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I can’t remember a time in my life when we didn’t have a dog. They are great pets- constant companions, the only one who is always happy to see you, they help teach kids responsibility, they reduce stress and anxiety and they definitely love to snuggle up with you whenever the opportunity presents itself! If you’re thinking of getting a dog, here is a list of 10 breeds that are amazing for families.
We currently have two dogs. Darwin, our little Miniature Pinscher, is going on 14 years old. We got him when the kids were little and he has been such a great boy! He’s definitely aging, can’t see out of one eye and acts like he can’t hear me, but he’s still a great dog who has been around through so much with our family. Here he is last week when he literally packed himself in the dog bag that holds their blankies, toys, food bowls, etc. and looked at me as if to say, “can we please leave Illinois now and go back to my lake house? I’ve had enough here. There is not nearly enough for me to pee on.”
Our other dog, Cooper, is a rescue that we got when I was recovering from some pretty big personal issues and that whole “who rescued who” saying totally applies to him. A few years ago I asked for, and received, a doggy DNA kit for Christmas because I had to know what the cutest dog in the world is “made of.” Turns out he is part Springer Spaniel, Poodle, Stafordshire Terrier and 25% “unknown.” If “Clingy Goofball” was a breed that would be his remaining 25% because he is a total nutcase who is *very* attached to me. He’s also a total water dog who loves to play “fetch.” I have no idea where the Poodle comes in, because he really does not look like one at all! Doesn’t he look like a vicious pit bull? We call him a “Pibble,” as he is a “more refined and less aggressive form of pit bull.” LOL! In reality he’s a terrible watch dog who will first pee on your shoes and then lick you non-stop once you make it through our door.
We’ve had purebreds, shelter mutts and rescue dogs over the years and some have been better than others, some have aggravated allergies we didn’t even know we had, and some ended up not being great with kids. It’s always a gamble when you bring an older dog into an established family, so keep that in mind if you are looking at older rescue dogs. These two have been our best dogs by far and we got them as puppies. One other great dog was also a puppy, but his oily coat aggravated my breathing so badly we were forced to give him to a breed rescue. <weep> I’ve never reacted to dogs before, so this was definitely a breed-specific issue. So, research carefully because in a perfect world your new dog will be a family member for years to come!
Of course the lab is first. This has been the #1 family dog in polls for decades. With their calm demeanor and family loyalty, they are a great choice. Everyone I know who has had one insists they are super easy to train, too, which is a huge plus. Available in yellow, black and chocolate, pick the one who’s fur will match your decor and wardrobe best. 😉
Goldens are a close second to the lab. They are awesome companions who love to play. They require a lot of physical activity, so if you’re a runner these are great running companions. If you live in a condo, this is probably not the dog for you.
The Poodle is probably the original “hypoallergenic” dog. They come in three sizes, toy, miniature and standard, and three colors, apricot, black and white. With so many choices, this could very well be the perfect pooch for any type of family. They are fiercely loyal and make great guard dogs, believe it or not. They do require grooming, so keep that in mind if you are budget conscious.
Don’t you just love these guys? They are so expressive and personable. Laid back and happy with the occasional walk, these dogs love to nap and are super chill.
The smaller cousin of the Bulldog above, Frenchie’s make great apartment dogs because they aren’t known to be “yappers.” They are playful and spunky and don’t take up much space. Their small size makes them easy for kids to manage, too.
Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier
Wheatons are awesome dogs. They are very energetic and need a good romp in the yard a couple times a day, but they will be your kids’ BFF. My mom has one and Millie is the sweetest! She loves running through the yard with her nephew, Cooper. 😉 These dogs also require regular grooming and you may want to keep their beards trimmed so they don’t slop water all over the place after they drink.
The Newfoundland keeps popping up in all of my searches as an amazing family dog. They love kids so much they are often referred to as “nanny dogs” because they will keep a constant eye on your kids. If you want an enormous dog who loves to frolic in the snow, the Newfie may be for you!
Beagles are great dogs- funny, loyal and super cute. Since they were bred to hunt in packs, they make great companions. Under 20 pounds on average, they make great small space dogs, too.
Of course I couldn’t leave out the best dog we’ve had! (Well, it’s a tie because the other one is pretty great, too!) Miniature Pinschers are compact dogs that are great for apartment living and city life. They are “proud” dogs and full of personality! If you get one from a breeder you can choose whether or not to have their tail and ears docked, which changes the look of each dog dramatically. I like the floppy ears myself!
Yup. Mutts are great dogs! Just because they aren’t purebred doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome. Don’t rule out keeping an eye on dogs that come into your local shelter. You never know what will appear, but you can be sure they will love you like crazy!
No matter what dog you choose, be sure to do your research so you know what you’re getting into. If research shows a breed to be “stubborn,” trust it and know training will be a challenge. If research shows a breed that needs to run every day, trust it because the last thing you need is a dog tearing through your house all day long because you haven’t had time to run it.
Also, if you’re going to go with a purebred, check local rescue groups for the breed you decide on. They often get puppies and awesome older dogs who’s owners had to give them up for whatever reason. Friends of ours got the most amazing American Bulldog from a rescue for just a rehoming fee, which was a huge savings over the cost of a “new” dog.
Whichever direction you go, enjoy your new friend! They are so great!
Happy puppy picking!
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