Choosing a dog breed that is right for you

Choosing a dog breed that is right for you is easy with these tips from a Dog Groomer with 15 years experience.


As a Dog Groomer for 13 years I have had the pleasure of working with all breeds of dogs. It is my hope that you will benefit from my years of hands on experience. Below I have listed the most popular, available dog breeds, categorized by size. I have summed up their personalities, maintenance, and trainability. I wish you the best success in choosing a dog that is right for you.

Small Dog Breed

Small dogs are best suited for older kids as their size doesn't make them well suited to the physical rough-housing smaller kids may subject them to. They need limited exercise so they make good companions for the elderly and/or people in small living spaces. Because they are low to the ground they can be subject to respiratory  infections, so be careful to keep them in warm dry environments. They should never be solely outside dogs.

TOY POODLE- Affectionate, good with older kids, tendency to be yappy so makes a good watchdog, not much bite to the bark though. High cost maintenance as they need to be groomed once every 8-10 weeks. Easy trainability and subject to ear infections, but these can be avoided through proper care.

MALTESE-Affectionate, kid friendly, can be yappy but more grounded and only tend to bark at noises or when excited. High coat care if allowed to grow a long coat. If kept short it will need to be clipped every 8-10 weeks. Easy to Medium trainability. These dogs can be too smart for their own good at times and may refuse some training just to spite you. They tend to be subject to ear infections and overactive tear ducts. Because of their pink skin and white coats they can sunburn.

YORKSHIRE TERRIER-Lively and fearless yet affectionate. These dogs are defiantly the "boss". Barks if excited or showing off. If coat is left to grow long it must be brushed daily, otherwise it should be clipped every 10-12 weeks. Easy to Medium trainability. Not too many health problems although can suffer from oily skin. More frequent bathing with a medicated shampoo or tar shampoo can help.

PUG-Great with kids, a happy and intelligent fellow. Easy trainability, likes to please. Low coat maintenance. Because of their short snouts, pugs should avoid too much exercise as they might have trouble breathing when worked up. Avoid drafts and dampness. They can develop a fungus between the folds of skin on their face, so care is needed to keep the area dry.

POMERANIAN-Loyal and affectionate. This intelligent dog is good with children. Easy to Medium trainability and very few health care concerns. As Pomeranian's age they may experience hip problems. Medium coat care as they need frequent brushing. Not much trimming so they can be groomed at home by the owner.

JACK RUSSEL TERRIER-Many people have fallen in love with "Eddy" on Frasier and so the popularity of this dog is soaring, but don't be fooled by the TV image of the Jack Russel. Although this is a loyal, spunky dog that is good with kids, it is difficult to train. You will need to invest time in attending training classes and working with him on an ongoing basis. If you are diligent with the training, a Jack Russel is a delightful, fun loving companion. This dog loves to exercise and is probably the most active of the small breeds, because of this it doesn't make a good apartment dog. This dog has very few health problems.

LHASA APSO- Loyal and affectionate to family members but can be unpredictable with strangers. These dogs can be ferocious if provoked to attack. Trainability Medium to Hard. Best left to experienced dog owners. These dogs are subject to ear infections and hip problems. Lhasa Apso's require lots of daily brushing to avoid snarls and require professional grooming every 8-10 weeks. If raised in a happy environment these dogs are interesting and spunky.

SHIH TZU-Fun-loving, intelligent companions, these dogs are more laid back then their Lhasa Apso cousins. Good with older kids, Shih tzu's delight in games of ball chasing and child's play. Fairly easy to train these dogs respond well to praise. High coat care maintenance is the norm for this breed, as they require daily brushing and professional grooming every 8-12 weeks. Health problems include, ear infections, breathing problems and over active tear ducts.


Generally speaking, medium dogs should have access to yards. It is best to live in a house if you want your medium sized dog to be happy and free from boredom. Medium dogs are better suited to young children as they are heartier and less defensive.

MINIATURE POODLE-A Charming, intellegent dog that is easy to train. This Midsized poodle is great with kids and delights in playing games. High coat care maintenance, the poodle must be clipped every 8-10 weeks and brushed several times a week. Health problems include, Ear infections, dry coat and cataracts later in life.

COCKER SPANIEL- Once over-bred and unpredictable, the cocker spaniel has really improved over the last 10 years. These are loyal companions are friendly, good with children and love attention. The cocker spaniel needs constant brushing and will need to be trimmed every 6-8 weeks. This breed is fairly easy to train as it responds well to praise. Some health concerns are ear infections and moist dermatitis.

SPRINGER SPANIELS- These dogs are fun-loving and friendly. They are even-tempered and content, yet are excellent at guarding their homes and families. Springer Spaniels are easily trained as they respond well to praise. They love exercise and enjoy swimming the most. These dogs need regular brushing and need to be trimmed every 8-10 weeks. Health problems include ear infections, skin problems and hip problems.

BORDER COLLIE- Voted the most intelligent breed, the Border Collie needs lots of hands on attention. Border Collies need lots of activities to keep them from getting bored, such as fly ball, long walks, and plenty of chew toys. Border Collies are probably the easiest dogs to train but because of their herding nature may be nippy with children as they feel they have to herd them like sheep. Very few health problems.

KERRY BLUE, AIREDALE, AND SOFT COATED WHEATON TERRIERS- These terriers are similar in nature. Generally speaking they are loyal and fun loving. Terriers need lots of exercise and mind occupying games such as chasing a ball. If left alone during the day they will dug up the yard. Terriers are a little difficult to train as they have the tendency to be stubborn, they are best left to the experienced dog owner as they often are aggressive towards other dogs. These Terriers need lots of brushing and should be trimmed every 8-10 weeks. Few health problems.

CHOW CHOW- Often called a one man dog, the Chow Chow does not get along well with strangers and other dogs. They are loyal, dedicated family members and for that reason make good watch dogs. Chows are best left to the experienced dog owner for they can be hard to train. Not good around children that are not family members. They may suffer from skin problems such as moist dermatitis and  loss of hair.


Any of the large breeds will need two requirements; lots of space and a strong person to handle them. Many large dogs are gentle and loyal but do need a firm hand in training. They also need lots of food and are expensive to have groomed. Make sure you can handle the cost of a large dog before you get one.

BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOGS- The gentle giant, Bernese Mountain Dogs are great family dogs. They are laid-back and affectionate. As in all large dogs they need a firm but gentle hand in training and they can be slow to learn. This dog needs frequent brushing and has few health problems.

BOUVIER DES FLANDRES-A calm, even-tempered breed, the Bouvier is a great family dog. This breed, although large and seemingly intimidating is actually very gentle and friendly towards strangers. Makes a good watch dog as many people are driven away by it's deep bark before meeting the affectionate monster. The Bouvier has high demands for grooming as it needs to be brushed daily and trimmed every 8-10 weeks. Few health problems.

GERMAN SHEPHERD-Intelligent, loyal and eager to please the German Shepherd is a good companion and watch dog alike. Lately the German Shepherd has been under the spotlight as a biter but I have not experienced this in my 13 years of Dog grooming. So when looking for a Sheered make sure you purchase one from a reputable breeder. This dog needs weekly brushing and may have hip problems.

COLLIE-Elegant and graceful the Collie is a loyal but somewhat stand-offish dog. Don't make the mistake of thinking that this dog likes to be left alone though, a collie will often howl and yelp if bored. Since it is a herding breed, the Collie may nip children. They can be stubborn to train and need lots of daily brushing. Few health problems but may experience hip problems later in life.

GOLDEN RETRIEVERS/LABS- Probably the most popular of the large dog breeds, the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever's make faithful, loyal, family dogs. These dogs are even-tempered and laid back and love to be with children. A favorite sport for these dogs is swimming so make sure you get them to the beach. These dogs are easy to train and have few heath problems. The Golden Retriever needs weekly brushing. They make a good dog for the novice dog owner provided you have the strength to hold them back.

OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG-This breed is friendly and full of energy. If it doesn't receive lots of exercise it can become destructive to itself by licking and chewing its fur out of boredom. These dog's tend to be thick-skulled and therefore can be difficult to train. The Old English requires daily brushing and needs to be trimmed every 8-10 weeks and no, it will not go blind if you trim the hair in front of his eyes. Some health problems they experience are ear infections, skin problems and hip problems.

I hope I have provided the needed insight and assisted you in your choice of a life-long companion.