The reserved and elegant Afghan Hound is one of the oldest of the dog breeds still in existence, having been prized for its abilities as a hunter in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan for many centuries. Today, the breed is among the most visually striking of the breeds, but requires a great deal of time in grooming and exercise.
The Airedale Terrier is the largest of the terrier breeds and originates from Yorkshire as a multi-purpose farm, hunting and guard dog. It has a strong, independent character and is courageous and extremely loyal and protective of its family. The Airedale is an active dog and requires plenty of exercise and experienced handlers, but is generally a healthy breed.
The Akita Inu is a strong, brave, and loyal dog originally from Japan. Akitas are protective of their family and are a trustworthy companion, being both docile and affectionate. They are reserved with other people and can be dominant and aggressive toward other animals. They require an early an effective socialization and a firm hand to keep their strong and wilful temperament under control.
Built to survive and thrive in Arctic conditions, the Alaskan Malamute has adapted to living as a loving, friendly and outgoing companion dog. Not dependable with small pets or other dogs, but will fit well into life with an active family, as long as the owner is experienced enough to provide the strong pack leadership the breed requires.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a highly intelligent dog, bred to herd wild cattle with tenacity and courage. As a pet, it makes a devoted and fiercely loyal companion, bonding very strongly to one individual. The breed has a strict requirement for hours of daily exercise, and will quickly become bored and destructive if under-stimulated. It has a natural tendency to mouthiness and biting, which must be discouraged from puppyhood.
A hunting dog, not far removed from the wilds of Africa, the Basenji is a unique pet in many respects. While not capable of barking in the manner of other dogs, Basenjis are quite vocal and expressive. Suited to families or individuals with the time and space to deal with high energy levels, but care must be taken to contain their drive to wander and to hunt.
The Basset Hound is a medium sized breed with a placid and affectionate temperament. It was originally bred in France for tracking animals during hunts over large distances and has an exceptional sense of smell. It has a short coat, which requires minimal grooming, but can be prone to skin problems due to excessive wrinkles in addition to some other health problems. The Basset Hound is exceptionally good with children and other animals.
The Beagle is small sized hound, which is gentle, intelligent and good natured. The modern Beagle was developed in Great Britain but has since proved enormously popular in the USA and Canada, as well as around the world. Beagles are exceptionally good with children and make good family pets, but can suffer from separation anxiety. They need a medium amount of exercise and do not require any specialist grooming. They suffer from some inherited health problems so selection of a healthy family line is important.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, docile breed with an extremely good nature. Originally developed in Switzerland as an all round farm dog the breed has a thick coat, which can shed heavily but does not require specialist grooming. It is very loyal and likes to be part of the household, getting on well with children and other pets. The Bernese Mountain Dog can suffer from several health problems and lives on average for around 7 - 8 years.
The Bichon Frise is a small breed, which belongs to the toy group. The breed is intelligent with a happy, lively and extremely sociable character. It was originally from the island of Tenerife but was later developed in France. The Bichon Frise is fantastic with children and makes an excellent companion but can suffer separation anxiety. The breed ideally needs professional grooming and can suffer from some inherited health problems so selection of a healthy family line is important.
Bloodhounds are gentle and loving dogs with a distinctive appearance due to their wrinkles, long, droopy ears, and hanging eyes. They are famous for their impressive sense of smell and are used by the police for tracking people, being able to follow a scent for a long time and over long distances. At home, they are excellent pets, very fond of children, and friendly towards other animals.
The Border Collie is an English dog breed characterized by its tireless energy and stamina, and incredible intelligence, that puts it in the top list of the smartest dogs. They flourished as herding dogs, and are known for their staring gaze and herding tendencies, but they also make wonderful family pets. They are affectionate, loyal, and easily bonded to people. They require a large amount of both mental and physical stimuli in order to develop their full potential and be happy dogs.
The Border Terrier is a friendly, active, hardy, small breed of dog, with a wheaten, red, grizzle or blue-coloured, rough-textured outer coat. The Border Terrier loves to do all of the things you would expect a dog to do – dig, run, jump, bark, eat and chase cats. The Border Terrier is a loving, cheerful companion, and an excellent playmate for children.
The Boston Terrier is a small, lively breed with an exceptionally sociable nature which makes them excellent companions. Originating from the USA, the Boston Terrier was influenced by several other bull and terrier breeds. It has minimal grooming requirements and lives to around 12 years old. It has some health problems and is a brachycephalic breed which can have problems breathing so care should be taken to avoid hot or stressful conditions.
The Boxer is a medium sized dog that originates from Germany where it was originally used for hunting and then by the army in World War I. The Boxer has a playful, happy character but is, at the same time, fearless and protective of its family. Boxers are energetic dogs and need consistent training and plenty of exercise. They can suffer from some health problems, so careful selection of healthy family lines is important.
The Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier are physically very similar but are differentiated by their size. They are fun loving, charming dogs which can be independent and stubborn. They were originally developed as a fighting dog in England, but despite this, they do not look for trouble. They require minimal grooming and get on well with children. The breed does suffer from some health problems so selection of a healthy family line is important.
One of Britain's oldest native breeds the Bulldog is now primarily a companion dog. A stout, thick-set dog, the Bulldog was bred for bull-baiting, but after this was banned, a more affectionate, gentle nature was selected for. Bulldogs are good with children and do not require lots of exercise but are prone to some health problems, so careful selection of healthy family lines is key.
The Bullmastiff is a powerful, fearless guardian, but also a loyal and affectionate pet. Dependable with children and other pets, and reserved with strangers, the breed is an excellent choice of family pet for those with the space to accommodate them. They require little grooming, but produce a lot of drool! A moderate amount of exercise is required to keep them in good shape.
The intrepid and brave Cairn Terrier was bred in the Scottish Highlands for its tenacity and hardiness while pursuing prey, but it has a special place in any family home as a sweet, intelligent, and charming companion, suitable for adults and young children alike. The characteristic wiry coat requires little effort to maintain, and sheds very little, making the Cairn suitable for indoor living.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a modern breed modelled on a toy hunting spaniel beloved of Charles II. The breed is dependably good-natured, cheerful and eager to please, making it an ideal family pet. It thrives on human contact, and should not be left alone for long periods, but is very adaptable to many different living situations.
The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog which originates from Mexico. It has recently risen to popularity due to its small size and ability to make a good companion. They come in two coat types and do not require any specialist grooming. Chihuahuas enjoy company and can be prone to separation anxiety. They are not an appropriate dog for families with small children as they can be snappy. Chihuahuas have a long life span but can still suffer from some health problems.
Fierce and stubborn, regal and fearless, the Chow Chow is an ancient breed originating in the Far East. While not necessarily the dog for everyone, this unique breed offers experienced owners unfailing loyalty and protection. Chows require early and ongoing socialisation and firm handling to ensure their strong temperaments do not lead to behavioural problems.
The Cocker Spaniel is a small sized, energetic, gentle and affectionate breed, developed in England to flush Woodcocks out of undergrowth during shoots. A highly trainable breed, which is willing to please the Cocker Spaniel requires plenty of exercise and is good with children. It has a coat that can shed heavily so requires frequent brushing and may require the odd visit to the groomers. The breed can be affected by some health problems so selection of a healthy family line is important.
The Standard and Miniature Dachshund are small dogs and can both come with 3 different coat types – none of which require large amounts of grooming. The breed originates from Germany and was developed for hunting but it now a popular companion dog around the world. Dachshunds are intelligent but can be stubborn and sometimes difficult to train and require plenty of mental stimulation in addition to exercise. They can suffer from some health problems but special care should be taken to protect their backs as they are prone to spinal problems.
Dalmatians are a friendly, intelligent, athletic breed of dog with a distinctive spotted coat, that make for excellent family pets as long as they are given plenty of opportunity to exercise. The Dalmatian does not require a large amount of grooming, and suffers from relatively few health problems, however, the most common health problems are deafness and urinary stones.
The Doberman is a medium-large dog with an imposing posture and alert attitude. Dobermans are loyal guard dogs, with a natural protective instinct towards their owners. They are very intelligent, learn quickly, and are kind and gentle, despite their bad reputation. They are used by the police and the military, but they also make excellent therapy dogs and, of course, wonderful family pets.
The English Pointer, known for its characteristic “pointing stance”, is a tireless and courageous hunting dog, which requires a large amount of exercise. However, it is also an intelligent and easy-going companion, affectionate and attentive, and very well-suited to life as a pet in an energetic family. Pointers require little grooming and usually mix well with other animals and people.
English Springer Spaniels are gun dogs that were initially bred for hunting. They are attached to their owners, to whom they are devoted and loyal. They are loving and charming dogs, although they may be dominant and not always very fond of other pets. They are an active breed and need frequent exercise and playful activities to stimulate them and keep them happy and healthy.
There are two types of Fox Terrier, the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier, the main difference being, of course, their coat type. They are small dogs with a big personality, requiring plenty of exercise. Both breeds have a long lifespan and are affected by relatively few health problems. Fox Terriers are intelligent and learn quickly, but must have a stimulating environment, as they become bored quickly.
The French Bulldog is sociable and small but sturdy looking dog with a playful and friendly nature. They originated from the Toy Bulldog but were subsequently developed in France and America. Today they are an immensely popular companion dog, which does not require large amounts of exercise and has a coat which is easy to care for. The breed does suffer from several health problems so careful selection of healthy lines is important.
The German Shepherd is a large, athletic and intelligent breed of dog that has impressive versatility in its ability to be trained for a variety of purposes, including as a police dog, as guide dog for the blind, and as a faithful family pet. The German Shepherd is an active dog and requires more than 2 hours of exercise per day.
Stylish and regal, German Shorthaired Pointers are all-purpose dogs developed for hunting. They are highly energetic and need tons of outdoors exercise. They are also attentive towards their family, developing a strong bond with their owners, to whom they are loyal and affectionate. The German Shorthaired Pointer gets along well with other dogs, but has a strong prey drive towards small pets.
The Golden Retriever is a large, friendly, affectionate, gentle dog which was originally bred for retrieving during shoots. It has an exceptionally good character and is highly trainable, and great with children. The breed is very active and requires lots of exercise. It has a medium length coat, which can shed heavily and also suffers from some health problems.
The Great Dane is a giant dog breed developed around the 16th century in Germany and refined until today to be the graceful, noble-like, and gentle dog we know. They were initially bred to hunt wild boars, but its function disappeared over time, as well as the aggressiveness required for the task. Today, they are a popular breed among dog lovers, with its huge size but sweet temperament. They are great with children and they love being around people, always snuggling with their owners and even other pets.
The Greyhound is a large, gentle, loyal dog which is extremely athletic. They are thought to have originated from the Middle East but have since been developed in Europe and in particular in Great Britain. They have minimal grooming requirements and can make good pets, although their sensitive nature can mean they are prone to suffering from separation anxiety.
Developed as a hunting breed with many talents, the Irish Setter is a stunning, aristocratic-looking breed with a fabulous personality. Cheerful, affectionate, and mischievous, they make perfect family pets, as long as their humans have the energy to provide the necessary hours of exercise each day. They require a moderate amount of grooming, and need access to a good-sized garden.
The Irish Terrier is a medium sized, fiery, loyal and intelligent dog, originally used as an all-round farm dog in Ireland. The breed has few health problems, with a long lifespan of 13-14 years old. Day-to-day grooming is minimal, and they barely shed, although once to twice yearly stripping is necessary. They require lots of mental and physical stimulation and are affectionate with people but can be prone to getting into scraps with other dogs.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a small, feisty, loyal and intelligent working dog, originally developed in England, which is generally healthy and has minimal grooming requirements and a long lifespan. It is highly versatile and can adapt to different environments as long as it has sufficient environmental stimulation and is well exercised.
The Labrador Retriever is a medium sized, outgoing, friendly and intelligent dog, originally from Canada but developed in England, to retrieve fowl during shoots. An exceptionally lively but popular and highly trainable breed, which requires plenty of exercise to combat weight gain and is exceptionally good with children. The Labrador has a weather-proof coat, which sheds but does not require specialist grooming. Selection of a healthy family line is important to avoid some inherited health conditions.
The Lakeland Terrier is a sturdy and intelligent small dog, developed in its native Lake District to hunt and kill foxes bigger than itself. Far removed from this setting, the breed makes an excellent family dog, particularly for households without other pets. Its wiry coat does not shed, however, its tendency to bark means it may not be suitable for densely populated urban areas.
The Leonberger was bred to resemble a lion, but its temperament is anything but fierce. This gentle giant is renowned for its affectionate and submissive nature with its owners, and is sweet enough to make a suitable pet for children of all ages, despite often weighing over 60 kg. The breed is playful and energetic, needing a moderate amount of exercise and regular brushing.
Lhasa Apsos were bred by the monks of ancient Tibet to be brave and confident sentinel dogs. As a result, this is a small dog with a big attitude! Distrustful of strangers, but loyal to his family, the Lhasa requires plenty of socialisation, and is not a dog for young children. The breed’s coat requires a lot of grooming, but they do not require much exercise, and can adapt to indoor living.
Frisky and fearless, the Maltese is a charming small dog with a big-dog personality. The breed thrives on affection and human contact, and can do very well in the confines of an apartment. However, if left alone for long periods they may become stressed and destructive. Their striking, elegant coat needs regular grooming, but they do not require excessive amounts of exercise.
Truly a gentle giant, the Newfoundland has been credited with saving many lives at sea. Docile and intelligent, the breed is easily trained and very trustworthy with other pets and children. Newfies need a fair amount of grooming, and produce a lot of drool, which may be an issue for house-proud owners.
The Old English Sheepdog is an affectionate, intelligent family dog that thrives on companionship. Despite their shaggy appearance, these dogs are athletic, having been originally bred for working, and have high exercise requirements, as well as needing frequent and intensive grooming. They make excellent pets for young children, and are compatible with other smaller animals.
The Papillon is a very clever, confident, and energetic member of the Toy group of dogs. Coming from an aristocratic background, the breed can be aloof with strangers, but is affectionate and responsive to its family. Papillons are relatively easy to train, require surprisingly little grooming, and have moderate exercise requirements, making them ideal indoor companions.
Don’t let the Pekingese’s small stature fool you; this royal dog of ancient China has a big heart and a personality to match. Brave, bold, intelligent and stubborn, the breed has much to recommend it. However, it has intensive grooming requirements, can be difficult to train, does not enjoy the company of boisterous children, and may bark too much for some owners’ liking.
The Poodle is an elegant, intelligent and happy breed of dog that comes in a variety of sizes. The Poodle is an excellent companion animal, as it is easy to train, and is eager to please. The curly Poodle coat requires frequent grooming, as it grows continuously and can turn into cords and mats. Poodle cross breeds are currently very popular.
The Pug is a small charismatic, happy, playful dog of extremely old oriental origins. Solely bred as a companion the Pug can make an excellent family pet. It has a short, stout appearance and does not require large amounts of exercise. Their coat requires minimal grooming, although it does shed. The breed is prone to several health problems, so careful selection of the healthiest family lines possible is important.
Rat Terriers are smart, energetic, and cheerful dogs that crave human companionship and love to be praised. They can be quite stubborn and tend to go vocal when they are ignored. Still, they are affectionate pets and are very lively and intense, requiring lots of exercise and an active, playful life. They are good with children but wary of strangers, thus they make good watchdogs.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was developed as a cross between native South African dogs and various European breeds, producing a loyal and courageous hunter and guardian, capable of withstanding hunger, drought, and extremes of temperature. Ridgebacks are intelligent, reserved dogs, which make wonderful family pets, although their strength and power may make them unsuitable for young children.
The Rottweiler is a powerfully built, energetic, large breed, originally developed as a cattle droving and guard dog. In the right hands, Rotties make loyal and affectionate pets, but require firm leadership and early training to channel their strong instincts to defend their owners and property. This is a breed which is not suitable for novice dog owners.
The Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzer are three different breeds of varying sizes, which share many characteristics, such as appearance and character. They originate from Germany are intelligent, tolerant dogs, which are very loyal and easy to train, although they need plenty of exercise. They are good with children and require little grooming on a daily basis but need stripping or clipping a few times a year. The health problems which can affect the Schnauzer vary depending on the type.
The Scottish Terrier is a serious and independent-minded character, befitting its origins as a working dog which kept farms around its native Aberdeen free of rodents. As a companion, it is lively and entertaining, as well as being an able guard dog. It often does not mix well with other pets, and may not be patient enough for small children.
The Shiba Inu is a brave, intelligent dog originally bred in Japan to hunt small birds and mammals in mountainous regions. It can make a good pet, but is best suited to homes without other small pets and young children. An ancient breed, Shiba Inus have strong personalities and high energy levels, and require regular exercise and firm training.
The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed originated in the region of Tibet and bred to be a companion pet. It has a peculiar short muzzle and a long, silky coat. Despite its self-important, snobbish looks, the Shih Tzu is a friendly and affectionate dog, fond of people, children, and other animals, that lives its life in seek of love and attention.
The Siberian Husky is the smallest of the sled dogs and originates from the Soviet Arctic. The Chukchi Indians bred them as a multipurpose dog, providing a means of transport, as well as assistance hunting. They have a gentle, friendly character and a strong pack instinct. Their coat can shed heavily, but does not require any specialist grooming. The breed requires a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy and suffers from relatively few health problems.
The St. Bernard is an enormous, docile dog with a gentle nature. It was originally developed in Switzerland and rose to fame as a rescue dog. Today the breed can suffer from several health issues so selecting a healthy family line is important. The St. Bernard is best suited to cooler climates, as it has a think, dense coat, which requires regular brushing and the breed has medium exercise requirements.
Strong and fearless, Straffordshire Bull Terriers are also playful dogs with a fun-loving character and a keen desire to please their owners. Intelligent and very active, Staffies, as they are lovingly nicknamed, love to exercise and play, and they are particularly good with children. They are, however, dominant and not always friendly towards other animals, which is why they require firm leadership from an early age.
The Hungarian Vizsla and the Hungarian Wire Haired Vizsla are extremely active but loyal, gentle and affectionate dogs which originate from Hungary and have been bred as multi-purpose hunting and gundogs. They require plenty of time to provide sufficient mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy and healthy but need little grooming. Both breeds can suffer from some health problems so it is important breeding dogs are tested for inherited illnesses.
Weimaraners are large and elegant dogs with a distinctive blue coat and unusual eyes that give them a regal appearance. They are loyal and extremely attached to their owners, which can result in separation anxiety. They tend to be strong-willed and somehow challenging to train, as they are very intelligent and have a mind of their own. They love to run and they are great hunters.
There are two different types of Welsh Corgi: the Cardigan Corgi and the Pembroke Corgi. They are both small dogs with long bodies and short legs. Originally bred in Wales for herding and driving cattle, Corgis are active dogs and require plenty of mental stimulation and socialisation from a young age. They have a short-to-medium length coat, which is dense and requires regular brushing.
The Welsh Terrier was bred as a stoic and hardy small dog to pursue and kill foxes and badgers after they had ‘gone to ground’. This working origin yielded a tough, independent thinker that is full of personality. The breed can be a challenge for novice owners, but they make very good family pets, being tolerant of children.
The West Highland White is a medium sized, white terrier that is energetic, sociable, playful and independent. The Westie, like all terriers, will chase cats and other small animals, and will likely dig holes, chew and bark, but with the right training can make the perfect companion. The Westie is good-looking and fun dog, but as with most breeds, it is occasionally prone to health problems.
Whippets are smart, very alert, and docile, loving both exercise and curling up next to their owner. They make good pets to live in an apartment and are reliable companions, getting along well with both adults and children, despite their independent temperament. Because their hunting instinct was encouraged and kept over the years, they have a strong prey drive, and may chase other small pets – especially cats.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a small, intelligent dog which is extremely affectionate. They are very quick to learn and easy to train, but can be overprotective. Yorkies do not require large amounts of exercise and can therefore make ideal pets for people living in cities. If left long their coat can require extensive grooming. Despite having a long lifespan, they can be prone to some health problems.