After deciding you want a dog, you could get overwhelmed by choice. Looking at the most popular breeds in Australia could be a good start.
Many Australians are dog lovers. In fact, at the end of 2012, more than 3.5 million dogs were kept as pets by Australians, and over 63 per cent of households had a dog as a pet. You might want to join the ranks and get a puppy of your own, but do you know what kind you want?
Check out the most popular breeds in the country - they respond well to good training and attention so you're sure to have a spirited, loyal companion.
1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The most popular breed is known for doing everything to the max. They're enthusiastic about everything and anything, whether that's learning, playing or loving. When you have one as a puppy, this energy could have them chewing everything in sight. Get your new friend plenty of tough toys and get started on their training as soon as possible.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are smart dogs and respond well to being both social and disciplined. While they're bold, quick and constantly moving, they're also affectionate and will come when you call. They'll especially listen to a leader who's firm and confident.
Although even with a strong leader, they'll push the boundaries - they do love a challenge. You might find them fearlessly and curiously trying to jump the fence or dig up your garden.
Their friendly and gentle nature, and the fact that they have so much energy, makes them a good family dog.
2. Labrador Retriever
Whether black, golden or brown, this dog will be both loyal and loving. Labs are popular with families for these qualities. With their affectionate, patient and reliable nature, they'll be friends with your kids in no time.
Often used as service dogs, they not only have a great disposition, but high intelligence so they're easy to train. Make sure to give them lots of exercise and guidance so their playfulness doesn't get them into mischief.
3. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are often used as police dogs because they're brave and keenly alert. This is another breed of dog that has a happy disposition and will pick things up quickly.
These dogs might bark when they're separated from their 'pack' or family because of their faithful demeanour. They'll protect you with their life.
To learn obedience and have a good temperament, they need to be socialised and trained from a young age. They will mimic the attitude of their leader, so you have to be strong and confident with them. They'll also respond well to lots of activity.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This smaller breed is a tamer choice, but is still eager, affectionate and happy. For their size, they're very outgoing and active. They'll pick up training but and are naturally well behaved - they just want to be around you.
You do need to make sure they know what they are and aren't allowed to do. Because of their hunting background, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels might want to chase anything that moves - you need to put them in their place when they misbehave so they know who's boss.
5. Golden Retriever
These dogs are charming, they are gentle, patient and are very intelligent. If you're social, your dog will be social too. Golden Retrievers are friendly with people and other animals and are known for being good with kids.
As the owner of such an active dog, you need to release some of your furry friend's energy with daily exercise, walks or games. Otherwise they might become highly strung and start destroying your favourite shoes.
This energetic and loving dog will be devoted to you if you treat them right. They're eager to please, so you'll be able to teach them obedience rules and tricks. Don't be too lenient - these dogs will appreciate if you're firm, as well as loving.