What Breed of Dog is Right for Me?


What breed of dog is right for me? It’s a question a lot of people don’t consider. I was curious, and did a bit of research. There are many breeds, sizes, and energy levels of dogs to choose from. Hopefully my findings will help you discover the right dog to match your lifestyle.

If you find a dog breed that sparks your interest, I encourage you to do your own research on the breed as well. Here are a few categories to get you started.

5 Laid Back Dog Breeds

If you’re looking for a canine companion who isn’t hyperactive, or just enjoys couch time, look no further. 

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the biggest dogs out there. Despite their massive size, they’re known to be pretty mellow. They’re also very smart and generally like being around their families.

Basset Hound

It’s said that Basset Hounds are a lazy breed. If you’re looking for a calm dog who’s very friendly, do your research on the Basset Hound. Since Basset Hounds are a hunting breed, they’ll still enjoy getting out for lots of “sniffaris”. Let them follow their nose for some engaging fun. Many of them also do well with other pets or animals because they were bred to be pack dogs. 

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard Shadow Dog Photography

Did you know Saint Bernards are considered a nanny breed? They’re calm and gentle. Saint Bernards are usually great around kids of all ages (under supervision, of course). With their mellow disposition, they can also be good dogs for seniors and adults too. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is often considered the most calm and well-mannered toy breed. They generally have a very stable disposition, and are often friendly with other dogs too.

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees are well-known for their patience. This is another breed that can be good with kids, and they make great family dogs. Great Pyrenees are very gentle, and are often called “serious” dogs. 

10 Dog Breeds for Athletes

If you’re a runner, a hiker, or you just love being active, these could be the breeds for you. Click here if you’re looking for activities that challenge a higher drive dog.

Labrador Retriever

Yellow Lab might be the right dog breed for me

Labs are a very popular choice for well-rounded family dogs, but they’re even better for families that love to swim. Labrador Retrievers are known to be natural swimmers, as it was bred into their DNA. If you spend lots of time at the lake up north or in your backyard pool, give a Lab a chance. Not only do they love to swim, they often love to cuddle as well. Labs are perfect for athletes who also have a soft spot and room for two on the couch. 

Australian Cattle Dog

Known to be outstanding athletes, an Australian Cattle Dog could fit right in with your athletic family. This is a breed that loves to have a job; they were originally herding dogs. ACDs are superb hiking dogs, and sometimes even go for full day hikes as long as there are breaks worked into the schedule. If you’re an avid hiker, look into the Australian Cattle Dog breed.

Border Collie

Border Collie at Shadow Dog Photography in Whitewater Wisconsin

The Border Collie breed is considered one of the most athletic in the dog world. They’re extremely intelligent and love playing sports and games. If you want to get active with your dog, you could try something like Disc Dog or even just running through the neighborhood or local park. However, Border Collies are known to be high-drive dogs, so do your research before acquiring one. 

Australian Shepherd

Even when they aren’t herding, Australian Shepherds still have a lot of drive. They’re a very active breed of dog, and social as well. Aussies love getting out and moving around, whether that means hiking, running, or walking. If that sounds right for you, think about getting an Australian Shepherd. 


It’s no secret that Greyhounds love to run. They would be perfect companions for any runner (for shorter distances) or hiker. Some of them also love to swim. If you enjoy long afternoons in the pool or at the lake, a Greyhound might be a great buddy to take with you. Many Greyhounds run races for most of their lives until they’re retired. When their track days are over, they often need new homes. If you’re looking for a Greyhound, consider adopting a retired racer.

Siberian Husky

Dog Breed Siberian Husky at Shadow Dog Photography

Calling all runners! Siberian Huskies are known for pulling sleds, but are good for Canicross as well. Canicross involves a dog pulling his human during a run. If that interests you, consider getting a Husky. Or, perhaps, you like snowshoeing. Look no further for the perfect partner, as Huskies do very well in cold weather. Huskies have fantastic endurance for long-distance running, so they’re sure to be good running buddies too. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks love being outside, especially with their humans. They’re known to be very loyal to their families. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are fast dogs with great endurance, perfect for hiking, running, or backpacking. They’re a breed with high energy, so you’ll want to take them outside to play even on your rest days. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are definitely a good option for active families.


Boxer Shadow Dog Photography

Boxers are another great choice for athletic families. They’re great with kids of all ages, and they’re loyal and protective. Did you know Boxers can run up to around 40 miles per hour? They’re amazing runners! Again, another good choice for those who love neighborhood jogs or even trail running. 

Jack Russell Terrier

If you’re interested in a smaller but athletic dog, look no further. Jack Russell Terriers are well known for being very energetic. They also have excellent agility. These terriers just want to have fun! Jack Russells are known for being rather hyper, so you’ll need to burn off that energy somehow. They need at least 60 to 90 minutes of exercise every day (plus playtime), so if you’re up for going on long walks, or getting out to play, check out the Jack Russell breed some more. 


The Poodle is known to be a very athletic breed. Historically, they were used to hunt ducks, and they make excellent retrievers. A Poodle is a fantastic candidate for long walks, jogs, or a good game of fetch. They need lots of daily exercise, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before adopting a Poodle. 

7 Dog Breeds that Don’t Shed (or Minimally)

Whether you suffer from allergies, or you just want less hair around the house, these could be good options for you. However, keep in mind that no dog is truly hypoallergenic.


Basenjis have minimal grooming requirements. They have a very short coat and they shed less too, so they’re low maintenance in that aspect. 

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier barely sheds at all, but their hair grows very quickly so they need regular grooming. It’s commonly recommended to clip them every 6 weeks.


Standard Poodle Shadow Dog Photography in Kenosha Wisconsin

Although the Poodle needs grooming every 3 to 6 weeks, they don’t shed nearly as much as your average dog. In fact, they shed hair in a similar way that humans do. 

Chinese Crested

A Chinese Crested dog is another great choice. They do need regular baths and regular brushing to maintain their coat and skin, but they’re often easier on people’s allergies.

American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier also needs regular baths to keep his skin healthy. They hardly have any hair at all (only around parts of their face) so they’re also a good choice for allergy-sufferers. 

Bichon Frise

Another good choice for allergy-sufferers, the Bichon hardly sheds. However, they still need regular grooming to maintain their coat and appearance. 

Portuguese Water Dog

As a more high-maintenance breed, the Portuguese Water Dog also needs consistent grooming and baths. They often need a trim every month or so, with regular grooming in between.


10 Highly Trainable Dog Breeds

If you’re someone who likes everything to be in order and under control, consider these breeds. They’re easily trained and very smart.

Border Collie

Border Collies are known for their high trainability. They thrive in dog sports such as agility, herding, flyball, and obedience. However, they need a lot of mental stimulation and enrichment on a daily basis. If you’re considering getting a Border Collie, be sure to do your research. They’re a very active breed that needs a lot of exercise too. 


Poodles are good at recognizing patterns and are also very easily trained. They’re good family dogs and are very quick learners. Poodles are energetic and fun, and they tend to like people. It’s important to be consistent when training a Poodle because they can be stubborn. Poodles also like having a job, and they need lots of exercise.

German Shepherd

White German Shepherd Shadow Dog Photography

As a working breed, the German Shepherd does best when she has a job. They’re eager to please, but can get into trouble without the right socialization and structured training. But German Shepherds are known for their high trainability. They’re very good at remembering cues and commands, making the process even easier. 


While some Rottweilers can be pretty stubborn, they’re generally very smart. Unfortunately, they’ve been stereotyped as a “dangerous” breed. But with the proper training, they make some of the best family dogs, loyal to their people. Rottweilers are also a good working breed. It’s important to be consistent with training, but they are, overall, a very trainable breed.


Papillons can be good at both obedience and fun tricks. They can also be very friendly towards other animals and make good family dogs. The Papillon is highly trainable from a young age. They’re very eager to please their humans, and are naturally very intelligent. Papillons are known to learn commands and tricks quickly. 

Labrador Retriever

The Lab is a very motivated dog. However, they’re another breed that can get into trouble without enough exercise and enrichment. The Labrador Retriever learns quickly and is highly trainable. They love learning new tricks that go beyond foundational obedience. Historically, Labs were bred to be hunting dogs so they’re usually very obedient under the right training. 

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever Dog Breed at Shadow Dog Photography

Golden Retrievers are wonderfully trainable. They’re a highly intelligent breed and they aim to please. Golden Retrievers are another breed that needs a lot of mental stimulation, and are also very good at dog sports. They were originally bred to be hunting dogs, so they’re often very loyal to their humans. 

Australian Cattle Dog

While they’re often wary of strangers, the Australian Cattle Dog is highly loyal to his people. They’re known to be intelligent and alert, making them a good candidate for obedience and dog sports. However, this is another breed that likes to have a job, as they can get destructive without enough mental stimulation. 

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi in Whitewater Wisconsin


Pembroke Welsh Corgis love attention and they aim to please. They’re very smart dogs and can be low-maintenance family companions. The Corgi is one of the smartest breeds and they do well in obedience. They’re quick learners and can be quite active, so it’s important that they get enough proper exercise every day to avoid boredom. 

So if you’ve been wondering, “What Breed of Dog is Right for Me?”, hopefully this sheds some light. Again, if any of these breeds interest you, do your research and look into them further. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before getting a dog. And as always, consider adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization.

If you’re ready to experience your own portrait session for your pup (purebred or otherwise), CLICK HERE to learn more.

Hi, I'm Jan

I help dog parents celebrate their best friends with adventurous portrait sessions and extraordinary artwork for their home. Tail wags and smiles guaranteed! Based in Whitewater, WI.


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