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some examples of breeds with similar character traits



Many of us grew up with a terrier in the household – Fox Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers and Airedale Terriers have all been popular. Terriers are typically tough little dogs bred primarily for vermin hunting and with the courage and tenacity to follow their prey underground. They’re popular as family dogs, able to tolerate and join in the rough and tumble of outdoor life. They typically have high energy levels, but the compact size of several breeds means some will adapt well to life in a smaller space, particularly if their high exercise requirements are met. While many terriers can be too lively and noisy to fit well into high-density living, there are several breeds that may be suitable. These include the West Highland White Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Australian Terrier and the Bedlington Terrier.

gun dogs, working dogs and larger breedssmall breeds and lap dogs

Scenthounds and Sighthounds have been quite popular in Australia over the years. Beagles and Dachshunds, in particular, have been common and at one stage Afghan Hounds were all the rage. Hounds are generally highly active dogs bred to follow animals being hunted. They are driven by their nose or by sight, and can be quite independent. If you like hounds you might find that a Miniature Dachshund, Greyhound, Italian Greyhound or Whippet will suit a smaller space and an inner-city lifestyle.

Twenty or 30 years ago there were a number of larger dog breeds that were hugely popular – Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Dalmations, Irish Setters, Collies, Border Collies, Cattle Dogs, Kelpies, German Shepherds and German Shorthaired Pointers were all commonly seen in suburbs across Australia. These breeds were originally bred to be gun dogs or working dogs and are typically very energetic and active, but also very trainable.

These breeds were popular at a time when the large backyard with the Hills Hoist was the norm. There was more space, dogs spent more time outdoors and Mum was less likely to be working outside the home. If you live in the inner suburbs, look around at your local dog parks. You simply will not see as many German Shepherds or Cattle Dogs, primarily because they’re harder to manage in an inner-city environment. Of course, there’ll always be a few, but you are more likely to notice smaller pure breeds along with “Oodle” and Maltese crossbreeds. It’s true that you can manage some of those larger dogs in smaller spaces, but you will need to work harder at it – they need lots of exercise and plenty of company. Their size and energy levels are likely to need more effort and time from you.

If you have owned or lived with one of these larger breeds previously, you might like to consider a Poodle (or Labradoodle or other “Oodle” crossbred) – they are generally smart, active and trainable dogs. Cocker Spaniels or Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties) might also be appealing. For the blokes who still want a solid, athletic type of dog, a Staffordshire Terrier might be worth considering. But bear in mind this breed does appreciate some outdoor space and needs plenty of company.

Small breeds can be handy if you’re living in an apartment because they’re less intrusive for others and can be carried through common areas. Breeds that might work well in an apartment include Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Pug, French Bulldog, Maltese and Papillon.

giant breeds

Some of the larger breeds that can be good for inner-city lifestyles include Great Danes, Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs. Remember though that these dogs are very large, eat huge amounts of food (this can be expensive and means they also produce large amounts of poo) and they are short-lived. They require a very dedicated owner who is able to cater to the specific needs of such a large dog.