When choosing a dog, it is important to recognize the limitations of your lifestyle and then select the breed that is best suited to live within those limitations. It is essential to understand what a breed was originally bred to do and whether the dog you are considering holds any titles for that trait.
Almost all purebred dogs can be divided into two categories: dogs bred to work with humans and those bred to work independently. Sporting or gun dogs and herding dogs fall into the first category, while flock guard dogs, terriers, and hounds fall into the second.
For some, a crossbreed, which has two purebred parents of differing breeds, or a mongrel may fit their needs. While mixed breeds may not be as predictable as purebreds, their unique look and reasonable purchase price may suit you. Most crossbreeds and mixed breeds are as bright and personable as any purebred - and some are even more so, if well socialized and obedience trained.
Before making any selection, do your homework. Whether you are headed to a breeder, rescue group, or shelter, come armed with a list of questions. And be prepared to answer as many questions as you ask, for a good fit is best for all concerned.
For more information on getting a new dog, get Shelby's book the New Art of Dog Training.