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Cavalier king charles spaniel
Photograph: Lauren Bate

What is the best dog breed for Melbourne? An illustrated guide

All dogs are good dogs, but maybe some dogs are more suited to Melbourne life than others

Cassidy Knowlton
Written by
Cassidy Knowlton

Maybe you are thinking of getting a dog. Or maybe you know that your lifestyle does not support a dog right now, but you still want to read about dogs on the internet/occasionally visit the RSPCA just to pat them (it's like a free zoo!)/dogsit all your friends' dogs/coo at dogs on the train. Or is that just us? 

Anyway, if you are thinking of getting a dog, what kind should you get? We advocate 'adopt, don't shop' if that's your bag, but what kind should you look for?

The first thing we considered was dogs that are good for city living. Melbourne is one of the fastest-growing cities in the developed world, with a population of more than 5 million. We are a smallish but growing city, and unless you live far out in the 'burbs, you're going to want a dog that is well adapted to city life. After consulting numerous dog experts (OK, googling 'best dog for city life' and reading through a dozen or so result pages), we found some breeds kept coming up again and again. They are:

  • Dachshund
  • Pug
A dachshund.
Photograph: Binyamin Mellish
  • King Charles cavalier spaniel
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound (we are including Italian greyhounds and whippets in this category)
  • French bulldog
  • English bulldog
  • Chihuahua
  • Poodle (and some poodle variants)
  • Chinese crested 
  • Beagle
  • Boston terrier
  • Havanese 
  • Shih Tzu
  • Lhasa apso
Yorkshire terrier
Photograph: JÉSHOOTS
  • Yorkshire terrier

But which of these breeds is best for Melbourne? Even though we are not as steamy as our northern friends, you need a dog that can be left in an unairconditioned house or apartment during the day in summer. Brachycephalic (that's a fancy word for squashed-face) dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, are not able to pant enough in hot weather to cool themselves down. Dogs with thick double coats are also not adapted to the heat, as their fur is too heavy for hot climates, and those with too thin coats can end up with a sunburn.

What city dog breeds are good for hot cities? After extensive internet research, we are left with these:

  • Beagle
  • Chihuahua
Photograph: Enzo Muñoz
  • Greyhound
  • Havanese
  • Poodle

But heat is not the only Melbourne weather condition we need to contend with. You might have noticed, it gets wet in Melbourne. Very wet. And a lot of dogs do not love the water. In fact, of the five dogs left in contention, only one absolutely loves wet conditions. 

So what is the best dog breed for our hot, wet city? 

Photograph: Dominic Dimech

Poodle and poodle crosses!

Check out our guide to the best dog-friendly pubs in Melbourne where you and your furry friend can have a parma and a pint together.

Where to take your new best friend

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