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Dachshund Breed Information

The number of Dachshunds registered by the Australian National Kennel Club has risen almost 500 percent in recent years, making them one of the fastest growing breeds in the land down under.

The Dachshund’s adorable sausage-shaped body is what draws most people to this breed, but it's their larger-than-life personality that makes their owners fall in love.  

This breed’s profound loyalty, unmatched exuberance, and spunky attitude sets them apart from other dogs and adds excitement to any home.

While the Dachshund is an undoubtedly cute and vivacious pet, they are not for everyone. These small but mighty dogs are known for their very high prey and defence drives and are susceptible to a number of hereditary diseases.

Dachshund History

It is believed Dachshunds originated in early 17th century Germany, where they were bred to aid hunters by chasing badgers (as well as, other small mammals) out of their dens.

Dachshund literally translates to “Badger Dog” in German, and true to their name they were an exceptional fit for the task since their short stature helped them to squeeze into spots other hounds couldn’t while their paddle-shaped paws that allow for quick digging.

Though their ancestry is not entirely clear it is thought wire-haired Doxies were created by crossing the Saint Hubert Hound and the terrier. Later on, long-haired varieties were created by breeding the wire-haired Dachshund with spaniels, to create a long luxurious coat that protected them while hunting in colder climates.

Today, Dachshunds are more likely to be found in their owner’s lap than hunting the fields, though they still enjoy digging and a great game of chase! 

Who are Dachshunds Best for?

  • Elderly people

  • Couples

  • Single people

  • Small homes or apartments

  • Moderately active people

  • Homes without other pets

  • Families with older children

Due to their fragile backs and high prey drives, Dachshunds are NOT recommended for homes with small children or small pets (such as hamsters or bunnies).

Health Concerns

  • Dachshunds are prone to a both of hereditary and lifestyle diseases.

  • Their floppy ears make Doxies susceptible to ear infections, so care must be taken to keep these clean and dry (especially during bath time). Plucking the inner ear hair can also reduce the chances of inflammation and infection.

  • Obesity is very common in this breed, so owners are advised to watch their weight carefully. Overweight Dachshunds are at a much greater risk of diabetes, back pain, joint problems, slipped discs, and heart disease.

  • Their elongated torso makes Dachshunds prone to inter vertebral disc disease (IDD), a severe musculoskeletal disease caused by the spinal cord becoming pinched between the spinal vertebrae. IDD can cause paralysis or even death.

  • Owners can decrease the chances of their dog developing this condition by supporting their back when picking them up by using one hand under the chest and the other hand under the bum. Doggy stairs are a great tool to keep them from jumping to get on the furniture or beds. These can be easily made or bought preassembled.  

  • Dachshunds are notorious for having poor dental health.  Daily brushing and dental chews (like grain-free Greenies) can break off the tarter that causes tooth decay. Doxies should also have professional teeth cleaning performed by their veterinarian every year to remove the plaque buildup under the gums that brushing alone cannot reach.
  • Joint issues such as hip dysplasia and patella luxation are also prevalent in this breed. Many vets recommend glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for both older and very active Doxies.
  • Hereditary eye issues such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can affect older dachshunds.

Life Span

12-16 years

Dachshund Price Range 

The price range for Doxies varies substantially, some can be bought for as low as $300 while “Premium” Doxies can go for upwards of $4000.

Pricing depends on whether or not the dog has, registration paperwork, but their lineage, colouring, gender, age, and breeder preference plays a large role in this as well.

Tips from Dachshund Show Breeders

  1. Never brush your long-haired Dachshund while their coat is wet-- this is when the hair is most fragile and breakage prone.
  2. Pick a gentle shampoo that will not strip their natural oils. Something with soothing botanicals such as aloe or oatmeal is preferred for their sensitive skin. Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo is a favorite for many breeders.
  3. Use duckbill-style hair clips to section your Dachshund’s hair while brushing and trimming; this will make brushing the undercoat easier and help you to give them a more precise cut.
  4. Bathing a Dachshund more than a couple times a month can create dry, flaky, skin and dull their coats. Use dog-safe wet wipes for minor cleaning and save bath time for when they are really dirty. EarthBath Grooming Wipes are a great choice for regular use since they contain Hawaiian Awapuhi Extract, a natural conditioner that strengthens hair and is common in many high-end salon products for humans. EarthBath’s Vanilla Almond Dog Spray is a great all-natural doggy deodorant to use between baths.

No matter how frequently you brush your long-haired Dachshund they are bound to get a tangle now and then. Combat stubborn mats with detergent-free Tropiclean D-Mat Tangle Remover Spray.

What do owners have to say about their Dachshund? 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Carmen and El Camino the Dachshunds

Abbie Sharpe, owner of El Camino and Carmen

“The best thing about owning a doxie, besides their sweet, charming demeanour, is their longevity.

I’m NOT an animal person by nature so when I fell in love with this breed, I fell wholeheartedly knowing I have a pal for a very long time.

Be patient and consistent with the potty training. Their devotion and infectious personalities will make it worth the trouble.” 

Squirt the Dachshund

Katie Schirmer, owner of Squirt

“Pros: He's a sweetheart. He just wants to be by me. He doesn't need a lot of exercise, and his coat is so velvety soft it couldn't be more low maintenance if he was bald.

Cons: He's kind of a diva. Coming from beagles in training, I'm not used to dogs who turn their nose up at certain treats. The breed is sort of known for having bad teeth if you don't take care of them. He's supposedly about 6 (years old), and just had eight teeth pulled when he went in for a dental. And of course, the risk of back issues is always a concern. He also barks at everything! Never aggressive, just loud.”

Bernie the Dachshund

Karli Hawthorne, owner of Bernie

“Potty train. Potty train. Potty train. Even if it means putting them in dog obedience classes--and buy indestructible toys!”

Apollo Luna the Dachshunds

Morgan Tolle owner of Luna and Apollo

“They love to be right next to you and truly are great companions. They have the best personalities, and are so funny but also very stubborn! Their worst traits would probably be their barking--a  leaf will blow by, and they will bark at it!

Their barking is uncontrollable sometimes and it’s tough! But we wouldn’t trade them for the world!!’

The Wrap Up

With any dog comes responsibility, but prospective Dachshund owners should know that this breed will need extra care to help them live long and full lives. Potential owners should consider the level of care and training they require before committing to this breed.

This breed is not recommended for homes with small children due to their fragility and predisposition to inter vertebral disc disease. Because of their proclivity for hereditary diseases, prospective owners should only purchase Doxies from reputable breeders.

Those who are up for the challenge of training and caring for these dogs will find that they make excellent family pets who love freely and protect those who care for them.

French Bulldog Breed Information

In just four years the French Bulldog has risen the ranks from Australia's 11th most popular breed in 2013 to their fourth most popular breed in 2017.

Their popularity isn’t limited to the southern hemisphere either, with the Frenchie reigning supreme as the most popular small breed in the US last year.

French Bulldog-inspired designs are even cropping up in prominent apparel and home decor lines, with J Crew, Skechers, and even Wal-Mart slapping their adorable faces on everything from sweaters to mugs!

The popularity of the French Bulldog is not a new fad, in fact; they have been prized companions for much longer than you might think!

French Bull Dog History

The mid-19th century saw a rise in the popularity of smaller Bulldogs, particularly in Nottingham, England, where they were the favourite companion of lace makers since they kept down rats.

Over time the demand for handmade lace lessened due to the rise of the Industrial Revolution. Lacemakers in fear of being replaced by machines, relocated to Northern France where the craft was still in full swing, taking their beloved pets along for the move.

These toy bulldogs became a favourite pet of French prostitutes who nicknamed them “Bouledogues Francais” which translates to “French Bulldog”, needless to say, the moniker stuck, spreading with them on their journey across the ocean to America in the early 1900s where they were readily accepted.

The “rose-ear” feature that was preferred by the French was deemed unacceptable by Americans and were further bred down with pugs and other terriers to achieve the upright “bat ear” appearance of modern-day Frenchies.

Who are French Bulldogs Best for?

  • People who live in apartments or condos

  • Elderly people

  • Couples

  • Single people

  • Less-active owners

  • Families with older children

Health Concerns

Facial Structure

Due to their facial structure, French Bulldogs are very susceptible to Brachiocephalic Airway Syndrome (also known as Congenital Obstructive Upper Airway Disease).

This disorder is caused by one or more anatomical misformations including small nostrils, narrow trachea, everted laryngeal saccules (air sacs), and an elongated soft palate that partially obstructs the airway.

These abnormalities can cause a number of issues that range in severity including noisy breathing, fatigue, gagging/vomiting, fainting, and heart problems.

This disorder often gets worse during hot weather and makes Frenchies much more susceptible to heat stroke.

Reproductive Problems 

Reproductive problems are more common than not in this breed. Breeding after five years of age is severely discouraged.

Genetic Spinal Deformities 

Frenchies are prone to genetic spinal deformities such as hemivertebrae, a painful condition where the spinal cord is constricted by misformed vertebrae. Surgery to correct these deformities is expensive, forcing some owners to euthanize. Untreated hemivertebrae can result in paralysis, incontinence, and excruciating pain for the canine.

Inter-vertebral Disc Disease

Inter-vertebral Disc Disease (IDD) is another common skeletal problem with this breed and is characterised by slipped spinal discs that can constrict the spinal cord causing paralysis and even death.

Pulmonic Stenosis

Pulmonic Stenosis or narrowing of the pulmonary artery is somewhat common with this breed and can lead to fatigue or collapse during vigorous exercise or in severe cases Congestive Heart Failure.

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip Dysplasia is common in active Frenchies and can cause limping, pain, and immobility of the back legs. This disorder can be corrected with periacetabular osteotomy surgery or made more manageable with medication

Retinal Dysplasia

Retinal Dysplasia is a hereditary condition characterised by the malformation of the retina. This disorder causes vision impairment, though it is not progressive or life-threatening.


Hypothyroidism (also known as under-active thyroid) usually presents itself in affected dogs around four years of age. This is usually not life-threatening but it can cause hair loss, weight gain, dull coats, and may require medication.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis (also known as eczema) is prevalent in this breed. Using hypoallergenic shampoos and bathing less frequently can help control the symptoms.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is extremely common with this breed, because of this French Bulldogs should never be left outside for extended periods during hot or humid weather.

Life Span

9-11 years


This breed sometimes has problems absorbing nutrients from food and may require a special diet or supplements.

French Bulldog Price Range 

The average cost for a French Bulldog in Australia ranges from $3,500 to $4,000 but can be more (or less) depending on colour, lineage, paperwork, and breeder preference.

Male pups (not spaded) from show dog parents go for around $6,000-$7,000.  

The steep prices are due to reproductive difficulties in the breed, causing most breeders to resort to artificial insemination.

Natural birth is extremely dangerous for Frenchies, so C-sections are required, which makes breeding quite costly.

Furthermore, there is a very small window of opportunity for the females, since it is unsafe for them to give birth after five years of age. 

Tips from French Bulldog Show Breeders

  1. French Bulldogs sometimes develop dry, cracked skin on their noses, a soothing balm like Natural Dog Company’s award-winning Snout Soother. This balm uses natural botanicals including organic grapeseed oil, hemp-seed oil, jojoba oil, and Vitamin E to ease the pain and moisturise affected areas.

  2. Often French Bulldogs will develop tear stains; a gentle sodium hydroxide-based stain remover product will work to diminish discoloration, while not agitating the skin. We like the Petpost Tear-Stain Remover products, just make sure you rinse any remaining product with water after cleansing.

  3. Breeders of brachiocephalic breeds swear Natural Dog Company’s “Organic Wrinkle Balm”  which helps to eliminate odour and prevent skin infections and chafing caused by moisture trapped in the facial wrinkles.

  4. Frenchies require shampoos with a super-gentle formula to so as to not trigger skin issues, Earthbath Ultra Mild Puppy Shampoo is a top pick for breeders (plus it smells like cherries)!

  5. Vets and breeders alike recommend adding omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E supplements to keep French Bulldog’s skin moisturised and itch-free.

What do owners have to say about their Cavapoo? 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Darla the French Bulldog

Lisa Eger owner of  Darla

“Advice I would give is don't take the cheap way out. This breed can be pricey.

Do not look for the cheapest Frenchie to buy. It will more than likely be poorly bred with the many issues listed above.

Also, you cannot go cheap on their dog food.”

Teagan the French Bulldog

Roxie Covell owner of Teagan

“Tegan is everyone's best friend, and she has so much heart to go around for all, but she is not one for camping, hiking or even walking an art festival. She grows tired super quick when out and about, sadly.

Tegan loves coming across other dogs, but other dogs look at her sideways since she makes some weird dog noises.

We have a tortoise, Goldie, that she likes to follow and protect (too closely) with her giant paws”

The Wrap Up

Although they are quite expensive in comparison to other popular purebreds, French Bulldogs make extraordinary companions with a fun personality and cheerful disposition.

Those thinking of buying or adopting a Frenchie should make sure they can accommodate their physical limitations and are prepared to deal with the health risks associated with this breed.

You won’t find a high-impact adventurer in this breed, but you will find a loyal companion who will love you until the end.

Cavoodle (Cavapoo) Breed Information

Cavoodles (also known as Cavapoos or Kavoodles) are thought to have been first bred in the 1950s, but over the last 10 years, the popularity of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle mix has skyrocketed.

This lovable hybrid tops the charts as the most popular small breed in Australia; in fact, the demand is so high there that Australian breeders have doubled their population in the last four years to meet the need. 

Besides being downright adorable, these curly mutts are well-suited for almost any lifestyle. The Cavapoo’s energetic and loving temperament keeps single owners entertained, while their small stature and gentle nature makes them great for apartment living or families with children.

Cavoodle History

The modern-day Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a descendant of the Toy Spaniel, a popular companion of affluent women during the Elizabethian era. The Cavalier earned it’s regal title because it was the favourite breed of King Charles II, who thought so highly of this breed that he included their acceptance into law.

History tells us that King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three spaniels at his heels. So fond was King Charles II of his little dogs, he wrote a decree that the King Charles Spaniel should be accepted in any public place, even in the Houses of Parliament where animals were not usually allowed. This decree is still in existence today in England." -- The Cavalier King Spaniel Club Website 

The Poodle though commonly thought to be a French creation is believed to have originated in Germany in the late 16th century. Contrary to their modern portrayal as a “frou-frou” dog, the Standard Poodle was traditionally used for retrieving waterfowl due to their obedient nature and thick coat which protected their skin from frigid water and underbrush.

Over the years the Standard Poodle was bred down in size to be used as both a companion animal and a truffle-sniffing dog since their smaller size made them less likely to damage the valuable fungi.

Who are Cavoodles best for?

The small stature and gentle nature of Cavoodles make them an excellent choice for a variety of owners including:

  • Families with small children

  • Single people

  • Elderly people

  • Moderately active people

  • Homes with multiple pets

  • Those who live in apartments or small homes

  • People with allergies

Health Concerns

  • Since Cavoodles are a crossbreed, they are generally healthier than their purebred parents, though they can still genetically disposed to certain breed-specific illnesses.

  • One common issue with Cavapoo is ear infections caused by trapped moisture due to their floppy. Plucking their inner ear hairs and drying their inner ear after bathtime can help to prevent this condition.

  • Overeating and lack of exercise can cause the Cavapoo to pack on pounds and possibly even become obese.

  • Like the poodle, this breed is prone to gingivitis and tooth decay, be sure you brush their teeth daily. Dental chews can be given in addition to brushing (Grain-free Greenies are our top pick!), these help to break off tarter naturally. Don’t forget to schedule a yearly dental cleaning at the vet to take care of the plaque build up under the gums that you cannot reach with a toothbrush alone.

  • Eye defects (including cherry eye and cataracts) are common in Spaniels and can sometimes be seen in the Cavapoo, though it is much less likely.

  • Heart Disease and Dilated Cardiomyopathy are leading causes of death for toy poodles. This illness can trickle down to the Toy Cavoodles, though statistically speaking the odds are much lower due to mixed breeds having a wider gene pool.

  • Life Span on average is 10-14 years.

Price Range 

Prices can range from $1500 to over $3000 depending on gender, age, appearance, lineage, and breeder preference.

Tips from Show Breeders

  1. Use only stainless steel or ceramic bowls to feed and water your Cavapoo. Plastic dishes, even BPA-free ones can cause unsightly nose discoloration.Furthermore, plastic bowls are prone to microscopic scratches which can harbor bacteria (even after repeated washing), and causing allergic reactions.

  1. Giving your Cavoodle filtered water can decrease and even completely eliminate tear-staining. Persistent stains will require a professional strength stain remover like Tropiclean SPA Tear Stain Remover.

  1. A high-quality and balanced dog food will keep your pup looking and feeling their best. We recommend Orijen 6 Fish Grain-Free Formula Dry Dog Food because it consists entirely of lean meat and antioxidant-filled fruits and veggies. Unlike other popular dog foods, Orijen contains no fillers or chemical preservatives! The fatty acids in the fish will make your Cavapoo’s coat shiny and luxurious!

  1. Nature's Specialties Almond Crisp Shampoo is a cult favorite among Cavoodle breeders and groomers! This gentle shampoo brightens any color coat, and since it is concentrated it lasts for ages! Keep in mind you will need to dilute this shampoo 32:1.

  1. Shampoos strip hair of their natural oils, leaving the coat frizzy and unmanageable. Combat the frizz with a good quality leave-in conditioner like Chris Christensen Ice on Ice Conditioner with Sunscreen, which will detangle and protect their coat from sun bleaching.

What do owners have to say about their Cavapoo? 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Cleo the Cavoodle

Mollie Linton, owner of  Cleo

“Choosing a Cavoodle was the best thing we ever did, at first we were a bit concerned that they were too expensive and as we are young, we had to do quite a bit of saving up. But she is honestly the best dog.

She’s so cuddly and supportive. She knows when you’re upset and she comforts you. She is such low maintenance and doesn’t shed hair which is perfect for us living in an apartment.

She has such a kind and gentle soul and provides plenty of entertainment to our family.”  

Sundae the Cavoodle

Nola Cipri, owner of  Sundae

“You don't begin to know how much love you have for them until you bring them home.

They are high maintenance, but who cares, they really are your baby.”

Holly Coco Cavoodles

Maria Manley, owner of
Holly & Coco

“I am both an owner and a breeder of Cavoodles.

Pros are they are beautiful, loving, intelligent and peaceful, non-aggressive dogs. Low to non-shedding and usually don't have the funky dog smell.

Cons are they have to be groomed every 6 to 8 weeks. As for the price - worth every dollar.

They are the most beautiful dogs I have ever owned. Our family is besotted with our two.”

Remy the Cavoodle

Amber Sharrock, owner of Remy

“Cons - terrible recall. Very much like a cat. Pros - far too many to list here, she is my baby even though she picks and chooses to come to her name when it suits her.”

The Wrap Up

If you are looking for a low-maintenance couch dog, then the Cavoodle probably isn’t for you.

Those willing to put in the work to keep them healthy and groomed, the Cavoodle makes a devoted companion with teddy bear looks who will never want to leave your side.

The Easiest Dogs to Train to Suit Your Needs

The World Canine Organization recognizes 339 breeds of dogs, and since you have clicked on this article, it is probably safe to assume that you are looking for which of these breeds are the easiest dogs to train.

The answer isn’t as simple as you may think, the easiest dogs to train aren’t always the smartest, prettiest, or ones with perfect pedigrees, it is the ones who are most suitable for their intended purpose.

Every dog has a job, even if it is a simple one like being a faithful companion. Some dogs take to their roles more easily than others, in this article we will explore the attributes of various breeds and which are best suited for certain purposes.

Finding the Easiest Dogs to Train for Your Task

Any dog can be trained with the proper amount of time, commitment, and patience from the owner. An owner must be committed to training practices willing to go through a process of trial and error, find out what works for their dog.

Some dog breeds are predisposed to certain behaviors and job types which can make the training process easier OR more difficult for the owner.

Take for example the Australian Shepherd. These dogs, who are thought to have descended from the Border Collie, were bred to be superior herders and imported to the US  for this very purpose; although very good at their job, sometimes their temperament and energy level is too much for an inexperienced owner.

The AKC website explains, “Aussies exhibit an irresistible impulse to herd, anything: birds, dogs, kids. This strong work drive can make Aussies too much dog for a sedentary pet owner. Aussies are remarkably intelligent, quite capable of hoodwinking an unsuspecting novice owner. In short, this isn’t the pet for everyone.”  

Before you can find the easiest dogs to train for your particular task, we must first establish WHAT your dog’s job will be.

Finding the Right Personality and Size

The three most important factors for selecting a dog is temperament, energy level, and size, take these personality traits into account when browsing for your new companion, these are vital for making sure the dog will be a good fit for your household.


Family Dogs

First and foremost you want a friendly, mild-mannered dog, who will get along well with all members of the household. Some dogs simply do not like children or certain genders of humans, while these dogs may be great for a single person, they just will not do as a family pet. Labradors, bulldog breeds, and the Hungarian Vizsla all make fantastic pets for families with kids.  

Service Animals 

A service animal should be even-tempered and not overly excitable.

Working Dog

Working dogs should be focused and have a desire for obedience and pleasing their owner; a hunting or herding dog that is disobedient can stray off and be injured by cars or other animals. You may think a high prey drive would be essential for dogs with these types of jobs but often it can be counterproductive,making them  liable to injuring the animals they should be herding or retrieving. Golden Retrievers and Basset Hounds are great examples of hunting dogs with lower prey drives.

Trick Dogs 

A dog with the potential to learn elaborate tricks will be eager to please, energetic, and very intuitive toward their owners. Jack Russells and German Shepherds are typically great at learning fun tricks, and most importantly they enjoy learning them!

Energy Level

Family Dogs 

Your dog needs to match your family’s energy level.  A couch potato breed like brachycephalic (flat-faced) English Bulldogs will not be a good fit for an active family who enjoys hiking several times a week. The same is true for a sedentary family who is looking into a very active breed like a Jack Russell who’s needs can go unfulfilled by more laid-back owners.

Service Animals 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Working Dogs 

Working dogs should have a high energy level; however, their owner will need to keep their energy levels in check with lots of stimulation and exercise.This will cut down on negative behaviours like being destructive, chasing pets, and herding children.

Trick Dogs 

Trick dogs should be high energy but not so highly-strung that they lose focus and refuse to follow your commands. Keep in mind that a high energy pup can become a very well-behaved dog with the right training regime.


Family Dogs

Contrary to popular belief, smaller dogs are not always the right fit for families with small children. Children are often quite rough with animals, though it is probably unintentional, small dogs are more prone to injuries from being mishandled or dropped. Small dogs are often more quick to bite than larger breeds since they are more easily intimidated, although this isn’t always the case. Large dogs are sturdier and generally have a more gentle and laid-back persona, which can be a good thing with an excitable toddler.

Service Animals

Consider the task your dog will be performing, a teacup Yorkie will have a hard time leading his owner as a seeing-eye dog. Whereas someone who requires an emotional support animal may prefer a smaller dog that they can keep close by in a handbag or a sling.

Working Dogs

Herding dogs typically should be midsize to large breeds. Hunting dogs can be any size depending on what animal they are trained to hunt. The small and mighty Dachshund was bred to flush out badgers and beagles are a favourite choice for rabbit dogs. Whereas Golden Retrievers are a popular choice for retrieving ducks since they have a “gentle mouth” that doesn’t damage the meat.

Trick Dogs 

Trick dogs can be any size.

No matter what the breed or background of the dog, remember that training takes time and effort on the part of the owner. A breed’s predisposition to certain behaviours or tasks can either help or hinder the training process.

Family-Oriented Breeds

Choosing the right dog for your family is paramount for many reasons, mainly because this animal will be sharing your living space for many years! Secondly, a very destructive or high-strung dog can add more stress and work for parents. Remember that children become attached, even if you decide it isn’t working out.

Don’t just adopt or buy a dog on a whim, make sure you know the dog’s background and personality before you bring him home. Set your family up for success by taking the time to get to know the dog before inviting him into your life.

Don’t Rely on Breed Stereotypes

American Staffordshire Terriers, also known as Pit Bulls, have gotten a terrible reputation in recent years being targeted by breed-specific legislation that labels them as an “aggressive” breed. This is simply not the case, although often used for the disturbing practice of dog fighting, “pit bulls” were the family dog of choice in the 19th century, earning them the nickname “Nanny Dogs”.

Bull dog breeds rank on Cesar Millan’s top 10 best breeds for family dogs list.

Cesar Millan's Take

The great advantage of bulldogs? They’re sturdy, so they can take anything that rambunctious kids throw at them, while they’re not very energetic. End result? A dog that will put up with a lot.

They’re also not picky about where they live, so both small apartments and large houses are fine.

Remember that just because a dog is great with children, does not mean that it will be easily trained to obey house rules.

Take the beagle, for example, a friendly loving breed with a high prey drive and is often distracted by their sense of smell. Beagles are just as likely to snuggle you on the couch as to ignore your commands in lieu of chasing squirrels and digging through the trash.

It is important that you do not to judge a book by its cover, just because a dog is a Labrador doesn’t mean it is going to be great with children.

You must realise that dogs, like humans, are individuals and should be treated as such. Consider the dog's personality taking into account their temperament, energy level, and size.

Service Dogs

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service dogs as canines who are trained to aid and carry out tasks for individuals who have physical, medical, and mental limitations.

Service dogs come in many shapes and sizes; there is no limitation on breeds who can perform service work however some can be more easily trained and better suited for specific tasks.

Guide Dogs

Guide dogs are often used by the visually impaired to help them navigate the world around them, dogs performing this task should be larger breed who is very focused. Labrador Retrievers are a great choice for this type of work since they are eager to please and very owner-focused. 

Medical Alert Dogs

Medical Alert dogs can perform functions from alerting that a seizure is about to take place to identifying allergens in an environment.

The AKC website explains that “Their training is similar to that of a police dog learning to track scents or drugs. Breeds that most commonly work as allergy alert dogs are the Poodle, the Golden Retriever, and the Portuguese Water Dog.”

Larger breeds such as the Golden Retriever and Labrador are great for seizure and diabetic alert dogs since they forge strong bonds with their owners, are innately caring, and learn quickly. Their size plays a vital role in this as well, since a seizure dog will need to lay on their owner during an episode to reduce chances of self-injury.

Psychiatric Support Dog

Psychiatric Support Dogs are often prescribed to people suffering from debilitating mental illnesses that hinder their ability to perform daily tasks, the most common diagnoses for people who require these support animals are PTSD, agoraphobia, and severe anxiety.

Borzois are well-suited and are very receptive to training for this type of task. The AKC website recommends this breed because of their, “ intelligence, independence, and keen sense of awareness.”

There is no clear-cut answer about which breed best performs the functions of a service dog. Size, task requirements, and temperament must all be considered when choosing a service animal.

Working Dogs

Herding Dogs

The herding instinct is ingrained into certain breeds, but training them to control this instinct is another matter. Cesar Millan explains, “the innate herding instinct of breeds in this group will develop into problem behavior if not satisfied. Owners must provide regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep their dog happy and healthy.”

The ease of training a herding dog depends entirely on the owner’s dedication and persistence--these are much trickier breeds to train and require a lot of work.

Hunting and Tracking Dogs

Dogs can be used for all manners of hunting and tracking, from retrieving kills to locating bodies. The hound group and retriever breeds top picks for these types of jobs.

Though typically stubborn in other types of training, beagles excel in hunting small animals and tracking; the AKC praises this breed’s flexibility stating, “Beagles have great tracking ability and originally worked as rabbit hunters.  From the field they went to the airport where they work for U.S. Customs & Border Patrol as narcotics and agriculture detector dogs. You can also see the Beagle out and about as a bed bug detector due to his strong nose.”

Retriever breeds are also an excellent choice for hunting small animals since as their name suggests, they were bred to retrieve things, and are known for their gentle mouth and desire to please.

Other great choices are:

  • Irish Setters
  • Plott Hounds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Coonhounds

Herding breeds require little training to execute their task; however they can be quite challenging in other aspects of life--these dogs will need lots of exercise to perform to their fullest ability. Hounds make excellent hunting dogs, though their nose tends to get the best of them, pay close attention to obedience training since hunting can be a dangerous sport for untrained dogs.

FAQ - Easiest Dogs to Train

What dog breed is the smartest?  Which breed is the dumbest?

There are no “smart” or “dumb” breeds, only those who are predisposed to certain behaviors and tasks. The perceived intelligence level means nothing for a dog with no training. Untrained dogs will behave like untrained dogs. Which is the most obedient dog breed?

This is a tough question to answer, though some breeds like retrievers and German Shepherds are more prone to obeying simply because of their keen desire to please, the simple answer is a well-trained dog IS the most obedient dog.

The Wrap Up

There is no perfect breed; each has it’s own attributes and predispositions; it is up to the owner to hone these skills and curb unwanted tendencies.

In the words of Cesar Millan, “a smart dog is just potential without a human willing to put in the time and effort to train and channel the dog’s intelligence. While all dogs are trainable, it’s important to understand your dog’s inherent abilities in order to know how to motivate him and bring out his natural intelligence.”

With pets come lots of responsibility, make sure you are up for this challenge before bringing a new dog into your home.

The Best Apartment Dogs for Your Lifestyle

So you live in an apartment, but you’re searching for a furry friend to share your life with. What breed is best for your smaller space? And how are you going to hide your new dog from your landlord?

We can’t help you with the second question (hopefully you’ve found a pup-friendly place), but we can definitely answer the first.

When an apartment dwelling first-time dog owner googles this question, they can be bombarded with hundreds of long lists of breeds, each entry usually consisting of a cute photo and all the important considerations that can fit into a 240 character limit.

But what makes a good apartment dog, really? And can any dog be a great flatmate with the right kind of training?

The answer, of course, is yes and no. A dog is most certainly a product of their owner’s training, and you’d be surprised how many breeds will happily live in a small space when you make a conscious effort to meet their needs.

However, different breeds are going to learn different things at different rates. Because of this, the most important thing to think about when choosing an apartment dog is your lifestyle.

We’ll get to how to choose a puppy based on your own behaviour, but first, let’s get some basics out of the way.

Nature vs nurture: Breeds and their quirks

With careful and consistent training, any dog can become a happy and obedient member of a pack, and many breeds have an undeserved poor reputation.

Just ask any devoted pit bull owner, and you’ll be treated to a (usually quite long and somewhat frustrated) explanation of how a buddy bred for fighting can become a loving family companion.

But humans have been breeding dogs for millennia, and some traits are difficult to dissipate. Jack and Wendy Volard, veteran trainers and authors of Dog Training for Dummies, counsel owners who run into training roadblocks to think about whether a dog was bred for the behaviour you’re trying to instill or remove.

If your pup has been bred for hunting, it’s going to take some time to correct a tendency to chase after squirrels!

In the Volard’s view, there are three types of drives harnessed and developed by dog breeders:

The Prey Drive: This governs different behaviours involved with hunting and eating. Prey-drive behaviours include biting, jumping, pouncing, digging and high-pitched barking. Hounds, retrievers and terriers have all been bred to enhance their prey drive, and it might take some time for them to learn to keep quiet and stay off the couch.

The Defence Drive: This is all to do with guarding behaviours. Defence drive behaviours include touch aversion, growling, hackling, guarding toys and food, or blocking doors and objects. German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermans have all been bred to enhance their defence drive, and it could take a while to get them comfortable with strangers or cool with crowds.

The Pack Drive:  Pack drive behaviours are all to do with socialising, reproducing and following the rules, and these are generally behaviours you want to encourage in your dogs. Play, a desire for physical contact, and submission are all pack drive behaviours.

Sounds wonderful, right? Maybe not!

Dogs bred for high pack drive behaviours are often quite prone to separation anxiety. Toy dogs and breeds such as pugs and King Charles Spaniels were bred for their pack drive -- and it’s going to take quite a bit of training to get them comfortable with being left alone.

Your training is responsible for your pup’s behaviour -- but you’ll need to work harder on certain areas with certain breeds.

Size doesn’t matter (or at least not as much as you think)

Let’s state the obvious: you can’t keep a Newfoundland in a studio (for the sake of your belongings if nothing else -- those wagging tails can clear a coffee table in two seconds flat). But it’s unfortunate that many letting agents and landlords set a breed size restriction, because some larger dogs can do very well in small spaces, and some smaller breeds just aren’t suitable for certain kinds of owners.

The most important thing is to avoid what is commonly known as Small Dog Syndrome. Shi Tzus and Chihuahuas are sometimes slandered as yappy holy horrors, but this is usually due to a misconception among owners that small pups don’t need as much training as their larger brothers and sisters. Make no mistake -- your puppy may be kitten sized, but they are definitely not a cat. A Maltese needs as much training as a Doberman, but you’ll need to focus on removing or enhancing different behaviours.

While some breeds might just be physically too large for a small space, size should not be your sole consideration.

So what should you be taking into account when choosing the perfect pup for you? Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.

How much time do you have to train?

Here’s something that almost no-one tells new pet owners -- it will take longer to train a dog if you live in an apartment than it would if you had a backyard.

This is particularly true when it comes to toilet training. Unless you’re prepared to spend hours of your life running up and down stairs, you’re probably going to need to teach your puppy to use pee-pads or grass mats, as well as to let it all go outside. That’s two different commands for your puppy to get down, and that’s a lot to take in when they’re so little!

Toilet training is the most obvious thing you’ll need to spend more time on, but it’s definitely not the only one. It’s likely that leash training will take a while longer if you need to go to the park for lessons, and recall commands can prove a challenge if the apartment is small enough.

If you don’t have a lot of time to train, some companion breeds won’t be suitable for you, as these dogs are not bred for intelligence. King Charles Spaniels are often listed as one of the best apartment pups out there, but they are, to put it very charitably, not the brightest buttons in the box, and they’ll take longer to pick up commands.

Daschunds, another highly recommended apartment breed, are very intelligent, as are terriers and miniature pinschers. However, greater intelligence often comes with a greater need for stimulation. Hunters in general are quite bright, but you’ll need to put more effort into training out unsuitable prey drive behaviours.

Daschunds, greyhounds and terriers are all a good bet for people who don’t have a lot of time to train.

Looking for more toilet training tips? Check out our Toilet Training Guide.

What kind of exercise can you offer?

Almost all apartment dwellers in search of a pup do take exercise time into consideration when choosing their dog, but the quality of exercise is just as important as the quantity.

As the proud owner of a wonderful whippet, I am most certainly biased, but greyhounds, lurchers and whippets do make great apartment dogs for owners who don’t have a lot of time to exercise. I call Joe the Whippet the hundred-mile-an-hour couch potato. When I take Joe’s leash off, he generally proceeds straight to the sofa, which he then flops on to like a Victorian lady swooning on to her fainting couch. He’ll probably stay there for the rest of the evening, perhaps taking it into his head to play with his toy kangaroo in a few hours if he feels like it (yes, I bought Joe a joey, because I am ridiculous).

This is not because Joe is a diva (though during training he did have his moments) but because whippets, greyhounds and lurchers are all bred for speed, not distance. Forty-five minutes to an hour of exercise and all they want to do is cuddle for the rest of the day.

So are whippets the way to go when you’re pressed for time? Not so fast! Joe and his skinny cousins need a small amount of very high-intensity exercise. If I didn’t live close to an area where I could let him lose his leash, Joe would be a very unhappy pup. A short walk around the block just won’t do it -- they need to run.

If you don’t have a nearby place where your furry friend can run free, consider getting a French Bulldog. These adorable lumps are satisfied with a brisk walk around the neighbourhood per day. However, keep in mind that they are a companion breed, and are likely to need a lot of time and attention.

Do you lead a fairly active lifestyle? If you take your buddy on a ten-mile hike every weekend, you might be able to get away with shorter weekday walks.

Whippets, greyhounds and lurchers don’t need a lot of time to exercise, but it needs to be intense. French Bulldogs and daschunds can do with a moderate amount of low intensity exercise.

The quality of exercise is as important as the quantity. Think about what kind of parks and facilities you have in your area before you decide on a breed.

How thick are your walls?

Here’s the thing -- most puppies are going to bark. This is because they’re trying to alert you to danger, and, well, they haven’t learned which things are dangerous yet. The sound of a car door closing could set them off, because it’s loud and new and scary!

When you’re sharing a wall, floor and ceiling with your neighbours, this can quickly become a problem. Fortunately, barking is one of the easier things to train out of your pup! You just need to show them that what they’re barking at is nothing to worry about. Online training expert Doggy Dan has a Three Bark Rule:

  1. For the first bark, simply look at whatever the puppy is looking at, then look away.
  2. For the second bark, walk over to where the puppy is looking, and then move away.
  3. For the third bark, put your pup into a time-out or isolation.

Keep calm all the while to show your pup that the situation is under control. They’ll soon get the message!

But of course, hunters such as terriers and beagles are more likely to bark, and there’s likely only so much your neighbours can take before your puppy stops the behaviour.

I do feel that I need to offer a strong defence on behalf of the much-maligned Yorkshire terrier. Yes, they are terrible barkers, but they’re also very smart and can pick up training quickly.

For more on barking and Doggy Dan’s methods, check out our Puppy Training Guide.

Companion dogs are more likely to bark for attention. Which brings us neatly to...

Are you away for most of the day?

Bichon Frise, French Bulldogs, King Charles Spaniels and Havanese all exhibit strong pack drives. While they’re less prone to destructive behaviour, they are more prone to separation anxiety.

Being alone is not a natural state of being for a pack animal, and this goes double for companion breeds.

You can train separation anxiety out of a dog. Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, suggests doing this by building up to separation slowly, starting with a few minutes at a time. You can also drain your puppy’s energy with intense play before you leave, or use a white noise machine or pheromone dispenser to calm them down.

But on the first few long separations, your puppy may cry or bark, and this can be difficult for your neighbours to deal with. Not only that, but you won’t be there to deal with the behaviour.

Doggy daycare is another option, but apartment dwellers who work long hours should think very carefully before getting a companion breed.

Anxious about separation anxiety? Take a look at our Separation Anxiety Guide.

Are there breeds that should never be kept in an apartment?

Think very carefully before getting a collie or other herding dog. They’re bred to patrol large areas, and often don’t do well in small spaces.

FAQ -Best Apartment Dogs

What breed of dog can be left alone during the day?

Hunters take particularly well to being left alone during the day. Terriers are quite happy to have some alone time -- they were bred to work by themselves catching rats and other small creatures, and have a strong independent streak!

Can labs be apartment dogs?

Labs are very obedient, but they have strong prey and pack drives. This means that they require a lot of exercise and a lot of attention. If you spend a lot of time at home and are prepared for lots of walks, they can do well in apartments.

Do Great Danes make good apartment dogs?

Absolutely! Great Danes require only thirty-to-sixty minutes of relatively brisk exercise a day, otherwise, they are notoriously lazy. They have a low-to-medium pack drive and are happy enough left alone, and they are very quick to train. Truly proof that size doesn’t matter (too much)!

Are bloodhounds good apartment dogs?

Bloodhounds have a very high prey drive and require a lot of exercise. You may be able to keep a bloodhound in your apartment if you have a very active lifestyle. They also require a lot of stimulation. One thing to keep in mind is that bloodhounds have a very… distinctive smell, which could be problematic in close quarters.

The Wrap Up

So now you know -- the best breed for an apartment dog all depends on you, and it’s important to take an honest inventory of your lifestyle before you chose your pet. Want to know more about the breed for you? Check out our detailed Dog Breed Guides.