30 of the Best Dog Breeds in the World
Big, small. Long hair, short hair. Great with kids, perfect for protection. Exercise companion or low maintenance. There are many characteristics that make a great dog breed, well, a great dog breed. In the end, it all depends on what type of canine companion you're looking for.
Here are 30 amazing dog breeds, their best qualities and who these breeds would be perfect for to help simplify your search for a furry friend.
What's small, white and fluffy? No, it's not a cotton ball, though this dog kind of resembles one! We're talking about the super cute, super cuddly Bichon Frise, whose name literally means "fluffy white dog" in French. Bichons are friendly, curious and fun loving and are the perfect family pet.
Portuguese Water Dog
With the word “water” in their name, it makes sense that these dogs were bred to be around it. Portuguese water dogs were once used to help herd fish and retrieve any lost nets or tackle. Today, they are typically seen as great family pets. These dogs are smart and easy to train, and they’re loving and fun.
Beagles are known for being intelligent, funny and loyal, just like Charlie Brown's dog, Snoopy, who was, in fact, a beagle. Due to their amazing sense of smell, beagles make great hunting dogs and use their incredible nose to help track down small game. Even if you're not looking for a rabbit-tracking companion, beagles make great family pets.
Probably most famous for being police dogs, German shepherds are medium- to large-sized working dogs. They are extremely intelligent and are easily trained, and they tend to be great at anything they are taught to do. Besides police dogs, German shepherds make great service dogs, herding dogs or military dogs.
Let's go from an iconic working dog to an iconic family dog. Golden retrievers are large dogs, originally used to retrieve fallen game like birds or ducks. One look into a golden retriever's soulful eyes and you can see that they are wise and caring dogs.
Small with long silky coats, Maltese dogs are an ancient breed. As the name implies, they are said to originate from Malta, an island in the Mediterranean. In ancient times, the Greeks built tombs for Maltese dogs. These dogs were also believed to be able to cure pain and illnesses.
Corgis are an excellent breed, known for their short, stubby legs, large standing ears and fluffy little behinds. According to Welsh mythology, Corgis serve as fairies’ mode of transportation. Today, corgis are also known for being the royal dog of England. In fact, Queen Elizabeth has owned more than 30 corgis in her lifetime.
Labrador retrievers make our list as one of the most popular breeds in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. Similar to golden retrievers, Labs are just as friendly, obedient and loving. But because they have shorter hair than golden retrievers, Labs don’t require as much grooming. They do, however, shed.
Because of the way these dogs are often groomed, poodles have earned themselves a reputation for being proud, sassy and perhaps a bit snobby. But these dogs are anything but that. They are easily trained and oh so smart. They also make great show dogs, as they love to perform.
Huskies are truly beautiful dogs. With their large stature, thick fur, well-liked features and stunning, light-colored eyes, Huskies are best known for their sled-pulling abilities. But this doesn't mean they aren't great pets, as Huskies can be affectionate and loyal.
Let's go from a high maintenance dog to a more laid-back breed. The bulldog is perhaps best known for its love of sleep and looking like the enforcer of the dog world. Its wide build, short legs, distinctive wrinkled face and pushed-in nose make this breed adorable in its own unique way.
Pugs are small dogs best known for their large head, short nose and wrinkled face. Oh, and let's not forget the protruding eyes and curled tail. Pugs all have a distinct, dark, mask-like mark that runs down the front of their face. They tend to be a bit more serious than other small dogs.
When you think of someone in the boxing ring, what comes to mind? Probably someone strong, powerful and quick. Well, the same can be said about the boxer breed. These medium-sized dogs have square-shaped muzzles with strong jaws. Once former fighters, these dogs are still popular today, but they have found their place as family pets.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire bull terriers, or Staffies, hail from Staffordshire, England. The breed was created by crossing a terrier and a bulldog, and has evolved over time into the breed we have today. In the 19th century, Staffies were used for dog fighting and to help control pests and varmints. Staffies are medium-sized dogs, and are very clever.
With their shiny reddish coats and long, regal necks, Irish setters are showstoppers. And if you've ever seen this dog strut its stuff, you'd know that it’s aware of its charm. Irish setters make great show dogs, but they are also perfect family dogs. Bred as gun dogs who could easily be seen through the brush by hunters, Irish setters are very athletic by nature.
Let's move on to a less rambunctious breed. French bulldogs are small, low-maintenance dogs that are great for people who live in small spaces. These dogs were created as a crossbreed between English bulldogs and rattlers—dogs bred specifically for catching rats in the 1800s. Frenchies get their bat-like ears from the ratters, who were often terriers with large, erect ears.
This large herding dog has become a television icon. We're talking about Lassie, the loyal and intelligent dog who went on many adventures with her lovable companion, Timmy. And Lassie’s characteristics reflect those of real-life collies. Well, they can’t communicate full sentences with a single bark, but collies are beautiful and definitely great family dogs.
If large dogs are your thing, then take a look at the Great Dane, one of the tallest dog breeds out there. These giant-sized dogs, though intimidating in size, are actually quite gentle. Though they were bred to help hunt wild boars and as guard dogs, they are not aggressive animals.
Pit bulls have a bad reputation. They are often (erroneously) seen as vicious, bad dogs. People tend to think they are attackers and naturally aggressive. In reality, this breed is actually not like that at all. In fact, a “pit bull” isn’t actually a dog breed. What?! The name actually refers to multiple breeds, including Staffies and American pit bull terriers.
With short legs and an extra-long body, dachshunds are probably more commonly known as the “hot dog” dogs. These dogs were bred to hunt small prey and ground-dwelling animals like badgers and prairie dogs. Today, they are bred mostly as family dogs.
Jack Russell Terrier
Smooth-bodied with a short coat, Jack Russell terriers trace their origins to fox hunting. And they take their profession very seriously. Even with training, Jack Russell terriers hang on to their hunting instinct and often don’t do well with other animals.
Yorkshire terriers, or Yorkies, are another small breed in the toy dog category. Developed in Yorkshire, England in the 19th century, Yorkies were bred to catch rats. Today, they live up to their toy classification. With long hair on the top their heads, Yorkies are often seen with their hair tied up, usually adorned with a little bow.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Small with large, round eyes and long, floppy ears, it's nearly impossible to not fall in love with the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. This breed has been a favorite of many celebrities, including Ronald Regan, Frank Sinatra and Diane Sawyer. The breed was also featured in the series Sex in the City as Charlotte York’s beloved pet, named Elizabeth Taylor.
If you’re looking for a lap dog, a Pomeranian may be just what you’re looking for. These small toy dogs were once a bit bigger. In the 1800s, Queen Victoria of Germany owned many Poms and bred them until they were eventually smaller in size.
Let’s talk about designer dogs. The Labradoodle is one of the more recent additions to the list of created dog breeds. Originating in 1989, Labradoodles were created as guide dogs for people with allergies. With the goal of taking a Labrador’s guide dog qualities and mixing it with a poodle’s hypoallergenic fur, the Labradoodle breed was born.
Also known as the Sheltie, Shetland sheepdogs are often mistaken for small collies. While both descended from border collies and are in the herding family, they are two different breeds. Collies are much larger and have longer muzzles. Shelties are smaller, measuring about one foot tall.
With its trademark bushy eyebrows and long mustache and beard, the miniature schnauzer looks unlike any other breed. First created in the 19th century, the miniature schnauzer is a cross between a standard schnauzer and a smaller dog like a Poodle.
The smallest breed in the world, Chihuahuas are the ultimate purse dog. Weighing about two pounds, Chihuahuas rarely break the six pound mark. They have been portrayed as either Spanish-speaking dogs in the movies, or as a bit snobby and hailing from Beverly Hills.
If a small and somewhat fragile lap dog isn’t to your liking, how about something larger and more active? The Vizsla is a hunting dog of medium size. It is a great dog for an active family. And we mean active. Vizslas don’t like to be cooped up and can become destructive if left indoors too long.
American Eskimo Dog
A member of the spitz family, the American Eskimo dog originates from Germany, descending from the German spitz breed. This all-white beauty was originally bred to be a hunting and herding dog. It was not bred to be a sled dog like a Huskie, though it's understandable where that misconception comes from with "Eskimo" in its name.