So, what's the best dog breed, and for that matter, what's the best pet to have?
I personally think the best dog breed is a Malamute, since I've always liked smart yet wolf-life dogs. I wouldn't be able to handle one since they require much much more active time and space, though.
Other than that, German shepherds are great dogs. They are calm, intelligent and easily taught.
For other pets, fancy rats seem to be an amazing choice. They are very intelligent, keep themselves clean and in general are social/good if socialized.