I'll plead the 5th. Depends on ones experience, situation and of course beliefs/preferences. If I had to have one all around canine I would probably choose a Standard Poodle. I have never "owned" one. Been around them all my life however. Cannot go wrong with a German Shep, Golden Ret. Labrador Ret, Malinois...just on their merit and service to humans. All dogs including many many mixed breeds would work out anytime anywhere. Ultimately comes down to time, patience, love(among many others) to have the best dog. A tough question that will never be successfully answered...for good reason.
My fav is German Shepard my grandmother gave me one for my 9th b-day and I have loved them ever since. He use to let all my cousins climb all over him and just sat there, or he would follow all the little kids around the farm making sure no one got hurt. He was also the first silver shepard I ever saw. And the one I adopted from a shelter a couple yrs ago is the same way with my kids today.
Weird, none of the small dogs I know (including mine) are yappy or ankle biting. Oh well, I like big dogs jsut as much as small dogs!! I don't think I could ever choose if I liked big or small better. =)