Number 1: Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever makes an ideal family pet. It is sound, good tempered, good with children, loyal, eager to please and easy to train. Maintenance is low – a weekly brush is adequate, although the coat does shed a lot of hair. Golden Retrievers are happiest when indoors with the family, so invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner! Golden Retrievers love food and they tend to put on weight, so a daily walk or other form of vigorous exercise is necessary. (Note: see this week’s road test for more information.)
Number 2: Designer Mongrels
These include the Cavoodle (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Poodle), Maltalier (Maltese x Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) and the Maltese x Shih Tzu. They are all fabulous little family dogs, which have fewer veterinary problems than their purebred parents.
Number 3: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
A cute dog with a rounded face and soft floppy ears, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was deliberately bred as a companion. It is a consistent top performer in our ‘Burke’s Backyard Best Family Dogs’ list. They are sweet and affectionate family dogs, they’re very good with children and they make ideal house pets.
Number 4: German Shepherd Dog
This loyal and intelligent dog is great for active families. A breeding program developed by the German Shepherd Dog League has addressed important temperament and health issues, and sound, reliable dogs are now being bred. They are good with children and although they can be boisterous, they are responsive to training.
Number 5: Tenterfield Terrier
Tenterfield Terriers are miniature terriers developed in Australia. Don strongly recommends this breed. He thinks that the Tenterfield Terrier is much less aggressive than the Jack Russell Terrier, and is probably a better companion and playmate for the kids. Like all terriers, Tenterfield Terriers adore people.
Number 6: Pug
Pugs are fantastic dogs. They love people, they don’t bite and they have fabulous temperaments. However, they’re not the cheapest dogs to run due to health problems, including breathing difficulties and eyes that tend to pop out.
Number 7: Beagle
These lovely little dogs have placid temperaments and are safe with the kids. They can be a little stubborn in training, but they adore their food and will usually perform well if food is offered as a reward! They are also inclined to wander, and many Beagles find an open gate irresistible!
Number 8: Poodle
Poodles are real little characters. They love playing, they’re great lapdogs and they’re great fun. On the negative side their coats need trimming, and some can be very neurotic.
Number 9: Labrador Retriever
The popular Labrador Retriever is intelligent, obedient, faithful and easy-care due to its short coat. They need lots of exercise to offset their predisposition to obesity. They can be great for families and couples, but there are some aggressive Labradors around, which is why we recommend the Golden Retriever for families.
Number 10: German Shorthaired Pointer
These beautiful dogs love people and they’re safe with children. They are also large enough to be good watchdogs, but not aggressive enough to attack people. They are a little slow to mature and they have boundless energy, so they need active owners with the time to give them plenty of exercise.
To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190
Phone: (08) 8349 4797
Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864
Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409