What to look for when choosing a new canine household member.
There’s nothing more exciting than welcoming a new canine to the family. However, when it comes to selecting a particular dog, knowing which breeds are more family-friendly than others can help prevent certain behavior or housekeeping issues from arising. In addition to researching size, daily care and grooming needs, you should also take in to account a dog’s unique breed characteristics and personality traits.
When assessing family-friendly personality and behavior traits, it’s important to also consider how a particular dog will fit in with your family’s lifestyle, said Geralynn Cada-Ragan, dog trainer, pet blogger and one of the recipients of the 2018 Pet Age Icon Award.
“A breed’s exercise needs and energy levels are very important to take into consideration,” Cada Ragan said. “Can you offer a dog who loves to play lots of opportunities for playtime, long walks and runs? Or, is a more relaxed lap dog who is content to be sprawled next to you on the couch watching TV a better family fit.”
Here is a quick look at a few breeds recommended by Cada-Ragan. If you would rather adopt a dog than buy one, there are numerous rescue organizations that focus on specific purebred canines.
Toy Poodles: intelligent and highly trainable, they are good with children and other animals as long as they are well socialized. (Miniature and Standard Poodles also make great family dogs.)
Papillions: friendly toward almost everyone, including children and other animals, they are much hardier than they look.
Brittany Spaniels: good-natured, lively, easily trainable and intelligent, they are friendly and love outdoor activities.
Beagles: good-natured but independent minded, they are outgoing and friendly and get along with children and other animals.
Golden Retrievers: very outgoing, they are friendly and playful and even tempered.
Labrador Retrievers: enthusiastic about everything, they make great family dogs.
Newfoundlands: gentle dogs known to be excellent with children; they love water.
Great Pyrenees: a stable, loyal and confident breed, they are affectionate and gentle and protective of family members.
There are also designer/hybrid breeds that make great family dogs such as the Yorkiepoo (Poodle/Yorkshire terrier), Puggle (Pug/Beagle), Laxer (Labrador/Boxer) and GPSD (Great Pyrenees/German Shepherd), Cada-Ragan noted.
If you are adopting dog from a shelter, it can be difficult to determine what breed(s) he or she is. This is where a doggie DNA test will be your new best friend.
I recently conducted Wisdom Panel Health DNA test of a dog my son Evan adopted from a shelter in San Diego. Riley had been rescued from a high-kill shelter in Louisiana and flown to California to find her forever home. Shelter workers knew little about her history and even less about her breed make-up. It was a total guessing game
Her DNA test revealed she is 62.5 percent American Staffordshire Terrier, 12.5 percent Shih Tzu and 25 percent from the following breed groups: terrier, sporting, herding and hound. Armed with this information gave us better insight into her personality and innate behavior traits. Turns out, Riley is true to type for American Staffordshire Terriers; she is gentle and friendly with adults and children, and she loves cats. She is the perfect family-friendly dog.
If you prefer to adopt, your new family member could be waiting for you at a shelter and a DNA test can tell you everything you need to know.