Have you ever seen an adorable dog on TV or in a movie and thought, I want one just like it? Make sure you get the right breed for your family with these tips on the most popular, paparazzi-worthy pups
You may be tempted to get a certain type of dog because of its celebrity status. But if you don’t learn about the breed's pros and cons first, you could end up spending money hiring a trainer to correct bad behavior, or worse, feeling like you need to return the pet to the shelter.
Where you’ve heard of it: Oprah Winfrey owns one named Sadie
These adorable animals are admired for their floppy ears and curly hair. They are gentle, intelligent and make great family dogs. Their silky, fine hair tends to mat, so daily brushing is essential. Many owners choose to have their cockers’ coats clipped every two months, which makes grooming easier. Cockers are high-energy sporting dogs that need daily exercise, so if you’re looking for a couch companion, choose a different breed.
Where you’ve heard of it: The 1992 movie Beethoven
Just as in the movie, real-life Saint Bernards shed and need regular grooming, and they tend to drool. So if you think those factors will turn you off, pick a different breed. Also, they get big―they can weigh up to 180 pounds. And they need frequent walks to maintain muscle tone. But Saint Bernards are gentle and can make wonderful pets (however, because they are so big, they might not be a good fit for families with children under 6 or so).
Where you’ve heard of it: The 2008 movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Bruiser from the 2001 movie Legally Blonde
Because Chihuahuas are so small, they make good city dogs―they can be toted around and don’t mind living in apartments. In addition, they cost less to own than a large dog because they eat less and the smooth-coated Chihuahua requires little grooming. However, some Chihuahuas can be fearless and curious, and they must be trained and watched closely so they don’t get into trouble. Also, many bark a lot. Because they are fragile, especially as puppies, they are best for families with older children who can properly handle pets.
Where you’ve heard of it: The 1950s TV show Lassie
Collies are naturally loyal and affectionate, especially with children. There are actually two types of collies: smooth (short hair) or rough (long hair). The rough collie (like Lassie, and at left) has a heavy coat that requires daily brushing. Collies are herding dogs, and need to act on their natural instincts through frequent walks, training or agility courses. This helps challenge them mentally and lets them practice their innate abilities, preventing bad behavior such as nipping at heels.
Where you’ve heard of it: Charlotte York on Sex and the City owned one named Elizabeth Taylor
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an energetic toy breed that great for city or country life. The cavalier is friendly and was bred to be a family companion. The silky coat tends to mat, so it requires daily brushing and occasional baths, but professional grooming is not necessary. The breed is equally happy cuddling with you on the couch or taking long walks.
Where you’ve heard of it: In December 2007, football player Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting
ring. He used mostly pit bulls in his fights.
Many people think pit bulls are mean and attack people at every turn. But these dogs were bred to be trustworthy, friendly and reliable around children, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Most pit bulls are loyal and affectionate. A dog isn’t dangerous just because of its breed―the likelihood a pup will bite depends on many factors, such as its level of socialization and obedience training, whether it has been trained for fighting, its genetic makeup, the quality of care and supervision its owner gives and whether the dog has been spayed or neutered, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Source: Lisa Peterson, director of club communications for the American Kennel Club