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What is the best house dog?

The 11 best dog breeds, ranked

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queen elizabeth corgi

Dogs are the best.

Incredibly loyal, they comfort, protect, and love their humans unconditionally, making dogs superior to any other pet out there.

But not all dogs are created equal. These are the 11 best dog breeds, based on factors including health, personality, and overall popularity.

11. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese water dogs were originally bred to herd fish, retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and act as couriers from ship to shore.

They’re good for people with allergies and make excellent companions since they are loving, independent, intelligent, and easy to train.

Portuguese water dogs also enjoy being petted and are friendly with strangers. Just be warned that like many larger dogs, boredom can cause them to become destructive.

10. Newfoundland Dog

Known as «nature’s babysitter,» Newfoundland Dogs are the absolute sweetest. Perhaps the best-known Newfoundland is the fictional Nana from «Peter Pan,» who was so wonderful with children.

These gentle giants are highly loyal and easy to train, and are legendary for their docile temper.

Newfoundland dogs are also strong swimmers, and the breed was trained to rescue people from drowning — one dog even famously saved Napoleon Bonaparte.

9. Maltese

One of the most ancient of the toy breeds, Maltese dogs were bred to be sweet and adoring of their owners. The Greeks even erected tombs for their Maltese dogs, and in Elizabethan times, they were called «The Comforter» because it was believed they could relieve pain and cure illness.

Maltese dogs are also extremely hypoallergenic, with silky coats that don’t shed.

And because of their size, these dogs are good for apartment living, too.

8. Golden Retrievers

Goldens are sweet, loyal, and incredible companion dogs. They’d rather be sleeping at your feet then running around outside without you.

They’re also very even-tempered, especially with small children. Goldens make great service and comfort dogs because of their friendly and tolerant attitudes.

Plus they were bred to retrieve ducks and other fowl for hunters, so if you like playing fetch, this is the dog for you.

7. Huskies

Siberian huskies are stunning animals, with their thick fur coat and piercing eyes. Most people who choose a Husky do so for their extraordinary beauty.

Huskies are good natured dogs who are affectionate with children. They shed minimally, except for twice a year when they blow out their coat, and don’t have the typical «dog odor» that bigger breeds tend to have.

Huskies are not considered a great breed for first-time dog owners, since they need a lot of attention, exercise, and are very good at escaping and running away.

6. Poodles

Poodles get a bad rap. But they’re easy to train since they’re so intelligent, and are lively, fun-loving, and loyal family dogs.

Poodles can be attention seekers, so don’t be surprised if this people-oriented breed is constantly with you.

They’re also protective of their families and homes, and can become aggressive with people outside the family or with other dogs.

5. Beagles

Because of their intelligence, Beagles are used by law enforcement at airports to sniff baggage for items that are not permitted. Due to their friendly nature and appearance, Beagles don’t worry passengers.

This breed also has a lack of inherited health problems, and an even temper which is good for families and small children.

The most common reason Beagles are abandoned or turned over to the pound is because their owners couldn’t stand their howling. This can be controlled by training your dog early to avoid excessive barking.

4. German Shepherds

A relatively new breed (they date back to 1899), German Shepherds are exceptional animals: Courageous, obedient, incredibly loyal, and eager to learn.

German Shepherds are very intelligent too, and excel at most anything they’re trained to do. They’re usually used as service dogs and police dogs to protect officers and locate drugs or human remains.

German Shepherds love their humans so much that they will suffer from separation anxiety, and can become destructive when bored alone at home.

3. Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Corgis have a cult-like following mainly due to their playful and sweet personalities. According to Welsh mythology, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was even the transportation mode of choice for fairies.

Though they can be shy with strangers, Corgis are good with children and have a strong desire to please their owners.

They’re also one of the silliest-looking dogs, with huge ears, a long torso, and a big butt. Just monitor their food intake closely since this breed is prone to overeating.

2. Labrador Retrievers

There’s a reason why Labs are the most popular breed in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, as well as here in the US. They are devoted and obedient and have even temperaments that make them good with both children and other animals.

Bred to be eager to please and playful companions, Labs are smart and commonly chosen as guide dogs and service dogs for blind or autistic individuals.

They also make understanding therapy dogs, and can be trained to aid law enforcement and other official agencies by screening and detection work.

1. Mixed Breeds

No matter what mix of breeds, mutts are awesome. Mixed-breeds are believed to have less genetically inherited health problems than purebreds, according to veterinarian Dr. Sarah Ward Fatula.

Plus, if you adopt your mixed-breed from the shelter, not only will they already be spayed/neutered, microchipped, and up to date with vaccines, but you’ll also be helping with the pet overpopulation problem.

To find a shelter near you, visit the ASPCA’s website.

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17 Easy-Going Dog Breeds

If you’re looking for a family dog or a pup who digs your laid-back lifestyle, then considering easy-going dog breeds is a must. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but most calm dog breeds offer less potential for behavior problems.

As a certified animal behavior consultant, I routinely council pet parents about doggy personalities and breed tendencies. Too often, the “problems” my clients ask me to solve could have been avoided. After all, it’s unfair to expect a high-energy working breed such as a Border Collie to be a calm, lap-loving pup.

It’s best to be fair to the dog—and your family—by choosing wisely. Here are 17 typically calm dog breeds that might make a perfect match if you’re looking for an easy-going canine companion.

1. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small white powder-puff on legs that rates high on the “cute” factor. She is a gentle, playful and cheerful companion who excels at obedience training. Though she tends to do better with older children, she is a great family pet.

2. Bulldog

A massive yet compact dog of small but impressive and dignified stature, the Bulldog’s fierce expression belies the breed’s kind and affectionate nature. The Bulldog is an extremely lovable and friendly dog who doesn’t know his own strength and can bowl over the unprepared with his enthusiastic greeting.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a sweet, gentle breed that is affectionate to family and strangers alike, and loves children. The size—about 12 inches tall at the shoulder—makes her an ideal indoor pet, and she learns quickly with gentle instruction. This is a great family dog who doesn’t require lots of exercise, but note that she can’t withstand a lot of roughhousing.

4. Collie

Known to most as the “Lassie dog,” this is an old sheep-herding breed who comes in long- or short-coat varieties. Collies are smart and sensitive dogs who need calm environments and readily accept training. They are affectionate, loyal and protective pets that known to love children.

5. English Toy Spaniel

This breed has the silky long coat, drop ears, docked tail and happy temperament characteristic of spaniels, but she’s much smaller and has a short, pushed-in nose. She is primarily a house and apartment dog. Known to be good with children, she is an affectionate and calm breed who may start out shy but usually warms up quickly to strangers.

6. French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is essentially a toy Bulldog with large bat ears. This medium-sized, short-coated pup and is very muscular. The Frenchie is a happy, gregarious breed who makes friends easily. A quiet dog, she requires minimal exercise and is ideal for apartment life. She tolerates polite children well.

7. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is an outstanding hunting dog and family companion due to her winning personality, desire to please and high intelligence. Goldens are one of the most devoted and easy-going dog breeds, and because they’re eager to please, they usually are standouts for training. They generally love kids of all ages and easily make friends with strangers.

8. Great Dane

Despite his imposing appearance, Great Danes are friendly, dependable animals who are spirited and slow to learn, but willing to please. Their short, easy-care coats come in brindle, fawn, blue and harlequin. Danes typically love their own children but may be suspicious of neighborhood kids and other strangers.

9. Greyhound

Despite her aristocratic heritage and bearing, the Greyhound is a lovable, easy-going, sensitive dog who makes a great pet. Like most sighthounds, Greyhounds can be reserved with strangers and learn best with patient, slow training. She can adapt well even to apartment life as long as she has a good outlet for running.

10. Irish Setter

This dog’s handsome, moderately long coat comes in solid mahogany to rich chestnut red. An Irish Setter is described as clown-like for his love of play, he’s an outgoing, happy dog who often takes longer to mature and is known to remain devoted to his people. Slower to learn than some, the Irish makes a fine family pet.

11. Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is a giant dog that reaches 32 inches at the shoulders and 120 pounds. Despite his intimidating appearance, he is a mild-mannered, laid-back dog breed who matures slowly and may be timid. Wolfhounds need room to run, and he can leap a 6-foot fence. His quiet manner and gentle nature make him a good pet for those who understand his needs.

12. Labrador Retriever

Their high intelligence and willingness to please make Labrador Retrievers great hunters on the field, ideal companions at home, excellent service dogs to help guide the blind, and successful search-and-rescue partners. These gregarious dogs love just about everyone—kids, adults, strangers, even burglars (they aren’t great watchdogs). They are highly trainable but can be a bit pushy with their affection.

13. Maltese

The Maltese sports cascades of white silky fur that reach to the ground. Her hair often is tied into a topknot to reveal striking dark eyes and a black nose. She is a quiet, gentle dog who is smart and thrives on status quo, so the unpredictability of small children isn’t the best environment. She’ll also require quite a bit of coat care.

14. Mastiff

This giant breed weighs up to 200 pounds. Despite her courage and off-putting appearance, the Bullmastiff is a calm dog breed and a good-natured, laid-back, docile dog who maintains a perpetual air of dignity. She is very protective, and though affectionate with the family children, may be suspicious of their friends.

15. Newfoundland

The “Newfie” is another mastiff dog who is loyal, intelligent and, above all, sweet of temper. He is the quintessential child’s playmate and guardian, and an excellent family pet. Exercise is important—especially swimming, which the Newfie loves.

16. Saint Bernard

This breed comes in short-haired and medium-length coat varieties. This powerful, stern-looking dog tends to be a slow learner who easily is distracted by scent. Most are mellow and make great family pets, but because of their size, they may inadvertently hurt a small child simply by sitting on them.

17. Tibetan Terrier

The Tibbie is a medium-sized dog who carries his tail over his back and has a profuse soft double coat that falls over the face. He was developed purely as a companion, and today remains an affectionate, intelligent, quiet and happy canine who is known to easily make friends with strangers. He is one of the most easy-going dog breeds and gets along well with children and other pets—a wonderful choice for the family dog.

Remember: There are always exceptions to the rule, but these 17 dogs are generally considered to be some of the easiest dog breeds. In busy households, especially those with kids, it’s critical to find a dog who matches your lifestyle. One of these calm dog breeds may be the easy-going companion you’ve been looking for—and just might ensure your love-at-first-sight lasts a lifetime!

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