The 16 Best Dog Breeds To Adopt In Your 20s & 30s
If you're thinking about adopting a dog in your 20s or 30s, you have a lot to consider. Depending on your specific lifestyle, you might be looking for something totally different than someone else who's around your age. For someone who's still in their 20s, that might mean choosing a breed that doesn't need a whole lot of attention or responsibility.
"Since folks in their 20s are still searching for the right job, place to live, may still be in school, etc,. a lower maintenance dog might be best for them," Erin Askeland, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, animal health and behavior consultant at Camp Bow Wow, tells Bustle. A Greyhound or Tibetan Spaniel might fit this kind of lifestyle well. For people in their 30s who might be in a more settled routine or who may have additional resources and time for their dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog or King Charles Spaniel, both of which need closer companions, could be a good fit, she says.
Another thing to consider is whether you want to welcome a puppy into your home or opt for a dog who's already grown. Chewy pet behaviorist Dr. Wailani Sung tells Bustle that for younger people with a pressing family life or career, a puppy might not be the way to go. "Remember, young puppies need more attention and care," she says. "They will need more training, handling and socialization. If you don’t have time for that, then please consider getting an adult dog." Plus, a puppy costs significantly more because they need more medical care, training classes, vaccinations, and more, Dr. Sung says.
Here are some breeds to consider, according to experts.
1. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is often thought of as the classic, all-American dog. And for good reason. "These friendly, athletic dogs are fun-loving and easy-going," Josh Kreinberg, chief dog officer at PuppySpot, tells Bustle. This makes them great for pretty much any lifestyle. If you have a child, they'll get along with them well. If you love enjoying a lazy Sunday, they'll do that happily. If you like getting fresh air, nothing makes them happier than accompanying their best friend on a walk, Kreinberg says.
"Labradors are athletic, playful, and one of the easiest dog breeds for a first-time dog owner," Kreinberg says. For someone who doesn't have a lot of free time to train a newly adopted pup, a Lab is perfect because they’re eager to please and highly motivated by treats, so you can establish rules much easier than you might with some other breeds.
You might not have heard of the Cavapoo before because it's a hybrid breed made from mixing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. In addition to being super chill and easygoing, these little cuties are ideal for a pet parent who works during the day because they're happy living in an apartment and don't need a great deal of exercise, Kreinberg says. "As a bonus, their Poodle genes mean their coats shed minimally and don’t smell."
For an owner who wants a pup companion but isn't quite in a place where they can give them a ton of exercise or space to run, a Havanese is a good breed option. "Eager to learn and easily trained, Havanese are between 10 to 15 pounds when fully grown," Kreinberg says, "and make excellent companion pets. They are playful and somewhat active, but are easily manageable in an apartment."
Besides being some of the cutest dogs around, Pugs are also pretty good pups for first-time owners due to their laid-back nature and the fact that they're generally pretty adaptable. "They are loyal, quiet dogs that love to be with their owners and have low exercise requirements, making them a good pet for living spaces of any size," Kreinberg says.
The Bernedoodle has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders, despite its name, but everything to do with a Poodle and a Bernese Mountain dog. This breed is a great fit for anyone who has children (or possibly wants one in the future) because its intuitive and loving enough to get along with with kids of any age, Kreinberg says. "Possibly the ultimate playmate, this goofy pup is up for anything [their] family wants to do," he says. Though they have seemingly boundless energy, they are easy to train and love to make you happy.
There is something magical about Poodle mixes, because so many of them make the list of good breeds to adopt in your 20s or 30s. "As long as she has plenty of opportunities to work off her energy, the Labradoodle makes an easygoing, docile pet for just about any family," Kreinberg says. Not only is this cute pup easy to train and quick to bond with their pet parents, but they're also happy to go anywhere, or do anything, as long as they can be with you.
For someone who's still pretty early in their career and doesn't have a whole lot of extra income to spend on a high-maintenance pup, a Maltese might make the perfect companion. "These make really good dogs that usually do not have a lot of medical problems," Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinarian and a veterinary consultant for DogLab, tells Bustle. Plus, they're adorable.
Younger people tend to move frequently and live in smaller apartments or homes, which means that dogs who need space to roam wouldn't be the happiest in that environment, Dr. Ochoa says. A Schnauzer, on the other hand, adapts well to new environments and can be perfectly content in a small space. Plus, they'll do just fine with a day of snoozing on the couch and only need a few bathroom breaks, which is ideal for someone who can't be home during the day.
10. A Lovable Mutt
There's definitely no need to get a purebred pup, especially if you're looking to adopt from a shelter. Tons of dogs with unknown backgrounds can make perfectly lovable fur babies. "Even a mixed-breed dog will make a really good pet and not have all the added veterinary expenses," Dr. Ochoa says, "as mixed-breed dogs usually get the best of the breeds that they are mixed with. They usually do not have the genetic problems we see in our purebred dogs."
"If you are home a lot or work from home, almost all breeds or mixes are fine companions," Dr. Joe Alcorn, MS, DVM, of Care Animal Hospital, tells Bustle. But during a period of your life when you'll be away from home for eight hours or more each day, a breed that's content to hang out alone, like a Dachshund, might be a good choice. If you're still concerned about your cutie being lonely, having a second dog works to keep a single dog from being completely alone and bored, Dr. Alcorn says.
12. Lhasa Apsos
"People in their 20s and 30s tend to be starting careers and families, which makes time a precious resource," Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, veterinarian and Pup Life Today advisor, tells Bustle. "If this applies to you (regardless of age), you might want to consider a relatively low-maintenance dog breed," she says. "Many Lhasa Apsos are quite independent and don't mind spending some time by themselves." But the monent that you do walk through the door after a long day, they're sure to be there to greet you with plenty of excited wiggles.
For someone in their 20s or 30s, it can be difficult to keep up with a dog's serious grooming needs, especially if the pup sheds a lot. That's why a Chihuahua might be a great option. "They don't require much grooming, and like Toy Poodles, are so small that they may be able to accompany you on more excursions than would larger breeds," Dr. Coates says.
Just because you live in a smaller space doesn't mean that you have to opt for a tiny pooch. "If you are looking for a bigger dog, Greyhounds are typically laid back and are very happy with short bursts of exercise rather than long walks," Dr. Coates says. They also make a fantastic rescue dog, she says. Finding a pup that's older can be a great thing in the situation, because they won't need a lot of extra training and socialization, but will instead be ready to integrate right into your life.
15. Pit Bull
You might have heard that Pit Bulls have a bad reputation for being violent or dangerous, but that's actually a misconception based on poor training, Dr. Lauren Abolafia, DVM, CVA, tells Bustle. In fact, these cuties are a great option for young adults. "They are very people-oriented and friendly breeds," she says. "When trained correctly, this breed can be very playful and loving with other pets."
16. American Bulldog
"Another active breed perfect for young adults is an American Bulldog," Dr. Abolafia says. "Aside from its energy, this breed can also typically be left alone for longer hours without worry about potty breaks — perfect for that working young adult." You also don't need to pay for expensive grooming because these lovable pooches just need a simple bath to stay nice and clean.
Whether you fall in love with the adorable Pitbull you find at the animal shelter or can't take your eyes off the wiggly Pug, you're sure to have a best friend for years to come. With a little love and attention, you'll hardly be able to imagine life without your new pup.