The Lab, as it is affectionately called, is the most popular breed chosen by families. Another member of the working class of dogs, the Lab is best known for its intelligence, affection, patience and gentility, making them perfect companions for households with kids. They are easily trained, and in fact, are one of the top dogs chosen for search and rescue, assisting the disabled and police work. They are also known to self-train, observing behaviors in humans and repeating them — a great asset in emergency situations.
Despite their size (about 22 inches tall and 65 pounds, though some males can get as big as 100 pounds), they do pretty well in spacious apartments with plenty of exercise or in moderate homes with an average-size back yard.
Another herding dog, the Shetland takes this ability into the home, showing the same commitment and protectiveness over its human "herd" as the farm-raised version does. Highly intelligent, the Sheltie handles life with great efficiency and diligence, learning new commands with little repetition, and making sure that all of the family is safe, sound and in place. They show great devotion to their families and are happy to live just about anywhere — while they're pretty active indoors, they're OK without a yard if sufficiently exercised, and despite their collie-like looks, they're pretty petite, at a max of 16 inches tall and 27 pounds.
Due to an inborn fearlessness and deep stamina, the Doberman is one of the most popular breed of guard dog. Smart and assertive, they can easily be trained for dominance or docility. Because of their past as war and police dogs, they may appear fearsome, but they are actually quite gentle. Their loyalty and acuity make Dobermans great additions to the family.
The average Doberman is about 26 inches high and 66 to 88 pounds, but the kennel clubs have dubbed some much larger Dobes "Warlock Dobermans."
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