Category Archives for Breeds

Australian Dog Breeds (2021 Breed Profile)

Australian Dog Breeds -
Aussie Canines Bred For The Outback

Are you looking for a new puppy to add to the family?

Then you’re probably wondering about Australian dog breeds: what’s better than looking for local pups? Our team loves Aussie breeds, and there are plenty of options to choose from. 

Here are our absolute favourites!


What Makes Australian Dog Breeds Special?

Sporty, agile and, let’s face it, beautiful to watch, Australian dog breeds stand out from the crowd. Have you ever looked at a dog and just thought: “that’s an Aussie right there!”? We know we have! There’s something distinctive about dog breeds in Australia, mainly because of how these pups were selected.

Even though dog breeding in Australia is more recent than in other parts of the world (like the UK and Europe), the first colonial settlers quickly started developing dogs adapted to our unique land [5]. That’s why many Australian dogs share these characteristics:

  • Hard-working: Dogs in Australia weren’t thought of as companions for the first couple of centuries. In the beginning, people that migrated here needed dogs to work on the land in different capacities. Because of it, all native Australian dogs were initially developed as working dogs to help with cattle, hunting, and guarding.
  • Tough: Australian weather can be extreme, so dogs developed here were bred to handle tough conditions. Aussie pups do better than other breeds in extreme heat and cold, all while keeping activity levels high and excelling at their job [6].
  • Medium to large: Of course, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but most Australian dog breeds aren’t petite. Since these dogs were created to work, their size depended on their job. Herding cattle and helping to hunt is easier with medium to large dogs, so that’s why most of our breeds are that size.
  • Very active: These dogs were initially working aids, so it’s no wonder they have incredibly high energy levels. This is great for life on farms, but it might prove difficult if you plan on getting an Australian breed as a pet. Get ready for tons of walking, running, and playing!
  • Smart and independent: When the first British and Irish settlers starting developing farms in Australia, there was significantly more land than people (or dogs). That’s why Australian dog breeds needed to be smart and work independently: most of the time their handler wasn’t near as they handled cattle! As a result, Australian breeds are quick to make decisions and generally trust their own judgement better. If you want to adopt one of these as a pet, you’ll have to work around this tendency!

Should I Get an Australian Dog Breed?

This is a highly personal question, but as you can see, there are some lifestyle habits that are a must when you adopt an Australian dog.

If you want any of these breeds, it’s important to understand these are working dogs. This means they have very high activity needs and do better with an active family. On the other hand, Australian dog breeds can be difficult to train for newbies because they are smart and independent. If you’ve never trained a dog before, starting your journey with an Aussie might be too hard for you!

Of course, if you’re up for a challenge, these breeds could be a good option. They are loyal, smart and funny, so there will never be a boring moment.


Are Dingoes an Australian Dog Breed?

Dingo on Fraser Island

The Australian Dingo is one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world! In fact, researchers believe this breed is at least 3,000 years old. This is a naturally developed breed, meaning there was almost zero human intervention in their breeding. Because of it, they are quite healthy and don’t have a lot of genetic diseases.

But Australian dingoes aren’t pets. This is important to remember: Dingoes are wildlife and shouldn’t be kept at home! These wild dogs aren’t meant to be part of a human family: they have a very high prey drive, are territorial and can’t be easily domesticated. Depending on your department, there are laws that discourage or even completely prohibit dingo tenancy at home. In most cases, you’ll have to get a license to own a dingo and then comply with local laws regarding having a safe enclosure and enough fenced space.

Overall, we don’t recommend trying to get a dingo as a pet. They should be protected as native wildlife!

  • Did you know? Australian dingoes can do more than bark! In fact, researchers have distinguished 9 different laryngeal sounds and 2 nasal sounds when they communicate with their pack in the wild [1]

Dog Breeds Australia: Our Native Dogs

Australian dog breeds are regulated by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC). Of course, their list includes breeds from all over the world, including native Australian pups! If you want to check the updated list, check the official site here. Here are some of the most iconic Australian dog breeds you can adopt:

The Australian Kelpie

Kelpie


Height

40 to 50 cm tall

Weight

13 to 25 kgs

Life span

10 to 13 years

These popular pups are one of the better-known Australian working dog breeds. Originally developed to her sheep through long distances in uneven terrain, the Kelpie is very athletic and thrives working independently.

Kelpies are known for their very distinctive way of herding: they will jump on sheep’s backs to get from one side to the other! Because they aren’t very heavy, they don’t hurt the sheep and it’s a great way to keep the herd moving.

Related: The Australian Kelpie Breed Profile.

Of course, their impressive athleticism is evident in their looks: these dogs are muscular, tight and compact. If you want to adopt a kelpie, it’s important to consider their exercise needs. Kelpies need at least 1 hour of moderate exercise per day, and weekly high-intensity sessions. These dogs would rather get out and go with you on errands than stay copped up at home. If you have the time to dedicate to consistent training and already live an active lifestyle, this might be the breed for you!

Interested in adopting a Kelpie? We recommend looking into local rescue centres. Kelpies have become more popular but this also means more dogs get abandoned every year. Because they can be hard to train and need tons of exercise, many families give up altogether. Here are a few groups where you can adopt a dog waiting for their forever home:

The Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog


Height

50 to 65 cm tall

Weight

13 to 25 kg

Life span

10 to 13 years

Also known as Blue Heeler or Australian Blue Heeler, these energetic pups are also quintessentially Aussie. For those looking for a companion for everyday life, this might be the right choice!

Blue Heelers are working dogs: they are incredibly smart and one of the most loyal dogs out there. They are muscular, compact and incredibly active. Because of their working past, they need at least one hour of moderate exercise per day, on top of some extra mental stimulation. If you fail to provide adequate physical and mental exercise, Cattle dogs will become destructive and sometimes aggressive.

Related: Most Loyal Dog Breeds.

This dog is a good option for families that already live a very active lifestyle and have experience training other dogs. Because this breed has a very strong prey drive, recall training is a must and training sessions will be a lifelong commitment. In a similar fashion to kelpies, cattle dogs have risen in popularity but they are also one of the breeds abandoned most often.

If you’re interested in a Cattle dog, we strongly recommend going the adoption route. Plus, you can always volunteer as a foster family: this way you’ll get a taste of what sharing your life with a Blue Heeler is like, without the 10-year commitment. Here are some rescues that might have your dream dog:

Australian Silky Terrier

Aussie Silky Terrier


Height

20 to 40 cm tall

Weight

Around 5 kg.

Life span

13 to 15 years

Surprised to see this toy pup? The Australian Silky Terrier is often known as just Silky Terrier and it was developed here in Australia!

This toy Australian dog breed is closely related to the Yorkshire Terrier, and is a spunky companion for families of all sizes. Developed as a companion, this is not a regular lap dog. Due to their terrier origins, Silky terriers are very active and have a strong prey drive. This means you can’t skip training altogether!

These dogs were occasionally used for hunting, so they need their daily exercise. Luckily, their small size makes it easy to fit enough exercise with a quick sprint around the block once or twice a day. Because of their breeding, these dogs are affectionate and highly trainable. They do well with kids but won’t hesitate to nip if they’re being treated roughly. Overall, these are a great addition to any family!

Australian Staghound

Australian Stag Hound


Height

Around 40 to 50 cm.

Weight

Around 25 kg.

Life span

10 to 14 years.

This is a rare Australian dog breed and one that isn’t officially recognised. These hunters are a fairly recent breed (in comparison with others developed in the 19th century) and don’t have a set breed profile.

In general, they have a strong prey drive and were developed to help in different types of hunting, from kangaroos to boars and rabbits. They do better with larger prey because of their size: they are usually medium sized.

Staghounds are the result of crossing Greyhounds and other local working dogs, and because of this, they are usually regarded as a Greyhound variant. These dogs are really active and will need plenty of consistent exercise to stay happy.

There are no breed-specific rescues or associations, so they are pretty rare and you’ll probably only find one mislabeled as a greyhound. If you’re curious, contact any of these rescues:

Tenterfield Terrier

Tenterfield Terriers


Height

20 to 25 cm

Weight

Around 7 kg

Life span

13 to 15 years

These rare Australian dogs are only recognised by the ANKC! Nevertheless, we think they are great pups for many people.

Tenterfield's are compact, highly active dogs with the bold personality of other terriers. They are small and can do great in small apartments if you provide enough training and daily exercise. These dogs loosely resemble other small terriers like the Miniature Fox Terriers and other white-and-brown pups. Here is the full breed profile if you’re interested!

Because this is a pretty rare native Australian dog breed, there aren’t any breed-specific rescues or adoption centres. Nevertheless, we recommend adopting instead of buying. Dogs are a big commitment and even when they are small, they have exercise and training needs that you’ll need to fulfil. Meeting dogs before adopting and volunteering as a foster is a great way to test the waters and see if it’s for you! Here are a few rescues you can check:

Bull Arab

Bull Arab Pig Dog


Height

50+ cm

Weight

32 to 42 kg

Life span

12 to 15 years

This is probably one of the rarest Australian dog breeds on the list. The Bull Arab is pretty uncommon, mainly because they were developed as a specialised Australian hunting dog breed. They were selected to hunt wild pigs and can actually smell one from up to 6 kilometres away!

Bull Arabs were developed in the 70s to track wild pigs, and have the strength necessary to help with hunting. Initially bred by mixing Bull terriers, pointers and Greyhounds, these are medium-to-large and have an athletic build.

These dogs aren’t officially recognised by any club, but some breeders want them to become a legal breed. There’s been some push back because there have been scandals about Bull Arabs being “aggressive”. These claims are unfounded: according to statistics there isn’t a higher incidence of aggression among Bull Arabs than any other breed [4], and the accidents with livestock that have happened were due to neglect on the owners (fail to train and to secure the dogs).

In general, these dogs are like any other working breed: they need consistent training, daily exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation. If you’re interested in this breed, get in touch with your local RSPCA. They’ll probably know how to get in touch with a breeder or a pup looking for a forever home.


Common Mistakes About Australian Dog Breeds

Many breeds often associated with Australia are actually from somewhere else entirely! That’s why you won’t see them in today’s list. Here are some common breeds you might think are from Australia, but were developed elsewhere:

The Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are in fact not Australian at all. This might be weird, considering they are registered with the country’s name! These dogs were developed in the United States in California ranches [3].

Aussie Shepherds were bred as an all-in-one working dog to handle livestock, and their name came because they initially only herded Australian sheep! Of course, this isn’t the case nowadays, and they’ve become a popular breed in Australia as well.

The Border Collie

The quintessential Australian dog breed… or is it? Regardless of what it looks like, Border collies aren’t Australian!

Border Collies originated in the Anglo-Scottish border in the UK, hence their name! These dogs are very similar to traditional English collies and were bred as versatile working dogs to herd livestock and help on the farm.

However, their association with Australia runs deep, and collies were first introduced to these lands in 1858. Since then, they’ve become one of the most popular working dog breeds and has become pretty much a national breed. Because they are so widely used to herd livestock and help with farm life, Australia is also considered the country of development of the Border Collie [2].


Final Thoughts

Most dog breeds in Australia were developed as working dogs, so it’s no wonder they are all very active and smart. If you’re interested in one of them, you’ll probably have to invest daily time in walks, training and mental work. If you’re up for a challenge, any of these amazing breeds can make a great family dog!

Do you have a favourite Australian dog breed? Let us know in the comments below!

References

  1. Déaux ÉC, et al. Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) acoustic repertoire: form and contexts. Behaviour. 2013 Jan 1:75-101. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jennifer-Clarke-16/publication/260159975_Dingo_Canis_lupus_dingo_acoustic_repertoire_Form_and_contexts/links/5a9971c20f7e9be37963cc57/Dingo-Canis-lupus-dingo-acoustic-repertoire-Form-and-contexts.pdf
  2. Dogs NSW. Border Collie. https://www.dogsnsw.org.au/Breeds/browse-all-breeds/133/Border-Collie/
  3. Swan RA. Origin of the Australian shepherd dog (German collie). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 1980 Jan 1;176(2):92-3.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7353993/
  4. The Courier Mail. Mackay locals just as likely to be attacked by a Jack Russel. https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/mackay/mackay-locals-just-as-likely-to-be-attacked-by-a-jack-russell/news-story/098e8949d17616ff2fbae516faf9e8f6
  5. Shariflou MR, et al. A genealogical survey of Australian registered dog breeds. https://asset-pdf.scinapse.io/prod/2128445592/2128445592.pdf
  6. King T, et al. Describing the ideal Australian companion dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2009 Aug 1;120(1-2):84-93. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159109001555?casa_token=KY3xGVCy2gsAAAAA:cDDVqxz1nNwuATmlteZE2ykoq26kPnqPVKuSdSDYQJRhx6zY5mFsvrDSqAXRFUi3CudNdVzpjz-p

The Most Affectionate Dog Breeds (2021 Breed Profiles)

Affectionate Dog Breeds Australia -
The Cuddliest Canines

What does your ideal dog look like? Is he cuddly and happy to see you even when you’re less-than-thrilled with your day? Sorry to break it to you, but some dogs are nothing like that!

No worries, if you’re looking for the most affectionate dog breeds to adopt, we’ve got you. Our dog experts have gathered their favourite, most cuddly dogs for you to choose from!


Are All Dogs Affectionate?

Not really. Like people, some dogs are loving and will gladly show you how important you are for them, and others… aren’t. The stereotype of people-pleasing golden retriever is just that, a stereotype! I know I’ve known my fair share of aloof dogs.

So how to choose an affectionate dog? Every dog is a distinct individual, but breeds have personality traits that will give you a better idea of their adult behaviour, meaning it’s a good idea to choose one that’s predisposed to affectionate traits.

There isn’t a simple answer to explain why dogs are affectionate, and why some dogs love cuddling more than others. While some breeds, like the Chow-chow, don’t like cuddles at all, others need physical contact to thrive. But disliking cuddles doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t love you! Some breeds are just more affectionate than others: their loyalty to you is still unparalleled!


How To Choose A Cuddly Dog

So you’ve decided you want an affectionate dog to be the next addition to the family. That’s great news! It means you’ll have a cuddly partner to snuggle on the couch with. Here’s what to look out for when you’re meeting potential candidates:

  • Choose an adult dog: Adult dogs have well-established personalities, so you’ll be 100% sure of their affection levels before adopting them! While puppies might be cuter, they can and will change as they grow. In fact, I’ve known of many affectionate puppies that grew up to be independent adult dogs that enjoyed their own company better. By adopting an adult dog you’ll be able to see their personality before making a decade-long commitment.

PRO TIP: Nervous about adopting an older dog? Go to your local RSPCA and try volunteering. You can take care of rescued dogs, or even become a foster family! It will give you a chance of interacting with pups without the pressure of adoption, and you can have a better feel to know whether an adult dog is right for you.

  • Ask their previous handlers: This is the easiest way to ensure you’re adopting an affectionate dog! Just ask the people that are in charge of taking care of them whether or not they are cuddly or not. Of course, this is even easier if you’re considering adopting from a rescue centre or your local RSPCA. They will have first-hand experience interacting with your future pup and will know if they love a hug.

PRO TIP: Are you considering getting a young puppy? Then asking their handler about their personality won’t work. But you can ask about the parent’s personality! Talk to your breeder or the owner of the mother and ask about her personality. While there’s some degree of variability even among litter mates, you can have a better idea of your puppy’s future personality by knowing that of their parents.

  • Set your expectations: Being “affectionate” can look very different for very different people. DO you expect a dog to spend hours cuddling on the couch with you? Do you want a pup that’s always ready for a walk and some playtime? Or are you looking for a smart pup that goes with you on your day-to-day? Whatever affection means to you, make a list of what you’re expecting. Then choose a pup based on that. Some affectionate dog breeds can be very clingy, while others love their time with you but can handle being alone. It’s important to make sure you know what you want!
  • Choose a smaller dog: This is a generalisation, and of course you can find small and aloof dogs. However, small dog breeds were generally selected to be companion dogs. This means only the cuddliest, most affectionate of them were bred. As a result, it’s more common to find cuddly dogs among smaller breeds than among larger ones. You should still ask the previous handler or breeder to make sure they are affectionate though!

PRO TIPS: How To Make A Dog More Affectionate

What can you do if your dog doesn’t seem interested in showing affection?

Dogs have distinct personalities. This means that there are core traits that won’t change, regardless of what you do. Plus, you can’t ever force a dog to show affection they don’t feel: that won’t work either. Nevertheless, you can train, socialise and reinforce positive traits to make your dog the cuddliest version of themselves.

  • Reinforce bonds: A dog will only be affectionate if they love you. And, while this seems obvious, you need to interact with your dog to make a bond with them! Of course, a newly adopted dog won’t necessarily feel attached to you in less than 24 hours. To make the bonds with your dog stronger, it’s important to create positive interactions filled with love, praise and patience.
  • Plan some training sessions: This works in two ways. First, you’ll spend more time interacting with your dog, which will strengthen your bonds. Second, it will mentally stimulate your pup. A mentally tired dog is much more likely to want to snuggle in the couch!
  • Make sure you offer enough exercise: Is your dog too active to be cuddly? Then you’re probably not giving them enough playtime. Make sure you’re scheduling a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, plus training sessions, to keep them occupied and healthy.
  • Only use positive reinforcement: This might sound obvious, but your dog won’t trust you if you yell, hit or scare them. Make sure all your interactions with your dog (and whenever your dog is in the room) are positive, calm and convey affection. This way, they’ll instinctively know you’re trustworthy and they can love on you.

The Most Affectionate Small Dog Breeds

Since many cuddly dogs are small and toy breeds, we’ve dedicated a whole category to them! No worries, we’ll also cover the most affectionate large dog breeds below. In the meantime, here are some of the most loving dogs with a small frame:

Chihuahua

Chihuahua Puppy

Of course, we couldn’t make a list of the most cuddle dog breeds without mentioning the popular Chihuahua. These small dogs are also smart as a whip and have the biggest personality you’ll find. These tiny dogs are very strong-minded and want to take charge if you don’t train them well.

Chihuahuas are great for people looking for some sass in-between snuggling. These pups will give you a run for your money and they demand consistent training and socialisation to be happy.

In general, this breed is better for households with calm older adults and teenagers. Young children can unknowingly hurt chihuahuas, and these dogs can get snippy if they are handled roughly. Chihuahuas generally choose a special “person” in the household to whom they get attached and they’ll be especially cuddly with them.

On the flip side, their strong devotion and loyalty can make them overprotective, noisy and reserved around strangers. It’s important to provide ample socialisation to ensure your chihuahua stays well-behaved. Although they are small, this breed needs consistent exercise to stay happy and a daily walk is a must.

Despite their amazing character, Chihuahuas are commonly abandoned by irresponsible owners. Adopting a rescue pup is a great way to add a Chi to your family while giving a second chance to a pup waiting at the pound! Here are some Australian rescue groups that will probably help you:

Cavoodle

Cavoodle

Have you ever heard about the Cavoodle? This is one of the most popular designer dogs, and according experts, it’s currently the favourite dog in Aussie households. The Cavoodle is the mix between a purebred Poodle and a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

They are very affectionate, gentle and good with kids of all ages, Cavoodles have increased in popularity in the last 10 years and also make our list of the best family dogs. Of course, since they are a crossbreed, their exact size and personality can vary greatly. In general, Cavoodles are small to medium dogs, weighing between 5 and 12 kgs.

Related: Cavoodle Dog Breed Profile.

Merging the personality of a Poodle and a Cavalier, this crossbreed is smart, playful and eager to please. They are very easy to train and make great pets for first-time owners. On the flip side, they tend to be very vocal, so if you dislike constant barking, this isn’t the breed for you!

Do you want to add a Cavoodle to your family? Then we recommend adoption. While there are no Cavoodle-specific rescue groups, their increasing popularity also means they are abandoned more often. Try these poodle rescue and ask if they have any Cavoodle pups waiting for a home, surely they’ll be able to help:

Pugs

Funny pug puppy sittng

Funny and unique, Pugs are playful by nature and also make our list of best dogs for first time owners. This breed was created by Chinese royalty, which explains their distinctive appearance! For centuries Pugs have been bred as lapdogs, so it’s no wonder they are so loving towards their family!

These dogs are pretty adaptable and fit well with young families and elderly people alike. Because they are a brachycephalic breed they are relatively inactive and can’t be left unattended in the heat. Heat exhaustion is a real threat with this breed, so they aren’t the right choice if you want a sporty companion to go on jogs with. Pugs love to snuggle with their people, play tricks and make you laugh. They also have a mischievous streak, and they tend to get in trouble a lot, so you’ll need to be patient and have a sense of humour!

We recommend adoption instead of buying! Check out some local rescues here:

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

Although terriers aren’t known for being the most loving breed, Jack Russels are very affectionate. This is a very active breed that loves their daily walks and to be petted. Attention-seeking, playful and smart, Jack Russels are compact and muscular.

This breed has a lively spirit and, like all terriers, enjoy being outdoors. Nevertheless, after a day of playing and hard work, the Jack Russell will happily cuddle with you on the couch.

It’s important to note this breed has a very strong prey drive. This means they need socialisation from a very young age to make sure they respond well to recall. They also need consistent exercise, so moderate intensity walks once or twice a day are a must. If you can’t commit to that kind of physical activity, it’s best if you choose another breed!

Papillon

Papillon

Elegant and poised, the Papillon is a beautiful dog to look at, and great a companion at the same time! This breed was selected to be a dedicated lap dog, so snuggling up with their loved ones is their favourite thing to do. They remain curious and playful well into their adult years, making them great for families with school-age children.

Due to their small size, Papillons do well in apartments and homes without a lot of backyard, although they still need at least a daily walk. These energetic dogs can get destructive if you don’t provide them with enough exercise, so make sure to take them on walks to burn off some playful energy!


The Most Loving Medium & Large Dog Breeds

Small pups aren’t the only cuddly dogs! Some medium and large can be very affectionate towards their people. If you’d rather have a larger dog, here are some of your options:

English Bulldog

English Bulldog

Despite their serious looks, the English bulldog is a sweetie waiting for cuddles. Even though in the eighteenth century this breed was originally bred to fight other animals, nothing could be farther from the current English bulldog.

Related: Low Energy Dogs.

These gentle pups love their people fiercely, and can even withstand grabby children! English bulldogs love to snuggle on the couch and their naturally sweet character makes them relatively easy to train. These dogs are people pleasers with a funny streak, so you’ll have a lot of fun training them and playing.

Labrador & Golden Retriever

Lab & Golden

Of course, we couldn’t make a list with the most affectionate dog breeds without mentioning the ever-popular Labrador and Golden Retriever. These are two different breeds, but since they share many similar traits we decided to count them as one.

Both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers have been considered the pinnacle of family dogs for decades and are great breeds for first time owners. Their gentle nature and sweet disposition make them great with kids. While they are very active, they’ll gladly join you for a lazy afternoon of cuddles… after going on their daily walk of course! This is one of those breeds that, if you offer enough exercise, will enjoy being couch potatoes while at home.

Want to add either of these breeds to your family? Then adopting is the way to go. Here are some local rescues that can help:

Border Collie

border collie

The smartest of dogs, Border Collies have been one of the most popular breeds in Australia for decades. These dogs are muscular, highly energetic and love having work to do. Due to their herding traits, Border Collies are independent workers that form strong bonds with their handler and top our list of the most loyal dog breeds. On the flip side, they do need a lot of consistent exercise if you plan on keeping one as a pet.

Despite their active nature, Border Collies can be real love-bugs if given the chance. Of course, this only happens when they want to rest after a long work day! You will need to provide at least one hour of moderate physical exercise, as well as weekly training sessions, to make sure your Border Collie stays challenged.

Related: Border Collie Breed Profile.

Once you’ve made them part of an active lifestyle, Border Collies love to goof around, receive pets and snuggle in front of the TV!

Interested in this breed? Try contacting one of these rescue groups. They’ll surely have many pups waiting for a home like yours!

Mixed-Breed Dogs

Mix breed dog

Cross-breed, mixed-breed or mutts, these can be one of the cuddliest dogs ever. In general, it’s fair to say rescue dogs or dogs adopted from the streets are loving and loyal to their people. These dogs are proof that a pup’s character is mostly a result of their training and socialisation, not their breed!

After being trained, socialised and educated, a mixed-breed dog of any size can be as cuddly as the fanciest lap dog. Luckily, more and more Aussie households are considering the possibility of adopting from rescue centres. This is a great way to find a new life companion, while also giving a second chance to one of the thousands of dogs abandoned every year in the country.

If you’re interested, contact your local RSPCA, the South Australian Humane Society, or other community dog rescue group for more information.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the most loving dog breeds, try meeting one of the ones above! All these dogs will be more than happy to play, cuddle and receive all the pets you’ll want to give them.

What traits are you looking for in a dog? Let us know in the comments below!

References

  1. Holmes, B. (2017). Not just a hound dog. New Scientist, 233(3117), 38-41. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0262407917305298
  2. Persson, M. E., et al. (2018). Sociality genes are associated with human-directed social behaviour in golden and Labrador retriever dogs. PeerJ, 6, e5889. https://peerj.com/articles/5889/
  3. Friedrich, J., et al. (2019). The interaction between behavioural traits and demographic and management factors in German Shepherd dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 211, 67-76. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159118303265?casa_token=TAM_amRwH-4AAAAA:P9ZX9DWyvOY-CSmm_fQ1BOMB16cyXkqOun3Nb4gcQjT9L77mAXSb0TUe_l8P1ZH2qrKLA8xeKXyG

The Best Guard Dogs Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

The Best Guard Dogs -
Breeds Found In Australia

Are you looking for a dog that will help keep you and your loved ones safe? Then a guard dog might be for you!

Our experts put together our ultimate best guard dogs list so you can choose among the best of the best. Ready to pick your next best friend?


What Is A Guard Dog? Watch Dogs vs Guard Dogs

So, you want a dog to protect your home? You might be looking for the most protective dog breeds… but do you want a guard dog or a watch dog? While these terms are often used interchangeably, they don’t mean the same thing.

According to vet Adrienne Farricelli, watchdogs are those that will raise alarm, but won’t defend the property. This is where barking dogs fall! With many breeds, a dog will bark whenever they see something unusual, but won’t necessarily go above letting you know.

PRO TIP: Don’t confuse an alarm dog with hyper-vigilance. A watchdog should easily differentiate between “normal” activity and sounds, and unusual. In contrast, hyper-vigilance usually comes from a place of fear and lack of socialisation. These are the dogs that will bark at anything and everything!

Simply put, watchdogs will bark loudly if they feel something isn’t right. Because of it, watchdogs come in all sizes. Small pups like Chihuahuas and Terriers make great watchdogs once properly socialised. Some breeds are awful watchdogs, like Golden Retrievers. These pups will happily greet burglars and friends alike!

On the other hand, guard dogs can also bark loudly, but they also can attack and restrain people or other animals. Most of the time, guard dogs will try barking first, and then move into action if that doesn’t work.


What Are The Best Guard Dogs Like?

Once you’re sure you want a guard dog, it’s time to choose the perfect pup! Of course, not all breeds or all dogs will make a good guard dog. Some pups are way too friendly to be guardians! Here are some of the traits you should look out for in a guard dog:

  • Strong: Regardless of their actual size, a proper guard dog should be able to manage a threat and have an imposing look. Most of the time, the presence of a large, powerful dog is enough to deter human intruders.

PRO TIP: Remember that guard dogs shouldn’t be left to defend property or people by themselves. Ideally, their human will come promptly once they’ve given the alarm.

  • Even-tempered: This means choosing a dog that is generally well-balanced, neither too fearful nor too excitable. Dogs that rush to welcome friends and strangers alike won’t fit the bill here! In the same vein, a dog that isn’t at all interested in who comes and goes won’t make a good guard dog either.
  • Eager to please: This means your ideal guard dog should feel motivated by your praise. Being eager to please makes a puppy much easier to train, and reinforcing desirable behaviour is a breeze.

Keep in mind that while some breeds are more likely to be better guard dogs than others, there is no “natural” guard dog. A proper guard dog will need training from early puppyhood, and positive reinforcement is essential to help them understand what you need.

Plus, you cannot ignore “regular” training either. Making sure they understand cues, follow directions, and recognise you as “their people” is essential. You’ll only be able to reach this level of connection through consistent interactions, positive exchanges and praise.

In most cases, you’ll have to invest in professional training to raise a good guard dog on top of consistent at-home training. In fact, this is what we recommend! Even though you can work on many basic cues at home, a professional trainer will be able to hone in on the abilities you and your dog need to become a great team.


The Best Guard Dog Breeds

German Shepherd

German Shepherd dog sitting


Group: 

Herding

Weight:

Up to 45 kilos

Size:

Up to 60 cm

Lifespan:

Between 10 and 14 years

We couldn’t have a list of the best guard dogs for families without mentioning the German Shepherd! This incredibly popular breed has become a favourite police dog for a reason. They are strong, powerful pups that can easily be trained to protect.

This dog is very smart and thrives on having a job. Because of it, they are easily trained if you use positive reinforcement methods. In general, you could train these dogs to do anything you’d like: guide, assist people, do police/military work, herd, or guard your home.

Of course, this dog isn’t fit for everyone. They are very high energy and can’t stand boredom. These pups were bred to work, so as their owner you need to provide spaces where they can use their brains and bodies.

PRO TIP: German Shepherds don’t like to stay at home alone for long periods of time. They might become destructive or anxious! If you plan on leaving your dog by themselves for hours on end, this might not be the breed for you.

Sounds like your cup of tea? We recommend talking to the German Shepherd Rescue Alliance and the German Shepherd Rescue Victoria Association to see the available pups. Surely, you’ll find the right dog!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier sitting


Group:

Terriers

Weight:

Between 12 and 25 kilos.

Size:

Up to 30 cm in height.

Lifespan:

12 to 14 years

Enthusiastic and full of life, this energetic pup is great with children. If you’re looking for the best family guard dogs, this might be the right fit!

The Staffie is smart as a whip and thoroughly loves his people. This breed, like other pit bull-type dogs, were called “nanny dogs” because they form strong attachments with kids. In fact, Staffies tend to take on themselves to look out for the kids in their lives.

Related: Staffy Breed Profile.

Their loyalty towards kids and their family at large shines through when it comes to protecting their people. Staffies used to have a reputation as aggressive dogs, only because they tend to be very protective. However, these trends also mean the breed needs extensive socialisation early on and throughout their lives. This will make sure they get along well with other dogs and people.

Of course, they’ll need an adult handler that can provide the structured training and exercise schedule they need to stay healthy and happy.

PRO TIP: Staffies do better when they are the only dogs in the home, or there are other dogs they grow up with. If you plan on growing your family with a new pup after your Staffie is an adult, make it a gradual process.

Want to adopt this cuddly breed? We recommend getting in touch with local Australian rescue groups. They always have pups looking for a forever home!

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher


Group:

Working

Weight:

Up to 50 kilos (males) or 45 kilos (female)

Size:

Between 40 and 55 cm tall

Lifespan:

12 to 14 years

These dogs have been long considered one of the most protective dog breeds. This pup is the epitome of a gentle giant… at least with those he loves!

Doberman Pinschers are very affectionate with their families and are great with young kids. In fact, they can be very patient with the little ones! On the flip side, they aren’t very warm with other dogs and need to be properly socialised to avoid troubles later. Dobermans are naturally great at recognising unusual behaviour and make great guardians.

They can be mouthy, and their fearlessness means they don’t back down from a challenge. To avoid problems, consistent training and positive reinforcement is essential. Dobermans tend to be always vigilant of their surroundings, and their muscular build has made them a favourite security dog. With proper training, these pups will do their job like no other!

Interested? Check out these Doberman rescue groups in Australia. They always have pups looking for a new home:

Blue Heelers/Cattle Dogs

4 blue heeler dogs


Group:

Herding group

Weight: 

15 to 20 kilos

Size:

Up to 40 cm tall.

Lifespan:

12 to 15 years.

While these pups are renowned for their herding abilities, they also make surprisingly great guard dogs! Due to their dedication to their family and strong sense of responsibility, some people consider them amazing guardians.

This breed, also known as Australian Cattle Dog, is naturally wary of strangers. They’d rather stay away from the action to survey their kingdom and spend a lot of mental energy scoping out possible threats.

These natural inclinations were initially selected to make them the great herding dogs they are today. But if you reinforce these traits and provide structured training, a Blue Heeler can easily transition into a loyal guard dog.

Keep in mind these pups weren’t made to sit still, so proper exercise sessions and training are essential to keep them healthy and happy.

As a result of their rising popularity, Blue Heelers are nowadays one of the breeds most often surrendered to pounds and rescue groups. We highly recommend checking these local associations before even considering buying a puppy. You’ll find dogs of all ages looking for a forever home:

Rottweiler

rottweiler


Group: 

Working group

Weight:

Between 35 and 60 kilos.

Size: 

Between 60 and 65 cm

Rottweilers might be the quintessential guard dog, with their large size and imposing allure. The good thing is that these pups are softies with the ones they love.

Rotties are mastiff-type dogs. This is evident in their bone structure: they have heavy bones and a massive jaw. In fact, up until the nineteenth century this breed was used as a herding dog and to pull carts of butchered meat from the store to the market.

This massive dog is calm and courageous, and while they stay alert, will generally be self-assured and confident. Rottweilers aren’t usually overtly friendly and tend to stay on the aloof side. They don’t take easily to strangers and new people need to gain their confidence slowly. In contrast, those that know Rotties understand they are fiercely loyal. This breed has an innate desire to protect their own and because of it, they make amazing guardians!

Despite their sweet nature, these dogs are often surrendered to pounds or just abandoned! We recommend you check these local rescues before considering buying. Rescues always have lovely pups in need of their forever home:

Chow Chow

Chow-chow Dog


Group: 

Non-sporting group

Weight:

Between 25 and 35 kgs.

Size: 

30 to 45 cm tall

Lifespan:

8 to 12 years

These teddy-bear-looking pups can be anything but sweet! Chow Chows are the epitome of antisocial dogs. They don’t like to mingle or meet new friends and can be outright aggressive with other dogs.

This breed was created to be a dedicated herding dog and as guardians for families. They are fiercely loyal to their people and because of it, early socialisation is essential. Getting them used to other dogs and new people will ensure they stay amicable even with strangers.

Due to these traits, chow chows aren’t the best option for first time owners. These pups need consistency, patience and creativity. If you’ve never trained a pup before, they can be very challenging and end up overpowering you.

Unfortunately, there are no breed-specific rescue groups for Chow chows in Australia. However, you can always ask your local RSPCA to check if they know of any chowies in need of a home.

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees


Group:

Working group

Weight:

40 to 50 kilos and even more

Size: 

Between 50 and 60 cm.

Lifespan: 

10 to 12 years

These are some of the most popular guard dogs for families, and for good reason! These well-rounded herding dogs were bred to survey land and take care of livestock. This selection has made them fearless, independent, loyal and strong-willed.

Great Pyrenees are rising in popularity because of their looks. These are fluffy, majestic beasts that come in different tons of white and cream. Despite the breeds soft look, they aren’t for everyone!

Great Pyrenees are quiet, calm, and composed. They tend to be independent thinkers and training can be a challenge, even for experienced dog owners! These dogs are fiercely protective of what’s “theirs”, so you might see contradicting behaviours. This might show by being patient with family kids while not tolerating others or protecting the family’s pets and aggressively scaring off those they don’t know.

This breed was specifically raised to make decisions on their own while guarding livestock. This means they have an innate confidence and the belief they have the ultimate decision. While even-tempered, they aren’t the playful type: they’d rather be serious and calm. If you’re looking for blind acceptance and eagerness to please, Great Pyrenees isn’t the right choice.

Pyrenees need a strong fence to prevent wandering during their daily patrols, consistent exercise to prevent boredom, and daily brushing to manage their shedding.

But if you want a large dog that will calmly guard you and your home, go on patrols, and happily survey the kids, this could be the dog for you. If you’re interested, check out your local rescue centre. While there are no breed-specific rescues for the Great Pyrenees in Australia, their rising popularity means more of them end up abandoned in shelters.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard


Group:

Working group.

Weight: 

60 to 80 kilos.

Size:

Around 60 cm tall.

Lifespan:

8 to 10 years.

Want a fluffy and soft family guard dog? Then the Saint Bernard might be for you! This breed was selected to work in European mountains, so they have a thick fur that can withstand the elements.

These massive dogs are imposing just by looking at them, and most intruders will feel less-than-inclined to break into your home at their sight. They have a huge head, dark eyes and a smart expression that has made them a family favourite.

On the flip side, they tend to slobber everywhere and need plenty of space inside the home, so be mindful before choosing this breed. While not exactly playful, Saint Bernard’s have the patience of a saint (ha) with his family’s children and will be a great reading and cuddling companion.

PRO TIP: Saint Bernard’s don’t do well in heat. Remember this breed was selected to do well in the Swiss Alps! This won’t be your next jogging companion: they get heat exhaustion easily.

Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer


Group: 

Working groups

Weight:

30 to 40 years

Size: 

60 to 70 cm to the shoulder

Lifespan:

10 to 12 years

Know the Miniature Schnauzer? Picture it 3 times the size and you’ve got the Giant version. This German-native farm dog doesn’t have much more in common with their smaller counterparts than their looks.

They are hard workers with strong herding, guarding and working instincts. This makes them an active, high-energy breed with an even temper. They make great guardians for homes and families!

On the flip side, we wouldn’t recommend them for first time owners. They have very high exercise needs and only thrive when they are mentally stimulated. If you don’t plan to offer them structured playtime, consistent training, and lots of socialisation, they will become bored. This can lead to destructive, anxious and in some cases aggressive behaviour.

Des the Schnauzer sound like your cup of tea? Then check out Schnauzer Rescue of Victoria and the Schnauzer Rescue of NSW, both ran by their local Schnauzer Clubs.


Final Thoughts

The best guard dog for families is the one that fits your own needs! Remember that this is a partnership, and just picking a specific breed won’t mean you’ll have a great guard dog. You’ll have to invest time in their training, in strengthening your bond and making sure they are healthy and happy.

But if you’re ready to put in the work, you might end up with the best companion and guardian you could ask for. If you’re wondering where to start and you’ve never owned a pup, check out our best dogs for first time owners list!

References

1. AKC. German shepherd . Available here https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/german-shepherd-dog/

2. AKC. Staffordshire bull terrier. Available here.
https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/staffordshire-bull-terrier/

3. AKC. Doberman . Available here
https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/doberman-pinscher/

4. AKC. Great Pyrenees. Available here
https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/great-pyrenees/

5. AKC. Saint Bernard. Available here
https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/st-bernard/

6. AKC. 9 things to know about Rottweilers. Available here
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/9-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-rottweiler/

7. AKC. Chow chow time. Available here
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/10-facts-about-chow-chow/

Best Dogs For First Time Owners Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

The Best Dogs For First Time Owners Australia

Do you think you’re ready for your first dog? Congratulations! As dog lovers ourselves, we know this is one of the most exciting moments of your life. But now you need to set yourself up for success: choosing the right pup is key!

Training and raising a new dog go beyond teaching them to “sit” or “stay”, and it can be overwhelming. No worries, we’ve got the best dog for first time owners that make the whole process easier.

Are you interested in any of these breeds?


What Are Good First Dogs Like?

If you’ve never owned a dog, choosing your new best friend can feel overwhelming. After all, we’ve all heard those horror stories of very difficult pups, traumatic training lessons and biting.

While these cases do exist, they are mostly caused by irresponsible dog ownership. The fact that you’re here, looking for more information before committing to a specific breed, is proof you want to do better!

Remember that having a dog is like having a young kid. You are responsible for providing guidance, a safe space and keeping them healthy. However, even if you can give your new pup all that, sometimes good intentions aren’t enough. This is where choosing the right breed comes in!

As a first time dog owner, you’ll face many new experiences and challenges. So, a “good first dog” will naturally have fewer challenging traits. Here’s what to look out for:

  • People-pleasing: Some dogs are more inclined to please their humans than others. Those that are more independent have strong personalities and can be great dogs, but first-time owners might find them too challenging. It’s easier to train a pup that wants to do as you say, instead of trying to convince them.
  • Laidback and forgiving: This one goes hand in hand with the one above. Some dogs are way too smart and the first time you slip up on their training will reinforce unwanted behaviours. Of course, this can be corrected but you’ll need to invest more time into it. In contrast, laid back dogs won’t learn unwanted behaviours at the first try and you can feel better if you ever slip up. Just get back on track as soon as possible!
  • Playfulness: Dogs that love to play and enjoy spending time with their people are significantly easier to train. Since they feel rewarded easily through praise and play, you’ll have an easy time reinforcing good behaviours.
  • Energy levels adapted to your lifestyle: Not every dog fits every lifestyle. If you love being outdoors, spend 2+ hours a day in nature and want an adventurous buddy, you don’t want a brachycephalic breed that cannot be outside in the summer. On the other hand, if you’d rather spend your evenings on the couch and your idea of a workout is a brief run to the grocery store in the corner, a very active breed isn’t for you. Save yourself the headache and choose a dog that has naturally the same inclinations as you! That way, you won’t be forced to overhaul your lifestyle on top of training and living with a new pet.
  • Choose disposition over smarts: Most pups are pretty smart. They love to watch and understand the world around them! But very smart dogs also tend to be independent. Since they can “figure things out on their own”, they want to solve problems on their own terms. Sharing your life with this kind of dog can be very rewarding, but they are notoriously difficult to train and might even need to be bribed. Sometimes you won’t ever be truly sure they’ll follow orders, even after years of training. Plus, fiercely independent dogs need life-long training and positive reinforcement, so you’ll need to be on top of their sessions for as long as they live. As a first-time owner, this is probably too much for you! In general, we don’t recommend working breeds for most first-time owners, including the Australian Kelpie, Blue Heelers and Airedale Terriers.

    Related: Most Affectionate Dog Breeds.

Pro Tips For First Time Dog Owners

  • Let them stay with mom for longer. It’s common knowledge that puppies need to stay with their mum for at least 8 weeks. However, it’s also common to see pups being separated at 6 weeks, or unethical breeders that consider the 8-week mark as optional. Staying with their mum and siblings helps your puppy socialise, ensures they are properly nourished (because of lactation) and forms their personality. 

The ideal minimum time that the puppy should be able to separate from its mother is 8 weeks. Still, many ethologists also claim that the puppy should be with its mother until 12 weeks of age.” – Hospital Veterinaries Gloriès

This means taking a puppy too soon might have life-long repercussions on their social skills, ability to relate to other dogs and general behaviour.

  • Remember dogs go through puberty! Dogs, like people, are mammals. And just like human teenagers, they go through a difficult period while they are young. For puppies, this stage usually coincides with teething, so you’ll encounter double the trouble. Dogs going through puberty will start exhibiting some sexual behaviours (like humping furniture or people), might be more rambunctious than usual and could be more challenging to train. We recommend spaying or neutering to avoid these behaviours and using positive reinforcement to encourage good manners.
  • All dogs need training. This might sound too basic, but many owners think that only because a dog is small, they can forgo training. Nothing farther from the truth! That’s why it’s so common to see nippy chihuahuas, barking poodles and generally destructive pups. Don’t let that be you! Positive reinforcement training is the best way to ensure your dog is healthy, happy and stable. We recommend trying clicker training, which is just pressing a clicker to signal good behaviour, then offering a treat. Eventually, your dog will associate the good behaviour with treats and they’ll repeat it often.
  • Use a buddy. Dogs learn better when they have someone to mimic. That’s why it might feel easier to train a dog once you have one or more already trained in the house! If you’re a first-time dog owner but know people with a well-behaved dog, try to set up playdates where you use cues on both dogs. Your puppy will understand what you’re asking faster. Keep in mind the buddy system also works to mimic bad behaviour, so choose your buddy carefully!

The Best Dogs For First Time Owners

Considering everything we’ve outlined above, now comes the fun part! Our experts have reviewed the best dogs for first time owners: these pups are easy to train, want to please and don’t have a strong independent streak.

We’ve selected a variety of sizes and energy needs so you’ll probably find the right fit! Here is our ultimate list:

The Poodle

Two poodles

These friendly pups are easy to train and great for those without a lot of dog experience. Due to their hunting and retrieving background, this active breed loves to play and enjoys pleasing their owners. In general, they only need training to be fun and positive, and they’ll love every second of it!

As family dogs, poodles are also a favourite. They are great with kids and will love to play ball for hours on end. Jogging, running and long walks are great as part of their daily exercise, but what they love best is getting in the water and going for a swim! On the flip side, because of their curly coat, this breed needs consistent grooming once a month.

If you can provide the exercise and upkeep they need, a Poodle can be a great option for a dog newbie! As always, we recommend trying to find a rescue pup. This breed is very popular but abandonment rates are also high, so many dogs are waiting for their forever homes at rescues:

The Staffy

staffordshire bull terrier

Also known as Staffies, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a favourite as a first-time dog. These gentle giants were bred as “nanny dogs”, and are great with kids. After being properly socialised, these pups are calm, loving and fun, while also being fiercely protective of their people.

Related: The Staffy Breed Profile.

While they are natural people-pleasers, they also have a strong prey drive. This means you’ll have to work extra hard on their recall, and provide consistent training throughout their life. Staffies also need daily moderate exercise consisting of at least 40 minutes, but they’ll take whatever you can offer: throwing the ball, going for a jog or running by your bike will all be welcome.

Since this breed needs consistent exercise and company to be happy, we recommend fostering first. That way, you’ll be sure it’s the right fit before committing to taking care of a dog for 10+ years. Here are some local rescues that are always in need of foster families:

The Labrador

Labrador Retriever

This is a first-time favourite for a reason! Labs are very well mannered, love people and retain that happy puppy-like behaviour well into their adult years. Because of their playfulness, many first-time owners choose them for their family.

Labs are devoted to their family and get along well with other dogs and other pets once they are properly socialised. On the flip side, this is a very active breed that needs at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise to stay happy.

Ideally, you’ll also provide more intensive exercise on the weekends. This breed thrives on attention and they don’t like being left alone for hours on end, so plan to include them in your daily activities!

The Golden Retriever

golden retriever

Of course, we couldn’t make this list without mentioning the all-time favourite Golden Retriever. This breed has been at the top of popularity lists for decades because of their sweet disposition and patience with grabby hands. On the flip side, they are very active and need daily exercise to stay happy. Be ready to go on 40-minute walks at the very minimum, and if possible also include some extra movement on the weekends.

Golden Retrievers are generally easy to train and love to please their owners, and this is one of the easiest dogs to own. With some food and praise, they’ll learn cues quickly and you can also try to teach them more complex sequences for agility training.

If you’re interested in adopting a Golden, check out breed-specific rescues. They always have pups waiting for their forever home and you’ll be able to find the right fit in no time:

The Pug

Pug dog

Interested in a loving, snuggly buddy? Then the Pug might be a good fit to be your first dog. This companion dog was selected centuries ago to be a companion, so their main goal in life is pleasing their people. They have a very mild temper and are pretty outgoing, perfect for social people looking for a bud.

On the flip side, Pugs are really sensitive and won’t do well with harsh training methods. Gentle correction and positive reinforcement is the best way to train them. Since Pugs loathe being alone, they are a great fit for people that work from home, retired people and families that plan on involving their dog in their everyday life.

Keep in mind this breed is prone to obesity and they overheat easily under stress, so exercise needs to be consistent but mild. Check out some local rescues here:

The Border Collie

Border Collie

When it comes to good first-time dogs, Border Collies are definitely pushing the boundaries. But if they naturally fit in with your current lifestyle, they are very easy to train despite their strong prey drive.

Border Collies are working dogs that have adapted very well to pet life. They are considered the smartest breed in the world, and because of it, they shine during training lessons. This breed needs a lot of exercise, and we recommend at least 2 short daily sessions plus training to keep them happy. If you fail to provide enough exercise, Border Collies will get restless, destructive and their prey drive will be out of control. Not good!

Related: The Border Collie Breed Profile.

If you are a naturally active person and plan to take your dog with you on daily errands, then this breed might be a good fit. We recommend trying to foster a Border Collie puppy before fully committing, to make sure you’re in tune with the breed’s needs. To find fostering opportunities, get in contact with local rescue centres:


Final Thoughts

Having a dog is a big responsibility, and you need to carefully consider its consequences. The expenses, the time invested and the patience needed to raise a well-adjusted, healthy dog isn’t something to ignore. If you’re unsure, fostering pups in need is the best option! It will give you a trial run and show you whether or not you’re ready for dog ownership. Living with a foster pup helps your local rescues but also gives you the skills to raise a dog yourself.

Finally, we recommend adjusting your expectations even after fostering. If you’ve never had a dog, you’re bound to mess up. You’ll make mistakes. They’ll misbehave. You’ll lose your patience. You might even choose the wrong breed altogether!

The important thing is staying on track. Remember why you wanted a dog in the first place. Give yourself and your dog some grace. Love them! Soon enough you’ll find your groove and you won’t remember the hard times.

References
  1. Zahradka, J., Importance of Dog Morphology in apparent Behaviour and Trainability: Examining how Morphological Differences in Dog Breeds can affect Perception of their Trainability. https://essays.cve.edu.au/sites/default/files/vein_essays/content_3254/JenniferZahradka.pdf
  2. Tonoike, A., Nagasawa, M., Mogi, K., Serpell, J. A., & Ohtsuki, H. (2015). Comparison of owner-reported behavioural characteristics among genetically clustered breeds of dogs (Canis familiaris). Scientific Reports, 5(117710).
  3. Miklósi, Á., 2018. A Directory of Dog Breeds. In The Dog (pp. 173-214). Princeton University Press. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.23943/9781400889990-007/html
  4. Serpell, J.A. and Duffy, D.L., 2014. Dog breeds and their behavior. In Domestic dog cognition and behavior (pp. 31-57). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James-Serpell/publication/271826897_Dog_Breeds_and_Their_Behavior/links/54d23dc30cf28e069723b60b/Dog-Breeds-and-Their-Behavior.pdf
  5. Taylor, R., 2017. How does temperament and breed influence learned aversion training in domestic dogs (Doctoral dissertation, Murdoch University). https://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/39794/1/Taylor2017.pdf
  6. Helton, W.S., 2010. Does perceived trainability of dog (Canis lupus familiaris) breeds reflect differences in learning or differences in physical ability?. Behavioural processes, 83(3), pp.315-323. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376635710000215?casa_token=8uwXPFLYyW0AAAAA:6vkvleTyhnNqcIlZ2nSHaautf0qHoHh5HdwiqVFVizVIQmrdvrupbRjTj0qcaolxW43bIqeUkXJO
  7. Hall, N.J., Glenn, K., Smith, D.W. and Wynne, C.D., 2015. Performance of Pugs, German Shepherds, and Greyhounds (Canis lupus familiaris) on an odor-discrimination task. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 129(3), p.237. https://www.depts.ttu.edu/afs/people/nathan-hall/CanineOlfactionLab/pubs/breed_differences.pdf

The Kelpie X Labrador (2021 Breed Profile)

The Kelpie X Labrador Mix Breed Profile

Vital Stats

Group

N/A

Height

40 to 55 cm

Weight

Up to 35 kgs

Lifespan

10 to 14 years

Are you looking for an active, friendly dog to go on adventures with? Then the Kelpie x Labrador mix might be the right choice.

Our experts have reviewed everything you need to know about this lively crossbreed to help you make the right decision for you and your lifestyle. Here are the basics!


History of the Australian Kelpie and the Labrador Retriever

Before diving into the unusual kelpie x Labrador crossbreed, it’s important to know a bit more about its parent breeds. Here’s what you should know about these two popular dogs:

The Kelpie is one of the few authentically Australian dog breeds. This hardy pup came to be in the nineteenth century, amid the colonisation of Australian lands. At the time, the new farmers needed a hardy shepherd dog that could handle the harsh Australian weather with ease.

Related: The Australian Kelpie Breed Profile.

Since most of these first settlers were originally from the United Kingdom, they started breeding English Collies locally and selected based on their work ethic, intelligence and energy. The result was the Australian Kelpie as we know it today: an enthusiastic and tireless working dog that can endure hours running under the harsh sun and can single-handedly control large herds of cattle. Because they are easily trainable, smart and love to work, since the 1800s Kelpies have been the backbone of the herding industry and some people say their work is worth 3 to 4 human shepherds per day. Nowadays, the kelpie is considered one of the most efficient working dogs and they are bred mostly for working purposes. Their popularity as house pets is on the rise, but because of their very specific needs, they aren’t the ideal dog for most people.

On the flip side, we have the Labrador Retriever. This popular dog has been a family favourite for decades, and with good reason. This Canadian gun-dog was developed to retrieve prey from icy waters and have strong hunting and chasing abilities. They are very smart and enjoy pleasing their owner, so they excel at obedience and field and need plenty of outdoor exercise to be happy. This is a sporting dog through and through and they are generally well-behaved, patient and active.

Considering its two parent breeds, it’s evident the Labrador Kelpie cross is an active, smart pup that loves its people. Here’s what you should know about them!


The Labrador Kelpie Cross

Lab X Kelpie


Temperament and personality

Child & Dog friendliness

Exercise needs

Intelligence and trainability

Grooming

Health issues

Apartment friendly

Temperament and personality 4/5

Due to its heritage, the Kelpie x Labrador crossbreed is enthusiastic and hardworking. This mix enjoys being active and spending time with its people outside. In general, and after being properly socialised, this breed is even-tempered and friendly with those they already know. However, the specific character of your puppy will depend on which side of its heritage is more dominant.

If they tend to be more like the Kelpie side, your new pup will be eager to learn and have a job. They are devoted to their main handler and don’t do well with re-homing. In general, the intense drive in Kelpies can make the Kelpie cross Lab difficult to handle in a home setting. These pups are extremely smart and need consistent mental stimulation, preferably offered by a job. In a home, it’s very common to not have the opportunity to develop these traits. As a result, a kelpie cross puppy might become destructive, unruly and sometimes aggressive.

On the flip side, if your crossbreed pup leans more to the Lab in them, they’ll be significantly calmer. While Labs are also working dogs, they adapt more easily to pet life, and will be content watching the kids and going on a couple of long walks per day. Labs are very smart, but they tend to do well with fetch and retrieve games to stimulate their mind, while kelpies loathe the repetitiveness and fetch might put their prey instinct into overdrive.

Labradors enjoy meeting new people and do well with other pets of all sizes. Most of the time, a Lab will be comfortable in new settings, and they don’t mind being in a busy room since they love being social. In contrast, Kelpies tend to prefer smaller gatherings and feel easily overwhelmed in new environments. This is a herding breed, meaning they have the need to oversee any new space, and this might not be possible every time. An overwhelmed Kelpie mix can get antsy and could have a harder time following orders. If your puppy leans more on their Kelpie side, don’t expect them to be a social butterfly and make sure to provide a quiet space for them to retire. Most kelpie mixes would rather stay on the outskirts of the action and oversee the activities from afar.

The issue with crossbreeds like the Kelpie cross Labrador is that you won’t ever be sure whether your puppy will lean more to the Lab or the Kelpie side. Considering these two dogs have significant personality differences when it comes to sociability and meeting new people, it’s a gamble if you have a strong preference with either trait.

On the other hand, Labs and Kelpies have different ways of showing affection towards their owners. Labradors tend to be very outwardly happy dogs, wagging their tails, jumping and showing excitement. In contrast, Kelpies tend to be more reserved. While Kelpies fiercely love their owners, they show that affection by staying by your side, looking at you intensely and trying to follow commands. They’ll also try to find “work” to do, even if you haven’t given a specific cue, but they generally won’t jump to greet you or come lick you for cuddles.

Because your mixed puppy can grow up to be either very friendly or more aloof, we’re giving this breed 4 out of 5 stars. You won’t know which side your mixed pup follows until they are older!

Child & Dog friendliness 3/5

Both the Labrador and the Australian Kelpie are good with kids and other pets, but they need different approaches when it comes to their socialisation.

Related: Best Dog Breeds For Children.

Of course, any puppy including the Lab Kelpie mix will need consistent socialisation from day one. Socialisation is an ongoing process that allows your dog to feel comfortable in new situations and don’t react out of fear of the unknown. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association:

“Socialisation should begin during the "sensitive period" which is between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies, and 3 and 9 weeks of age for kittens.” – AVMA [1]

You can also socialise older cats and dogs, but the process will be lengthier, and they might already have some learned behaviours you’ll need to deal with. Labs are one of the easiest breeds to socialise since they are naturally more people-inclined and enjoy meeting new friends. They also do good meeting other dogs and pets and tend to have a playful behaviour even towards those they don’t know.

On the flip side, Australian Kelpies are naturally more reserved and need thorough socialisation to avoid unwanted behaviours. In Kelpies and their mixes, socialisation has two main goals: making them understand meeting new people can be a positive experience and curbing their strong prey drive. The latter is especially important for those kelpie mixes that will live in a home environment and not work every day to satisfy those natural instincts.

Socialising your Kelpie mix involves exposing them to positive experiences with new people, animals and environments. To do this, you’ll praise and reward calm, relaxed behaviour and gradually expose them to more challenging situations, ideally while your pup is still young. If they aren’t properly socialised, they’ll tend to react poorly and, in the case of Kelpies, their prey drive will still be strong. This means your kelpie mix will chase and herd anything that moves, including children, cars, people and other pets.

In contrast, if your lab kelpie mix is socialised, they’ll enjoy spending time with new people and you’ll be able to handle their prey drive with consistent exercise.

Because of these issues, we’re giving this crossbreed 3 out 5 in this category.

Exercise needs 5/5

Considering its two parent breeds are very active, it’s not a surprise that the Lab Kelpie mix has very high exercise needs. Remember the Kelpie was bred to handle the harsh Australian heat while herding cattle, so their weather tolerance is very high, and they need at least an hour of moderate exercise every day.

If you intend to adopt a Kelpie x Labrador puppy, keep in mind they’ll need a consistent exercise schedule of at least one long session a day, plus training time. This is non-negotiable and if you fail to provide enough physical stimulation, your puppy could become destructive and sometimes aggressive.

Related: Low Energy Dog Breeds.

Because of their strong chasing and herding instinct, this dog will need a fenced-in yard on top of their daily walk. The fence will keep them contained and ensure they stay safe without chasing after the first moving target they see.

PRO TIP: Walking aimlessly isn’t enough physical exercise for a Kelpie mix. Try to work on a few training exercises on the walk to keep your dog’s mind stimulated or consider enrolling in agility training to spice up their workout schedule every once in a while.

If you are very active and are looking for an energetic companion to take on runs, go hiking and workout with, this might be the crossbreed for you! We’re giving this pup 5 out of 5 in this category.

Intelligence and trainability 4/5

Of course, it’s no surprise that this active crossbreed is smart as a whip. This might not always translate into easily trainable, especially if your puppy turns out to be more like a Kelpie than a Lab.

Labradors are easy-to-train dogs that aim to please, so lessons are usually fun for them and even first-time owners will do well. On the other hand, Kelpies are incredibly smart but also very independent. This means they’d rather do things on their own terms, and they get bored easily. As soon as they understand what’s needed, they’ll figure out a way to do it on their own and they loathe repetition.

If you’ve never trained a dog before, we recommend taking your Kelpie x Lab cross to a few training lessons so the both of you get an understanding of how training works. Positive reinforcement through praise and food is key to get good results with any Kelpie or its mixes, so bring lots of delicious treats to motivate your dog.

All in all, this crossbreed will generally be easy to train but they might have a hard time with repetition, “boring” tasks and working on recall. Because of these issues, we’re giving this mix 4 out of 5.

Grooming 5/5

This is one category where this crossbreed shines. Because of the coat type of both parents, your Kelpie x Lab will most likely have short to very short hair, with an undercoat. This means that while they will shed, especially in spring, they don’t need major grooming to stay healthy.

In general, your puppy will do well with a thorough brushing a couple of times a week, and maybe more often once shedding season starts. On top of that, taking care to brush their teeth and clip their nails is all you’ll have to do.

Considering the easy grooming schedule, we’re giving this pup 5 out of 5 in this category.

Health issues 4/5

The Labrador cross Kelpie is generally a healthy crossbreed and has a lifespan of around 11 to 12 years. Because the kelpie is a working dog, these dogs are very strong and don’t usually have any genetic conditions to be aware of.

On the flip side, Labradors have been heavily crossbred, and they are more prone to certain issues. These include elbow and hip dysplasia, seizures/epilepsy, obesity and cancer [2]. If you’re getting a puppy from a breeder, make sure both parents have been screened for joint issues, since patella luxation and hip dysplasia have a strong genetic component.

Considering these issues, we’re taking off one star in this category.

Apartment friendly 1/5

Are Kelpie crosses apartment friendly? We don’t think it’s a great match. These dogs are very active and will get destructive if you don’t provide them with at least one to two hours of moderate exercise every day. Plus, Kelpies tend to get overwhelmed easily, this is heightened in small spaces as there’s not a lot of room to get away.

Related: Best Apartment Dogs.

A fenced yard will give an active dog like the Kelpie Lab mix a bit more space to burn off some energy, chase squirrels and avoid boredom. In contrast, living in an apartment means you are the only source of entertainment and will have to focus on providing a consistent exercise schedule.

If you are active yourself and plan to bring your Kelpie mix with you, then apartment living is possible if a bit tight. In all other cases, we recommend getting a bigger place before adopting this active dog.

Because of this, we’re giving this mix 1 out of 5 stars in this category.


Adopting a Kelpie x Labrador Puppy

Are you interested in this fluffy crossbreed? This is a rare mix, and most puppies happen by accident. There are no registered breeders, and this specific cross will be very difficult to find. Of course, you might get lucky contacting your local rescue centre to check if a litter was recently surrendered.

You might also want to contact breed-specific clubs that might know about accidental litters coming soon. Here are a few useful links you might want to check:

Your best bet might be asking at your local rescue centre or RSPCA. Kelpies and Kelpie mixes are one of the most surrendered breeds in Australia. Most families don’t fully understand the type of commitment they need and are quickly overwhelmed by their behaviour and exercise needs, so Kelpies are very common in rescue centres.

Check these out, they might know of a Kelpie Lab mix waiting for you!


Final Thoughts

This rare crossbreed might be challenging for most owners, but it could be the right fit for you! If you enjoy a challenge, have experience training other dogs and love being active, the Lab Kelpie cross might be your ideal pup. Have you ever encountered this crossbreed?

Let us know in the comments below!

Related: The Staffy X Kelpie Breed Profile.
Related: The Border Collie X Kelpie Breed Profile.

References
  1. AVMA. Socialization of Dogs and Cats. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/socialization-dogs-and-cats
  2. PDSA. Labrador Retriever. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/large-dogs/labrador-retriever

Best Apartment Dogs Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

Best Apartment Dogs Australia - Breeds Better Suited To Small Spaces

Can you adopt a puppy if you live in a small space? Yes! You only need to find the right fit. To help you make up your mind and chose a dog adapted to your lifestyle, our experts found the best apartment dogs.

These furry pups can live in close quarters and without a lot of space, but will still enjoy your company brighten up your day and ask for cuddles!


Can Dogs Live In Apartments?

Of course! However, choosing the right breed is key to ensure your pup stays healthy and happy even if they don’t have a lot of space to run around.

The main issue with apartment dogs is the lack of backyard space. A backyard will offer your dog the opportunity to entertain themselves in-between actual walks, so they are less likely to get bored and develop unwanted behaviours. Keep in mind that some breeds need the extra space, and not all dogs are fit for apartment living!


Traits Of Apartment-friendly Dogs. What To Look Out For Before Adopting

While this is a very flexible category, the best apartment dogs share a few common traits. Regardless of the breed, look out for these characteristics if you want to find the right fit for your smaller space:

Look for patient breeds

Good apartment dogs tend to not react to common noises like keys, strangers going in and out, and general neighbour noises. This constant contact with new experiences can be good: it can make it easier to socialise and your pup will probably make a lot of new friends! However, if you don’t provide guidance and positive training, it can also be very difficult. Have you ever heard of dogs that will bark all day long, even after years of listening to the same neighbours, keys and noises? Well, you don’t want to be their owner.

These highly reactive dogs act like that because their owners didn’t take the time to train them, and these behaviours aren’t something that will go away on its own. With this, we mean that choosing a naturally patient dog will make apartment living easier, but you also need to put in the work to desensitise your pup and get them used to the hustle and bustle of apartment living.

It’s important to remember that barking is a key part of your dog’s communications strategies, and vocalisations are the most normal thing in the world. As an owner, you can somewhat prevent excessive barking through consistent positive reinforcement training, proper physical and mental exercise.

PRO TIP: Use a clicker to help apartment-train your dog. Through the clicker, you’ll be reinforcing ‘good behaviour’ i.e., staying calm in front of strange noises, and helping them overcome excessive sensitivity to noise and new experiences.

A friendly personality

Apartment dogs will need to be friendly even towards strangers, since running into new people and pets is common when living in an apartment. In general, it’s important to choose a dog that will enjoy, or at least be neutral about meeting new people.

The dogs that do best in apartment environments are those that love constant interaction. Remember that even waiting for the lift or taking the stairs will involve other people. In this case, early socialisation is key to guarantee peace with your neighbours and their pets.

Remember that, as their owner, it’s your responsibility to guarantee everyone’s safety when it comes to your dog interacting with others. This means making sure your pup isn’t anxious about meeting new people, and ensuring they are not a threat in any way to your neighbours as well.

Small doesn’t mean apartment friendly

The size of the best dog breeds for apartments doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. In fact, we wouldn’t put it as the first thing to consider when choosing a pup!

We recommend focusing on their exercise and activity needs. Don’t be fooled by a dog’s size! Their activity level and daily exercise needs aren’t necessarily correlated to their adult size: some large dogs do best with shorter spurts of activity, while smaller dogs like terriers have never-ending energy that will be hard to burn inside an apartment. Of course, choosing a specific breed doesn’t guarantee anything: puppies take up to 2 years to fully develop into adults. Unfortunately, it will only be at that point that their personality will truly come out. This means that a pup can start out mellow and become very active, or the other way around.

PRO TIP: Ask for your pup’s parents and get a feel of their behaviour. In general, this can be a good way to understand how your puppy might behave down the road.

If you’re unsure, look into fostering and adopting a dog from a rescue group. Fostering will give you the chance to really experience what it is to live with that particular dog, and adult pups tend to have a more established character. The volunteers at your local RSPCA will be able to help and recommend the best match for your needs.

Consider your dog’s grooming and shedding needs

When people think about which dog to choose for an apartment, most of them think about the lack of a backyard and the dog’s energy level. However, there are more things to consider beyond a pup’s activity needs before bringing them into an apartment. Their natural shedding and grooming schedule can also be more difficult in close quarters. Just think about it like this: the smaller the space, the more dog hair you’ll have to deal with. In fact, we’d argue that since apartment dogs will stay inside all day long, it’s impossible to completely get rid of all the dog hair. This is very different to larger homes where dogs will spend a majority of their time outside!

There are some measures you can put in place to prevent excessive hair on your furniture. First, get into a consistent grooming and brushing routine. This will help get rid of excess hair and keep the fur from getting into your couch in the first place. Then, increase the brushing frequency in spring and autumn, when your dog sheds the most. Finally, choose a dog that sheds less either because they have a curly coat that ‘traps’ the hair or because they don’t have a double coat. We’ve mentioned some of these breeds in our roundup below.

Apartment living doesn’t mean staying alone all day

There is some confusion around dogs that are good for apartments, because unaware owners think that because they do good in small spaces, they can stay alone every day for hours without repercussions.

We firmly believe dogs involve a time commitment that is immoral to ignore. Dogs are social creatures, and it’s not fair to them to be left alone all day and limit their outdoor time on top of it. When pups have a backyard, you can get away with a bit more alone time since your dog will have more stuff to focus on, like wildlife, passing cars and other people. Of course, you’ll also have to provide interaction daily.

However, with dogs that live in apartments, you are their only source of mental stimulation. This means that you need to invest the time to take them out on walks, cuddle, play and just be present with them. Evidently, you can work out of your home, but spending time and effort to interact with your pup after-hours is non-negotiable, even better if it’s outdoors.

If you don’t think you have the mental energy to ensure your pup isn’t abandoned to their own devices for hours on end, maybe reconsider getting a dog altogether. Adopting is a big responsibility!


The Best Dogs For Apartments

Ok, now you know what to look out for and understand what you need from your future pup. It’s time for the fun part! Here are some of our favourite breeds that can be great apartment dogs.

Italian greyhound

Greyhound

These miniature hounds are great dogs for small apartments. Due to their short coat and gentle nature, many people love them as companions. These are lap dogs through and through, so they love spending time with their family, cuddling on the couch and sneaking the covers.

On the flip side, this beautiful breed is prone to brittle bones and can be difficult to train, especially if you’ve had no experience. They are very active, agile, and can be somewhat escapists, particularly if they see something they’d like to catch. Because of their thin, break-prone legs and strong prey drive, they shouldn’t be in a home with rambunctious kids or large dogs. They do need to go on daily walks and run free in fenced-in spaces.

Italian greyhounds do better in a house with adults that have ample time to dedicate to cuddles, leash-only walks and have a ton of patience to potty train. Look out for rescues! Because this breed lives a long time (up to 18 years) and have a hard time with potty training, abandonment and surrendering are very common. Interested in the breed?

Check out Iggy Rescue, they are a small rescue dedicated to fostering and protecting Italian greyhounds all over Australia.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

This is another beloved breed that has been considered one of the best for apartments. They have great personalities, and their size makes them a great choice for small living spaces.

On the flip side, Boston terriers are very active because of their terrier heritage. The same traits that make them goofy and jokesters, also mean they need consistent outdoor exercise and structured playtime. All official sources, including the Boston Terrier Club, consider this breed moderate to highly active, so you’ll have to provide daily walks and mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored.

If you have young kids or older adults in your home, a Boston Terrier might be a good choice. These are affectionate pups that shed very little and aren’t great barkers. They are also smart, so training them isn’t too difficult even for first-time dog handlers.

One thing to keep in mind is this is classified as a brachycephalic breed. This means their snout is flat, which makes them prone to breathing issues. Because of their flat nose, they also tend to overheat, and you need to be very careful about overexerting them in heavy workouts or in the summer heat in general. They might also snore a bit, and you might have trouble flying with them because of airline restrictions.

In general, we’d recommend this breed if you love walks in the park and want a fun, loving puppy!

Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear

Have you ever heard of this fluffy breed? While they are still rare, their popularity is on the rise. The Coton de Tulear is as soft as cotton, hence its name. Because it was bred to be a lap dog, they are dedicated little guys that love spending time with their people. Luckily, because they barely get to be 20 cm tall, it’s easy to bring them with you every day!

Personality-wise, the Coton is mellow and loving. They are very friendly with people and other pets and enjoy meeting new friends everywhere they go. In general, they are great for people of all ages, from young kids to older adults. They have moderate energy needs, and we should only warn you about their grooming. This is a long-haired breed so brushing at least three times a week is essential, as well as consistent dental care. If you’d rather have less dog hair on your furniture, you might consider getting your dog a ‘puppy cut’, which will involve clipping their hair down to 2-3 cm. on the flip side, if you do choose to go for a puppy cut, you’ll need to take your Coton to the groomer every two weeks to ensure their length stays the same.

Overall, this little dog is great for apartments because of its small size, gentle disposition and moderate activity needs.

Chihuahua 

Chihuahua

Of course, we couldn’t go over the best small apartment dogs without mentioning the popular chihuahua. This well-known breed has been touted to be perfect for small living spaces, but there are a few considerations you need to remember before adopting.

First, chihuahuas aren’t a ‘lazy’ breed and they are pretty active throughout the day. In general, their spunkiness only mellows out after 7 to 8 years, when they’ll gladly nap in the sun over chasing neighbours or birds. Second, they need consistent training and socialisation to ensure they get along with strangers and new people. Chihuahuas tend to be very territorial and don’t mind barking to let everyone know they are displeased. They can also get nippy and bite if they feel attacked or are trying to ‘educate’ a child with grabby hands. It’s on you to correct this behaviour! Of course, you can redirect this behaviour through positive reinforcement techniques, but understand that you’ll have to put in the work and the time.

Chihuahuas are great watchdogs, even if they’ll only alert you to any danger. On the other hand, they live for very long with proper care, so you might be sharing your life for 15+ years with your little chi! In general, you’ll have to offer moderate walks at least every other day, and enough playtime to get tired. This breed would much rather spend their time with you, so they aren’t fit to be left alone for hours on end and are best for retirees or those that work from home.

Unfortunately, the popularity of chihuahuas has also made them one of the most abandoned breeds. We recommend looking into adoption since you’ll probably find pups of all ages looking for a loving home. Plus, adopting through puppy fostering is a great way to understand a dog’s personality and know if they fit with your lifestyle.

If you’re interested, here are some local chihuahua rescue groups around Australia:

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Because it was bred to be a lap dog, the Shih Tzu is one of the best dog breeds for apartments. This Chinese dog has a cheerful, loving character and enjoys being around its people. They also have bold personalities, which can make living together lots of fun, but training could be challenging.

With this breed, a bit of bribing and a treat at the right time can make the world of difference, so don’t underestimate the power of a delicious snack! In general, you’ll have to do some convincing but when they decide you are ‘their person’, they’ll try to make you happy.

Shih tzus are great with people and dogs of all ages. Once properly socialised, they can tolerate kids but do better in a home with calm children or just adults. Their grooming needs are significant, especially if you plan to let them grow their hair. Daily brushing is essential to avoid knots, and bath time can be long since it means conditioning, detangling and then drying their coat.

Energy-wise, these little guys only need moderate exercise and do better with a fast walk around the block every day.

Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier

The Aussie Terrier is a very high energy working dog that, because of its size and low shedding, could work as a medium sized apartment dog. In general, we don’t recommend working breeds for small spaces, but with the right family, the Australian terrier could be a good fit.

These are active dogs that need consistent activity outside of the home. If you don’t provide that, they might start showing other behaviours like destroying the home, nipping and anxiety. On the flip side, if you love the outdoors and want a companion for your adventures, this might be the right fit. Whether you jog, hike, or just enjoy walking every day, the Australian terrier will be happy to go with you.

This breed is very loyal and will generally get close to one person in the family. They don’t like spending lots of time alone so they are a better fit for people that stay at home or can bring their dog with them

Basenji

Basenji

Want a large apartment dog? Then the quiet Basenji might be a good fit. This rare breed has a unique larynx shape that makes it very difficult to bark. On the flip side, they do make a very distinct noise that sounds like a growl, and they are enjoying expressing themselves like that constantly. Either way, it’s more difficult for your neighbours to hear through the wall so it could be a good option for small apartment living. ´

Basenjis are smart and devoted to their owners. Training is straightforward, but you need to use consistency and positive reinforcement because this breed is pretty sensitive towards harsh words or mistreats. Basenjis also shed very little, and their coats are very short and shiny. This means dog hair on the couch will be minimal!

This breed is very active, so don’t choose it if you don’t like spending at least one hour outdoors every day. If they don’t exercise enough, they can become destructive and sometimes aggressive. Basenjis have a bold personality and like to let you know their thoughts on what’s happening. They are very communicative and expressive, so are great for people that love interacting with their animals. If you like independent pets, this might be the right fit. Once properly socialised, Basenjis tend to become rather cat-like and aren’t overly devoted to their people, even if they like spending time in the same room.


What Is The Right Apartment Dog For You?

Hopefully, we’ve made clear that the best apartment dog is the one that fits your current lifestyle. Regardless of their size, if you’re very active yourself having an active dog might not be an issue. On the flip side, if you don’t have time to dedicate to training, it might not be the right move to adopt a pup.

If you’re sure getting a dog is in your future, then we hope this list helped you make up your mind!

Did you find the right pup for you? Let us know!

References
  1. Pongrácz, P., et al., 2010. Barking in family dogs: an ethological approach. The Veterinary Journal, 183(2), pp.141-147. http://etologia.elte.hu/file/publikaciok/2009/PongraczMM2009.pdf
  2. Cross, N.J., et al, 2009. Risk factors for nuisance barking in dogs. Australian veterinary journal, 87(10). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1751-0813.2009.00484.x
  3. Siniscalchi, et al., 2018. Communication in dogs. Animals, 8(8),. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/8/8/131/pdf
  4. Paladini, A., 2020. The bark and its meanings in inter and intra-specific language. Dog behavior, 6(1). https://dogbehavior.it/dogbehavior/article/view/106  
  5. Molnár, C., et al., 2008. Classification of dog barks: a machine learning approach. Animal Cognition, 11(3), pp.389-400. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.503.4134&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Best Family Dogs Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

The Best Family Dog Breeds Commonly Found In Australia

Are you looking for the best family dog breed for your home? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

 We’ve gathered the best dog breeds for families with all the info you need to make up your mind. Your next puppy is waiting for you!

Families with their dogs.

What Is A Good Family Dog?

Before diving into the best family dog breeds, it’s important to understand what we’re talking about. ‘Good family dogs’ can be a very broad term, and it’s easy to get confused. What does it mean when a dog is good for families?

Of course, the answer will depend on your specific situation and your family. Your family might include kids, older adults, teenagers, or even other pets. It could also be a mix of any of these elements! Whatever your household looks like, a good family dog -for you- is the one that will fit into your home’s dynamic. Because of it, this isn’t a blanket term that means the same thing for everyone!

When looking for the best dog breed for families, here’s what you should consider depending on your situation:

  • Do you have children? – of course, adult supervision is a must if you’re bringing a dog into your home. As the guardian of both dog and child, it’s your responsibility to make sure they get along well, respect each other and stay safe. However, generally speaking, younger kids will need a more patient family dog that isn’t likely to snap at them even if they tug their ears or tail.

    Related: Best Dogs For Children.

  • Do you have older adults? – this consideration is similar to the one above. Generally speaking, older adults can’t deal with very rambunctious dogs. A pup that likes to run around the home and isn’t mindful of their surroundings might make someone with limited mobility fall down. Very large dogs in small spaces might also be an issue, as they might inadvertently step on someone’s toes or just hit someone with their wagging tail.
  • What is your lifestyle? – this has to do with how much attention and energy you can offer your new pup. If you’re busy with young kids and work, you’ll probably do better with an older dog that doesn’t need endless playtime or walks. If you love enjoying nature with family, choose a breed that wants physical activity.
  • Do you have space? – of course, this will narrow down your options, particularly if you live in a small space or your household is very crowded. Some dog breeds need a private space where they can get away from the noise and the hustle of everyday life. Some dogs want to stay with you at all times and might make your living quarters feel cramped. Larger dog breeds need bigger beds, but also space to run around and play. Toy-size breeds can be happy just running around your home. Consider these issues before choosing a dog breed for your family.
  • What’s your schedule like? – all dogs need lifelong training, but this is especially critical when they first enter your home. However, some breeds need a little more work during training, and this implies more hours dedicating to sessions and positive reinforcement.

Based on these considerations, you’ll have to make a list on what you need from your family dog. Make sure to note down your expectations regarding exercise needs, patience, energy level and size. Then, use that list to figure out your options or, even better, visit your local rescue centre to see if they have pups that fit your needs.


How To Find A Dog That’s Good For Families

Now that you have a better idea of what would make a dog good for your specific family situation, how do you find your ideal pup? At this point you have two options: find a responsible dog breeder or adopt a pup.

For first-time owners, we recommend visiting your local rescue centre before considering buying a purebred puppy.

Rescue and adoption centres are great to find family dogs because people there have first-hand knowledge of their dog’s personality. This is very different from adopting a newborn puppy, where your only indication of possible behaviours is the parent’s personality. If you get an older puppy (older than 6 months) they will already show their main personality traits, and you’ll have a better idea of their activity level, patience and overall character.

Related: Most Affectionate Dog Breeds.

Another benefit of adopting through a rescue centre is that many times dogs found here have been fostered. This means they already know how to live in a home setting, and their foster family will have even more knowledge to share about their personality.

What to do if you want a dog with a clear breed? Then check out any local breed rescue. In Australia, there are plenty of breed-specific rescues dedicated to helping specific breeds and their crosses, mainly because of their local popularity. Unfortunately, the most sought-after a dog breed is, the higher their abandonment rate is as well. If you’re interested in any of the family dog breeds we mention in this article, we’ve already linked some local breed rescues you can contact. They’ll probably have some pups waiting for a home just like yours?

Finally, it’s important to consider dog adoption will give these pups a new chance at life that most of them have never been offered. Rescued pups were generally abandoned at some point, taken out of dangerous situations or just plain rejected by their previous family. Most adopted dogs are thrilled to share their lives with you and will be a great companion for years to come.


The Best Family Dog Breeds in Australia

Considering that ‘family dog’ can be a generalisation, how did we come up with this list? We based it off of Pet Insurance Australia’s list of most popular dog breeds in Australia. Using their popularity with the breeds’ general personality, we cleaned up the list and came up with the best dog breeds for Aussie families. Do any of these sound like a good fit for your home?

Cavoodle

Cavoodle running

What you should know

Size

small

Coat length

medium to long

Energy level

high

Great with littles

yes

Trainability

easy to train

This is the moniker for dogs that are born from crossing a poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are small, fluffy and very loving. Plus, they thoroughly enjoy spending the evening on their people’s lap.

The Cavoodle has achieved the title of most popular dog in Australia! This shows that more and more people are leaning towards the so-called ‘designer breeds’, or dogs that come from crossing two pure breeds. This practice has been frowned upon, mainly because the rise in popularity also means there are more irresponsible breeders that bring puppies into the world, without a care for health and safety concerns.

PRO TIP: A word of caution about Cavoodle puppies in Australia

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very popular, but careless breeding through the decades has made this one of the most disease-prone dog breeds. In-breeding practices and unethical breeding have reinforced several inherited health conditions that are prevalent among purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and their crosses.

These issues are very serious and many of them are life-threatening and shorten their lifespan. In fact, more than 1 out of every 2 of these pups will have heart murmurs by age 5, and the percentage increases the older they get. This is something to consider before adopting any Cavalier King Charles puppies or a crossbreed, including Cavoodles. If you want to know more, check out the Cavalier Health site.

Cavoodles are great little pups for first-time owners since they are eager to please and enjoy praise, and because of this, many people think of them as the best dog for young families. They are very high energy, but because of their size, it’s easy for them to burn off lots of steam just running around the house and barking. Keep in mind they can become bothersome barkers if not properly trained, so thorough socialization to get them used to regular outdoor noises is essential.

Related: Complete Cavoodle Breed Profile.

In general, these pups are fairly adaptable and will gladly go on long walks with you as well as snuggle up for a movie marathon. Of course, they still need consistent walks, obedience training and dedication, but in general, it’s easy to get the hang of their care even if you don’t have much dog experience.

While some people think this crossbreed doesn’t shed, this isn’t true. Both the poodle and the cavalier shed, and depending on the curliness of your pup’s coat, you’ll have more or less shedding to clean up. Daily brushing and weekly grooming sessions are a must to keep this little one happy.

Maltese

Maltese

What you should know

Size

small

Coat length

long

Energy level

high

Great with littles

yes

Trainability

Easy for first-time owners. Loves to please

Looking for a small family dog? Then the spunky Maltese might be the right choice for you. This fluffy pup has a lively personality and enough brains to outsmart you. Due to its impressive looks and mellow character, Maltese and their crosses are a family favourite across Australia.

The good-looking Maltese has more to offer than its stunning looks. These small pups enjoy being part of everyday family dynamics and will do well in both small condos and sprawling homes. Thanks to their size, this breed only needs short walks to get their exercise needs in, but they can also get used to going on long walks or jogs with you.

On the other hand, because they are dedicated companions it’s very common for them to have separation anxiety, especially because people tend to skip training small dogs. To counteract this, you must focus on socialization and training to ensure your Maltese pup grows to be a balanced adult dog.

Maltese are great for first-time dog owners because of their people-pleasing personality and cuddly ways. However, their grooming might be too involved for many. Their naturally long coat reaches the floor and even though they don’t have an undercoat, daily brushing is essential to keep their skin healthy.

Because grooming their long hair can be very time-consuming, many families choose to clip their coat short into a ‘puppy cut’. This has the advantage of needing significantly less grooming, but you’ll need to make appointments at least twice a month to keep their hair short.

Labrador

Black Labrador

What you should know

Size

medium to large

Coat length

short

Energy level

high

Great with littles

yes

Trainability

easy

One of the classic family dogs, Labrador retrievers are popular for good reason. Their patience with grabby hands, happy personality and size has made this breed a family favourite for decades. Thanks to their sport ability, this is a very active dog that needs consistent exercise to be happy, but they also love a good snuggle on the couch!

If you love the outdoors, Labrador retrievers might be a great option for you. Good-natured and hard-working, these popular dogs are one of the world’s most popular breeds. Since they are so smart and generally sweet, they are easy to train and have been used as assistance, rescue and police dogs.

For first-time owners, Labradors are a great breed to learn training basics. They are pretty smart, love people and will be happy to please you as soon as they understand what’s asked of them. Keep in mind this is an active breed that loves to eat, so a consistent exercise schedule of at least 40 minutes a day is essential to avoid obesity.

If you intend to adopt a Labrador, you’ll need to find a good breeder or just adopt from a rescue. Because of their popularity, they are prone to inherited health issues that can be very painful like hip dysplasia. Ask your breeder for updated health screens for both parents and, if possible, your puppy.

In general, we recommend going the adoption route since so many Labradors are abandoned every year. Plus, retired Labradors often find themselves in need of a home even after years of training as therapy dogs, police dogs or eyesight dogs. Here’s a list of some Australian Labrador rescue groups where you can ask about adoptable pups:

Golden Retriever

Golden retriever

What you should know

Size

medium to large

Coat length

medium to large

Energy level

high

Great with littles

yes

Trainability

easy

Of course, we couldn’t make a list on the top family dogs without mentioning the Golden Retriever. This is a classic family dog breed for a reason: they are smart, even-tempered and enjoy spending time with the little ones.

This is a friendly breed that’s eager to please and enjoys spending time with their loved ones. Many first-time dog owners choose Golden Retrievers because their smarts mean training is relatively easy. Plus, if you have littles that want to partake in the puppy’s education, Goldens are a good option.

One of the main benefits of this breed is that they stay puppy-like throughout their adult years. In general, most Goldens are thrilled to share their life with you, cuddle on the couch and run errands. This breed loves their people, and they don’t do well when left at home all day. If you have a very busy life and your dog will stay alone for hours on end, reconsider getting a Golden. Of course, considering this is a large dog they do need consistent exercise. This means daily walks and a fenced-in yard are a must.

Keep in mind this is a long-haired dog and they shed significantly. Schedule daily brushing sessions and bi-monthly grooming to keep on top of the excess hair! On top of brushing, keeping your Golden Retriever healthy also involves consistent vet check-ups. Due to poor breeding practices, this breed is prone to several health issues like hip dysplasia, and cancer is also fairly common. Avoid any scares with regular visits to the doctor to make sure everything is working properly.

If a Golden Retriever seems like the right choice for your family, consider adoption. This is a very common breed in rescues, because many families buy irresponsibly and don’t fully understand the time commitment involved in dog ownership. Here’s a small list of rescues focused on rehoming Golden Retrievers. They have pups of all ages waiting for their forever home!

Border Collie

Border collie with a stick

Looking for a smart-as-a-whip, energetic family dog? Then the border collie could be the right choice. This is a family favourite because of their loving nature and amazing brains. Border collies are affectionate, but not every household will be the right fit. Here are the basics:

What you should know

Size

medium

Coat length

medium length

Energy level

very high

Great with littles

yes, but an adult needs to be the main handler. High prey drive around moving targets, including infants.

Trainability

easy but needs variety. Does best when challenged.

Border collies, when properly socialized, are loving with their family and wary of strangers. This is a working dog, so their activity needs are very high and you’ll need to supply the physical and mental stimulation they need to thrive. On the flip side, if you cannot provide this kind of consistent stimulation, border collies tend to become hyperactive, destructive, nippy and in some cases, aggressive.

Due to their working dog background, border collies are extremely attached to their owners even if they’d rather do things their way most of the time. But if you provide consistent exercise, they’ll be more likely to want to listen to your cues.

Related: Complete Border Collie Breed Profile.

However, because of their independent streak training can be hard even if they quickly grasp new cues. Border collies get bored really fast, and if they lose interest, they won’t listen to you anymore. Avoid any issues by providing challenging training sessions that they actually need to focus on to understand, coupled with a consistent exercise regime. Border collies excel at agility, scent work and tricks, so the world is your oyster!

If you’re interested in this breed, we recommend you get in touch with a local rescue. They’ll have first-hand knowledge of adoptable border collies and will have plenty of advice for new owners:

French Bulldog

Running French Bulldog

What you should know

Size

small

Coat length

short

Energy level

average

Great with littles

yes

Trainability

easy

If you’re looking for small family dogs for apartment living, a French bulldog might be the right choice. Small and easy to care for, Frenchies are some of Australia’s favourite family dog breeds because they are perfect for small living spaces. These funny pups shed minimally, love to cuddle and don’t need more than a short walk around the block to be happy. Is this the breed for you?

Funny and kind, French bulldogs are great for families looking for a pup. They are playful, loyal, smart and generally patient with grabby hands. Plus, since they have a flat snout, their exercise needs to be carefully monitored to avoid breathing issues. Because of it, French bulldogs need minimal daily exercise and will have to stay thin through their diet.

Another great thing about this breed is that they aren’t big barkers. Unlike other small family dogs, Frenchies are generally quiet and will only make noise if something is out of the ordinary. Of course, you’ll still have to socialize them to be well-adjusted pups, but overall, they are mellow little folks.

We highly recommend adopting instead of buying, since that way you’ll avoid getting a puppy mill dog that hasn’t been screened for any health issues, and you give a second chance to a pup that would otherwise be discarded. Here are some breed-specific French bulldog rescues in Australia where you can ask for adoptable pups:

Kelpie

Australian Kelpie

What you should know

Size

medium

Coat length

medium

Energy level

very high

Great with littles

under adult supervision and after being properly socialized. High prey drive.

Trainability

need some convincing. Focus on positive reinforcement and consistent exercise.

The Australian kelpie and their crosses are some of the most popular family dogs in the country. Their athletic looks, bold personality and hardworking character have helped them rise in popularity over the years.

However, this working dog isn’t the right fit for every household and is currently one of the dog breeds most frequently abandoned in Australia. Want to know if you should bring a kelpie into your home?

These hardworking herding dogs were specifically created to handle the rough Australian heat. They have endless energy that lets them run around in scorching temperatures, herd cattle, jump and keep an eye out for predators. Because of this, kelpies loathe staying at home. This breed thrives with daily activity, even better if they get to go with you on your daily errands.

Related: Complete Australian Kelpie Breed Profile.

Kelpies need consistent physical and mental stimulation to be happy. If left unattended, kelpies will become destructive and difficult to handle. Their strong prey drive also means they’ll chase after everything that moves, including running infants, cars, bikes and joggers. Avoid nipping and chasing by providing thorough socialization since puppyhood, and consistent exercise throughout their life. Training this breed can be difficult, since they need some convincing, usually in the form of plenty of treats. Plus, kelpies are very independent and smart, so whenever they get bored, they’ll stop paying attention to your cues.

In general, adopting a kelpie means using one to two hours per day to training and exercise, plus grooming and bonding time. If you’re very busy and cannot provide this dedicated time, then choose another breed. Countless kelpies are abandoned each year because families didn’t truly understand their needs, or just had too much to handle with young kids and a new pup.

While kelpies are good with the littles, an adult or experienced teen will have to be their main handler. Running, screaming kiddos can trigger their prey drive, so an adult will have to oversee these interactions to avoid issues like herding and nipping.

Because of these issues, we don’t recommend kelpies for first-time dog owners. But if you’re ready for a challenge, look into adopting a kelpie! Here are a few local rescues that can help you find your new best friend:


Final Thoughts

Did any of the pups in this list catch your eye? We hope our roundup of the best family dogs can help make up your mind. Let us know what’s your favourite family dog down below!

Best Dogs For Kids Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

The Best Dogs For Kids -
Breeds Common To Australia

Do you want your kids to have a best friend? Are your little ones just begging for a new puppy? If you think a new dog is in your future, it’s time to pick the right breed!

No worries, there’s no need to interview all your friends to know which dog to choose.

We’ve gathered the best dogs for kids in Australia, so you have in-depth knowledge of your options. Ready to bring the newest family member home?


Should You Get Your Kids A Dog?

Most children would love to have a puppy, and they will generally beg their parents relentlessly. However, adopting a dog for your kids is a big responsibility, and the entire household has to be on the same page about what it takes.

There are many benefits to adopting a puppy when children are young. For one, children who grow up with dogs tend to be statistically more responsible, caring and mindful of other’s needs [1]. Plus, taking care of their own dog will teach your kid compassion, consistency and help them establish a routine of their own. And having a happy dog running around the house will improve everyone’s mood.

However, owning a dog needs to be carefully supervised by a parent. Young kids will need reminding of what needs to be done, and children of all ages need to be held accountable. Plus, an adult will have to teach kids how to take care of their new puppy and lend a hand if they ask for help.

Deciding to get your kids a dog is a big thing, and it isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Your kid’s age. Young kids can love on dogs and play with them, but they won’t be able to take on their training or handling. Plus, the younger the kid the more there needs to be supervision when they interact with the puppy. This means that you as their guardian will be in charge of the bulk of training, playing and grooming. On the flip side, older children or teens might be better equipped to take on a heavier load when it comes to caring for their dog.
  • Your current lifestyle. Different households have different schedules, so choose a dog that will have similar needs to what your current lifestyle looks like. So, for example, if you have young kids that don’t sleep through the night and don’t have time to go on daily hour-long walks, an active breed is not for you. If on the flip side, you’re active people that go on camping trips every week, a larger, energetic pup could fit well.
  • Everyone’s expectations. Talk with everyone in the household and see what they expect from the new dog. Maybe you want a pup to go on runs with, or your partner wants a couch potato to Netflix and chill. Or maybe your kid wants to train the new dog on agility courses, or would just like a pup to go to the park and chill with friends. Or your kid is too young and a larger dog around them would make you uncomfortable. Whatever that is, discuss it. Then, make a list and sleep on it. Revisit the list constantly to see what’s ‘essential’ and what isn’t that necessary.

What Traits Make Dogs Good For Kids?

Hopefully by now you understand that the best dog for children is the one that fits into your needs and expectations as a household. This means there is no one-size-fits-all child friendly dog breed or a specific character trait that guarantees a dog will be the right choice for every kid.

There are, however, a few basic traits that most guardians look for when picking their kid’s first dog:

  • Patience. Kids, especially younger ones, can be oblivious to their own strength and movements. Children with dogs tend to grab them too forcefully, accidentally hit them or step on them, and just be too rough with them. Child-friendly dog breeds are better than others at tolerating these behaviors, while certain dogs will gently nip grabby hands to redirect them. If you’d rather avoid nipping, choose a patient breed.
  • Playfulness. Most kids will want to play with their furry companion, but some dogs just don’t love that. Certain breeds don’t have the energy to do it! Some dogs, like the Pekingese for example, will rather stay on the couch and supervise everything from above.
  • Gentleness. A large dog can knock down a small child by accident. This is in fact more common than you’d think, and chances increase the larger the dog. So Great Danes, for example, can easily tumble a toddler just with their wagging tail! If you have young kids, maybe go for medium-sized dogs that are more mindful of their own bodies.

Kid Friendly Dogs: What You Need To Know Before Adopting A Dog For Your Child

Before going to a breeder and getting a puppy, it’s important to consider a few basics to check your expectations.

No dog breed comes with a no-bite guarantee

Dogs use their teeth to communicate with their surroundings, and all dog breeds have the potential to bite. If you don’t take the time to properly care, socialise and train your dog, you won’t be able to control whether or not your child gets bitten.

On the other hand, happy, well-adjusted dogs usually won’t bite regardless of their breed, even if teased. So, while some breeds are generally more patient than others, tending to your dog’s needs and ensuring all interactions with kids are positive will greatly lower your chances of accidents happening.

Remember, if your dog and your child have a negative interaction, it’s ultimately your responsibility as their guardian. You need to oversee their relationship at all times, especially if your child and/or dog are young and still learning the ropes.

Even the best dog breeds for children need adult training

Whenever you are getting a new puppy or adopting a shelter dog, you need to do your homework. Before committing to dog adoption, you should ask yourself how much time you can dedicate to training, walking the dog and spending time with them. These tasks need to be carried out by an adult, or a responsible older teen.

On the other hand, there are some costs that you, as the parent, will have to cover even if the main handler is a teen. Vaccinations, desexing, and pet insurance are all regular expenses that you need to consider before adopting a puppy. Don’t pick a dog because they are cute! Remember that a dog is a decade-long commitment at the very least, and be prepared to financially provide for them.

PRO TIP: If you’ve never owned a dog but want to get one for your kids, consider fostering first. Fostering rescue puppies gives you the chance to see how would life be like with a dog, without taking a 10-year responsibility towards a living being. Fostering puppies will show you and the rest of the household what it takes to train and care for a dog, and you’ll see if the kids will help with the workload.

Do your research on dog behaviour

This is especially useful if you’ve never had a dog before, or if you’re nervous about possible nipping or biting with your kids.

First of all, not all teeth-showing is considered aggressive. Learn how to interpret a dog’s physical cues to detect when they are stressed, defensive or scared. This will give you the tools needed to deal with these emotions when they appear on your own dog.

PRO TIP: There are breed differences when it comes to aggressiveness. In this study, researchers found there are 3 dog aggression types: towards other dogs, towards strangers, and towards household members. Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Jack Russell Terriers showed the most serious aggression in all categories.

On the other hand, Australian Cattle Dogs showed it toward strangers, while American Cocker Spaniels and Beagles were statistically more aggressive toward owners. Finally, the study found that Golden/Labradors Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Brittany Spaniels, Greyhounds and Whippets were the friendliest toward both humans and dogs.

A dog’s age and sex can affect their behaviour

It’s common knowledge among dog behaviouralists that hormones can really change a dog’s personality. This is especially noticeable among young male dogs, that have way more energy and aggressive tendencies before being desexed.

This means that, on top of choosing child friendly dog breeds, you need to take care and desex your pup to lower any chances of aggression. In general, the younger the dog the higher the chances of them showing negative behaviours toward kids. This is caused by pent-up energy when you aren’t providing enough physical and mental stimulation. If you cannot provide ample exercise time for your dog to burn enough energy, consider getting an older dog or middle-aged adult that will be happier with a less active lifestyle.

Provide enough exercise

This ties in with the last point. A bored dog will have higher chances of getting aggressive, just because they have pent-up energy they aren’t burning. In fact, an Australian study about distress and feed-related aggression in dogs showed that dogs that consistently engaged in game-playing with their owners had a lower probability of aggressiveness.

If your dog is getting restless or destructive at home, don’t wait for it to become an aggression problem. Up their outdoor time, engage in mind games and provide challenging training to keep them busy and tired.

Choose soft-mouth dogs

Some breeds have been selected to have a ‘soft mouth’ or bite inhibition. This means they were selected generation after generation to be dogs that have a hard time biting down on stuff.

 Retriever dogs, like golden, Labradors and spaniels, were bred to have a soft mouth to retrieve animals during a chase. This doesn’t mean they’ll never bite a human, but it does make it less likely and, in the event, they do, they have significantly less jaw strength than mastiff-type dogs like bull terriers.


The Best Dogs For Kids

Now that you know what you need to consider before getting a dog for your little ones, it’s time for the fun part! Here are our top recommendations with the best dogs for toddlers and kids of all ages.

Labrador Retriever

Young girl training a Labrador puppy

The breed is friendly, patient, and trainable. Labs have lots of energy so are great for older toddlers. However, they are also happy to sit quietly and relax and will be more of a couch potato the older they get. The breed is extremely intelligent and versatile, and their training is relatively easy even if you and your kids are first-time dog owners.

Plus, if you love the outdoors, Labrador retrievers and goldens are great since they thoroughly enjoy spending time in nature and in the water. The average life expectancy of these gentle giants is between 10 and 12 years

Australian Shepherd (Aussies)

Little boy giving an Australian Shepherd a treat.

This breed is loyal, intelligent and boisterous. Despite its name, this popular breed originated in the United States. Aussies love home life, but their energetic nature can be too much for young children under 5. They are not very tolerant of smaller pets, because they have a strong prey drive, herding instinct and love to chase.

On the flip side, they love other dogs and are the happiest in a multi-dog household. Aussies need tons of activity to stay happy, as well as consistent mental stimulation in the form of challenging training and games.

This is a good breed for active people that have the time to properly socialize and train their new pup.

Miniature Fox Terrier (Mini Foxie)

Miniature Fox Terrier

In Australia, this breed was developing as a mouser. As a result, this dog is small but agile, fast, and fun-spirited. It closely resembles the American toy fox terrier, the Jack Russell, or rat terrier, but this breed is not recognised by any kennel clubs.

They are very healthy and can live up to 18 years. Because of their terrier side, they have great personalities and do well with both children and older adults.

Pug

Young girl about to be licked by a pug dog.

This breed is originally from China, where they developed their flat noses. Bred to be a lap dog, pugs are even-tempered, charming, mischievous and loving. Keep in mind they might develop health issues due to poor breathing, and they cannot engage in heavy exercise because they risk overheating easily.

Considering their minimal exercise needs and cuddly nature, this sweet pup is great for small kids and will be part of the home for around 14 years.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffies)

Young boy and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier hugging.

Staffies have a reputation as sweet-natured, people-oriented pets, being a patient nanny dog for kids. In fact, because of their stocky build and friendly demeanour, this is one of the best dog breeds for young children. They are very patient with grabby hands, and rarely bite even when handled poorly. Staffies know how to recognise children and have the patience of a monk when it comes to their antics.

Related: Complete Staffy Breed Profile.

However, to make sure they get along with other dogs and pets, socialisation is key. Staffies can become very protective, meaning thorough exposure to different people, pets and environments since early puppyhood is a must. They also need daily structured playtime to burn off energy, as well as consistent training to ensure a good recall.

German Shepherd

little girl hugging a German Shepherd puppy.

German Shepherds are large working dogs originally developed for herding sheep. Nowadays, this breed is a favourite for households looking for a guard dog that love and protect their pack. These pups are extremely loyal and easy to train, but do get bored easily and can make up their own ‘jobs’ to pass the time. Because of it, consistent outdoor exercise in all weather is a must to keep them happy.

Keep in mind German Shepherd puppies are renowned for their savage teething, where they chew up furniture, shoes and destroy everything around them. Get ready and buy plenty of chewable toys to redirect that behaviour through positive reinforcement.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

Bit controversial right? Hear me out.

Like Aussies, this athletic breed isn't for new owners or those with a sedentary lifestyle. Due to their amazing intelligence, loyalty, and eagerness to please, they are highly trainable.  However, this breed has very high exercise needs and get bored easily. They require constant attention and a consistent exercise schedule to stay happy.

Related: Most Loyal Dog Breeds Australia.

Keep in mind they love being outside and will thrive with outdoor activities such as frisbee, agility and flyball. If you have young children, an adult will have to be the main handler and your Cattle Dog will need to have a place to get away from the kid noises. Their herding nature might make it more difficult to live with running, screaming kids, but with proper, patient socialisation and enough exercise, it can be done.

Mixed-Breed Dogs

Three mix breed dogs

Of course, we couldn’t end this roundup of great dogs for kids without mentioning the mixed breed pups. These are the ones that are most frequently found in pounds and rescues, waiting for their forever home.

Generally speaking, mixed-breed dogs tend to be physically healthier than pure-breed ones, and are very loving. Plus, adopting a rescue dog can be a highly fulfilling experience for your children, since they’ll understand the importance of lending a hand, giving second chances and sharing life with one of the most loyal pups you’ll find.


Final Thoughts

Adopting a dog, even if it’s for your children, is a very big commitment. It’s important to remember that you are as responsible for your child’s safety not your dog, so keeping them both healthy and happy it’s your job.

Pets, like kids, need a ton of love, time and attention, and everyone in the household needs to be ready to fulfil those needs. But if you’ve carefully considered your options, are ready to provide enough training and outdoor activity, you’ll have a lot of fun with your kids and your new pup.

As always, we recommend adopting instead of buying from a breeder. For one, adoption prevents feeding into the dangerous puppy mill cycle where many dogs are bred irresponsibly every year. And on the other hand, rescuing a dog from a life in the pound or even death row can be a valuable lesson for kids. Check out these rescues to see if there are any adoptable pups ready for a meet and greet:

References
  1. Crowell-Davis S. L. (2008). Aggressive dogs: assessment and treatment considerations. Compendium (Yardley, PA), 30(5), 274–280. Available here.
  2. Wallis, L. J., Szabó, D., & Kubinyi, E. (2020). Cross-Sectional Age Differences in Canine Personality Traits; Influence of Breed, Sex, Previous Trauma, and Dog Obedience Tasks. Frontiers in veterinary science, 6, 493. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2019.00493
  3. Duffy, D. L., Hsu, Y., & Serpell, J. A. (2008). Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 114(3-4), 441-460. https://www.csus.edu/indiv/m/merlinos/pdf/2008breeddifferences.pdf
  4. McGreevy, P. D., & Masters, A. M. (2008). Risk factors for separation-related distress and feed-related aggression in dogs: additional findings from a survey of Australian dog owners. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 109(2-4), 320-328. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159107001049
  5. Michigan state university. The benefits of a family pet. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the_benefits_of_a_family_pet

The Most Loyal Dog Breeds Found in Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

Loyal Dog Breeds Australia -
The Overview

Are you looking for a pup to round up your family? Would you rather have a fiercely faithful dog to enjoy spending time with? We’ve got you covered!

Today we’re covering a few of the most loyal dog breeds found in Australia.

Our experts rounded up the smartest, most family-oriented dogs that will love sharing your life. Ready to find your forever companion?


What Makes a Dog Loyal?

We could argue that, generally speaking, a well-adjusted dog regardless of the breed will also be a loyal dog. Of course, there are some nuances that will depend on your dog’s unique personality: some pups will be surprisingly loving and dedicated to their family, while others can come across as more aloof.

In general, loyal dogs will enjoy spending time with their family and want to share their everyday life. They’ll also want to defend their people if they feel threatened, and have a strong personality overall.

It’s important to remember that a dog’s personality goes beyond its breed, and there’s a lot of variabilities even within the same litter! To figure out if a dog is loyal, it might be a good idea to consider rescuing and adopting an older dog. These pups already have a clear personality, and in many cases, rescues will let you spend time with them before actually going through any paperwork.

Plus, you’ll be saving a life and they’ll be grateful to have a family again!


Most Loyal Dogs in Australia

Border Collie

Loyal Border Collie


Dog breed group

Herding Dog Group

Height

53 cm for males, around 50 cm for females

Weight

14-20 kg for males, 12-19 kg for females

Life span

12-15 years

Of course, we couldn’t do a list of the most loyal dog breed without mentioning the Border Collie! This popular Australian dog breed is considered one of the smartest dogs in existence. Here’s what you should know about them:

Personality

These affectionate dogs love to spend time with their owners, particularly if you’re work buddies! While not particularly outgoing, once a border collie recognises you as ‘theirs’, they won’t want to leave your side.

A well-adjusted, socialised border collie is warm with their family, and wary of strangers. This breed shouldn’t be shy or aggressive, they’d just rather survey the action from afar.

Because they are very sensitive to noise and movement, hosting gatherings at home or going to very crowded places isn’t always enjoyable for border collies. If you do want to host, it’s important to provide your pup with a secluded space where they can retreat if they feel overwhelmed. An over-stimulated border collie won’t respond quickly to cues, and might get hyperactive or nippy.

Related: Border Collie Breed Profile.

Are border collies loyal?

Yes! Because of their working background, they develop very strong bonds with their handler through everyday interaction. Once they recognise you as part of their family, a border collie will trust you completely and look up to you to determine the safety of people and new environments.

Trainability

This is common knowledge, but it bears repeating: border collies are very smart! This means they’ll quickly get what’s asked of them… but they’ll also try to outsmart you. A border collie will want to solve problems themselves, after all, that’s what they were born to do!

As herding dogs, they were given a task and they were in charge of accomplishing it, regardless of the method. Because of it, training a pet border collie can pose very specific challenges. According to different rescue groups, not every household is the right fit for this breed!

Border collies need consistency, positive reinforcement training, and structure. They’ll thrive with mental challenges and daily exercise sessions.

Who is this breed for?

If you love the outdoors, already spend a fair amount of time exercising, and don’t particularly enjoy large gatherings, a border collie could be a good option. this breed is great with kids and will enjoy being their playmate, but an adult or responsible older teen needs to be their main handler. Training is essential, so experience adopting other working breeds or a willingness to take classes will make owning this dog easier for everyone.

Border Collie Rescues in Australia

Still think this is the right choice for you? Then consider adopting an older pup! Adult dogs and older puppies are very frequently found in pounds and rescues because many people don’t understand the difficulties that come with raising a border collie.

We recommend getting in touch with your local RSPCA or rescue. They’ll probably have a few adoptable pups for you to meet!


Blue Heeler

Loyal Blue Heeler


Dog breed group

Herding Dog Group

Height

50 cm to 35 cm tall

Weight

13 to 25 kgs

Life span

10 to 13 years

The Australian blue heeler, or Australian cattle dog, is an energetic shepherd fit for active families. If you want a dog to spend every day with, this is the right pup for you. Here’s what you should know before taking the leap:

Personality

These hardworking dogs have become a family favourite because of their loyalty and smarts. These compact, muscular pups were made to run for hours on end under the harsh Australian sun. Because of it, they have seemingly endless energy to run and play.

Despite their strong prey instinct, Cattle dogs are very loving and get along well with children and other pets once properly socialised. This breed stays alert all day long, and will only cuddle on the couch after a long day at work. Cattle dogs are demanding and like to have your attention, so bringing them with you to work and run errands is your best option.

Blue heelers enjoy independent work that’s mentally challenging. However, this kind of stimuli can be pretty hard to reach through your typical puppy training session. Because of it, many blue heeler owners choose to enrol in herding training, agility and other physically demanding tasks that also use lots of mental energy.

Are blue heelers loyal?

Like other herding pups, cattle dogs are incredibly loyal. These dogs form strong forms with their families, protect their food and toys, and tend to be wary of new people. While this is great if you’re looking for a loyal dog, it also means you need to socialise early and consistently to limit animosity towards strangers.

Blue heelers also make our list of the best guard dog breeds.

Trainability

These are smart cookies, so you won’t have any issues making them understand new cues. On the flip side, they do get bored pretty fast, so providing consistent mental stimulation is just as important as a daily exercise schedule.

Try to incorporate training sessions after a good workout, to make sure your heeler is slightly tired and they have an easier time focusing on you. Without proper exercise, cattle dogs tend to misbehave and will destroy your home. If left unattended, the problem can grow and cattle dogs can start showing aggressive behaviours, particularly towards new people or those they just don’t like, such as neighbours, mail workers and visitors.

Who is this breed for?

Experienced dog owners with a fenced yard, and would love to share their active lifestyle with their cattle dog. These dogs need consistency, positive training and commitment to lifelong learning from their owners. If you’d rather snuggle on the couch than go for a hike, this isn’t the dog for you!

Cattle dog rescues in Australia

Because of its rising popularity, more and more blue heelers end up abandoned in rescues and shelters. If you’ve researched this breed and are sure it’s the right fit, we recommend adopting an older dog. You’ll find from 5-month pups to retired farm dogs in need of a forever home!


Kelpie

Loyal Kelpie


Dog breed group

Foundation Stock Service (AKC), Herding Dog Group (UKC)

Height

40 cm to 34 cm tall

Weight

13 to 25 kgs

Life span

10 to 13 years

Looking for an active, hardworking pup with fun a personality? Then the Australian kelpie could be for you. These Aussie natives are the local version of the old ‘working collie’, and have all the personality of an independent, smart herding dog.

Despite their great disposition, kelpies might not be the right choice for most people. Here’s what you should know about them!

Personality

Bred to withstand the harsh Australian weather, kelpies are a very hardworking breed with lots of energy. Since they were raised to handle sheep and cattle without supervision, they tend to work independently. Nevertheless, working alongside their owner is something they enjoy.

Keep in mind kelpies are still bred mostly as working dogs, so these independent, hardworking traits are a priority. Because of it, when adopted as pets, new kelpie owners can have a hard time adapting their lifestyle to this unique pup.

This breed doesn’t like staying at home for hours on end and will thrive with daily activity. Office workers with long schedules and not a lot of outdoor hobbies won’t be able to provide enough mental stimuli and physical activity this breed needs. If you don’t offer both mental and physical stimulation, kelpies can get destructive and even aggressive. Get ready, you’ll have to give them at least one long walk per day, and kelpies do best when they can be part of your everyday life.

Overall, this breed is great for people that enjoy having dogs with lots of personality, some sense of humour and very active.

Related: Kelpie Breed Profile.

Are kelpies loyal?

Yes. Like other working dog breeds, kelpies develop very strong bonds with their families and will go to great lengths to protect their own. On the flip side, this breed isn’t at all aggressive and shouldn’t be trained as a guard dog.

As long as you treat your kelpie with kindness, reward their good behaviour and laugh with them you’ll be happy.

Trainability

These dogs are very smart and were bred to work independently. Out of all Australian working breeds, this is the one that can come across as more stubborn, simply because they’d rather do things their way. Of course, this isn’t always the case, so training and early socialisation are key to help them trust you. These are very sensitive pups so using positive reinforcement and praise is the only way to get results during training. You shouldn’t have too much trouble teaching them new cues, since they are extremely smart!

While kelpies are good-natured, their herding instincts are very strong. As pets, they can become avid chasers and run after kids, cars and everything that moves. To avoid it, you’ll have to get them used to the noises and movements of a home, while also providing a safe place where they can stay if they feel overwhelmed.

If you’re interested in adopting a kelpie, you’ll have to figure out a daily exercise schedule. Mental stimulation is also very important, and without it, kelpies can develop behavioural issues. In general, this breed is easy to train but they get bored fast, so challenging them with new tricks or special abilities like agility training is the best option to keep them busy.

Who is this breed for?

Families with or without kids that love to spend time outdoors and are willing to socialise their kelpie from a young age. Gentle redirection and positive reinforcement will go a long way, while patience and some humour are great to deal with their creative antics!

Kelpie rescues in Australia

Kelpies have become more popular as family dogs in recent years. However, this is still mainly a working breed and many families aren’t ready for that kind of commitment. Because of it, many kelpies end up at rescues and without loving homes.

We encourage you to look into adopting an older kelpie puppy or an adult dog, since they’ll have a more established personality and you’ll be able to gauge whether you’re a good fit. Here’s a small list to start with:


Golden Retriever

Loyal Golden Retriever


Dog breed group

sporting group

Height

40 cm to 54 cm tall

Weight

28 to 35 kgs

Life span

10 to 12 years

We couldn’t do a list of the most loyal dog breeds without mentioning the devoted golden retriever. This classic family dog became a worldwide favourite for a reason! However, they might not be the right choice for everyone. Here’s what you should know about them:

Personality

This smart, even-tempered dog is great with kids. They have the patience of a monk, even if grabby hands are pulling on their hair! Goldens are kind, smart and generally mellow, so they fit into a variety of lifestyles.

A well-adjusted golden retriever will be friendly with everyone and will retain that puppy happiness for the majority of their lives. Since most goldens are eager to please, they make great first pets for children or even for busy families without a lot of time to train.

Are golden retrievers loyal?

Yes! Goldens are very dedicated to their family and love spending time together. While they aren’t good guard dogs, they love to follow their people around and make friends with neighbours, mail workers, visitors and passers-by.

Trainability

Considering their smarts, it’s not a surprise this breed is so easy to train. They love to please and will tend to do as told. Of course, some issues might need specific attention, such as excessive jumping to greet people and mouthiness.

Overall, goldens only need some consistency and patience to learn the basics. While they can enrol in agility and more complex work training, they also do well in a more relaxed family environment where their only job is playing with the kids.

Who is this breed for?

Anyone! Unlike the breeds we mentioned previously, golden retrievers aren’t especially difficult to handle and with some training, they’ll be great family dogs. Of course, you’ll still need daily walks and weekly runs, but it’s significantly less exercise than herding breeds.

If you’re looking for a friendly, responsive dog with lots of patience, this is probably a good choice.

Golden retriever rescues in Australia

Despite their calm and friendly nature, golden retrievers and golden retriever mix breeds are fairly common in rescues and shelters. Many people don’t consider the shedding and dedication needed to train a dog.

Plus, the proliferation of puppy mills and irresponsible breeders results in many puppies being thrown out. Consider adopting a pup and offering a forever home to a lonely dog!


French Bulldog

Loyal French Bulldog


Dog breed group

non-sporting group

Height

20 cm to 25 cm tall

Weight

less than 14 kgs

Life span

10 to 12 years

Looking for a small loyal dog breed to keep you company? Then the French bulldog might be the right choice for you! Here’s what you should know about this pup:

Personality

These little goofballs are one of the most popular dog breeds for a reason, mainly their adaptability to city living. Playful, loyal and alert, the French bulldog packs a lot of personality in a little bundle. Perfect for those with limited space!

This is a smart dog breed. Yes, frenchies tend to stay alert but rarely bark, so many apartment-dwelling families choose them as a result. Due to their flat snout, also called brachycephaly, they cannot physically do lots of outdoor exercise. This means that a couple of walks around the block will be enough to fulfil their exercise needs.

Frenchies love human interaction and always want to be the centre of attention. On the flip side, they don’t think of themselves as smart, and won’t back down if they encounter a fight. Socialisation is key to let them know other dogs aren’t a danger to them or their family.

Are French bulldogs loyal?

yes! Like other bulldog-type pups, they tend to guard and protect what they consider ‘theirs’. And, considering they enjoy humans so much, their people become property pretty soon! In general, frenchies are more interested in spending time with you than getting to know new dogs.

Trainability

Frenchies are smart, so getting them to understand new cues isn’t too hard. Getting them to do as they’re told might be another story! Since they are so smart, French bulldogs want to push boundaries and enjoy making you laugh. Once they get the gist of any new cue, they’ll try to do it their own way, or get bored too fast.

With some consistency and positive reinforcement, they’ll soon learn what you need them to do. Of course, use praise and treats to kickstart the process!

Who is this breed for?

People living in small spaces who want a calm, relaxed dog to snuggle with.

French bulldog rescues in Australia

Looking for a Frenchie of your own? Adopting a French bulldog in Australia is possible and very recommended. By getting an older puppy or adult dog, you’ll understand their personality better and will be giving a second chance to an abandoned dog!

Here are some rescues to check out:


Final Thoughts

Your search for a loyal dog breed is finally over! We hope today’s roundup helped make up your mind and you’ll soon find the right companion for your lifestyle. Let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Low Energy Dogs – The Easy Going Breeds Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

Low Energy Dogs -
The Lazy Day Breeds

Low energy dog breeds don’t need as much exercise… and are great for people living in small spaces!

So-called lazy dog breeds do well being couch potatoes for most of the day, and love snuggling up with their family.

If you’re looking for the right breed for your current lifestyle, check out our roundup. You’ll surely find a good fit!


Are There Lazy Dog Breeds?

If you’re looking for dogs that don’t need much exercise or you don’t have much time to dedicate to a new pup, you might be wondering if you can find a "lazy dog breed" to bring home.

The short answer is yes, some dogs need less exercise than others. But really, it’s important to understand dogs will always be active animals.

If your dog is always sleeping and doesn’t want to move, there’s a high chance they aren’t feeling well and you should talk to a vet ASAP. However, there are variations, and some pups are definitely better suited to very active people. There’s a big difference between dogs that need at least one to two hours of moderate exercise per day, to those that will do well with a consistent 15-minute walk around the block.

PRO TIP: Learn to tell the difference between a dog that enjoys sleeping or is naturally less active, or sick. Pups that aren’t feeling well will have a hard time getting up, will seem uninterested in things they used to like -food, play, cuddles-, might complain if you touch them a certain way and won’t like to play.

If you’re very busy with life, or just have a sedentary life in general, choosing one of the so-called lazy dog breeds might be a good option. Those pups can live happy and healthy lives with overall less activity. Keep in mind they’ll still need some level of daily movement, be that in the form of play sessions or a short walk.

Sounds like your ideal dog? We’ve gathered the best dogs for lazy owners, aka, our favourite low exercise dogs perfect for your lifestyle.


Low Energy Dogs That You’ll Love

English Bulldog

english bulldog laying upside down


Activity level

4/10

Perfect for

families with kids. These dogs are great ‘nannies.

Weight

20 to 30 kg

Size

around 30 cm

Lifespan

8 to 10 years

Why they’re a great option:

Because of the specific shape of their head and their overall build, English bulldogs are known to be cuddly and courageous couch potatoes.

This breed was created in the late eighteenth century as bull-fighting dogs, but once blood sports were banned, they became loving family pets. Energy-wise, these can definitely be great for busy people. Their short legs and stocky build prevent them from being able to run or jump for very long. With this breed, short consistent walks are the way to go. Be careful with stairs if you want to adopt an English bulldog: their legs might be too short for the height and falling down can be a serious hazard to their joint health.

English bulldogs are one of the lazy dog breeds that do not shed much hair, since their thick, short coat needs minimal brushing. Of course, you’ll find some dog hairs here and there but since every hair is so short, it shouldn’t be a problem. Overall, a good brushing twice a week will be enough to keep their skin healthy and their coat shiny.

Keep in mind this breed is considered brachycephalic, meaning they have a very short muzzle and breathing can be difficult. To keep your pup safe, you need to watch out on hot summer days, or any time they seem winded. Travel with English bulldogs can also be limited to car trips only since many airlines have a ban on brachycephalic breeds.

PRO TIP: If you’re getting an English bulldog from a breeder, make sure they are registered with the national association, and can provide health certificates for at least the mother on their joint health and a cardiac exam.

This cuddly breed is perfect for families of all sizes, even those with young children, since these pups are known to be patient and love to snooze on the couch.


Chihuahua

Sleeping Chihuahuas


Activity level

6/10

Perfect for

a family looking for a pup that’s full of personality

Weight

3 kg or less

Size

up to 26 cm

Lifespan

14 to 18 years

Why they’re a great option:

Chihuahuas aren’t really low energy dogs, but they are so small that they can get plenty of exercise just by staying at home. As a result, many consider this breed one of the best dogs for lazy owners. However, keep in mind they are very smart, and their physical energy can spike when they are bored. To help with this, offer plenty of interactive toys to keep their brain busy and entertained.

The good thing about a chihuahua’s small size is that you can fulfil their activity requirements at home, even if you live in an apartment. If you’d rather skip daily walks, a game of tug-of-war, making them chase a ball or even running zoomies on the backyard or living room will be enough. Of course, going on a 30-minute weekly adventure will also help curb your chihuahua’s energy and ensure they stay mellow the rest of the week.

Despite their small size, chihuahuas are bold little dogs with plenty of personality. In fact, they need to be properly socialized from a young age or they’ll become big barkers, even nipping at strange people, dogs, kids and everything else. This means you’ll need to dedicate time to socialization and focus on rewards to foster good behaviour.

Keep in mind obesity is very common among chihuahuas, so having an eye on proper nutrition is key for them to stay healthy. Besides that, this breed is healthy and tends to live a long life, with some pups reaching up to 20 years old. They’ll still need regular vet check-ups, particularly as puppies since they tend to have issues with teething. Because of it, your vet might have to take some teeth out


Greyhound

Greyhound Dog Laying Down


Activity level

4/10

Perfect for

households with no children, or with older children that can handle a pet gently

Weight

30 to 35 kg

Size

around 60 cm.

Lifespan

10 to 13 years

Why they’re a great option:

Greyhounds might be the holy grail for people looking for lazy dog breeds. These gentle giants are huge, but surprisingly love to spend their days cuddled on a cosy padded surface. Greyhounds might not be for every household, but if you welcome one into your life, they’ll make the greatest companions for home bodies!

This breed was born to run, hence their long limbs and sleek profile. However, they only have the energy for short bursts of speed, and endurance isn’t their thing at all. Of course, a greyhound will still need some consistent exercise, but it’s nowhere near most dogs of this size. With a daily 30-minute walk they’ll be quite happy. If you have a fenced yard where they’ll be able to do their zoomies a couple of times a day, you can skip the daily walk altogether and just make it a weekly event.

These pups are very gentle by nature, and love being in homes where they can become daily companions. Because of their unique build, long bones and minimal fatty tissue, these aren’t dogs meant for outdoor living. If you’d rather have a dog stay outside most of the day, or even sleep outside, this isn’t the right option. However, if you’re willing to share your sofa and offer a plush bed, a greyhound will be thrilled to have you.

PRO TIP: This breed has very delicate skin and can get superficial injuries easily. Make it a habit of looking over their bodies every time you brush them to make sure they didn’t scratch themselves.

Another plus with greyhounds is they are fairly quiet. A greyhound won’t bark unless they are scared, which happens infrequently. They’re great if you already have a calm house, or you have other quiet dogs. Keep in mind this breed tends to have short but powerful bursts of energy that will have them running around for a couple of minutes before they turn into a pro couch potato again. This means apartment living is probably not the best choice, unless you don’t mind keeping your décor to a minimum.

Even though this breed has a strong prey drive because of their racing instincts, they can learn to get along with small pets like cats. Of course, it’s your responsibility as their prospective owner to make sure both animals are properly socialized before meeting. We’ve known of several cases of greyhounds that love their kitties, so even if it demands some prep work on your part, it is possible.

PRO TIP: If you’re interested in this breed, look into rescuing one. Racing breeds like greyhounds are retired very young, usually around 2 years old, and you’ll get all the benefits of adult dog adoption while also enjoying many years together.

There are a number of great greyhound rescue groups such as Grey Hound Rescue that will help you find the perfect canine life partner.


Basset Hound

Basset Hound lying on its back


Activity level

2/10

Perfect for

work-from-home people that love a good cuddle

Weight

20 to 30 kg.

Size

up to 30 cm.

Lifespan

12 to 13 years

Why they’re a great option:

Because of their short legs and sturdy build, these dogs are simply not made for strenuous activity. This breed loves a good nap and tends to doze off for up to 18 hours a day! In contrast, this doesn’t take from their playfulness: bassets love to have pup friends, enjoy short walks and excel at scent games. If you figure out games they’ll love, you’ll have hours of fun alongside your pup. The best part? They’ll probably take a long nap right after you two get home.

On the flip side, bassets are very independent dogs since they were bred to work on their own. This can make training difficult since they tend to be very stubborn and want to solve problems their way. Yes, your basset hound will probably need a better reward than your typical ‘good job!’ cue. To make training enjoyable for both of you, use positive reinforcement, find what motivates them -usually treats or play- and brace yourself for a long process. If you approach training as a way of forming a strong bond with your pup, soon enough you’ll have the basic commands down.

PRO TIP: Want a quiet and calm basset hound? Then offer proper mental entertainment. Even though they don’t need long workouts, this is a smart breed. When they’re bored, they can become destructive and howl whenever they’re left alone. Keep the problems to a minimum by offering plenty of attention and stimulating their brains with a few dog puzzle toys.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs resting


Activity level

3/10

Perfect for

Anyone! This gentle breed is great with seniors, children and other pets.

Weight

5 to 9 kg.

Size

20 to 30 cm

Lifespan

12 to 15 years

Why they’re a great option:

This happy, well-mannered pup is great for most people, especially if you’re looking for a loving and smart lap dog to keep you company. These small dogs are gentle, but can also keep up with an active lifestyle.

In general, moderate consistent activity is the best option for this breed. This means a short daily walk and some supervised time in a fenced yard. Cavies can be considered a low energy smaller dog since they thoroughly enjoy spending time with you on the couch. Because of their gentle nature, many seniors love this breed.

Even though this breed is lovable and will fit most people’s lifestyles, it’s important to mention their health issues. Because of in-breeding and careless breeding, this is one of the breeds with the most genetic issues. For example, cavaliers are notorious for suffering from mitral valve disease or MVD, a relatively common heart condition that typically affects seniors only. However, cavaliers are known to have higher rates of MVD at a younger age. Careless breeding has also caused this breed to be more prone to neurological conditions. Since the breed standard favours a smaller head, irresponsible breeders have created dogs with skulls that are significantly smaller than the brain. This creates pressure and makes them suffer from headaches, seizures and serious issues like syringomyelia.

While not all cavaliers will suffer from these conditions, you need to consider responsible breeding practices before buying a puppy. Thoroughly run a background check on your breeder, and if at all possible, stick to responsible adoption through a rescue. Many breed-specific rescues focus on rehabilitating puppy mill survivors, and there are plenty of cavalier rescue groups in Australia such as the Cavalier Rescue.


Pekingese

Pekinese dog with puppy


Activity level

5/10

Perfect for

home buddies without kids looking for a striking lapdog

Weight

around 5 to 7 kg.

Size

up to 20 cm tall

Lifespan

12 to 14 years

Why they’re a great option:

This breed was born as a royal companion to the Chinese monarchy, and it’s evident when you look at them! Despite their size, this small pup carries themselves with unique poise. The Pekingese became famous for their ‘lion mane’, their striking coat that surrounds their neck and creates a fluffy halo.

Energy-wise, this short-muzzled dog loves to move but can’t endure harsh activity. Because of it, we consider it a low-energy small dog since a very short walk around the block will suffice. Plus, their small size ensures they can get plenty of exercise indoors just following you around.

These dogs are poised and independent, and many times can be considered stubborn. While they love to spend time with their families, they prefer calm cuddles and don’t do well with rambunctious children. These little pups will snip if annoyed, and owners should work on consistent socialization to avoid issues when meeting new people or dogs. With their people, Pekingese are very affectionate pups and tend to love going places with you.

Because they are very smart, you need to provide your ‘peke’ with plenty of opportunities to think. A consistent training schedule is great for this, as well as dog brain toys to play with.

Even though we’re placing it on this list, Pekingese need a fair amount of grooming to stay healthy and happy. Even if you don’t have time to take them on long daily walks, you’ll have to spend a good chunk of your day brushing and combing through their mane. Some owners keep their peke’s coat trimmed to avoid the daily brushing, but this gives the dog an entirely different look. Plus, because of their long hair, the shedding is real! Get ready for a home covered in fur all through spring and the beginning of summer.

PRO TIP: Keep in mind this is a brachycephalic breed, so you need to avoid overexerting them in hot weather, leaving them in the car and travelling without AC. Pups with short muzzles like the Pekingese are more likely to overheat, have trouble breathing and faint due to excessive physical activity.


Mastiff

English Mastiff dogs having a rest


Activity level

4/10

Perfect for

those with a big yard and a bigger sofa

Weight

80 to 100+ kgs

Size

60 cm and up

Lifespan

6 to 10 years

Why they’re a great option:

Looking for big lazy dog breeds? It doesn’t get much larger than the mastiff. Also known as English mastiff, this ancient breed was created to protect warriors and households as back as the roman empire… and now they love to snuggle on the couch.

Large and heavy-boned, mastiffs are great protectors that do better with shorter, consistent activity. Because of it, a fenced yard to walk in, and one shorter walk per day is enough to keep them happy. Of course, as with most large breeds, obesity is a concern. To avoid weight issues down the road, carefully measure your dog’s daily intake and feed according to their weight. Up to 24 months of age, you shouldn’t overexercise your mastiff pup to avoid disturbing their growing bones.

Mastiffs are easy to groom and will do well with a thorough brushing once a week. Health-wise, their large size makes this breed more likely to suffer from joint dysplasia, ligament ruptures as well as eye troubles.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, finding a dog breed for lazy owners isn’t as difficult as it might seem. We hope this round up made your decision easier!

References
  1. American kennel club. English bulldog. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bulldog/
  2. Retired Racing Greyhounds. 10 reasons not to adopt a greyhound. https://www.retiredracinggreyhounds.com/10reasons.html
  3. American Kennel Club. Greyhound. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/greyhound/
  4. American Kennel Club. Basset hound. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/basset-hound/
  5. American kennel club. Cavalier king Charles spaniel. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/cavalier-king-charles-spaniel/
  6. Spruce pets. The Pekingese dog. https://www.thesprucepets.com/pekingese-dog-breed-profile-4685682