Choosing Man’s Best Friend: A Guide to Canine Companions

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 3, 2009 · 69 comments

in Friendship, Relationships & Family

mans-best-friend

The bond between man and dog has grown over tens of thousands of years.  A dog provides a special sort of companionship that’s hard to have with people. They can be unconditionally loyal and loving. A good dog will be there to lick your wounds even when everyone else in your life leaves you. You can talk to your dog about your problems and he’ll just sit and listen without interrupting or judging you.  When you have a rough day at work, you can always count on your dog to be waiting for you at the door anxious to get outside and brighten your day. A hunting dog will sit with you in a cold and wet duck blind for hours without whining. Some men even take their dog on a canoe trip.

Moreover, some dogs can provide protection to you and your family. Ever loyal, dogs are even willing to sacrifice their lives for yours. Dogs are truly man’s best friend. But how do you pick your friend? Just like you wouldn’t get into a serious relationship without a good amount of reflection, you shouldn’t choose a dog impulsively. You have to do your homework. Below we’ve created a  guide that gives you a rundown on some of the manliest breeds of dogs. These are some of the breeds best suited for the title “man’s best friend,” because they’ve been working, playing, and walking by man’s side for centuries. Whether helping their master land his next meal, faithfully guarding home and hearth, or directing  a shepherd’s flock, these dogs have been man’s most loyal companions.

Choosing Your Canine Companion

While it’s tempting to choose a dog based on their size, appearance, or the memory of being choked up during Old Yeller, this isn’t the best way to choose your new best friend. Every dog breed has a unique history. Over a period of many years, breeders continuously refined the breed, selecting for certain practical and aesthetic attributes. Thus each breed has special characteristics hardwired into their DNA. So when choosing a dog, your best bet it to pick one whose characteristics best line up with your personality and lifestyle. A man who is seldom home and who has little time for getting outside should not choose a breed that must be exercised vigorously each day. Likewise, a man who is seeking a jogging companion should not pick low energy dog.  Of course even dogs within the same breed have unique personalities and quirks, and to a certain extent, every dog can be trained in such a way as to somewhat mitigate their less desirable traits. But in the balance between nature versus nurture, it’s the former that will give you the best idea on what kind of companion you will be adopting. A Note on the Working/Obedience Intelligence Score These numbers are based on a book by Stanley Coren, aptly titled, The Intelligence of Dogs. The author ranked the dogs according to their ability to understand new commands and obey the first command. Some dogs which have a stubborn streak find themselves lower on this list. But it’s important to note that while this propensity for being strong-willed does make training more difficult, it doesn’t mean the dogs are hopeless or hopelessly dumb. Many will respond well if trained with positive reinforcement techniques rather than the traditional punishment style. On Coren’s list, the lower the number, the more intelligent the dog:

  • 1-10 Brightest Dogs
  • 11-26 Excellent Working Dogs
  • 27-39 Above Average Working Dogs
  • 40-54 Average Working/Obedience Intelligence
  • 55-69 Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence
  • 70-79 Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence

The Dogs

Golden Retriever

golden-retriver

Image by fiona j

Golden Retrievers were bred to be vigorous swimmers, able to recover from the water fish and ducks their faithful owners had shot from the sky. Today’s Golden Retrievers are still adept at this task, whether you want them to retrieve a downed duck or a tennis ball. Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in America, and with good reason. Friendly, playful, obedient, and loyal, they make terrific family dogs and companions. They’re also useful in keeping safe your family’s secret recipe for baked beans. Care: Golden Retrievers require ample exercise and interaction with humans. Naturally they enjoy retrieving games immensely, retrieving games that involve the water best of all. Quite intelligent, they can easily learn many commands and tricks and are always eager to please their masters. Golden Retrievers are social dogs and do not like being left alone for long periods of time. Their coats should be brushed once or twice weekly, every day when they are shedding heavily. Working/Obedience Intelligence: 4 Lifespan: 10-13 years Stats (out of 5 bones) Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Labrador Retriever

labrador-retriever

Image by Phil Romans

With a sleeker, shorter coat then its Golden cousin, the Labrador Retriever has charmed its way into more American homes than any other breed. Labs are as comfortable in the hunting field as they are back on the homestead. They are calm, gentle, intelligent, and obedient and yet also enjoy a good playful romp in the backyard. Friendly and social, they enjoy the company of humans immensely and are typically kind to other dogs and pets. Their loyalty and dependability have made them a useful “working dog” (for the blind, disabled, ect), and a trustworthy companion for any man. Care Labs need ample daily exercise and have a nearly insatiable appetite for human interaction. It is best to allow them frequent times of swimming and retrieving, as this is what they like best. They are an easy-going breed and not generally prone to aggressive, compulsive, or destructive  behaviors. Intelligent dogs, they are easy to train, although one must be sure to keep their fun-loving boisterousness from getting out of hand. They love to eat, and owners must be careful to keep their weight in check. Their coats need to be brushed once weekly. Working/Obedience Intelligence: 7 Lifespan: 10-12 years Stats Energy level:dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level:dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training:dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Pointer

pointer

Image by vizwhip

Pointers are the blue-bloods of the hunting breeds. The very first Westminster dog shows were held primarily for the showing of Pointers, and today they continue to be ranked highly by the American Kennel Club. The Pointer was originally bred to stop and point to birds and rabbits as the hunter readied his shot. Gentle, loyal, and affectionate, Pointers can live long lives and provide an active and athletic companion for an equally energetic man. Care Pointers are extremely active dogs, and if not given plenty of exercise, they will become irritable and prone to damaging your stuff. They need at least an hour of exercise each day, preferably in the form of hunting, running, and searching. They like to run for long distances and make good jogging companions. They can live outside in temperate climates but are happiest living indoors with a family. If living indoors, they need ready access to a well-fenced (Pointers like to roam) backyard. Pointers are non-territorial and get along well with others pets. Grooming is easy; their short coat only requires an occasional brushing. Working/Obedience Intelligence: 17 Lifespan 12-17 years Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Bloodhounds

hounddog

Image by j.o.s.a.l.n

The Bloodhound is of course most famous for its keen sense of smell. Their nose helps take a bite out of crime with its ability to track a human scent that’s days old for several miles. As one might expect from that long droopy face, Bloodhounds aren’t too playful. But they are quite gentle and even-tempered, with the exception of their propensity for busting into your neighbor’s house and gobbling up the Christmas turkey, fresh out of the oven. While Bloodhounds are faithful companions, you may want to keep in mind that due to their susceptibility to “the bloat,” they have on average one of the shortest life expectancies of all dogs at 6.7 years. Care Despite the popular of image of the hound dog lazing the day away on the front porch, this breed does like to be active. Their propensity for following a scent trail can make them more difficult to obedience train. They also need more hands on grooming: drool must  be cleaned daily from the folds of their faces, and their ears also need regular cleaning. Grooming of the coat is easy; only an occasional brushing is needed. Working/Obedience Intelligence: 74 Lifespan: 6-10 years Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbone

Boxer

boxer

Image by Evil Yoda

Boxers developed from two breeds, one of which, the Bullenbeiser, was designed to be a hunting dog that would chase after wild prey and hold onto the animals with its mouth until the master arrived. Thus the boxer developed a very strong jaw and a withdrawn nose that allowed it to breath while its mouth was so engaged. But despite that fierce looking face, boxers are not aggressive or viscous by nature. They are playful, energetic, and attentive.  Their strong loyalty and devotion make them an excellent companion. Care Boxers need a good amount of daily exercise to keep them happy and not chewing up your things. They have a reputation for being stubborn, but with good training can be quite responsive to commands. Boxers don’t tolerate heat well and aren’t a good dog to keep mostly outside. But if you keep them indoors, be aware that some do snore. Only an occasional brushing of the coat is needed. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 48 Lifespan: 8-10 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbone

Boston Terrier

boston-terrier

Image by albertka

Boston Terriers are a recent breed, and are a  mixture of English Terrier and bulldog. Because of their distinct coloring and well-mannered bearing, their nickname is “The American Gentleman.” While they are typically laid-back, they can be quite playful if given the chance. Boston Terriers are alert and lively and have expressive personalities. Yet they are also gentle and sensitive to their owners’ desires and moods. Care A Boston’s Terrier’s need for exercise is not great and can be met with a short walk each day. It enjoys social interaction and games with humans. Some are prone to barking, wheezing, and snoring. They do best in a mild climate that is not excessively cold or hot. Coat care is minimal. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 57 Lifespan: 12-15 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Cold Tolerance: dogbone Heat Tolerance: dogbone

Doberman Pinscher

dobermine

Image by katebriquelete

If you see a “Beware of Dog,” sign, what dog do you instantly imagine being behind that fence? Chances are your mind is sobered up by the thought of a Doberman Pinscher. Bred to be lean, mean guard dogs, Dobermans may not be jonesing to snatch a Frisbee out of the air, but they will keep you and your family safe and frighten away annoying door to door salesmen. While they can be quite intimidating, some lines of the breed have been bred in recent decades to be calmer and gentler. And Dobermans can make appropriate family dogs; they’ll scare away strangers, but they won’t eat your baby. Care Dobermans’ strong physicality is matched by a keen intelligence. They therefore need both physical and mental exercise every day. Their sharp minds and loyal obedience make them easy to train and their sleek coat requires little care. They can be aggressive towards strange dogs. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 5 Lifespan: 10-12 Stats: Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Beagle

beagle

Image by Arturi

For a man’s whose lifestyle is suited to a smaller dog, but who has no desire for a toy-sized yapper, the Beagle makes a excellent compromise. Bred as a hare and rabbit hunter, the beagle has an “aw shucks” sort of cuteness but isn’t dainty. While most are friendly, even-tempered, gentle, and merry, sadly, very few write novels on the typewriter or fly missions against the Red Baron. Care People often forget that the beagle is a hound, with the strong sense of smell characteristic of that family. Thus beagles can be hard to train, as they are easily distracted by scents and the determination to follow a trail. They also become bored and distracted easily and thus have one of the lowest scores on the working/obedience intelligence scale. And while they may be gentle, they’re also excitable and noisy, with a tendency to bark and howl at unfamiliar people and things.  They don’t need as much exercise as a bigger dog, but regular walks prevent the excess weight gain to which they are prone. Bred as pack animals, they require a lot of social interaction and companionship. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 72 Lifespan: 12-15 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Heat tolerance:dogbonedogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Great Dane

greatdane

Image by Nick Carlson

Known as the “Apollo of all Breeds,” a Great Dane can certainly turn heads. They look like small horses and many a kid has imagined riding on this giant dog’s back. But despite their imposing presence, Great Danes are truly “gentle giants.” The fact that it carries its great size with such dignity made it popular with European noblemen of past centuries as a companion, manor guard, and hunting dog capable of taking out wild boar. Then, as now, Great Danes are dependable, spirited, and not prone to excitability. Care While they may look like a small horse, they actually don’t need to be exercised like one. Their exercise needs are moderate and can met with a nice walk or play in the park. They will of course need more food than smaller dogs and large indoor spaces (it is not suited for living outdoors) to accompany its size and allow it to spread out when sleeping. The coat requires little care. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 48 Lifespan: 7-10 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbone Friendliness toward other pets: dogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbone <–nextpage–>

Rottweiler

rottweiler

Image by Greypoint

Rottweilers have a long history, going all the way back to ancient Roman times, when they served as cattle drovers and guards. Today they are still desired for their role as protective watchdogs. They are bright, alert, and self-assured. Despite their tough reputation and wariness toward strangers and other dogs, proper training can make a Rottweiler a good companion and family dog. Care The ideal Rottweiler owner has experience with dogs and is prepared to offer his pooch steady obedience training, daily mental and physical exercise, and healthy socialization. Responsible ownership is needed to keep the  Rottweiler’s natural herding, guarding, and drive for prey in check. The Rottweiler is hearty enough to live outside, provided that ample shelter is provided. But it also needs to spend time indoors socializing with the family. Coat care is minimal. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 9 Lifespan: 8-11 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbone Friendliness toward other pets: dogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbone

Pug

pug

Image by zoomar

The pug’s official motto, “Multum in Parvo” ( a lot in a little,) is most befitting. While they are officially a part of the “Toy Group” of breeds, they are the only one of that category to have descended from mastiffs, those ancestors which produced generally massive and manly dogs. Thus the pug is small but not dainty. Originating from China, where it was miniaturized, the pug was popular in the monasteries of Tibetan monks.  With a face only a mother could love and an endearingly out-sized personality, these so-called comedians of the dog world are quite the charmers. Care While their exercise needs are lower than those for bigger dogs, the pug still needs a decent romp or walk each day. Pugs can be stubborn but are eager to please. They crave social attention and will often follow their owner from room to room. They are therefore not suitable for a man who will be away much of the time and unable to provide sufficient interaction with their pug. Their coat requires minimal care, but the folds of their face must be cleaned daily to avoid skin infections. They do not do well in hot and humid climates. They are prone to snoring and wheezing. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 57 Lifespan: 12-15 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbone

Bulldog

bulldog

Image by agnes cao

Bulldogs were used for bullbaiting in the 17th century. The bulldog’s job was to latch on to the bull’s snout to prevent it from breathing and to generally get the bull riled up. When bullbaiting became illegal, the bulldog was bred to be more amiable and less violent.  Despite this softening, it’s steadfast character has made it a popular collegiate mascot and the official symbol of England. But while it’s still portrayed as a tough and fierce dog in popular culture (often wearing a spiked collar, ala the Georgetown Hoyas),  the bulldog’s gruff, unmistakable mug belies its jovial and friendly nature. Care Although typically quite laid-back, they can sometimes be stubborn. The bulldog’s exercise requirements are minimal and it’s not suited for running or walking long distances. Most also cannot swim. Coat care is minimal but the fold of their faces should be cleaned daily. Bulldogs don’t do well in excessively cold or hot temperatures. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 58 Lifespan: 8-12 Stats Energy level: dogbone Exercise requirements: dogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbone Heat Tolerance: dogbone

Saint Bernard

saintbernard

Image by patmueller The Saint Bernard has perhaps the most honorable history of all the breeds. For 300 years, these large dogs tromped though the snowy mountains between Switzerland and Italy looking for lost travelers. When they would locate one, they would lick the frozen person’s face and lay beside them to warm up their body. In this way they saved over 2000 lives. The Saint Bernard of today is different from these life-saving dogs, as they were later bred with Newfoundlands. But Saint Bernards are still devoted dogs who are eager to please their masters. And with proper training, you can teach them to bring you some ale from that little keg around their necks. Care Saint Bernards can be stubborn and unruly and thus steady obedience training and ample socialization from puppyhood to adulthood is important.  Given their snowy history, they do best in cold climates and are not well-suited for heat and humidity. They can live outside in temperate places. Their coats need weekly brushing. Daily exercise is important; a moderate walk each day will do. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 65 Lifespan: 8-10 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbone(smooth) dogbonedogbonedogbone (long) Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbone

Siberian Husky

husky

Image by moody’s

Even if you don’t plan on mushing your way across Alaska, the Siberian Husky makes an excellent faithful companion. Bred as a sled dog, this Arctic breed is always up for adventure. Siberian Huskies are clever, mischievous, stubborn, and playful. They also happen to be the mascot of Brett’s high school alma mater. Go Huskies! Care As befitting a dog that came out of Siberia, the Husky has a very thick coat of fur, with both a undercoat and overcoat. Its coat therefore needs to be brushed once or twice a week, daily when they are shedding. Like the wolves from whom they descended, they may howl and “sing.” Their breeding as sled dogs makes them want to run and roam for long distances and they should be given plenty of time each day to do so. The Siberian Husky can be stubborn and independent and benefits from daily obedience training. They are social dogs that need the companionship of humans or other dogs. For obvious reasons, they do best in cold weather climates. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 45 Lifespan: 11-13 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbone

Dalmatians

dalmation

Image by sputnik

Serving at various times in history as war dog, sentinel, shepherd draft dog, trail hound, retriever, bird dog, and circus dog, the Dalmatian is a truly versatile breed. However they really found their niche in Victorian England as coach dogs, whose job it was to trot handsomely next to the coach and protect the horses from other dogs. They also served this function for horse-drawn fire engines, and thus became a common firehouse mascot.  Dalmatians are playful, energetic, and eager for companionship. Care Many would-be dog owners are drawn to the Dalmatian’s distinct coat, but as the media always warns whenever a new Dalmatian-themed movie comes out– this dog may be cute, but it’s not for everyone. It is suited only for an active man is who prepared to go beyond a couple of walks each day and give the dog the hard, vigorous exercise it needs to be happy and well-behaved. Dalmatians like to run and roam for miles and it makes an excellent jogging companion. Dalmatians do have a genetic disposition for deafness, and a deaf dog will of course have special needs. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 39 Lifespan: 12-14 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Border Collie

border-collie

Image by agrosrev

Bred for more than a century with an eye towards function over appearance, the Border Collie is considered the most intelligent dog in the world. It’s use as a sheepdog required a keen and obedient mind. Now a popular household dog, Border Collies make energetic, faithful, and protective companions for masters willing to meet their needs. Care Like the Dalmatian, the Border Collie is not a dog for every man. Bred to be working dogs, without daily work and exercise they will devolve into a compulsive and destructive pet. Border Collies need a job to do each day, but this need not be herding sheep; games, ball retrieving, and Frisbee catching will appropriately stimulate their keen mind. They make excellent dogs for dog sports and competitions. Border Collies cannot lives in apartments as they need ready access to the outside world. They can live outside in temperate climates but also enjoy socializing with humans indoors. Their long coat needs twice weekly brushing. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 1 Lifespan: 10-14 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

German Shepherd

german-shepard The German Shepherd is a recent breed, carefully bred to be the consummate sheep herder. Yet the qualities prized for such work- strength, obedience, intelligence, and loyalty-have today made it a versatile working dog and a valued pet. The German Shepherd is often employed as police dog, guard dog, guide dog, and search and rescue dog. As a household pet, the German Shepherd is devoted to and highly protective of its owner and family. Care German Shepherds have a reputation for aggressiveness that is not entirely unearned. This breed leads all others in the random biting of humans and they are often aggressive toward other dogs.  Proper socialization and training can curb this tendency. German Shepherds are at their best when given ample exercise and the feeling of having a purpose. The coat must be brushed once or twice a week. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 3 Lifespan: 10-12 years Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs: dogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Basset Hound

bassethound

Image by helen’s bassets

The Basset Hound was developed after the French Revolution for commoners who wanted a dog with a keen sense of smell, but which had short legs suited for a slower pace of hunting. Care With a nose second only to the bloodhound, the Basset Hound is fond of tracking and is hard to stop from following a trail once he’s picked up the scent. They thus can be stubborn when it comes to obedience training. Their droopy face creates some extra care needs. Their droopy eyes build up with gook and need to be cleaned daily to avoid irritation. Their equally droopy ears get dragged into various things and are prone to ear infections. They also drool and need the folds of their faces cleaned regularly. Their exercise requirements are not great and can be met with a daily walk. Working Obedience/Intelligence: 71 Lifespan: 8-12 Stats Energy level: dogbonedogbone Exercise requirements: dogbonedogbone Playfulness: dogbonedogbone Affection level: dogbonedogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other dogs:  dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness towards other pets: dogbonedogbonedogbone Friendliness toward strangers: dogbonedogbonedogbone Ease of training: dogbonedogbone Watchdog ability: dogbonedogbonedogbone Protection ability: dogbone Grooming requirements: dogbonedogbone Heat tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone Cold tolerance: dogbonedogbonedogbone

Mutt

mutt

Ah, the loveable mutt. They’re not winning any medals at the Westminster Dog Show, but a mixed breed dog can provide companionship just as well as those blue blooded full breed dogs. If you’re looking for a dog, but can’t afford the sometimes exorbitant prices for a full breed, consider a mutt. You can find plenty of good mutts at your local pet adoption center that are in need of a good home. You can also find them very often being given away as pups from an owner who got a surprise litter from their mangy mutt. Best of all, they’re scrappy, just like you. Care/Working Obedience/Intelligence:/Lifespan/Stats: Results may vary. We’ll level here: it’s a crapshoot. Source: The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile Ph.D

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rgf610 March 3, 2009 at 10:02 pm

I couldn’t get here fast enough after reading your tweet about this article. When I was younger, I had big dogs. We had a lab, a german shepard, and a pitbull (All at different times). After getting our first house, my wife wanted a dog. We went to the pet store and fell in love with a pug. I could not agree more with you that there is a bond between a man and their dog. Great article.

2 Bernie Franks March 3, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Great article. Mrs. Franks and I have been talking about getting a dog, though as much as we both want one, we know that it will be a while yet before we’re able to get out of apartment living, and we’re both drawn to breeds that would need lots of outdoor activity. This is a nice quick list to take a gander at.

3 lucas March 4, 2009 at 12:39 am

No miniature pinscher? lol

4 Anthony Piselli March 4, 2009 at 3:24 am

What about the lovable Jack Russell Terrier?

5 lord_galathon March 4, 2009 at 4:16 am

Excellent list, I’ve had Pugs since childhood (over 30 years) and they’re very affectionate. I’m dying to get a Bulldog but our house is small and we already have a miniature Pug, also Bulldogs are very expensive in my area. They’ll set me back 1000$ from a breeder and I’m not getting a pet shop animal other than a hamster or guinea pig.

Incidentally, guinea pigs are surprisingly amiable pets. My wife and I got one for our daughter last winter and we both fell in love with it, it’s cute, it wants attention and squeaks to get food. As a bonus it will play with the Pug when we’re not home as it’s about 3/4 of its size!

6 Jean-Yves Mead March 4, 2009 at 4:34 am

A fine article, but you missed the manliest of small dogs – the Jack Russell terrier. Bright, scrappy, and endlessly active, it’s very much a man’s best friend.

7 clarkson456 March 4, 2009 at 5:34 am

I’ve had a lot of dogs, including one purebred Dalmation. The best dogs that I’ve ever had were mutts, especially the strays that some idiot threw out of a car. They are the most loving and loyal of any dog. There is no doubt in my mind that the stray mutt is the true “king of all breeds.”

8 John Cox March 4, 2009 at 5:41 am

What about the Standard Poodle (sans the ridiculous haircut)? They are quite smart and affable. Another great one is the Irish Wolf or Scottish Deer Hound.

9 Franko March 4, 2009 at 5:43 am

What about Shetland Sheepdogs (collie family), Aussie Sheepdogs, Wolf-hybrids, and Blue Heelers? I ask this because I’m having a hard time deciding between the ones I listed and some of the ones you listed.

10 Joe C. March 4, 2009 at 6:04 am

i grew up with miniature dachshunds, or wiener dogs. i’m not completely surprised that they didn’t make the list though. there are tons of breeds out there, many of them being a lot more masculine than dachshunds. they were bred to hunt, however, and hunt they do… and dig, and bark, and shred toys…

very lovable though. pretty sure when i get a dog of my own, i will refer back to this list. thanks a lot!

11 Scott March 4, 2009 at 6:08 am

My wife and I just rescued a English and American Bulldog mix about 4 months ago, and he is AMAZING. He is extremely playful (from the american), but also enjoys lying around (english), but what cracks me up is how affectionate he is.

In getting a rescue (especially ones that have been abused in the past), they tend to be extra affectionate, and this added to the bulldog affectionate level puts him at a 10 out of 5. Its so funny, because he wishes he was a 10 pound lap dog, so he will come and lay on your lap and fall asleep cuddling… but he weighs 85 pounds. It is always a highlight of my day coming downstairs to see the dog asleep on my wife’s lap, since he weighs almost as much as she does.

If you are looking at getting a dog, I would HIGHLY urge you to get it through a rescue organization. Not only are you saving the dog’s life and helping a most-likely underf-unded organization, but your new companion will be EXTREMELY greatful.

12 Kari March 4, 2009 at 6:21 am

Ever since I was a child my parents have kept a mutty Australian sheep dog. Without a doubt the sheep dogs are some of the most patient, kind, friendly, loving, and intelligent dogs I’ve ever been around. Raider is companionable, affectionate, loyal, and protective. He gets along well with our cats and he likes children, too.

I would unreservedly recommend sheepdog-mutts to anyone who is considering a dog and doesn’t want to buy from a breeder. Just be sure you have the space to keep one.

13 Greg A. March 4, 2009 at 6:31 am

I just have to say Mutt’s are definitely the way to go. One of mine was an unwanted puppy and the other was a ASPCA dog. Both had issues behaviorally but it was nothing a little bit of training couldn’t fix. Great article!

14 kim March 4, 2009 at 7:06 am

what about papillions?

15 Ted March 4, 2009 at 7:37 am

You missed the mark on the Rotweiler. Having had Rotties for over 20 years I can tell you that they score much higher in these areas than you scored them.

Playfulness: More playful than my Golden Retriever

Affection level: Just as affectionate as the G. R.

Friendliness towards other dogs: Gets alon great with the Golden Retriever

Friendliness toward other pets: and the cat

Friendliness toward strangers: will lick you to death.

Both dogs are over 3 years old

Like most dogs rotties are a product of their enviornment.

16 Lukasz March 4, 2009 at 7:53 am

Regardless of what sort of dog you may want, check with your local humane society or rescue organization. (There’s a rescue organization available for almost every breed.) Too many people get decide to spend several hundred dollars on a puppy, when there are hundreds of dogs in their area in need of a good home.

17 Uberhack March 4, 2009 at 8:13 am

Can’t imagine not having a dog by my side. My German Shepherd, Indy, is as much a member of our family as anyone else. In response to the scoring system of friendliness, affection and playfulness, much of that is trainable behavior as well as dependent on the personality of each individual dog.
German Shepherds do need to have a job to keep their heads straight, though. Indy’s is tennis ball fetch. He takes his job seriously.

18 Brett March 4, 2009 at 8:14 am

@Ted-

We didn’t come up with the “stats” ourselves-they came from the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Obviously, they are simply averages and as we stated, do not account for dogs’ individual personalities or training.

19 Kevin March 4, 2009 at 8:38 am

Unfortunately, just two weeks ago (2/17) we put down my 13 year old German Shepherd mutt that we rescued as a stray from the local Humane Society 13 years ago.

Always a faithful companion, and much missed.

As already stated above, check the local shelters before spending all that money on a pure bred dog. Our mutt was the heathiest dog of any of our friends that also had dogs. Not once did we have any heath issues with her. Our friends spent WAY more money in vet bills! Don’t discount the mutt!

K

20 Chris March 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

What no corgis? This list is incomplete.

21 Pete March 4, 2009 at 9:23 am

Err what about English Springer Spaniels? I know this is all a matter of opinion, but we have had two of them, and dogs don’t come much more playful and trustworthy with kids. There are a couple of German Shepherds near here that are a danger to dogs and anyone else in reach. I realise there are plenty of well behaved ones too.

22 Daphne March 4, 2009 at 10:03 am

This is a great list! It would be nice to see some more smaller dogs, corgis, chihuahuas, daschounds, terriers, poodles, those sorts! But awesome list anyways!!

23 Greg T March 4, 2009 at 10:58 am

One thing people need to remember when looking at purebreeds is the history of inbreeding and the medical issues that can lead too. It’s not a reason not to get one, but it is something to keep in mind. The humane society described my first dog as a “Husky/Ger Shepard/Lab mix with something else we can’t ID” and he was incredibly healthy until his last few months. The mixing of breeds can help offset the risks of illnesses, though as the author pointed out, mutts can be a crapshoot. In which case you could get multiple issues.

24 srgonzo March 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

Of course you can’t include every single breed of dog, but what about one of the core breeds, like the Mastiff? Personally, I’ve always wanted a bullmastiff, but I haven’t been able to acquire one.

25 amyd5 March 4, 2009 at 11:53 am

The cha-weiner doesn’t get a shout out? (chawawa dachsund mix)…definately negative number on the manly scale.

26 Ryan March 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm

A note to college kids – Getting a dog in college is quite popular (at least it was a few years ago when I was in school). Keep in mind the burden it can place on your social life and the responsibilities YOU (not your roommates) should assume. You owe it to yourself, your roommates and the dog.

27 Richard March 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm

If you have kids here’s something to bear in mind: out of the 190 breeds of dogs the UK Kennel Club recognises, it only recommends two breeds for families with children: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (look vicious, but are softer and sweeter than cotton candy) and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever (you don’t train these dogs, you negotiate with them – not for inexperienced dog owners).

The big advantage of mongrels is that they tend to be healthier. But always ask who the mutt’s parents were. It’ll give you an idea of their temperament. And bear in mind a mutt can end up with the bad qualities of its parents’ breeds, not just the good.

The more intelligent dogs demand training. For instance a Collies’ instinct is to herd – dogs down the park don’t like being herded.

I grew up with a beagle. I can confirm that it’d never write a novel or fly a fighter biplane. It took us about 10 years to get him to sit on command. But as he had arthritis in his hips by then, I think it was more discomfort than obedience that made him sit.

28 hickchick March 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm

@Frank
As someone who has had several Red Heelers, you really need to be honest with yourself about how much time and space you have. If you live on a farm, they are great dogs that can entertain themselves without too much supervision. They always want to be close to their herd, so they won’t wander too much and they’re incredibly smart.
However, if you live in a city you are going to need to devote at least a couple hours a day to exercising them and training them. There is nothing worse than having to get rid of your dog because he made the mistake of trying to herd an unsuspecting jogger. They will also be incredibly protective of their house and people, so they must be socialized and trained to tolerate new people.
These dogs are becoming more popular all the time because they’re great dogs, but they’re also one of the most surrendered and abandoned.

29 Gerad March 4, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Kudos for including mutts on the list! Being a mix, they tend to have had genetic diseases that purebreds would have bred out of them and will spend their lives showing you how much they appreciate you for rescuing them. In my experience it has been the dog that picked me rather than the other way around. :)

30 Laura March 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I guess I have one odd German Shepherd because he loves everybody. Over the 2 years my fiance and I have had him he’s only ever growled at one person (and that was our landlord haha). He is the absolute sweetest dog I’ve ever owned to the point of obnoxiousness. I was a little suprised to see that they tend to bite more often than other breeds, maybe I just got lucky or maybe we did a great job raising him.

That being said, all other points are spot-on. I feel I should emphasis the loyalty factor. Our German will NOT leave my side when we take the dogs to the off-leash park. Our other dogs will run off in all directions, but he stays firm by my side, its really rather endearing. Since my fiance works nights, it makes me feel 100% safe with our German in the house. However with such devotion also comes very bad seperation anxiety. He does not take kindly to being left alone, so after coming home to many a shredded shoe, we had to get him some extra training in that area.

All our other dogs are mutts, so I just had to put my two cents in on the one pure-breed we do have. German Shepherds are SO loyal and loving not to mention absolutely brilliant when it comes to learning new commands and tricks. I hate to rank my dogs, but he’s surely the best behaved and most well-rounded dog we’ve ever owned.

31 Liam March 4, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Another vote for the Jack Russell, in my family I have always been surrounded by them. Excellent house dogs although they do bugger off the second they get the smell of rabbit up the nostrils, and they’re naughty- last Christmas our smooth haired Jack Russell bitch was seen running for dear life to the garage carrying a shoulder of pork half the size of her.

I was interested by your choices of gundog. I have worked on grouse shoots on in the North Pennines with pointers of all kinds, mainly English, and also done some grouse counts with them, and the amount of exercise they need and the distances they can roam is something very few people can give them. Spaniels on the other hand are superb little dogs, still boisterous and energetic but not quite so rangey as a pointer! I love cocker spaniels, the determination and joy with which they take to their work is great to watch!

32 Steve March 4, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Although I’d like to get a lab or a retriever of some form for running, hunting, fishing and mountain biking – my gf has two daucshunds (sp?) that are very endearing – I love ‘em too -

33 Mark March 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm

@ srgonzo

I’ve had Bullmastiffs ever since I was given one as a present when I was 15. I was very disappointed at the time (I wanted a corgi, but my parents hated them), but when I met my puppy it was love at first sight. Now, 20 years later, I will never, ever have a different breed of dog. They are an awesome pet, are fanatically loyal to their entire family (not just their owner) and are wonderful around children. They are also as active or as lazy as you want them to be. A seriously class dog.

One thing to note; if you’re getting a big dog of any breed, I’d recommend getting a papered purebred. For the simple reason that with dogs that size you want to know what you’re getting. You can’t afford to have a dog that size with a mean temperament.

34 Feb March 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm

As a dog handler, my opinion varies slightly from this list on dogs who are appropriate ‘family dogs’, considering that the top breeds on this list are responsible for the most bites to people in general than any other breeds. No matter what breed a person gets, they need to do HEAVY research and take obedience classes with their new puppy or dog. I hate to see when people wait untill 3 years after they get a golden and decide “Oh hey, I can’t control my dog” or those who see the Charmin commercials and run out to get a lab puppy that then turns into Mini-Marley.

Some of the best ‘Family Dogs’ I’ve ever seen where, in fact, animal shelter pit mixes and shepherd mixes.

I would like to have seen mutts get a better review here. Most people I know in the dog circles have never had near the problems with mixed breeds as they did with purebreds, including health issues, socialization, introductions to family life, etc.

This is a nice article, but please, no one base your choice of a dog off of it!!

35 Molly March 6, 2009 at 10:52 am

You have rottweilers rated with low affection and playfulness. Obviously you’ve never known a well brought up rottweiler!

36 ramirez March 8, 2009 at 10:20 am

WHAT? no mention of the bright, and noble chihuahua??

now, i know, i know the stereotype, but they are NOT always yappy little shaking runts. there is no such thing as a “teacup” chihuahua, those are bred out runts.

a standard, healthy chihuahua will be about 8-9 lbs and will be as hearty as any other dog if treated like a dog. if the owner carries them around and treats them like a furry baby, they will be mean, spoiled, annoying, and whiney. a chihuahua that is treated with dignity will be loyal, calm, well tempered, and a worthy companion throughout life. also, if you live in the city, they thrive in an apartment setting.

the chihuahua is a fierce and noble protector of mexico, where they roam the plains, free, in huge heards in their native province of Chihuahua

37 Craig March 9, 2009 at 1:35 am

In my experience with hundreds of dogs, pure-bred animals are more likely to present physical and psychological problems than mutts.

If you really want a pure-bred dog, there are plenty in the shelters about to be put down. Regardless, don’t support the puppy mills; don’t buy from pet stores.

38 Wes March 9, 2009 at 5:31 am

how could you leave out american pit bull terriers? For active men looking for a dog with unwavering loyalty and a uniquely american history, there is no substitute.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_bull

39 Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin March 9, 2009 at 8:05 pm

We have a pair of mongrels, one a border collie/chow mix, the other border collie/feist / unknown. They are both remarkably healthy and good natured, and learn quickly and well, more so than our pure-bred Yorkshire Terriers.

Dachshunds may not look manly, but a hound bred to chase badgers down into their holes, kill them, and drag their cooling carcasses back to the surface, are courageous and lively dogs.

I will echo the suggestion that you check with a breed rescue organization before going to a breeder. Nearly every breed club registered with the AKC ( http://www.akc.org ) has a parallel rescue organization. Greyhounds in particular have a huge population needing rescue. They are bred in huge numbers for the dog tracks, and the racing organizations have little or no desire to keep them once they reach retirement age.

40 Greg March 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm

My family’s had Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers for nearly 20 years (which means 2 dogs, as they live for about 15 years).

Tollers are intelligent, reasonably easy to train and are wonderfully happy and friendly dogs. Around people, the tail tends to wag the dog, they get so excited sometimes. The Toller will also retrieve until it’s ready to fall over from exhaustion, so exercise caution when playing fetch.

A caveat: When running full-out, a Toller can herniate their back if their hindquarters go out from under them. Also, at a full out run, Tollers are fully capable of catching rabbits or squirrels if they have a head start!

For more information:
http://www.akc.org/breeds/nova_scotia_duck_tolling_retriever/index.cfm

My two cents, for what it’s worth.

41 Jeff March 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm

No love for the American Pit Bull Terrier? I have never lived without a dog, having everything from pugs to cocker spaniels to German Shepherds. No dog has been better than the past 3 pitties I have rescued. They are an amazing breed…intelligent, loyal and tremendously goofy, despite being maligned by a misinformed public buying into alarmist media reports.

There are so many loving pits that are in shelters that need homes. Go visit one and see what you think. They aren’t the monsters many (ignorantly) believe they are.

The AKC lists them as ideal family dogs. I agree.

42 Antony Hands March 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Where’s the Westie? The West Highland White Terrier is the GREATEST DOG that ever lived. Well in my opinion anyway. :o) Also if you are doing a guide for dogs for guys it should have a category “Pickupability” ie. How much does the dog help you meet women! For example…..Doberman, one bone, Westie, 20 bones!

43 fish tank aquariums March 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Great article…you really did your research on this one! I have two Labs and love them! If you want a family dog retrievers of any kind are a great way to go.

44 GW March 20, 2009 at 7:21 am

No mention of greyhounds? Thought a high energy breed because of their racing, greyhounds are just the opposite. They’re sprinters who love to run for a short time, then they morph into couch potatoes the remaining 23 3/4 hours of the day. They’re gentle and make wonderful pets. You may have to watch some for prey instinct when it comes to small furry critters since they’re sighthounds.

Oh, and about those roaming herds of chihuahuas…

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=24702

45 Richard March 25, 2009 at 9:14 am

So, I had a dog, but he died. The wife has decreed, “No more indoor pets!” But I miss having a furry friend nearby, and can’t stand that idea of by buddy suffering in the cold winters of Utah. Any suggestions on how I can get my wife to understand the unique bond between man and dog?

Thanks for a great article.

46 Nicci March 26, 2009 at 11:15 am

Keep in mind that every dog is a product of his/her environment AS WELL AS his inherent nature. As a groomer for the past 10 years, I have had my fair share of diamonds in the rough and exceptions to the rule. (ie. A very obedient and calm Yorkie who’s breed is notoriously difficult to train compared to an aggressive and anxious 8 year old Golden who’s breed is an American favorite.)

The one thing to keep in mind is no matter what breed, each dog needs a loving and devoted family. Obedience training is not only fun and educational for the entire family, but it keeps the dog socialized and his mind busy. Who doesn’t want a well-behaved pseudo-human where everyone he encounters says, “What a great dog!”

47 Spud April 3, 2009 at 9:04 am

Gentlemen,

I submit to you the Airedale Terrier. I will not take the time to give a major listing on the breed, except that it is the largest of the terrier class, is one of the most intelligent of all canines, is family-friendly, and is a fantastic watchdog (Airedales were historically used to hunt mountain lions, and I think even grizzlies). I have previously had three Airedales, each of them amazing. I am excited to one day be out of school and with another Airedale at my side.

48 Brad April 10, 2009 at 8:39 am

The Standard Poodle, the original hunting dog, is not on the list of manliest dogs? The hair cut their known for was giving to them by hunters to keep their joints warm while in water. An extremely smart dog. Easy to train. I have one but I dont give it the gay haircut you see in the dog shows. It looks like a furry black lab, but a lot smarter. Plus they dont shed so their hypoallergenic. They are starting to mix the poodle breed with all sorts of other breeds for that reason.

49 Bert July 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I have to agree with the dachsund love in the thread. My girlfriend and I just rescued a 6 year old from a shelter about a month ago (our lab needed a friend). The two of them are playful when you want them to be, lazy and cuddly when you’re hungover or laying on the couch, and they get along fantastically. Despite being less than a quarter of the size of our lab, the dachsund looks to be the boss already, and is a very manly dog if I do say so myself. Just be careful when you’re on a walk – squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and even insects are fair game for these little guys.

50 joe October 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Love your site but I burst into laughter when I saw the working obedience/intellignece rating of german shepherd at 3.

I have 4 dogs currently and my german shepherd is no longer with us but in the years I had him I found him to be the by far the hardest working dog there is and its easy to see why they are used in law enforcement and even military-a true professional.

He was also by far the most intelligent dog I have ever owned.Stood head and shoulders above the others ,including a pure breed border collie I own currently.Problem solving abiitity incuded things like being able to calculate the shortest routes to and from through obstacles and the ability to tell time by watching the position of the sun and shadows created and later in life he could understood complete sentences ,even pick up the basic content of some conversations.

He knew “M” spelled Mcdonalds…Ha HA.

He could pick out letters like P_A_R_K spoken spelled park.

But if You said P_A_R_T he knew it was not park.

I’d rate him a 10 on a scale of 1-5 for intelligence and In general I know they are the hardest working dogs out there.

51 Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin December 25, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Joe,
the intelligence scale used:
* 1-10 Brightest Dogs
* 11-26 Excellent Working Dogs
* 27-39 Above Average Working Dogs
* 40-54 Average Working/Obedience Intelligence
* 55-69 Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence
* 70-79 Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence
from the very last thing above “The Dogs.”

52 Gal @ Look A Day January 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Can I add my vote for mutts? I had pure breeds when I was growing up (boxers) and, while incredibly loyal and friendly, they had a lot of health issues. My lab mutt on the other hand is incredibly healthy, despite all the garbage she eats if I’m not paying attention.

Unless you’re planning to breed or show your dog, consider a mutt. There are so many of them looking for good homes that you can get one cheap (free usually). At the very least, if you absolutely must have a pure breed, work with one of the rescue shelters instead of a breeder or puppy mill. You’ll never find a more loyal companion than a dog that you rescued.

A real man doesn’t care about pedigree :)

53 navkiran jot brar February 8, 2010 at 3:06 am

i have also love dogs very much . i have two german shephard m and f

54 Chris March 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I’ll put in a vote for the Brittany. I realize it’s not one of the more common breeds which is why it’s often missed. Perfect family dog though…it’s a gun dog, so manly enough…and so yet so good looking that every woman on the street wants to stop and pet it. Plus it’s great with kids and other neighborhood dogs.

55 Julie August 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I’d just like to give a shout out for responsibly bred purebred dogs. Not all purebreds are created equal! Many of the problems that purebred dogs have today are because of puppy mills, but also because of irresponsible home breeders who do not test for genetic health, do not screen potential owners and are not there for the life of the puppy.

56 James October 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

This list seems sorely deficient to me. No terriers, no poodles, practically no truly small dogs, this is a grevous oversight. While dogs like I have listed may not be automatically manly, that does not preclude them from being so. A man’s dog does not have to be large and/or have a traditional role in hunting or some other job, yet this list makes it seem so. It is important to take into account also, that big or energetic dogs have the potential to be destructive when kept around the house. Give the smaller dogs some love.

57 Fred2 November 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

A vote for Rhodesian Ridgebacks!

Plus: smart, short hairs= easy to keep, pleasant personalities, active dogs- BUT given some regular exercise mostly couch potatoes, great for ridding yard of varmints, protective of family and standoffish of strangers. Good with other dogs.

Negative: short hairs = not so great in cold/wet climates, smart = can be destructive if bored, Prey drive makes them traffic- stupid. Will destroy an “indestructible” dog toy in minutes given some motivation ( have dead kongs to prove it.).

To quote a buddy: A gentle flower of dog that will absolutely kick your ass if it feels threatened.

Bred as small pack baying hounds, hounds to bring to bay large african prey so hunters can catch up and shoot the prey. They have significant speed (slower than racers, but faster than mastiffs), some power (less than mastiffs /heavier protection dogs, more than typical hunting dogs due to size.

58 Emily May 15, 2013 at 12:22 am

Okay, I loved The Intelligence of Dogs as well, but the whole book was flawed and based the test on methods that benefited certain breeds over others. Also, intelligence is not always what you want, ask the many people who dump border collies in the pound every year, or watch Marley and Me. Smart dogs are far harder to deal with. The best way to pick your next companion isn’t to rely on a book like this or on a rating system like this one, but to go and do your homework. Recognize what the dog was bred for. Talk to breeders. Tell them your lifestyle. If you’re rescuing, talk to the rescuers, they often can match personalities. Don’t think “I’ll get a Siberian Husky and then take up exercise to keep the dog happy.” If you’re not already living the lifestyle for that dog then you’re not going to change for the dog once it joins you, and you will resent the dog and the dog will be unmanageable.

59 Sean Taylor May 16, 2013 at 10:43 am

I must add my vote for poodles– of the miniature kind. My little dog (now 4) may be 10 pounds, but he’s good company, a good watchdog & door-guard, endlessly amusing, and extremely intelligent (understands complex commands, blinks for yes, serious problem-solving skills). All manly dogs need not be 100-pound bruisers, any more than all manly-men are the size of linebackers.

60 Bradley May 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

My wife and I have two dogs. My Great Dane is perfect. She is the best dog I’ve ever owned (or been around). She is so gentle, sweet, and goofy. I’ve only seen her get mad twice in five years (at other dogs, never people) and it was scary.
My wife’s German Shepherd is creepy. He’s intelligent and very loyal. We get along fine, but he follows my wife EVERYWHERE and sits at attention right by her feet. Crazy thing is that he is massive and solid black like Damien’s guard dogs in the Omen. He doesn’t listen to me when she’s around.

61 Bradley May 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

@ Jeff. My neighbors have two pitbulls and they seem like great dogs. They’re goofy and really funny. I think this breed gets such a bum rap b/c of the media’s sensationalism and b/c of the sort of trashy people that fight these dogs. The breed doesn’t deserve it.

62 Don C. May 23, 2013 at 2:02 am

Best dog I’ve had (currently have) is a border terrier. Bright, friendly and a tenacious hunter of rats. Also just likes being a lap dog. Not as hyper as some of the other terriers and definately looks like a “guys” small dog.

63 Erik July 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

While I’d say Barney Stinson from HIMYM went from pretty fun to way too much (and quite pathetic at times) as the seasons went, he did get one thing right.

Article 3 of the Bro code states: “If a bro gets a dog, it must be at least as tall as his knee when full grown.”

I grew up with several miniature dachhounds and while they are often manly in attitude, the size is less so. Perhaps we should heed Barneys advice? ;)

64 Bryan September 7, 2013 at 11:56 am

Oh man… life would be so empty without my dog. I love big, purpose bred dogs, my favourite (and probable choice for the rest of my life) is the German Shepherd. In my experience, they easily compare to Collie breeds in intelligence. What they have dragging them back down is stubbornness. Not outright defiance … More like a small child asking ‘why?’ When you tell it to do something.

If you spend time looking into the history of the breed, it effectively being a Wolf-dog hybrid created by an ex member of the Phalanx society about 110 years ago to fill the same function as collies, and how wolves function with regards to socialising … it becomes very clear why they have the reputation for biting.

To make the perfect example … Two of the dogs I’ve had over the past 15 years, Gigalo is a loving family hound who loves playing with small children and other dogs (of the same breed), while Merlin would kill anyone who even tried stepping foot on our property. Other than that they have an identical personality.

The reason is simple, Gigalo was well socialised from the day we brought him home at about 8 weeks old, Merlin we only got at around 3 months old. He’d spent the first 3 months at a breeder, living in a concrete run. Those essential early times when he should have been learning what the world contained, getting familiar with everything in life, were taken from him. As a result, Merlin saw everything besides the immediate family as foreign. To be defended against. Gigalo recognises other Shepherds but not other dogs because all the socialising took place at a German Shepherd club.

The point is that German Shepherds are more Wolf like in that they need proper socialising, which means that people can screw it up much easier than some other breeds, as Wolves start bonding and exploring weeks earlier than dogs, and take days longer than dogs to form a bond when brought home as a pup.

If done, they are the most amazing and loyal hounds you will ever find. If failed, they are more suspicious and defensive than many other breeds, and thus … biting happens.

65 Bryan September 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Further, if I may, purebred dogs can have issues as people are Notting in the comments. But only if the local breed-supervisor is not active in preventing inbreeding. Some people will not understand the genetic implications of breeding two related dogs with each other, even be aware that they are related.

As for mutts, look up the concept of ‘ heterosis’.

Simply … any two animal from previously isolated genetic pools will likely have stronger, healthier offspring than the animals in the isolated gene pools they came from.

66 Gary March 9, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Love my husky mutts and wouldnt want anything else. If you choose a husky your choosing a child not a dog! They really are a special kind of dog.

67 Kevin March 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm

My vote would go to the German Shepherd. Our family has been blessed with two shepherds and they have been the most loyal dogs anyone could ever ask for.

68 Luke April 13, 2014 at 10:38 am

Please do another article. I understand that this one might be a more tedious article to write, but extremely appreciated.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter