Most millennials, now in their 20s and 30s, are tackling adult milestones later then than previous generations, with one exception: pet ownership. As it turns out, millennials love pets—especially dogs. Research firm Mintel recently discovered that three-quarters of U.S. consumers aged 30–39 own a dog. With such a significant number of millennials becoming dog-owners, Stacker explored which breeds fit their young adult lives.
Stacker considered dog breed data from the American Kennel Club, Animal Planet, and PetMd, alongside millennial traits and generational trends reported by a variety of sources. With 190 breeds currently registered by the AKC, there are enough variations among breeds to complement a variety of millennial lifestyles.
Read on to see which four-legged companions could be dubbed millennials’ best friends.
Members of a generation making headlines for altruism may find themselves more at home with a rescue dog than one purchased from a breeder. Being a rescue dog doesn’t preclude a dog from being purebred, of course, but it can introduce unknown behavioral and health factors—something potential owners will want to keep in mind.
These pups are content with city or country life, suiting the whims of millennials who have yet to settle down. Their “squished” facial features also provide a number of expressions for their owners, making them especially photo-friendly—a perk for the first generation to always have a camera in their pocket.
Those inspired by celebrity millennials like Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff may be interested to know that both owned Yorkies. They’re a great fit for those who are ready and willing to dote on these small pups, since they can be slow to house-train, and their long fur need lots of brushing. Owners agree their compact size and classic cuteness more than makes up for the extra work.
Millennials who dream of taking their canine companion for long runs will appreciate this sled dog’s active nature and need for plenty of regular exercise. With new research dubbing millennials the most fit generation, Siberian huskies could fit right into their owners’ healthy lifestyles.
This is another breed with multiple famous members, including Scooby-Doo, Marmaduke, and the Jetsons’ Astro, these dogs are described by PetFinder as both powerful and sensitive. Great Danes can weigh up to 100 to 120 pounds, as much as an adult human, and easily help fill the growing homes of millennials.
Shih Tzus’ amiability to apartment living, coupled with their need for daily brushing, make them a great fit for city-dwelling millennials ready to dote on their pets. They’re also especially affectionate with kids, so millennials who already have or plan to have families will likely appreciate Shih Tzus loving nature.
Holding fast as the #2 most popular breed, many of the German shepherd’s distinctive features also make them excellent service, therapy, and work dogs. Millennials who are up for the challenge of keeping these intelligent dogs engaged will benefit from the protective traits that few other canines rival.
It’s hard to argue with the American Kennel Club’s distinction of “the whole doggy package.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that a boxer pairs with all stages of millennial life—these are powerful pups that could overwhelm small children, so millennials with young families may want to steer clear for now.
Members of the generation that brought the mustache back into fashion just might find a kindred spirit in the miniature schnauzer. Its distinguishing facial fur, along with its lovable and energetic personality, make it a fun breed, particularly for millennials with young families. Matching mustaches for owners is encouraged, but of course, not required.
Few dogs have the esteemed history that “weiner dogs” do, and perhaps even fewer have transformed it into internet fame. While their small size makes them seem accessible to people of all ages, daschunds are best with adults, so millennials without kids should take note of this spunky breed known for its love of digging holes.
While not necessarily one of the top dogs on Instagram, the Samoyed has a distinct smile that makes it endlessly camera-ready. Not everything millennials do is for the clicks, but when your dog is described by Animal Planet as if a “cloud of marshmallow fluff gained sentience and legs,” could anyone blame owners for uploading their latest Samoyed pics?
Millennials who grew up with “Frasier” will remember Eddie, who was also named the top dog in television in the American Kennel Club’s Pop Culture rankings. And of course, there’s literature-loving Wishbone. If these famous examples are proof, these independent, small dogs are best for active owners.
With more and more millennials delaying or even foregoing parenthood completely, a breed that merely “tolerates kids” might suit them. The sophisticated demeanor of the Pekinese could easily appeal to owners in adult-only households.
Millennials raised alongside Snoopy may be drawn to the breed for sentimental reasons, or they just might appreciate the same things as Charlie Brown. Beagles are curious, clever, and loving. They also make excellent family dogs, which contributes to the fact that they’re the most popular hound breed in the U.S.
Another breed ranked squarely in the top three for a number of years, golden retrievers are great for millennials who want loyal and playful companions. Described by PetFinder as “everybody’s friend,” retrievers work especially well for sporty millennials who can keep up with their need for daily exercise.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia for the classic Disney film, or the familiar image of Dalmatians as firehouse dogs that spark an interest. Whatever a dog owner’s motivation, Dalmations can be excellent companions. These spotted dogs are eager, playful, and active, making them a great match for owners able to dedicate lots of time and attention to their physical activity and wellbeing, as many millennials are likely to do.
Millennials who want a smart, lively companion might find that in a Border collie. Extremely intelligent and highly energetic, Border collies have been dubbed by Animal Planet as “four-legged eggheads.” Their size makes them better for older children; they are great pets for millennials who have already started families.
Animal Planet compares picking out a Great Pyrenees to taking a polar bear home from the zoo. Rightfully so: their large size and fluffy coats give these dogs a robust, majestic appearance. Millennials who are able to make space in their homes for these extra-large pups will find them to be gentle giants.
While a generation known for generous charitable giving may have mixed feelings about a breed once boasted to be the world’s richest dog, those willing to look past the luxurious associations will likely be glad that they did. Millennials who want a loyal, playful lapdog will find just that in the Maltese.
Outdoorsy millennials may appreciate the weatherproof coat on these medium-sized animals. Australian shepherds, which aren’t actually Australian, require plenty of exercise, so they would do well with owners ready to take them out on regular adventures. Their tendency to nip also means that millennials without kids may prefer them.