What makes us love certain dog breeds?

Its obvious that Australians love their dogs. Did you know that there are over 33 million pets in Australia? Of that figure 3.4 million are made up of Dogs!

With this year coming to an end I thought I would look at this years Top 10 most popular Dog breeds that we brought into our homes and some health issues!  Every year the “trends” for breeds change but some do remain…can you guess which ones?

Australia’s Top 10 most popular pure dog breeds of 2015

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Also known as the Blue Heeler, the cattle dog is one of the country’s most iconic medium-sized dog breeds. The Cattle dog is also one of the most intelligent! They were originally bred as a herding dog to drive cattle. So they love to work! The blue heeler has a gentle & warm temperament and have shown to be great with children. The are extremely loyal dog, have great problem solving skills and are also very protective.

9. Golden Retriever

Bred as a hunting dog for ‘retrieving’ game, the golden retriever is one of the most gentle and family friendly breeds around. Very smart & good natured dog with a constant eagerness to please. This makes the golden retriever one of the most popular larger breeds. You will also find the golden retriever amongst the “designer” breeds, being the Groodle! I must say the Groodle is my absolute favourite of the designer breeds, two amazing breeds put together, the Standard Poodle and the Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers require regular brushing as they can have a very thick coat and an undercoat. I have a handful that come to me for a regular groom out, its important to maintain this coat otherwise it can turn into matts.

8. American Staffordshire Terrier

Known as the Staffy, this medium-sized dog is very popular! The staffy has short fur and an active temperament. The staffy is intelligent, outgoing and are very confident. They are a very loyal dog and crave affection from their family. They are also highly protective of their family, so they can lack social skills and do need to learn distance when meeting other dogs. This breed must be well socialised to be able to fit in with a family’s lifestyle.

7. Pug

This small breed of dog is a popular choice with families where space is limited. Unlike some bigger dogs, the pug requires less exercise and needs less space to move around. The pug is a keen, and animated pet who is loyal and very affectionate. They are also not yappy or loud dogs, however they are loud sleepers, yes they snore! I would recommend looking into this breeds history with regards to health. They aren’t the healthiest of breeds, so I would highly recommend pet insurance.

6. Poodle

Although most people think Poodles are French, they were originally bred in Germany! Bred as a water dog, the poodle is a very popular breed among Aussie families. They come in 3 sizes Toy, Miniature & Standard, but unofficially come in 2 extra sizes, Teacup & King sizes. The poodle is a hypo-allergenic dog and does not shed hair. The Poodle is a very friendly, great natured and highly intelligent breed. They require regular clipping, usually every 6-12 weeks. You will also find the poodle appears in most of the designer dog breeds! Labradoodle, Groodle, Spoodle, Schnoodle just to name some.

5. Rottweiler

Certainly one of the larger breeds to make this list, the Rottie is actually a constant and gentle companion that has a loving heart and even gentler soul. Rotties have a natural instinct to protect their owners so it is important that training and socialisation happens very early in a rottie’s life. Be firm and fair with your Rottweiler and you will have a companion for life.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavy is up there as one of the most popular small dog breeds. The King Charles Spaniel was bred specifically to be a companion dog, a role they have very successfully taken on. With big brown eyes and droopy ears, the Cavalier breed is definitely a “cute dog” – popular with families because of its small size and warm temperament. They are wonderful with kids which makes them a great family dog. The cavy is a popular breed in the designer dogs too! Although as much as this dog is truly a wonderful breed, I will warn you that they come with an array of terrible health issues. From heart conditions, eye issues to fly catchers syndrome. So get pet insurance and be prepared to spend money with your vet. If you’re prepared for all that then this breed will be a great edition to anyones family!

3. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a large dog breed popular with Police, RAAF, Army and Military because of their high intelligence & trainability. They have the strength and loyalty which back them as being a great protection dog. These traits also serve to make this breed a wonderful family pet – the third most popular in fact.

2. Border Collie

The Border Collie is one of the most intelligent and highly trainable dog breeds in Australia. Renowned for its agility, intelligence and obedience this makes them great family pets, although they can be sensitive to noises and do need a lot of exercise so may not be the best choice for some families with small children and inner city living. They are loyal, loving and athletic!

1. Labrador (Retriever)

The Lab is one of Australia’s favourite breeds! The Labrador is loyal, loving, patient, and highly affectionate. With a playful and friendly temperament, their intelligence & a good appetite for treats makes them easily trainable and a popular choice for services such as seeing-eye dogs and rescue work. The Lab is a large breed of dog and are wonderful with children and other animals, making it a clear favourite among Australian families.

Whatever breed you choose to become apart of your family please remember that a pet is for life. They need love and care, just as your child does. They all need some sort of exercise and love being with us! The love they give us in return is unconditional! They deserve to be treated as one of the family, not put in a yard without human love or touch.

So when choosing your new family member, whether it be an adult dog you adopt from a rescue shelter or a puppy you buy from a reputable breeder, do your homework, ask loads of questions to the breeder, the rescue, and definitely your vet and make sure you’re willing to put in the time, the love, the effort, the exercise, feed a good quality food and you will have a happy dog, and in turn you too will be happy.

I found on a popular Pet insurance website some information they have retrieved from their current database of the Top healthiest Dog breeds that I thought might be of interest!

Although it is almost impossible to predict which breed of dog will live the longest or be the healthiest, there are certain breeds that seem to have lower instances of genetic diseases, bone-related injuries and conditions relating to their skin and coat.

Here is a list of breeds that are thought to be amongst the healthiest in 2015.


Known for being the smallest breed in the world, Chihuahua’s are loyal & intelligent. With an average lifespan of 14 to 18 years, Chihuahua’s aren’t free from health issues complete and have been known to suffer from health conditions including hypoglycemia, patellar luxation and pulmonic stenosis, a heart valve disorder. But over all make the healthiest list!

Blue Heeler

While they’re really is no way to prove which breed is the healthiest, some working breeds, including Australian Cattle Dogs, Kelpies & Border Collies may be among those with the least number of health-related issues.

Unfortunately, there’s no hard data that provides a scientific answer. But dogs that are still being bred to do a job tend to be the healthiest.

Australian Cattle Dogs have a lifespan of about 10 to 13 years. The only major health concerns include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and deafness.

Australian Shepherd

With relatively few insurance claims for bone-related injuries as well as conditions related to the coat and skin, Australian Shepherds are also relatively healthy. An all-purpose farm dog, Australian Shepherds are intelligent, obedient and agile and require regular exercise and mental stimulation. With an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, but the breed is prone to health issues including hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and Collie Eye Anomaly, an inherited congenital eye condition.


Another working breed listed as one of the healthiest. Foxhounds have been primarily used for foxhunting and, because of their working dog genes, may be healthier than dogs bred for show. With a lifespan of 11 to 13 years, are not prone to many major health problems. They require moderate daily exercise in the form of a walk or jog.

German Short haired Pointer

An all-purpose hunting dog known for its intelligence and proficiency with many different types of game and sport, the German Shorthaired Pointer is another healthy breed. With an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, but German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to some health concerns like hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia and gastric torsion.


A very popular mixed breed that is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. Labradoodles are among those with relatively few insurance claims for bone-related injuries and conditions related to the coat and skin. However they may suffer from health conditions commonly seen in its parent breeds including hip dysplasia, Addison’s disease and eye disorders including progressive retinal atrophy.

Siberian Husky

A medium-sized dog renowned for its abilities as a sled and racing dog, the Siberian Husky is relatively healthy compared to other breeds of the same size. With a lifespan of 11 to 13 years, Siberian Huskies may suffer from health problems including progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism and cataracts.

Border Collie

The Border Collie makes the list as one of healthiest. With a lifespan of 10 to 14 years, Border Collies are prone to health problems including seizures and hypothyroidism.

Mixed Breed

With a unique genetic makeup and a lower level of inbreeding, mixed breed dogs are generally among the healthiest too.

A recent study showed that mix breed dogs were significantly less likely to develop ten genetically based diseases, including some types of heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, allergic skin disease and hyperthyroidism.

Certainly the common theme in that healthiest list is exercise. I am sure in ten years time that list will change. Time has shown that when there is a demand for a certain breed, the more popular the breed becomes, the higher the demand and the more they are bred to supply. Over breeding can bring such huge issues. It can ruin breeds, for an example, the German Shepherd was almost ruined. The Shepherd was so over bred in the 80’s & 90’s that they bred hip dysplasia in majority of them. The demand for this breed became so high that “breeders” (and I use that term loosely as there are good breeders out there but also some not) bred with Shepherds they should not have, genetically spreading debilitating health issues into this breed. Therefore they came with short lives. Thankfully now reputable breeders are making a conceded effort to eliminate these health issues.

I do hope that with the laws that have been implemented into our country with regards to puppy farms, we see less health issues and more healthier pups bred through reputable breeders.

Lets finish on a “trendy” note. With the rise of our love for designer dogs here are the top 10 most popular!

Cockapoo or Spoodle  (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle)

Maltipoo (Maltese x Poodle)

Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle)

Groodle or golden doodle  (Poodle x Golden retriever)

Mal-shi  (Maltese x Shihtzu)

Puggle   (Beagle x Pug)

Schoodle (Schauzer x Poodle)

Yorkipoo  (Yorkshire terrier x Poodle)

Pomchi (Pomeranian x Chihuahua

Cheeks (Chihuahua x Pekinese)

Lastly I will leave you with this……If you provide your dog with mental stimulation, physical exercise, visit the vet when you should, maintain them at a healthy weight, feed them a premium dog food and give them your love and attention, it will contribute in so many positive ways of keeping your dog fit and healthy and living a long life, regardless of its breed.

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