All dogs should be vaccinated for rabies, canine parvovirus, distemper and canine hepatitis. Other vaccinations may also be recommended depending on the dog's age, exposure risk and activity level.
The American Animal Hospital Association categorizes vaccines as either core vaccines or non-core. The core vaccines are ones that all dogs should get because the diseases they protect dogs from are highly contagious or have a high risk of fatality. Rabies shots are necessary because there is no treatment for the condition and it can be transmitted to humans. Dogs are legally required to be vaccinated against rabies in many states.
Non-core vaccines are for diseases that are less contagious or easier to treat. These include leptospirosis, coronavirus, bordatella and canine parainfluenza. The latter two are often colloquially referred to as kennel cough. These may be recommended in areas where the disease is common or for dogs that are boarded frequently or go to dog daycares. They are also commonly recommended for dogs that are used for sports or showing because the crowded nature of these environments makes the diseases more likely to spread. Dogs that live quieter lives and mostly stay home may not be good candidates for vaccination because, as with any vaccine, there is a small risk of adverse reactions. Owners should talk to their veterinarians to determine the right vaccination plan for their dogs.