People sometimes think when they decide they want to get a dog, all they have to do is head to the pound or the pet shop and pick out one that is cute and seems to stand out to you. Sometimes you get lucky, but sometimes you can make a huge mistake. Finding a dog is a little like searching for a best friend-- you need someone who is compatible with your lifestyle if you intend to be happy together and get along. You have to not just consider the kind of dog you want, but the kind of lifestyle you lead and which breeds have traits that will fit into it better.
Irish Water Spaniel
Busy Adult Wanting Protection
You work and you like to go out at least a couple of nights each week. When you leave, no one is home most of the time. You'd like a dog to be there for those times you are home, and possibly to protect your property while you're gone or alert you to intruders when you're asleep. If that's your situation, you need a breed of dog that's independent, not high maintenance, and makes a good guard dog.
Irish Water Spaniel: a medium-sized dog who is fairly low energy. While he'll enjoy his daily walks with you, you won't need to go out of your way to help these dogs burn energy-- they'll gladly lounge on the sofa when nothing is going on. They're quiet and independent, and make good watch dogs, though they tend to be wary of strangers and other animals that come near. With their curly coat, they're low-maintenance.
Scottish Terrier: a medium-sized dog who also has a low activity level and low maintenance requirements. When strangers come near, this breed will make their presence known, but they have the potential to be very affectionate with owners.
Adult Seeking a Best Friend
You live alone, maybe you're a little lonely sometimes (you don't have a family yet, or the nest is empty in this new phase of your life). You're a homebody, and you really want to feel like you have a member of the family living with you. You want someone to take care of, who will always be there for you and keep you company, who is easy-going and willing to go along with you anywhere. You need a dog breed that's very affectionate, friendly, obedient and who likes to be spoiled.
Bichon Frise: These tiny, affectionate dogs love to be loved and pampered-- you can dote on them till you're heart's content. They are very good with strangers, other pets and children, so if you love bringing your dog with you for walks or to the park, you should not have a problem. Though not necessarily the brightest bulbs in the kennel, they're very easy to train.
Toy American Eskimo: This is another little, sweet-faced eternal puppy who's good with other humans and fur babies, and who will be extremely loyal to you. They're smart and train well. If you prefer a bigger dog, get a standard American Eskimo, who shares many qualities with the toy.
One of the best thing about these breeds for someone looking for a best friend is that they have longer than average life spans.
Sporty Adult Seeking Exercise Buddy
The thing you look most forward to about having a dog is playing with it-- you want a dog who'll go with you on your morning run or keep up when you roller blade and bike ride. Perhaps you enjoy camping, hunting, or like to hang out at the beach and want a dog who'll fetch a frisbee even if it's tossed in the water. You need a dog that's high energy and ready to jump into the action, though he must be friendly, smart, well behaved and no fussy hair care requirements.
Curly-Coated Retriever: This breed is big and very active and will be able to keep up with you. He's very intelligent and trainable, so he'll easily figure out the games and sports you want him to learn and play by the rules. It's also a good breed around other people, kids and animals.
German Short-haired Pointer: This breed is intelligent- so intelligent in fact that they can be difficult to train because they are clever enough to try and figure out how to be rebellious. But if you're looking for a loyal friend who's easy to take care of and who loves keep active with you, it's a good choice.
Seeking a Family Pet
You live the typical family life-- you have kids and you're looking for a dog that will be a gentle and loving playmate, but one that won't run you ragged by getting into your shoes or shedding all over the sofa. You need a dog that's patient, friendly, medium energy and low maintenance.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier: This breed is very good with people and children of all ages, and quite affectionate. People are less likely to suffer from allergies around these dogs, and their short coat is soft for petting but easy to groom.
Beagle: Get your very own 'Snoopy' dog-- the lovable beagle is a people dog and very good with kids. The breed is fairly calm and patient and their short hair doesn't require much fuss.