Home owner or apartment-dweller? Family or single? Active or couch potato? Don’t just look for a dog, look for the right dog that matches your lifestyle.

By Chad Taylor
August 24, 2020
Advertisement

We can all agree that dogs make some of the best companions we could ever hope for, regardless of breed or origin. However, when you’re able to make the best possible match between your lifestyle and your dog, those connections are stronger and more fulfilling for human and dog alike.

Whether you live in an apartment, love to camp and hunt, want a quiet lap partner, or are looking to get into dog competition training, there’s not just a dog for you, there’s a perfect dog for you. And while there’s never a wrong answer for “Which dog should I get?” these recommendations will help point you toward a dog who will love doing exactly what you do.

Rebecca Nelson / Getty

The Best Dog Breed for Apartment Dwellers: French Bulldog 

Described by many as the perfect apartment dog, the Frenchie was practically created for urban life. Small and light, Frenchies don’t take up a lot of space, and a daily walk or some light play on the living room rug will be plenty to meet their exercise demands. Additionally, they are quiet dogs, barking only when absolutely necessary, making them great for your neighbors or any napping children as well.

Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty

The Best Dog Breed for Families with Small Children: Labrador Retriever  

The most popular breed in the United States 29 years and counting, the trusty Lab is a true jack of all trades. Calm, easygoing, and highly trainable, this breed is also large enough to not be hurt by the rough-and-tumble play of youngsters, Labs are going to retain the well-earned title of “family favorite” for years to come.

MilanEXPO / Getty

Best Dog Breed for Seniors: Bichon Frise  

Another excellent choice for people in apartments, the bichon is well-suited for seniors and people with mobility issues thanks to their friendly, people-centric personalities, low-maintenance coats, and relative ease to train. They are also small enough to fit into just about any living situation and are never going to get so large or heavy as to be unmanageable for people with arthritis or mobility challenges. 

Cherilnc / Getty

The Best Guard Dog: Belgian Malinois  

One of the most popular K9 choices the world over, the Malinois is renowned for its mix of physical strength, intelligence, and keen observational skills. These dogs take direction well and have the ability to make split-second decisions, rather than just reacting on instinct. Fiercely loyal dogs, they form strong bonds with their human companions, which heightens their abilities as protection animals.

Mint Images / Getty

The Best Dog for Runners: Vizsla  

“Pound for pound, the best dog for any kind of running,” is how Brian Barrera, founder of D.C Dog Runner describes this energetic gundog. Their long, loping gait makes them tremendous endurance runners, capable of keeping up for long distances and over the varying terrain of trail running. As slender, short-coated dogs, they also do well in higher temperatures, not only endearing them to runners in warmer climates but making them well suited to distance running, where overheating can become an issue for other breeds.

BestSide / Getty

The Best Dog for Swimmers: Boykin Spaniel 

Born and bred in the USA, the Boykin breed was honed specifically with an eye for the swampy wetlands of the Carolinas. With his waterproof coat, webbed feet, and spaniel endurance levels, this guy will beat you to the water and still be swimming like a seal when you’re ready to head home again.

Paulo Hoeper / Getty

The Best Dog for Campers: Australian Cattle Dog  

When you’ve got a dog as famously tough and clever as Australia’s wild dingo in your bloodlines, you know you’re ready for just about anything. Agile, deviously clever, and loyal to a fault, the Australian cattle dog is a great trail runner, mountain climber, and fireside protector. Happy to carry a pack or watch your back while you fish, these guys are just begging to be your companion in the great outdoors.

Getty

The Best Dog for Couch Potatoes: Bulldog  

With his big, loveable mug and stout frame, the Bulldog is a fellow who requires minimal exercise to stay healthy and happy. A daily brisk walk or some spirited play in the living room should be plenty. That aside, this is a breed that is going to love nothing more than laying on the couch, curling up in a dog bed, or making you their pillow while you read—especially in warmer months, when they should be kept inside as much as possible to prevent overheating issues.

dragon for real / Getty

Best Dog Breed for People With Allergies: Poodle  

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, there are several that can reduce the chances of allergic reactions significantly. The poodle’s tight, low-shedding curls earn the nod for this “best of” list over hairless breeds like the xoloitzcuintli or Chinese crested because of the higher maintenance requirements that come with all that exposed skin. And while breeds like the Portuguese water dog have similar hair, the poodle has an edge thanks to also being one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world, making them extremely easy to train and adaptable to different living situations.

Katerina_Brusnika / Getty

Best Dog Breed for Agility Competition: Border Collie 

Incredible natural athletes, border collies have been dominating agility competitions at all levels for years. Intelligent, nimble, and eager to please, these dogs love to compete and learn new things. In fact, regardless which competition sports you prefer, border collies are consistently some of the most solid all-round choices, proving themselves more than capable for obedience, flyball, and herding competitions.