Finding the Perfect Dog Breed for You

Select up to four dog breeds below to compare them side-by-side for everything from size to training needs. Afterwards, you'll have a good idea which type of dog best fits into your family and lifestyle.

Dog Breed 1:
Dog Breed 2:
Dog Breed 3:
Dog Breed 4:
Breeds Availability
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Though the Internet has made finding high quality dogs much easier than it used to be, some breeds just aren't as numerous in the United States as others. Therefore, it may be more difficult to find a good breeder in your local area.
Longevity
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Raising a puppy can be anywhere from a 6 to a 15 year+ commitment, depending on the breed.
Size
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SIZE
HEIGHT
WEIGHT
Very Small:
10 inches and under
15 lbs and under
Small:
9-15 inches
15-35 lbs.
Medium:
12-24 inches
30-55 lbs.
Large:
22-27 inches
50-115 lbs.
Very Large:
25 inches and up
110 lbs. and up
Coat
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Short:
Dalmatian
Curly:
Poodle
Wiry:
Airedale Terrier
Medium:
German Shepherd
Feathered:
Golden Retriever
Fluffy:
Chow Chow
Medium-long:
Borzoi
Long:
Collie
Hairless:
Chinese Crested
Dock/Crop
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Cropping and docking are surgical procedures to modify the dog's ears and tail respectively. This gives certain breeds their special look (Doberman Pinschers in the United States, for example, generally have their ears cropped and their tails docked). Some people believe that cropping the ears can help prevent ear infections, but this is not proven.

Owners can choose not to have their dogs cropped and docked, but this may make them ineligible for showing in the United States for some breeds. In countries outside the US, cropping and docking are much less widespread.

Ears are customarily cropped (but the tail is left natural).
American Staffordshire Terrier
Tail is customarily docked (but the ears are left natural).
English Springer Spaniel
The ears are customarily cropped and the tail is customarily docked.
Doberman Pinscher
Shedding
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Breeds vary a lot in how much they shed. This is not necessarily dependent on the length of the coat.
Barking
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Examples of Barking Behavior
Doesn't bark:
Some breeds don't bark, though they often vocalize in other ways.
Not much barking:
Probably will not give much of an alarm. Tends to be quiet.
Average barking:
Will bark to warn, but doesn't bark a lot.
Likes baying:
Some breeds enjoy baying, especially some hunting hounds.
Likes howling:
Some breeds are known to enjoy howling.
Likes barking a lot:
These breeds tend to bark more frequently than average. Please note that dogs in this category often can be trained to be quieter.
Friendliness
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Refers to how the dog will respond to strangers who come into the dog's territory.
Independence
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Some dogs are very people-oriented. If left by themselves too long, they can become bored, lonely and sometimes destructive.Other dogs are very self-sufficient. They can get along just fine on their own for quite a while.
Dominance
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A dominant person is someone who is firm, commanding, in charge.

A less dominant person will be more easy going, gentle, mellow; someone who "goes with the flow".
Training
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A measure of how easy it is, on average, to train a particular breed.
Exercise
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Some breeds need extensive exercise to be happy and healthy. Others are basically couch potatoes.
Grooming
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Grooming includes brushing the coat, clipping the nails, brushing the teeth, and cleaning the ears.

Shorthaired breeds require much less coat grooming than longhaired breeds.
Professional Grooming
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To look their best, some breeds benefit from regular professional grooming, some more often than others.

Cost for professional grooming may range anywhere from about $18 to $100 depending on how much work your dog's coat needs.

Some groomers include 2 shampoos and a creme rinse, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and anal sac expression in their grooming package.
Space
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This refers to the outdoor space requirements of each breed, the area available to the dog for running around.
Acreage
1 or more acres
Large yard
approx. 5,000 sq ft - 1 acre
Average yard
approx. 1,000 - 5,000 sq ft
Small yard
approx. 200 to 1,000 sq ft
No yard
Might have a patio
Apartments
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Some breeds do very well in apartments. Very small dogs may not even need a yard at all, especially if they are paper trained, though most will still enjoy whatever outdoor excursions you can offer.

Other breeds will do well in an apartment only if you can commit to giving them enough exercise.

Yet others need lots of regular outdoor access and space, and are not recommended for apartment living.
Indoor Activity
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This refers to the breed's activity level inside the home. Dogs sometimes differ in how active they are indoors versus outdoors.
Climate
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Though most breeds are adaptable to a variety of outdoor temperatures, some do better in warm climates and some do better in cold.

If you live where the temperature drops below freezing and you own a breed that is susceptible to cold or frostbite, you can dress your dog in a sweater when going out and limit his time outdoors as needed, depending on the temperature.

If you live in a warm climate and own a dog with a very thick coat, you will need to provide cool shelter in the summer. Always make sure the dog has plenty of fresh water to drink.

Moderate
Rarely snows. Temperate year-round. Ex. San Francisco, CA.
Warm to Hot
Warm year-round. Ex. Miami, FL.
Cool to Cold
Cool to cold most of the year. Ex. most of Alaska.
Cold Winters/ Hot Summers
Snows regularly in the winter, very warm in the summers. Ex. New York City.
Children
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Some breeds are too rambunctious to be around small children (8 or younger) or elderly persons.
Other Pets
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Some breeds get along well with cats, but may treat small rodents and birds as prey. Some breeds do better in a household without cats, and some do better without other dogs.
Combativeness
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A measure of how aggressive a breed tends to be with unfamiliar dogs.
Agility Competition
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A rousing sport where dogs negotiate a series of obstacles and jumps on a timed course.
Competitive Obedience
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Some breeds are known for their success at formal obedience trials. This requires more than just house manners; successful obedience competitors obey their masters promptly in strict routines in spite of all the distractions of a dog show. Dogs can earn obedience titles at several levels of difficulty.
Lure Coursing
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An exciting sport where sight hounds chase plastic lures dragged rapidly over a large field. Sight hounds include Greyhounds, Afghan Hounds, Salukis, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Basenjis, Whippets, and other dogs who hunt by sight.
Schutzhund
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A dog sport, popular in Germany, that includes tracking, obedience and protection.
Weight Pulling
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A competitive sport where the dog pulls increasing amounts of weight. Carting is also fun—this is where the dog pulls passengers riding in a cart.
Herding
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Dogs have helped man herd livestock for centuries, and some breeds display much more herding instinct than others. Today's sport of herding allows dogs to earn titles for herding sheep, cows, and ducks.
Hunting
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Dogs have helped man hunt many types of game for centuries. Today, dogs still hunt rabbits, foxes, game birds, raccoons, bear, cougar, wild boar, and even rats and other farmyard vermin for their masters.
Sighting
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Some breeds, like Salukis and Afghans, are known for their ability to hunt mainly by sight rather than by scent.
Tracking
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The ability to follow a scent. Several organizations offer titles in this skill.
Pointing
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Indicating the location of game by freezing into a "pointing" position.
Retrieving
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Some breeds are natural retrievers, and want to bring things back to their masters. Others don't seem to care.
Performing Tricks
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Some breeds are known to be quite good at learning tricks.
Carting
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This is where the dog pulls passengers riding in a cart.
Snow Sledding Pulling
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Some breeds like to pull sleds, for racing or just for fun.
Guide for Blind
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Leading blind people safely in public places.
Watchdog
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A watchdog will bark to indicate the presence of an intruder, but may not actually be willing (or able) to physically protect his owner and the owner's property.
Guarding
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Protecting family and property.
Search and Rescue
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Highly specialized training to seek survivors at disaster sites and to find lost people.
Water Rescue
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Some breeds are talented at saving drowning swimmers.
Police Work
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Some breeds have been used for police work, including criminal apprehension and narcotics detection.
Dog Breed 1
Dog Breed 2
Dog Breed 3
Dog Breed 4