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For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work with animals in one way or another. Currently, I am a senior pre-veterinary student at the University of Connecticut, so clearly the medicine aspect won out. However, animal behavior was a close second. I really enjoy learning the personalities of different animals, and the best ways to react to and train them. Dogs and the differences between their breeds especially interest me, because every breed has some significant differences to learn about. These differences make them best suited for different types of families, and it's best to do your diligent research before deciding on an animal to add to your family.
Throughout my years of learning, and my ever growing list of experiences with different animals, I have learned a lot about different breeds of dogs, and I have a lot of friends and family members ask me for my opinion when it comes to choosing a 4 legged, barking friend to add to their family. Now, I'm no expert by any means, but I am definitely doing my own research to hopefully someday be one. Here is a list of my 5 favorite breeds of dogs and the families I think they would be best suited for.
Greyhounds have always had a soft spot in my heart. I have always been drawn to their unique physique, and I love hearing the stories of the rescue racing greyhounds who retire to join the family life. My family used to foster rescue greyhounds, and we learned so much about the breed. One common misconception about greyhounds is they need to live with an active family who can help them run out their abundance of energy. That is actually a myth, and greyhounds are considered the cats of the dog world. They have short bursts of energy, but otherwise enjoy lazing around all day. I mean, think about it. When racing, they run for short sprints, and then they sleep in their quarters for the rest of the day. Apartment living actually suits a greyhound just fine. Greyhounds require minimal grooming, as their coats are very short. However, that does mean they require coats to wear when it gets too chilly. Their fur doesn't offer them much protection from the cold. Greyhounds also need to live with a family that is either able to keep them leashed at all times or has a tall enough fence to keep them inside the yard. As my family saw with our foster greyhounds, these dogs have a very strong prey instinct. They are baited with small animals on the race track, so they naturally think whenever they see a squirrel or a bunny, they have to be the fastest dog to get to it. They will chase until they reach their prey, and nothing will break that focus from them. Overall, greyhounds would do best with a light-regular activity family, as long as they are strong and diligent enough to keep them on a tight leash.
2. Standard Poodles
Standard Poodles are arguably the most intelligent dog breed. With this intelligence, however, comes stubbornness. Standard Poodles know how to give their owners a run for their money, so it is important that their owners are strong-willed and dominant, but not cruel. As for grooming, poodles require extensive grooming. Their tight, curly fur does, however, give them the title of the most hypoallergenic dog breed. A family with dog allergies would benefit greatly from this breed, as they do not shed much, so they do not impact allergies much. Poodles also need families who are relatively active and home often, because they need exercise and companionship. Keeping this breed mentally stimulated is also important, as their high intelligence makes it easy for them to become bored—and a bored dog is oftentimes a destructive dog. As far as health concerns, poodles can be at risk for typical large breed health problems, such as hip dysplasia. They are also a barrel chested breed, so bloat can be a concern—however, this can be avoided by not exercising your poodle after a meal.
3. Border Collie
Any Border Collie owner will tell you it's hard to keep up with them. They are very active dogs who love to have a job to do. If you have children and a Border Collie, chances are your dog will herd your children as if they were a flock of sheep. On top of active, Border Collies are very intelligent dogs. With enough time and patience, they can be trained to do just about anything. Because of their long coat, Border Collies do require a good bit of grooming, or at least a good brushing out every day or so. If your family is active, patient, and okay with some regular grooming, a border collie would be a good breed for you (and a lot of land for running would be a huge plus).
4. Pit Bull Terrier
The bully breed himself, who in fact is quite the opposite of a bully. If you are looking for a dog that will love you unconditionally, and possibly engulf you with kisses on a daily basis, you've come to the right section. Pitties are some of the most compassionate breeds out there, and they are extremely loyal to their alpha. Although they have an extremely negative stigma and are sometimes involved in dog fighting, Pit Bulls are typically very calm, lazy, and loving dogs. If you are patient enough to deal with their constant need for attention, and okay with a little (or a lot) of dog slobber on everything you own, trust me when I say the gain will be more than worth it.
5. The Mutt
"What breed is he?" "Oh, I dunno, he's a mutt!" If I had a dollar for every time I heard that around the dog park, I would be able to afford a lot of purebred dogs. A mutt is a mixed breed of dog, such as a Labrador Retriever bred with a Beagle. Although mutts have formerly held a negative stigma, the idea of adopting mixed breed dogs has become more and more positive in the last few years. It seems like everyone has a mixed breed dog, a mutt nowadays. There are many positives that come along with mixed breed dogs, mainly health related. When you breed different breeds of dogs together, often times, breed specific diseases will be bred out of the genetic code. Therefore mixed breed dogs are often times healthier than purebred dogs. Good temperament is also found in many mixed breed dogs. Mutts can come in variable energy levels, so regardless of how active your family is, chances are, you will find a mutt that will fit in perfectly. Really, in any aspect, regardless of anything, any family can find a mutt that would be the perfect addition to their family.