There's been a sharp increase in the number of people looking to add a canine family member since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay at home restrictions that have followed. Shelter 'clean-outs' have become common and pet retailers - who are classified as essential businesses in most places - are still doing well when other retailers are slumping.
But if you are thinking about adding a pup to your family - either now or in the future - what breed suits your lifestyle best?
Just like choosing a human partner means you have to be reasonably sure you can get along, the same is true, to a certain extent at least - of choosing a dog.
This compatibility is just as important for your soon to be new pup as it is for you. For example, if a dog is the kind of pup who needs a lot of space to roam, apartment living won't be right for him. And if a pup is not the active type - and some are not - they may not be the best choice if you like the idea of getting out and going on long, long walks with your new friend.
With all this - and more - in mind, here is a look at just some of the best dog breeds for your lifestyle, whatever it may be.
The Best Dog Breeds for Families with Kids
Almost all kids love dogs, but not all dogs love them back. Choosing a breed not known to be very kid friendly can be a big mistake, leading to heartbreak all around.
While no-one can guarantee that a pup is kid-friendly - unless they've lived with them before - all these dog breeds are known for their child suitability and are well worth considering as a family dog:
1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Yes, these little dogs are named for their royal connections - not only were they a favorite of King Charles II of England but their ancestors were also beloved by Tudor era Queens and Renaissance Princesses - but they are anything but aloof and standoffish.
These small 'lap dogs' have a reputation for not only being very kid friendly - even with babies and toddlers - but also being very loving and loyal; they like nothing better in the world than sitting with their humans and can do so all day if given the chance.
That means that they make great companions for kids and have a reputation for being especially good with very young kids.
In addition, while they don't mind a walk a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also quite happy to hang around the house most of the time, a plus for busy parents of young children who probably don't always have time for long walks but like to take one once in a while.
2. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world for lots of good reasons, but one of the biggest is that labs love kids and most kids adore them right back.
A lab, in fact, tends to see everyone in his home as part of his pack and as much as he loves them he’s more than capable of protecting them too.
The Labrador Retriever is a curious, intelligent breed - just like human children - and will happily join in with any adventure their kid companions want them too.
What you should keep in mind however is that the average Labrador Retriever weighs 50 to 80 lbs (36.29 kg) as an adult and needs lots of exercise, although for older kids looking for a reason to get out of the house (and away from their parents) that could be a very good thing.
Lassie was a collie, and famously Timmy's loyal, protective and affectionate best friend and a collie can be your kid's too. The collie is one of the smartest of the dog breeds, but they also love to be with family, and so will truly enjoy the idea of hanging around - and even looking after - the kids in their home.
For a larger dog they are also usually surprisingly gentle and while they love to play they can be easily trained to do so carefully and gently, making them a good choice to be around little kids if you prefer a larger dog breed to a smaller one.
Best Dog Breeds For Apartment Dwellers
If you live in an apartment choosing a dog that suits your lifestyle means that not only do you need to think about size and activity level but also about noise. Having a pup that barks loudly all day - or night - will not endear you to your neighbors and neither will one that's so big and heavy footed that downstairs neighbors fear the ceiling might fall in when they walk!
These pups, however, all have great reputations as dog breeds that are well suited to apartment life:
Their little wrinkly faces make them adorable and their smaller size - most pugs do not tip the scales at more than 20 lbs (9.07 kg) (unless you give in too often to their love of treats, which you should not) make them very popular canine companion choices in general, but the pug is especially well suited for apartment dwelling.
Pugs don't bark a lot, unless they have good reason (they make good little guard dogs) and they really do love nothing more than lazing around the house joining in with whatever the rest of family is doing, whether it's watching Netflix or taking a nap.
Pups also don't do well with hot weather, or long walks, so you won't be a slave to pounding the boiling hot pavements in the summer, as your pug pal will be more than happy to stay inside in the cooling air conditioning with you for as long as you'll let him.
Poodles - and the growing number of breed variations derived from them - labradoodle, goldendoodle, cockapoos etc. - are well mannered, quiet, usually love kids and do not demand a huge amount of exercise. A civilized walk through the park is usually more than enough for them.
As apartment dwellers they are calm and rarely bark, and most fall below any weight limits your landlord may have on canine tenants. They are also great with kids and, as they are very smart, love to join in with whatever game everyone else is playing, or, if left alone for a while, to figure out a challenging puzzle toy.
6. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is a lively pup - he likes to run and jump - but he's also small, well knit, very loyal and often incredibly funny. Better than most human roommates in other words.
Boston Terriers according to AKC do need plenty of exercise to help take the edge off their tendency to hyperactivity but for those looking for a canine companion to take long urban walks with that's a good thing. In addition, the tenacious Boston Terrier is smart and relatively easy to train, so as active as they like to be they can be taught to use good manners inside quite quickly, including keeping 'their voice down'.
This breed is prone to genetically linked skin diseases and underlying problems according to Northwest Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital, that causes hair loss, including pattern baldness and Cushing's disease. Prospective owners ought to watch out for signs of licking or scratching of the skin, smelly or reddened skin, and patches of hair loss.
Best Dog Breeds for Active People
So, you want a pup that will be happy to join you on long walks, or perhaps even runs. Provided you have the space - very active dogs are usually larger and so will need that at all times - then any of these dog breeds will probably be a good fit for you.
7. Border Collie
Border Collies are working dogs, and even if the one you chose has never seen a sheep in their life - and never will - their predisposition to being outside, active and useful means that they will more than happy to accompany you on that walk, hike or run and may still have more energy left than you at the end of it.
Border Collies are usually also considered to be the most intelligent dog breed of all, and so they will thrive on games of fetch and other outdoor pursuits and will usually be very well behaved while doing so. However, at the end of an active day they are affectionate enough to be more than happy to join you for a nap, if only so they can recharge for their next adventure.
This breed gets bored fast, so even in the home in the evening, make sure your Border Collie has plenty of toys to keep her stimulated and occupied.
Looking for a smaller, but still very active pup? Then a terrier is a great choice. Terriers of all kinds love to be active and their energy and enthusiasm for everything is infectious (and very amusing).
The fact is that terriers need that exercise as much as you do. An under exercised terrier is usually a troublesome one, and they will take to chewing up things in frustration. So if you think they are not up for another walk but you are, chances are that you are probably wrong.
Beagles don't really like to run a lot - their legs are a little too short and stumpy for that - but they do love to walk. This means that if you are the type of person who de-stresses by taking long walks in beautiful scenery, then a beagle will usually be more than happy to accompany you.
This hunting breed dog is also rather special in that while they will enjoy those daily constitutionals, in fact rather look forward to them, they are also quite happy to become couch potatoes when they are over, and so a Netflix marathon on the sofa after a nice long walk will be more than acceptable to them.
Best Dog Breeds for Those With Cats
Despite what's often said, cats and dogs can live in relative harmony. Well, some cats and dogs anyway. If you are already owned by a feline (because you know you don't rule them) but would also like to add a canine family member into the furkid mix, all of these dog breeds have gained themselves a reputation for being fairly cat friendly.
The diminutive Dachshund often has a lot in common with cats. Not only are they small but they tend to have quite forceful personalities and certainly don't allow themselves to be pushed around by other furry creatures.
Doxies are however, friendly and loyal, as well as very accepting of adults, kids and yes, cats. They like to be a part of a family unit and most are willing to include a cat into that equation without too many issues.
This breed is genetically prone to a condition called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), meaning they can develop a spinal injury in their neck or back, requiring prospective owners to educate themselves on how to reduce the risk of IVDD.
11. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is a lively, loving ball of fun. The AKC states that they love to be in the middle of any action and they love to play, but their usually placid nature means that they will usually see a cat as just another fun playmate rather than a foe.
Initially some very haughty cats may be a little annoyed by the lively antics of a Bichon Frise but many pet parents report that it's not too long before many cats learn to like to engage in playful wrestling matches with their new canine companion.
12. German Shepherd
Some cat parents might worry that a German Shepherd is a little too big to live harmoniously with a cat, but their size does not really matter, in this instance at least.
A German Shepherd is a highly intelligent dog that's easy to train but takes its cues from whoever is doing that. If you tell your GSD that the cat is a friend and part of the family he'll accept that, and as his duty - in his mind - is to always love and protect his family your cat will be included in that.
The GSD is prone to bloat, a life-threatening twisting of the stomach, requiring pet parents to educate themselves on how to minimize the risk through special feeding and exercise practices.
These are, of course, just some of the dog breeds you can choose from, no matter what your lifestyle is like. There are many more, including a lot of very loyal and loving 'mutts', who can often make the very best canine companions of all.
One important thing to remember when choosing the right dog breed for you is that this furry friend will be relying on you for a lot, so you need to be sure that you are ready and willing to give them the love and care they need. But, if you are, then we hope this list helps you make the right breed choice and wish you a lot of fun in your new adventure as a pet parent.