Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.

Adding a new furry friend to your family marks a major milestone, so choosing the right breed of dog for you, your family and/or your lifestyle can sometimes feel like a daunting decision.

The first step to being a responsible dog owner begins before you even bring a dog home, so assess your needs before making a decision. 

When choosing a breed there are many considerations you'll want to make a decision on, such as how much space your dog has to roam and explore; whether it needs to be kid-friendly; how much exercise your dog requires; dietary requirements; or whether or not you're prepared to maintain dogs that shed.

On top of that, consider which genetic conditions are associated with each breed, whether that could affect your pet in the long term, and whether or not you can find a pet insurance provider that covers you.

So, with much to think about, the in-house vets of Budget Direct put together a list of things to consider before you choose the right dog breed for you.

See all of Budget Direct's pet insurance guides.

Living space

The size of your living space will be a determining factor in discovering the best dog breeds for your home. For instance, if you live in an apartment then a larger dog breed isn’t probably best suited to the smaller space.

It would also be helpful to consider how much outdoor space you have access to, especially if you live in a smaller apartment or without a backyard. And if you don’t have a backyard, how long will your dog be left alone before being taken out to exercise or to go to the toilet?

You should look to make your living space more pet-friendly by sectioning off areas specifically for your pet and removing any safety hazards from your home.


Choosing the right breed to match your lifestyle and level of activity is a very important step in the process. Different breeds require different levels of activity and this can be during downtime, playtime or when they’re exercising.

Some breeds (typically larger dogs) will tend to be more energetic and need a lot of exercise while other breeds are more adaptable and will prefer to stay indoors.


Some breeds will ultimately cost more to look after than others. This can be determined by a particular breed’s size, weight, amount of food they consume, whether they need professional grooming or if they’re prone to certain health conditions later in life.

Costs that you should consider may include:

  • Flea worming and tick treatments
  • Grooming
  • Toys
  • Bedding or shelter
  • Boarding costs if you go on holiday
  • Vet check-ups
  • Pet insurance

Treatment for injuries, illnesses, or other health conditions

Small dogs

Small dog breeds are a great option for anyone living in a small space or apartment. Smaller dog breeds are also great companion animals and are known for being lower maintenance than a lot of larger dog breeds.

Here are some common small dog breeds:

  • Miniature poodle
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Beagle
  • Pomeranian
  • Australian Terrier

Medium dogs

Medium dog breeds are known for being adaptable and can live in a small or larger space, an apartment, or a house. They also require more exercise than smaller dogs and will cost more to feed and groom just based on their size.

Here are some common medium dog breeds:

  • Poodle
  • Labrador
  • Golden Retriever
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Border Collie

Large dogs

Large dog breeds are better suited to larger living spaces with big backyards and a lot of room to run. Many of the larger breeds also tend to have a more docile temperament, making them the ideal family pet and some of the best dogs for kids.

Here are some common large dog breeds:

  • German Shepherd
  • Doberman
  • Weimaraner
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Australian Shepherd

Family dogs

When choosing a breed, the best dogs for kids will have an agreeable temperament and an appropriate energy level to suit your family’s current lifestyle. You should also consider whether and if they’ll get along with other pets.

The size of the dog is relative and should be considered alongside the other points of criteria.

Here are some of the best dogs for kids [1]:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Irish Setter
  • Vizsla
  • Beagle

Guard dogs

If you’re looking to protect you, your family, and your property you may want to choose a breed that is known for being a good guard dog. While guard dogs can sometimes get a bad rap, it’s their protective nature that also allows them to be incredible pets.

Here are some of the best dog breeds known for being great guard dogs:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Great Dane
  • Giant Schnauzer

Hypoallergenic dogs

If anyone in your household suffers from a pet-related allergy then you could also look at a hypoallergenic dog breed. While there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog, many are marketed as the best dog breeds for allergy suffers because they shed little to no fur.

Here are some of the best dog breeds for allergy sufferers:

  • West Highland Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Cavoodle