The list below contains some of my favorite breeds to work with. I find things that I love about all of the breeds that I have trained over the years but these ten make my personal top of the list.
If you have questions or comments about a particular breed that is or is not on the list, feel free to post your questions on our Facebook page and I would love to answer them.
- Standard Poodle – The Standard Poodle is truly one of the most intelligent dogs of all breeds. They are a good all-around dog: good size, solid temperament, extremely trainable, and very agile. They are also hypoallergenic which is a benefit to many families. There are versatile cuts other than the standard poodle cut for those who do not like the look of a fluffy poodle. The first Standard Poodle that I trained was one I was dreading. I had never worked with them and did not think I wanted to work with such a “prissy” dog. I was pleasantly surprised and amazed at the natural protective nature of the breed and the general sturdiness of them as well. These are not “prissy” dogs by any stretch of the imagination. All in all, one of my favorite breeds to train.
- Labradoodle – Easily the runner up due to the inclusion of the Standard Poodle in their design. You have all of the wonderful things listed above plus the trainability of the Labrador. The Labradoodle combines the best of two breeds and is truly the upper echelon of the hybrid breeds. With a labradoodle you have a very intelligent dog who is also very people pleasing and has a wonderful working drive. By far, my favorite hybrid.
- Labrador Retriever – The All American Dog. Labradors have been one of the top family dogs for generations. This is a hardy and adaptable breed. They have a high titration level which makes them an excellent choice for families with children. They have an extended “puppy phase” which leads to their being the number 3 dog on my list. I consider these an “easy” dog to train and enjoy working with them.
- Belgian Malinois – My love for the Malinois, like most police or military K-9 handlers, comes from their work ethic. There is no other breed out there with more drive or desire to work than the Malinois. Mals are high drive dogs and are not designed for the faint of heart handler. They make an incredible working dog but can be a difficult pet due to their need for constant stimulation and interaction.
- Giant Schnauzer – Unknown to most, the Giant Schnauzer is a completely different breed than the more common Miniature Schnauzer. Giants are a noble breed. They can be aloof with strangers and are naturally protective of their “pack”. They have a steady temperament and a strong work ethic. My family has owned a Giant Schnauzer previously and we are currently awaiting the arrival of our newest one. Our previous dog, Guinness, was a fun dog to work with. He was very serious when the situation needed it but could perform silly pet tricks, such as counting, all day long if necessary.
- German Shepherd – I spent the first part of my career working predominantly with this breed. I have worked with, trained, certified, deployed with, and lived with this beautiful breed. My favorite aspects of this breed are their loyalty, intelligence, and presence. I have seen this breed perform a huge range of tasks in their performance as military and police dogs. The main reason this breed did not score higher on my list is due to health issues that have surfaced from improper breeding in the U.S. This improper breeding has caused a rise in hip dysplasia and weak nerves.
- West Highland Terrier – You will only find 2 small dogs on my top ten list. I personally prefer my dogs to be taller than your knee however the Westie is a giant in spirit. The Westie is a rough and tumble dog that is big in personality and can hold it’s own with any size dog. This breed is a great choice for families. Mom can have her pretty, fluffly dog and the kids can have a dog that can run and play in the yard. Great choice!
- Havanese – In my experience with the Havanese breed I have been very impressed with their kind temperament. These are also a hypoallergenic dog which is a great choice for families with allergy issues. This breed is a fun loving dog that performs well when asked. In addition, the Havanese has an enhanced sense of empathy which makes a great dog for therapy work.
- Rhodesian Ridgeback – My first interaction with this breed was when I was stationed in Spain. A large, strong, powerful dog that was bred for hunting lions in Africa. What puts this dog on my list is it’s adaptability to it’s environment. Rhodesians are extremely athletic which makes them great for those who enjoy the outdoors, biking, running, etc. The ability to adapt to environmental changes allows it to thrive in environments that other breeds may struggle with.
- Pit Bull – Most people would say this is a strange dog to have on a top ten list however I have had magnificent experiences with this breed. Intelligence, work ethic, and ability to adapt to basic training. This breed is not for every person or every situation. These are a strong, powerful breed that requires an experienced handler who understands the breed. When the owner understands what they have, these dogs thrive and are an amazing family pet.
Well, there it is folks, my favorite top ten dogs to work with. I would love to hear from you on our Facebook page about your favorite breed and why.