Riley Rates: Dog Breeds


Photo by Riley Jordan

Two mutts: Lainey (left) is a Beagle—Maltese—Pomeranian mix and Heidi (right) is a German Shepherd—Husky—Australian Cattle Dog—Poodle—Chow Chow mix.

Ever since their domestication around 20,000 years ago, dogs have played an integral role in our lives. Whether picking up scents, chasing down prey or pooping on the good carpet, dogs have made our lives better with their loyalty and love. With so many variations of the same species out there, which dog breed is the right fit for you? Look no further than the Riley Rates™ five-star-system of course. I have examined, pet, tested and interviewed countless dogs to definitively declare ratings for a select group of common breeds. While some dog owners may be offended at some of my hard (and I can’t emphasize this enough: correct) opinions, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and only the best deserve five stars. 

The Shiba Inu and Akita

Originating from Japan, the Shiba Inu and Akita are versatile, faring well in both cities and the country. With distinctive chubby faces, these dogs (as well as many other Japanese breeds) are of the cutest pets you can have. Seriously, these things look like marshmallows with faces. Ranging in color from graham-cracker to peanut butter fudge ice cream, there is nothing not to love about these dogs, aside from a lot of shedding. 4 stars

The Pug, Bulldog and Shih Tzu

If you own one of these dogs, consider reading no further and checking out my other great articles. Brachycephalic (squashed-nose) dogs are destined to develop breathing problems due to their short snouts, as well as common vision and back problems. Who would’ve thought that removing the entire front of an animal’s face would be a big issue? If you want a pet whose appearance screams “I survived the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear core explosion” then consider getting one of these genetic messes. 1 star 

The Greyhound

What I would like to call the “daddy long-legs of dogs,” the greyhound is the fastest breed out there, clocking in at 45 mph. Although they are highly energetic when young, retired racing greyhounds make great couch-dwelling pets. They might be too big for small children, but greyhounds are very low maintenance animals. Overall I think they look funny, in a good way. 4 stars 

The Poodle

If you think that cutting a dog’s fur to make it look like they’re wearing leg warmers, a wool vest and a powdered wig is weird, stay away from poodle-ownings. Even if you don’t meticulously groom your poodle to look like the Epcot topiary, having such long, curly fur makes it difficult to see their faces, which are probably cute underneath. As for the trendy goldendoodle, its creator regrets breeding it into existence, calling it a “Frankenstein monster” due to their common hereditary problems. 2 stars 

The Pitbull

The most infamous breed out there, pitbulls have a misleading aura of aggression and danger surrounding them. This breed can indeed become aggressive through abuse, neglect and irresponsible ownership, but so can every other breed. Pitbulls are intelligent and make great pets, and could probably beat up another dog if your honor was challenged. 4 stars


With so many breeds out there, you don’t have to settle for just one. Why pay a breeder thousands of dollars for a “pure” dog when there are millions of shelter dogs who deserve the love they’ve never received? If you want purebred, that just means you want an extra boring dog and you’re willing to waste a lot of money on it. The extra special dogs at the shelter are free, and testing their DNA can be a lot of fun. According to Canine Journal, mutts may even live healthier and longer lives on average because they avoid commonly inherited problems within purebred dogs, which are often due to inbreeding. Trust me, it’s better to hear from the lab that your dog is a Beagle-Husky-Chow Chow-Chihuahua-alligator mix than just another old golden retriever with cousins as parents. Would you rather have double-fudge chocolate peanut butter split ice cream with rainbow sprinkles or vanilla? The choice is yours. 5 stars