Top 10 Dog Breeds: What You Need to Know


For centuries, dogs have been considered "man's best friend." The right dog can enrich our lives and become a member of the family. When choosing a dog, it is essential to consider which breeds are right for your needs and

lifestyle.

Our Top 10 Dog Breeds

Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd, or "Aussie," is an American-born breed that was originally bred to herd livestock. This breeding has led to its highly intelligent and energetic temperament.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • With an aptness for listening and obedience, the Australian Shepherd is a willing partner and companion.
  • Their energy levels make them ideal for people with very active lifestyles.
  • With their high energy level, intelligence, and willingness to learn, Aussies make exceptional agility dogs.

Potential Problems

  • Because Aussies were bred as herders, they are intrinsically dominant in nature and not suited to new or timid dog owners.
  • Aussies are generally not well-suited to apartment living and may develop behavioral problems if not stimulated enough.
  • Can be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, which is a heritable condition.
  • Eye issues are fairly common in Aussies, including detached retinas and cataracts.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $200-500 (rescue); $1000+ (breeder)
  • Training fees: Many places offer 4-8 weeks of one-hour training sessions for anywhere between $50-125.
  • Regular veterinary fees, including checkups, shots, spaying/neutering. (See this helpful list for a rough idea of dog-related vet costs.)
Pomeranian

The feisty Pomeranian (or Pom for short) is a little dog with huge hair and an even bigger personality. Named after their origin in the German province Pomerania, these firecrackers make loyal and inquisitive companions.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • Poms are very popular due to their beautiful, full coats that can come in virtually any color.
  • Poms are an excellent choice for apartment dwellers or those without a large backyard.
  • They tend to be very protective of their family and love human interaction.

Potential Problems

  • If not properly socialized with other dogs and people, they can become snappy and aggressive.
  • Poms are notoriously difficult to housetrain, so crate training is recommended.
  • Because of their thick coats, Poms do not tolerate heat very well, and are prone to overheating in high temperatures.
  • Particularly prone to eye and dental issues.
  • Some Poms develop epilepsy, which manifests in seizures.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $200-500 (rescue); $1000+ (breeder)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
  • Grooming fees: average of about $50 per session
Shih Tzu

With a name that literally translates to "little lion," Shih Tzus are true companion dogs, bred for their outgoing, friendly temperament and their affectionate personalities.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • These adaptable dogs are suited to a number of environments.
  • They are not overly active and are ideal for apartment or small house living.
  • Shih Tzus are naturally docile and friendly, and make excellent companions.

Potential Problems

  • Shih Tzus can be very difficult to housetrain and may require crate training.
  • The shape and size of their eyes leaves Shih Tzus fairly prone to eye problems.
  • They are susceptible to ear infections, and should have their ears cleaned and checked weekly.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $200-400 (rescue); $700 (pet stores); up to $2500 (breeders)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
  • Grooming fees: average of about $50 per session
Rottweiler

The powerful and protective Rottweiler, sometimes affectionately referred to as "Rottie," is perhaps most commonly thought of as a guard dog. Originally, it was bred to herd and drive cattle, but its bold and protective personality lends it to be an excellent companion and guardian.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • Rotties are exceptionally powerful, intelligent, and highly-trainable.
  • They are fiercely loyal and devoted to their families, and make wonderful companions and guardians with proper handling and raising.
  • Despite the "vicious killer" reputation they have earned from movies and television, Rotties are typically calm and intelligent dogs who enjoy and want to be with people.
  • With proper guidance and structure, these dogs make some of the absolute best companions around.

Potential Problems

  • Without extensive socialization with dogs and people alike, Rottweilers may become aggressive. Although this typically stems from protective instincts rather than vicious ones, an improperly raised Rottweiler can become dangerous.
  • Like many large breeds, Rotties can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia.
  • They can be prone to osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.
  • Another condition which mainly affects large dogs is bloat, which is potentially life-threatening.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $150+ (rescue); $1000 (breeder)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
  • Keep in mind: Rottweilers require careful breeding in order to achieve a calm, pleasant disposition and sound health. You can expect to spend extra money to find a Rottweiler with good breeding.
Golden Retriever

When it comes to the all-American family dog, few breeds stand out as much as the Golden Retriever. With their exceptional demeanor, beautiful golden coat, and soft brown eyes, it's no surprise that Goldens are one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • Goldens are known for their friendly nature with people and other dogs alike.
  • They are extremely child-friendly and can be trusted with small children.
  • They are highly intelligent and love to be active, and they thrive with regular daily exercise and training.
  • Known for their kind, gentle dispositions, it has often been said that Golden Retrievers have mouths soft enough to hold an egg without breaking it.

Potential Problems

  • Because they require regular exercise, Goldens are not well-suited to an overly sedentary lifestyle and may be prone to destructive behaviors if not regularly exercised.
  • The quick-growing Golden Retriever may develop bone disorders at a young age if his joints become too stressed. When possible, avoid playing with a young Golden on hard pavement until his joints have fully formed (around 2 years of age), and instead play on carpet or grass.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $300-400 (rescue); $1000+ (breeder)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
  • Grooming fees: average of about $50 per session
Chihuahua

The world's smallest dog may just be the one with the biggest personality. Intelligent, feisty, and alert, Chihuahuas may be small, but they pack a punch. Weighing in between 3 and 6 pounds, the Chihuahua is one of the most popular small-breed dogs in the U.S.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • Because of their size, they are wonderful companions for those with limited space.
  • They are quick to learn and tend to form a very strong bond with a single person.
  • With short hair, they are very easy keepers as they shed very little and only take a few minutes of grooming per week to stay clean.

Potential Problems

  • Their big personalities can lead to big problems if Chihuahuas are not properly socialized from a young age.
  • They can be very reserved with new people and aggressive with new dogs if they feel threatened.
  • Chihuahuas are not ideal for homes with small children, simply because their small frame leaves them vulnerable to injury if a child is accidentally too rough with them.
  • Chihuahuas are prone to dental problems. It is important to clean their teeth a few times a week to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $100-500 (rescue); $1000+ (breeder)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
Border Collie

Watch any dog agility competition and you're sure to see a few of these superstars tearing through the obstacles with ease. Border Collies are highly intelligent, trainable dogs with seemingly boundless energy, all traits which served them well in their beginnings as herding dogs.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • Endless energy and trainability makes these dogs an excellent working dog.
  • They excel in competitive dog sports, from agility to Frisbee catching.
  • They are eager to please and thrive on positive human reinforcement.

Potential Problems

  • Without consistent mental and physical stimulation, Border Collies can become bored and destructive.
  • Their strong herding instinct means they will try to herd anything that moves, including cars and children.
  • Although it is not intended to be aggressive, they may nip at people in an attempt to "herd" them.
  • A Collie breed, these dogs can be prone to Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA).

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $100-500 (rescue); up to $2500 (breeder)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier's big, round-eyed stare is enough to melt most hearts. These tuxedo-colored dogs are extremely affectionate and friendly.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • Bostons make great family dogs with their lively, friendly personalities.
  • They are generally docile and not prone to aggression or snappiness, and they are hardy enough to withstand fairly rough play with children.
  • With a short coat that requires minimal grooming, they are easy keepers, and they adapt very well to apartment living.

Potential Problems

  • Like all dogs, proper socialization is essential to ensure that Bostons don't become wary of other dogs or people.
  • Their round, bulging eyes leave Bostons prone to eye problems, including cataracts and cherry eye.
  • They are also prone to deafness in one or both ears.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $100-500 (rescue); $800-1500 (breeder)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
Siberian Husky

The beautiful and athletic Siberian Husky is known for its gorgeous thick coat, colorful eyes, and wolf-like appearance. These charming, sometimes mischievous dogs are endlessly entertaining companions.

Why Choose This Breed?

  • Huskies are a highly intelligent breed with an endless capacity for learning.
  • They are affectionate but independent, and interact well with children and other dogs.
  • They make wonderful work partners, and are well-suited to people with active lifestyles who enjoy hiking and running.

Potential Problems

  • Huskies require regular mental and physical exercise, or they will become destructive.
  • They are intelligent but can be fairly stubborn, and are not ideal for new or timid dog owners.
  • Their intrinsic pack mentality means that they require a constant, steady "alpha" presence in order to truly thrive.
  • Their most common health problems are eye-related, including cataracts and corneal dystrophy.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $50-150 (rescue); $300-500 (breeder); $500-1000 (pet store)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees
  • Grooming fees: average of about $50 per session
Bulldog

One of the most distinctive looking dog breeds, bulldogs are squat, stout, and have an unmistakable rolling gait. Despite their long-past origins as fighting dogs, they are extremely docile and make excellent companion dogs. 

Why Choose This Breed?

  • The hardy, gentle bulldog is the most affectionate couch potato you'll ever know.
  • Despite a slight stubborn streak, bulldogs love their people, and are happiest when curled up on the couch next to their companion.
  • Because of their mellow disposition, bulldogs are excellent companions for those who are less active.
  • Their short coat makes for easy grooming.

Potential Problems

  • It is important to go for regular walks with your bulldog to keep him from becoming overweight, which can lead to health issues.
  • They are also prone to breathing problems due to their short snout.
  • They don't tolerate extreme cold or extreme heat, and are best-suited to a mild climate.

Cost

  • Upfront cost: $100-500 (rescue); $500-1000 for American bulldogs, $1500+ for French bulldogs (breeder)
  • Training fees
  • Regular veterinary fees