Is one of the first questions I get asked when a family is looking to bring a dog home.

The short answer: It’s less about type of dog but how the dog behaves in and around your family, environment and lifestyle.

Sure, I can sterotype a bunch of breed-types but I also have plenty of  experiences that break pop-culture thinking on dog breeds:

I’ve been around:

  • Golden retriever that attacks other dogs
  • AKC CGC titled pit bulls
  • Puppies demonstrating very problematic aggression at 10 wks old
  • “Gentle Giant” Great Dane that is not so gentle when he charges at you
  • Labrador retriever that has killed another dog
  • Pug that bites people

I understand what the person is trying to get at, they want a nice dog. Most people want a nice dog. Some people want a dog that is beautiful to look at, can compete in agility, can run 10 miles a week or keep up with an active family…but what they always want is a dog that is friendly with them and friendly with strangers.

So I say scrap the over-generalized question when looking for your own pet dog. Think about what you want as a companion dog that may live with you for possibly 15 years. Ask yourself:

  • how many hrs a days do you want to exercise and play with your dog – activity level
  • will you want the dog to travel with you – size might mattter here
  • what will the dog experience in his daily life – training expectations for pet owner

But above all, the dog should be friendly…friendliness goes very far on a dog that is expected to navigate our human world with little difficulty.