How many hours a day can you devote to the dog? Will the dog be alone, when you are at work? What other pets do you have? Do you like walking or running in any kind of weather? (It wouldn't matter though if you got a Boston, they hate rain). Are there any children in the house, and if so how old are they? Do you have a large fenced yard? Do you have access to places that the dog can run? Do you want an active little dog (most of the ones you picked are) or would you prefer a lap dog, or a couch potato?
I can devote 2-4 hous a day but all day on the weekends and holidays. I love being outside in any kind of weather. I have a good sized yard with a nice garden that is fenced in. And the dog i get has to be about medium size because my parents will not let me have a dog too big in the house. So the dog I get hast to be an indoor/outdoor dog.
Oh, and I do not have any children or siblings and the dog would not be at home alone too much. Just every now and then. But even when it is home alone i have a fun yard and house with toys for it to occupy itself.
terriers are very active and tenacious dogs. i haven't met a terrier that wasn't a spazz in some way, especially the JRT's - they are like little greased balls of lighting. plus, in my opinion, terriers tend to be yappy dogs and can bark until the sun comes up. i have pit bull terriers but know many people who have all kinds of terriers.
english bulldogs take a little extra work cause of all the skin issues and breathing issues. i think out of all the breeds you listed, I would pick a boston terrier. they seem to be the most laid-back of the terriers. in any case, I hope you consider adopting, cause it's not about their looks but their personality!
Honestly, you've got some pretty different breeds of dogs on that list! The fact that you have Shelties and Shibas on the same list as terriers makes ME nervous. They are VERY different breeds. You have to have completely different training and lifestyles for that extreme. Terriers are higher energy, bouncy, social, a little stubborn, with thick heads about scolding. Shelties and Shibas are more stately, one person/one family dogs who tolerate new people, are exceptionally eager to please (they'd light their tails on fire to make their owner happy), and have a very sensitive demeanor with training. You can't scold a Sheltie the same way you HAVE to a terrier.
My advice - got a dog show. Go to the AKC site and click on events and look for conformation shows close to you. Go meet some of the breeds. Actually interact with well bred versions of each breed.
Well bred dogs are a lot different than the ones you'll find from a Puppymill/BYB/Pet Store also.
While I know size is an issue - especially if you live in an apartment type setting - temperament is first. You need to analyse YOURSELF first. Are you active, or kind of a couch potato? Are you a social butterfly or a homebody who has 2-3 close friends and you stay home on weekends and watch movies? Do you like your house to be quiet, or a little spicy? How often do you want to take your dog to a groomer and how much do you want to do at home yourself? (some of those dogs have coats that really need to be maintained 2-3 days a week - some are more prone to dental problems, terriers need their ears plucked frequently to prevent ear infections...)
If you're a social butterfly, will you be able to understand that a dog like a Sheltie is more a homebody? They enjoy adventures if well bred and socialized - but if you get one from the wrong place, you might end up with one that hates strangers and actually is afraid of new people... it's a lot harder for really outgoing people to understand what a shy dog is going through.
If you're a homebody, can you mentally wrap your head around having a dog who greats every stranger at the door like they've known them for years?
You said all those dogs fit your lifestyle - but what about your personality type?
Where to get a well bred dog - a breeder who is very knowledgeable about their breed. I can't speak for all those breeds - but with Shelties and Shibas for sure - your breeder NEEDS to show in conformation. They need to do their health testing (OFA/CERF/Thyroid for sure in Shelties). Puppies need to be raised IN the breeders home. Parents need to have good pedigrees - this is NOT a snobby thing - with Shelties, what is actually evaluated is sound structure. The Shelties you get from breeders who don't show their dogs are usually very straight in angulation - which means they are MUCH more prone to Luxated Patellas and Elbow Displaysia. They also have really small, spindly legs. Shelties should have sturdy builds. Otherwise, you'll end up with a dog who is arthritic and crippled at 5 years old. If the parents aren't champions - or at least the grandparents - and the parents are being shown, essentially 9 times out of 10 you're dealing with a BYB or Puppymill - and the REALLY scary thing is that these breeders only deal with other low quality breeders. Shelties should be very healthy sound dogs - from BYB's and Mills probably 1 in 4 Shelties have a health problem on some varying degree because they are breeding low quality, not sound dogs. So you look at a litter of 4 puppies - and one of those puppies WILL have something wrong with it. It's like playing the lottery in reverse.
Some of the breeds you listed are hard to breed well. You want a serious breeder - not one who is trying to make money off selling low quality puppies. Border Collies are another one to look closely at - the breeder should be doing SOMETHING with them (Agility, Herding, working them)... they are not a dog who is happy sitting in a kennel.
I'd recommend you look for a breeder at a dog show also. If you don't necessarily like the idea of a "show dog" breeder - find an Agility or Obedience Trial and go talk to the dog owners and find out where they got their dogs. Other pet owners who have smart, well trained, healthy dogs who are happy with their breeder will refer you to that breeder in a heartbeat.
'You can't scold a Sheltie the same way you HAVE to a terrier.'
'Terriers are higher energy, bouncy, social, a little stubborn, with thick heads about scolding.'
My dogs are extremely sensitive, and one word from me is enough to stop what ever unwanted action they might be at. I think it's unfair of you to make a blanket statement about so many breeds that are loyal, gentle affectionate companions. I can think of one terrier breed who slightly fits your description, but those people who think that they are stubborn are mistaken. The particular breed I'm talking about has been bred to hunt, and hunt they do. No matter what breed a person picks, it depends largely on how that new owner treats and trains that dog, as to the final outcome of the dog's personality.
Abbylynne, you seriously need to write a book! Not only are you very knowledgable, but you have a great talent for explaining things. I love what you wrote about personality. I've never been able to express what you just did. I love my Rottie, he and I are so intune it's freaky. I couldn't imagine having a Labrador Retriever. They are great dogs but so many of the traits that make them appealing to many, are major turn offs for me. I can't imagine having a dog that would run up to just anyone. I love the fact that Harley is discerning about his friends and waits for me to welcome a person before he would even consider greeting them. I love the fact that he is so focused on me instead of wanted to greet everyone and explore everything. I like his calm aloof demeanor. Many of those traits are why people think Rotties are unfriendly, but I absolutely love them. It's totally a personality issue.