Matching a puppy breed with a personality type takes a little research and insight. What characteristics of a dog breed are best suited for a new owner or an owner?

While it’s true that dogs can adapt to many situations and will probably grow to love their owner no matter what, it can make dog ownership a lot easier if careful thought is put into which dog breed characteristics match the owner’s lifestyle. A new owner, for instance, may not want to take on an aggressive Staffordshire Bull Terrier. There are also other considerations to make before any owner takes on a new puppy or any breed.

Dog Breed Characteristics

While specific dog characteristics are largely dependent on genetic lineage and upbringing, much can be assumed by looking at a dog’s breed. Any new owner should consult their dog’s breeder for the temperament of the parent dogs, but generally:

Retriever Characteristics

Labrador and Golden Retrievers are part of the sporting groups of dogs. These dogs were bred to help hunters retrieve killed game such as wild ducks and deer. Also in this group are Setter, Pointers and Spaniels. Popular Sporting dogs include the English Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, the Weimaraner, and the Irish Setter.

These dogs vary in their levels of socialization and activity needs, but most will generally not be as aggressive as dogs bred for fighting. Usually sporting dogs are alert and enjoy the company of people. Great breed for families, but they may require too much attention for the first-time owner.

Retriever Characteristics

Retriever Characteristics

Hounds: Bassett Hound, Dachshund and Beagle Traits

Hound dogs are not as alert and energetic as Retrievers and other gun dogs.

Their calmness makes the most popular hound breeds ideal companions for children, though they are unlikely to make good guard dogs. Hound dogs include the Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Whippet, Bloodhound, and Harrier. These dogs tend to be more content with life and are generally sweet-natured. Excellent breed for families or first-time owners.

Guard Dogs: Dobermans, Boxers, Rottweilers

This group of dogs is not highly recommended for families or first-time owners. Guard dogs were bred for tough work and guarding owner’s possessions, making such dogs as the Alaskan Malamute, Great Dane, Siberian Husky, and Bullmastiff have strong, independent wills and a true mind of their own. These dogs will guard a house with their lives and are loathe to trust newcomers. While they are a rewarding and loyal pet for a tight, “no-nonsense” owner, they can present a challenge to more inexperienced owners.

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

Terrier Traits: Feisty and Energetic

Another challenge group for the new dog owner is terriers. These dogs, such as the Jack Russell Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, and Pit Bull have all the attitude of a guard dog with less weight to throw around. Many terriers were originally bred to dig out vermin such as badgers and foxes, and like this traits such as digging and barking have carried over to today’s terriers. With special care and attention, these dogs may be suitable for families, though they are not recommended for first-time owners.

Terriers like to be king of the roost, and many find their feistiness to be a turnoff. However, die-hard terrier fans will exclaim that there’s no shortage of entertainment once a little Jack Russell Terrier gets that devil’s glint in his eye.

Breeding and Training

While a breed’s genetic lineage may tell you what traits a dog is likely to exhibit, talking to the breeder is the real key in predicting a new puppy’s future temperament and trainability. Hybrid dogs are also becoming popular as a way to mix desired traits of purebreds to form the “perfect” dog. Also, the amount of love and training put into a dog has the most influence on who it will become.

How to Choose the Perfect Dog Breed Just for You