I wanted the Dyson animal SO bad, but I just could not let myself pay that much money for one. I would even settle for the regular Dyson, tried to find one on sale, they did have them marked down to $279! For a Dyson! This was last year at Target, and while I was busy trying to talk myself into getting it, they sold out
I cannot tell you how sad I was. I ended up buying a Shark Navigator lift away. $179. It is NOT the Dyson, but it does a very good job. Better than my Hoover ever did. I'm not crazy about the hose attachment though, it is awkward to maneuver. But it picks up very, very well.
The Dyson is hands down, the best. I have also owned an Oreck, which picks up surprisingly well on bare floors. It does not blow the dirt around like some vacuums do. I have an Oreck that I have had for 5 years and it still works as good as the day I got it. It does not have attachments with it though, and I hate that. That vacuum was not cheap, it was $400, but my sister bought one at Target or Walmart for $199, and it works as well as my $400 one.
If money were not an issue, I would definitely get the Dyson. They last forever, and I don't think anything out there beats them. The Shark does have a handy pet hair attachment to it which works great. It even gets the hair off of the cat tree and does a great job on the furniture, that is the one thing I love about the Shark.