup’s life.
“What are we talking about?” you ask. Simple. Most breeds of dogs share common ancestry — the wolf. As a hunter the wolf ranked supreme. Over time and influenced by geography, varieties of these descendants of wolves emerged. Man began to domesticate these creatures and use them to perform certain tasks, and they did for hundreds and hundreds of years. Some dogs are “made” to dig, some are “made” to keep things together, and others are “meant” to watch. With the advances of civilization some of these tasks were given over to machinery or other technologies. But retiring dogs from performing certain jobs didn’t eliminate the talent particular breeds developed for particular work. Just because some one or some thing has replaced the dog, doesn’t mean the dog is no longer capable or able.
This list of dog breeds by size indicates each breeds coat, how much it sheds, amount of grooming, exercise needs, plus a guide of which breeds may be better with children. (Comments about the breeds acceptability with children assume that such an interaction is supervised, and that the children will not mistreat the dog. Any dog is capable of biting when faced with an out of the ordinary circumstance, even Golden Retrievers.). Click on the breed name to go to its profile page that includes more information, important links and book suggestions.
We STRONGLY recommend that you get your dog from a respectable breeder or rescue organization. For a Breeder Questionnaire to use to evaluate a breeder please go to Evaluating the Breeder.
Do Not Buy from a Pet Store. Pet store puppies usually get their dogs from Puppy Mills that normally breed only for profit, not quality or concern for the puppy or its eventual owner. Please visit Facts, Outlawing, What to Do
We also caution about buying a puppy over the Internet. Some of the ads appearing on this site will reference Internet sites that promote puppy sales. This is beyond our control and we do not endorse such ads. Unless you are completely certain that the particular site is reputable and does not trade in puppies grown in puppy mills we strongly recommend that you do not purchase from them.
If you would like help locating a breeder or rescue agency near you please E-Mail PGAA and let us know your city/state/zip and the type of dog you are looking for.
Pick the weight range of the dog that is the right size for your circumstances, and see their other characteristics. Some breeds may fall into more than one weight range.
Click the breed name for more information about that breed.
Use the “back” button of your browser to return to the previous page(s).
Very Little – sheds very little and may be suited for allergy suffers
Minimal – does not shed a lot but may not be suited for allergy suffers
Constant – sheds all of the time, heavier than average
Seasonal – sheds heavily on a seasonal or periodic schedule
Average – sheds somewhat but not as heavily as a “constant” shedder
Grooming that is necessary to maintain the average household dog – does not address “show” grooming.
Minimal – very little grooming is required
Weekly – grooming required on a weekly basis
Daily – grooming required on a daily basis
Moderate – not as often as weekly but more than minimal
What dogs do well with children.Most dogs can be OK with children, but some breeds are better than others. A lot of a dog’s ability to be trusted with children will depend upon its breed, where the dog was obtained, obedience training, and socialization.
A dog’s interaction with children ALSO DEPENDS on the child. Rough treatment of a dog not expecting rough treatment may result in a growl or a bite. Teasing is not good for any dog, and may result in your dog becoming withdrawn, nervous, or fearful — any of which can lead to a bite. Be especially mindful of children under 5 — inadvertent harsh treatment of the dog can result in harm to the youngster, a lawsuit for the dog’s owner, and possible destruction of a normally loving and affectionate companion.
Please remember! All dogs are capable of biting. Even the calmest. most gentle breeds, may bite or snap if they are injured, ill, or mistreated (intentionally or unintentionally).
ALWAYS supervise dogs and children.
TAKE NOTICE of any changes in your dog’s attitude or temperament.
NEVER leave a dog alone with a small child. A child’s natural curiosity can lead to harming a dog who, in turn, may bite.
NEVER ASSUME that because your dog is great with your kids that it will be great with all kids. Protective instincts may take over if your dog believes his child is in danger.
BE AWARE of the size of your dog and the size of the children. Most large dogs don’t realize how big they are, and just want to join in the fun. No 5 or 6 year old wants to be sat on by an 80 pound Bernese Mountain Dog and get slobbered.
Great – these dogs do very well with children
Good – these dogs are OK with children
Older – these dogs do better with older children
Blank – these dogs need to be supervised and/or need increased training and socialization to be with children
How much exercise the dog needs. All dogs need some exercise.
Heavy – daily, and more than a walk. May need to run free. Good for joggers.
Regular – daily walk or two but more than just out to the street and back.
Minimal – not a lot of exercise is required, but some is needed.
Height (inches at withers) and Weight (in pounds) Average of size of a male. Females are usually smaller.