It’s that time of year again! The time when I sit down and force my fiancé to dork out with me as I watch 6 full hours of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show; then yell at the TV when my breed (The Australian Cattle Dog) gets unceremoniously snubbed! It happens every year.
But this year, as I’m watching, I’ve been inspired to compile a list of 5 cool purebred dogs that maybe aren’t on your radar, but with the right kind of care would make a great pet who thrives in an urban environment! After all, you are a unique individual . . . your dog should be too!
1. Havanese. Cuba’s only native breed has been cropping up all over Philadelphia, and with good reason! You couldn’t ask for a cuter small, fluffy, dog. They don’t shed, are hypo-allergenic, and best of all, they act like a dog 14 times their size! Meet the Havanese, and get ready to fall hard!
Pros: They’re active, incredibly trainable, and have wonderful, social personalities! And they’re portable, so you can take them anywhere!
Cons: Lots of grooming if you keep them in full coat. But most people choose to keep them in a puppy cut for ease.
Who Should Own a Havanese? People looking for an apartment-sized dog who does not shed, but would still like a dog hardy enough to do a hike in the woods or an agility class.
Who Should Not? People who don’t want to do the work with training, socializing, or grooming.
2. Basenji. Like the idea of a unique, small to medium-sized, moderately-active dog who doesn’t bark? Then take a gander at the Basenji. Never heard of them? Not many people have. These African hunting dogs are a member of the hound group, known for having an interesting chortle instead of a traditional bark that they don’t use very often. In fact, this dog is said to be more like owning a cat than a dog.
Pros: They’re super quiet. And nobody else on the block will have one. . . or even know what they are! And they are known to be healthy, clean, and easy to keep.
Cons: They tend to be aloof with strangers. So if you are looking for a dog that is a social butterfly, this may not be your breed. Also these dogs can be a bit of a challenge to motivate for training. So make sure you start early.
Who Should Own a Basenji? People who want a very unique pet, but also enjoy their quiet time.
Who Should Not? Casual dog owners who need their dog to be social with everyone.
3. Great Dane. Ever walked down the street next to a celebrity? Well, get yourself one of these gentle giants and you’ll certainly know the feeling! Ok, so maybe they’re not obscure, but I do feel that Danes are sometimes overlooked as excellent city dogs. What most people don’t realize is that they are a very cosmopolitan canine who will tuck easily into even a moderately-sized apartment and teeter a balance between very friendly, but protective and loyal.
Pros: Temperament! Laid back, sweet, and social. They don’t need loads of intense training, although they do require structured puppy training and socialization due to their size. And their exercise requirements are minimal.
Cons: This is not a healthy breed! Their life expectancy is incredibly short at 8 years or less. And they are prone to more genetic diseases than almost any other breed; like bloat, osteosarcoma, and joint issues. And for a short coated breed, they shed . . . a lot!
Who Should Own a Dane? Socialites who like to stand out in a crowd, and don’t mind being stopped multiple times on walks to answer questions about their super-cool dog.
Who Should Not? Avid runners, athletes, and adventurers. And anyone who balks at large amounts of hair, drool, and poop!
4. Airedale Terrier. Kings of the terrier world, Airedales make comical companions in the right home, but may drive others crazy! With this breed everything is a game, and nothing is to be taken too seriously. They are active, sweet, silly; and great with kids, adults, other dogs, and just about anyone else.
Pros: Large and sturdy, these dogs are very active, so they make a great jogging or hiking partner. And you’ll make a lot of friends at the dog park with an Airedale at the other end of the leash!
Cons: Airedales are terriers after all, so they can have a mind of their own when it comes to training. So firm, structured training must start as a puppy and continue well into adulthood.
Who Should Own an Airedale? Active, social people who don’t take themselves too seriously!
Who Should Not? Quiet, shrinking-violet types who just want a couch potato companion.
5. Rhodesian Ridgeback. If you are looking for a loyal sighthound with a protective streak, this one is a good choice. Ridgebacks are named for the characteristic ‘cow-lick’ of hair on their backs. These dogs are large and athletic, but quiet and stoic enough to make excellent city companions with the right handler.
Pros: Ridgebacks are proud, serious dogs who will make you feel safe in even the darkest alleys; but aren’t afraid to let their guard down and be a clown with their families. Their lives revolve around their families.
Cons: Ridgebacks can be incredibly protective over their people, so steady training and lots of socialization are required at an early age to teach them friend from foe.
Who Should Own a Ridgeback? Strong, dedicated dog handlers that are willing to balance exercise with training and socialization.
Who Should Not? Casual dog owners who are looking for an easygoing pushover of a pup.
Ok, I’m turning my attention back to watching Westminster, (And if any of you care, the Cattle Dog just got snubbed. . . again!!!), and keeping on the lookout for interesting breeds. Need help choosing the perfect breed for your family? Ask the experts at Philly Unleashed! We can help you find the perfect dog to fit your personality and living situation!
Now tell us. . . what’s your favorite city pup?