Hi Loren! I worked with dogs in clinics for 10 years, and there isn't much I haven't seen, behavior-wise. By a long shot, my favorite is the Golden Retreiver. Research good breeders, ask for vet-info on the parents of the puppy, and even better if the pup is papered - that shows a breeder's good-standing with the AKC, even if you never show the dog. When you go to se/pick up your pup for the first time, LOOK at the property - is it well-kept? Do you see other dogs who are happy and healthy? Does the air smell clean? RED FLAGS: unkempt property, horrible smells, more bugs, like flies, lots of small cages (even if empty). Any of this, turn around and find another breeder. Another option is to go to your local shelter to choose a dog. ALOT of 'mutts' can make GREAT dogs. This is a personal choice for you - walk through the shelter, past all of the dogs, and stop at the one who grabs your heart - this is not an exact science. Shelter dogs CAN come with behavioral issues, especially if sheltered for a long time. Be ready to e VERY patient with your shelter-dog if you choose this. Breeds to definitely avoid: chow-chow, 'wrinkle-dog' (has a chinese name I can't recall ATM), these two in particular are almost always 'biters' throught adulthood, even biting their owners. They do not train well and have other annoying behavioral issues like refusal to house-train. Hope you find YOUR puppy! :)
Blu gave you some good advice but have to add, having shown dogs, etc, the fact that a dog has papers AKC registered, means little, sorry to say.
It sounds like you want a Shibu Inunbut then are asking the best breed.
What is your life style? Do you have a securely fenced yard or live in an apartment? Do you have children? Are you active like liking to run, etc? How much grooming are you willing to do? Are you willing to take the time to train a dog? Shias can be trainable but stubborn.
I am partial to the herding breeds but that is just a personal preference since I used to do Obedience. Yes, most Goldens are great dogs.
Yes, you have to be very careful whom you buy a dog from! You should get a Health Guarantee against genetic defects that would make the dog unsuitable as a pet. Actually, my contracts were about 3 pages long.
Rescuing is akways a great idea as so many wonderful dogs are in Shelters needing good homes. Blu gave you good advice. I have one here myself.
You might want to go to AKC.org and research breeds. If you see a breed you might be interested in, do a search for the National breed Club and read up on the breed, temperament, potential health problems, etc.
Good luck and please come back to update.