Part Two of those breeds!
11. German shepherd
The German shepherd is another intelligent and active breed. Though German shepherds are large, the AKC reports they have a medium energy level. And the organization characterizes the German shepherd as “a loyal family pet and a good guard dog, the ideal choice for many families.” The AKC notes with a German shepherd (and other breeds), “Training is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a dog owner. Basic obedience training will make your dog a better companion and strengthen the bond between the two of you.”
Poorly trained German shepherds can develop behaviors, such as excessive barking, digging, and food stealing. But this dog breed responds well to training. According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, your German shepherd needs “you to be the leader of the pack, providing structure and guidance.” Another way to bond with your dog? Regular grooming. The German shepherd’s thick coat requires weekly grooming.
12. Italian greyhound
Don’t be intimidated by the Italian greyhound’s speed or graceful looks. The AKC reports this breed is “generally easy to train and prefers to spend most of his time with his owner. They like attention and affection, and are a peaceful, gentle friend to adults and children.” If you have large dogs or active children, you’ll need to make sure your Italian greyhound doesn’t get injured by rough play. But for the most part, this dog breed will be happy to run and play — before curling up with you to be a couch potato.
Because of their small size, Italian greyhounds can live happily in an apartment just as well as in settings with more space. The breed generally stays quite healthy. And because these dogs have a short coat, they need only weekly grooming with a soft brush. In fact, the AKC characterizes them as one of the easiest dog breeds to groom. They love to cuddle and don’t want to be ignored. And in general, they’d prefer to chill in your lap or on your bed, rather than on the floor.
13. Labrador retriever
America loves Labs. So it probably doesn’t surprise you to hear these adorable dogs are easy to own. Labs can learn just about anything that you throw at them. The AKC reports Labs are friendly and outgoing. They make great companions, show dogs, hunting dogs, guide dogs, and service dogs. Labs also make great family dogs because they get along easily with children and with other pets. Plus, they have a short coat that requires only occasional grooming.
So it’s no accident the Labrador retriever is the most popular dog in America. They live long and healthy lives. They have playful personalities, and they want to entertain and help you. Plus, they’re good companions for athletic people and can even train as canine athletes themselves.
However, Labrador retrievers qualify as what the AKC calls a “very active” dog breed. So don’t expect them to lounge on the couch all day. “Don’t confuse his laid-back personality for low energy,” the organization warns. “The Labrador retriever is extremely active — he’s never met a backyard he didn’t like.”
Another people-pleasing dog who will be easy to own and spend time with is the Maltese. According to the AKC, the Maltese is a “classic lapdog” who’s “somewhat active.” These dogs like brisk walks, playtime, and learning new tricks. However, the organization warns that Maltese are “highly intelligent and know very well how to use their charm to get their way. If given the chance, they become easily spoiled. This isn’t a problem for dog-savvy owners, but many pet owners will give in, often resulting in a pet with poor manners.”
Though they’re energetic and playful — which makes them great family dogs — many breeders don’t sell them to homes with young children. As a tiny puppy, a Maltese can be seriously injured if stepped on or dropped by a child. However, the Maltese is known as one of the few small dogs who aren’t susceptible to any major genetic ailments. So if it’s important to you that you choose a dog likely to stay in good health, the Maltese might be a good match for you.
15. Miniature schnauzer
The miniature schnauzer is a fast learner. The AKC characterizes the breed as “friendly,” “obedient,” and “smart” — three characteristics that many pet owners want in a dog. Another desirable trait? According to the AKC, the miniature schnauzer is “highly adaptable.” He can “make himself at home anywhere as long as his people are close by.” This small dog breed has a moderate energy level. And because these dogs crave human companionship, they are “obedient to commands” and can be trained for all kinds of activities.
According to the AKC, this dog breed is “small enough to adapt to apartment life but tireless enough to patrol acres of farmland.” The breed is generally healthy and long-lived. They have outgoing personalities and will stay loyal to their family. Just keep in mind this terrier likes to bark. So proper training will play an essential part in helping him to curb that behavior.
Unlike many other small dogs, the papillon has a big appetite for exercise and activity. The AKC reports this dog breed has a medium energy level and generally needs to stay “very active.” In fact, these dogs “love to play outdoors but they can be easily entertained and exercised indoors as well.” This dog breed is very intelligent, but the AKC promises these alert and friendly dogs are “easily trained.”
Plus, Animal Planet characterizes the papillon as “one of the most obedient and responsive of the toy breeds.” Though some can be timid, they are often friendly toward strangers and other animals. And the papillon also makes a good family dog because the breed likes children. They have a medium-length coat without an undercoat, though they still require regular brushing.
Many people know the poodle is a highly intelligent dog breed. And even though intelligence doesn’t always ensure a dog responds well to training, the AKC promises that the poodle “excels in obedience training.” Although some poodles can be stubborn, proper training mitigates that trait.
The AKC notes, “There’s the old stereotype of poodles as a foofy velvet-pillow dogs looking down their long noses at us. Not true. Poodles are eager-to-please, highly trainable ‘real dogs.’ They like to work closely with their humans and can master all kinds of tricks and dog sports.”
Modern Dog Magazine reports of the standard, miniature, and toy poodle, “All poodles are lively, fun-loving, affectionate, and intelligent, and many owners say the breed has a sense of humor to rival Seinfeld’s.” The miniature poodle can be shy around strangers. But the standard is outgoing. They have a medium energy level and enjoy walking, running, and swimming. Just be aware this dog breed’s long coat, while somewhat hypoallergenic, does require regular professional grooming.
Like the bulldog, the pug has a grumpy face that might make you think he’s not so friendly. But don’t let looks deceive you. The AKC characterizes the pug as “even-tempered, charming, mischievous and loving.” These dogs aren’t natural athletes, but the AKC advises that “they do have strong legs and endless curiosity — exercise both.” These extroverted dogs love children and adults alike. And according to the AKC, “Pug people say their breed is the perfect house dog. Pugs are happy living in the city or country, with kids or grandparents, and as the family’s only pet or among other animals.”
This dog breed has no problem making friends with complete strangers. PetWave calls this dog breed a “shadow” because pugs “love to glue themselves to their owners’ sides and stay close to the action.”
And though some people think they’re more difficult to train than other dog breeds, that’s largely because they’re easily distracted. The pug sheds but needs minimal grooming. And you will need to monitor your dog’s diet to keep him healthy because, according to the AKC, “pugs live to eat.”
The AKC also recommends the Rottweiler as one of the smartest dog breeds. This medium-sized dog also has a medium energy level, according to the AKC. But let’s just get this out of the way: A Rottweiler won’t be one of the easiest dog breeds for you if you can’t give him two solid workouts each day. But their need for daily exercise is at least somewhat offset by their minimal grooming needs.
PetWave reports though this breed has gained something of a reputation as an attack dog, “this is not their true nature.” The publication explains that for Rottweilers “to be vicious, they must be trained that way.”
Often, dogs who spend their days isolated from people are the ones who develop unpleasant traits. The AKC explains, “Obedience training and socialization are musts” for this dog breed. “Rottweilers love their people and may behave in a clownish manner toward family and friends, but they are also protective of their territory and do not welcome strangers until properly introduced.”
20. Shetland sheepdog
The Shetland sheepdog also has a reputation for intelligence. But that won’t work against you with a Sheltie, as it can in other dog breeds. According to the AKC, this dog loves “learning new tricks. Shelties are easy to train and are world-class competitors in obedience, agility, and herding trials.” And the AKC advises, “The Sheltie will reach his best potential [as] a companion when given training in basic manners at the very minimum.”
PetWave characterizes the Shetland sheepdog as “an all-around family dog.” They like indoor and outdoor activities. And they get along well with children, as well as with other pets. These small dogs can live in an apartment if they get daily walks and regular opportunities to run. Shelties have a dense double coat and need weekly grooming.
Not everybody wants to buy a purebred dog from a breeder or search for one at the local shelter. And you don’t have to pick a purebred dog, even if you’re a novice dog owner just hoping for a pup who will be easy to train and care for. The AKC, of course, notes you can better predict a dog’s traits if you know his lineage. But you can often make an educated guess at which breeds are in a mutt’s genetics. And there are some very good reasons to choose a mixed-breed dog instead of a purebred.
For one, the incidence of many genetic disorders is higher in purebred dogs than in mixed-breed dogs. Plus, by staying open to adopting a mixed-breed dog instead of a pedigreed dog, you’ll be able to adopt a shelter dog who needs a home, not just a puppy who was specifically bred to be sold for top dollar. Additionally, purebred and mixed-breed dogs show no significant differences in terms of their trainability. So a mutt is just as likely to learn to be obedient and attentive as a pedigreed dog.
What better way than to close this short series with a Mutt!
And welcome to the Winter Solstice!