Before you go looking for your perfect dog, survey your own lifestyle and personality. How do you rate yourself? Are you a social butterfly or a hermit? An avid hiker or couch dweller? Is your home a sprawling farm or a tidy condo? Do you enjoy brushing and grooming, or would you prefer an “easy keeper”? Do you want your dog to love all your friends as much as you do, or do you prefer a one-person dog who will stand by you through thick and thin? Is this dog really for you, or are you looking for a child’s playmate?
The following are some common lifestyle examples and suggested breeds for each one. This list is not meant to be complete; they are just suggestions for where to start looking. And for all of them, please consider adopting a mixed breed from your local shelter.
#1: I am highly active and want a lively active dog to join me on runs and hikes. Of course, I will make a choice based on the local climate.
Bernese Mountain Dog, Dalmatian, German Shorthaired Pointer, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Portuguese Water Dog, Siberian Husky, Tibetan Terrier.
#2: I have small children and want a tolerant dog who can play happily and safely with them. I will, of course, always supervise their activities.
Beagle, Border Terrier, Bulldog, English Setter, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Scottish Deerhound.
#3: I have older children who would love a canine playmate.
Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Siberian Husky, Standard Poodle, St. Bernard.
#4: I live a quiet life and am mostly interested in a calm, snuggly pet.
Basset Hound, Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, English Toy Spaniel, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug, Shih Tzu.
#5: I sometimes work long hours and would like an independent breed.
Akita, Black and Tan Coonhound, Brussels Griffon, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Kuvasz, Lhasa Apso, Shiba Inu.
#6: I have a taste for the unusual and would enjoy an interesting dog with an unusual character.
Bedlington Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Neapolitan Mastiff, Puli, Xoloitzcuintli.
#7: I’ve never owned a dog before, so I want an easygoing breed.
Affenpinscher, Bernese Mountain Dog, Basset Hound, Bichon Frise, Bull Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Greyhound, Labrador Retriever.
#8: I live in a small apartment and need a quiet dog.
Basenji, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chinese Crested, French Bulldog, Greyhound, Havanese, Maltese, Pug, Shih Tzu.
#9: I want a dog who is easy to groom.
American English Coonhound, Basenji, Bluetick Coonhound, Bracco Italiano, shortaired Chihuahua, Dalmatian, Great Dane, Mastiff, Rhodesian Ridgeback.
#10: Call me crazy, but I love to fool with hair. I’d like a grooming-intensive dog who I can pamper this way.
Afghan Hound, Chinese Crested, Cocker Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Old English Sheepdog, Pekingese, Poodle, Puli, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier.
#11: I live alone and would love to have an imposing alert dog.
Akita, Belgian Malinois, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog, Giant Schnauzer, Komondor, Rottweiler.
#12: I live alone and would love to have an imposing alert dog.
Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, St. Bernard.
#13: I have cats, so I’d like a breed that can get along with them. Of course, I will carefully supervise them at all times until I know they are good friends.
Basset Hound, Beagle, Bichon Frise, Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Dachshund, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Poodle, Pug.
Diane Morgan is a pet care expert in Williamsport, Maryland, who has authored numerous books on dog care and nutrition, and has also written many dog breed and horse books.