How to Choose the Right Breed of Dog
Choosing a dog breed can be difficult! There are many factors to consider when choosing the right dog breed for you. Remember not to rush into decisions and to evaluate all your options, which will begin to point you in the right direction in the search for your dog. Taking into account factors like lifestyle, energy level, health restrictions, and size will help you make the appropriate adjustments for your dog to ensure you both have an enjoyable life together.
Evaluating Dog Breeds
Consider a breed’s size.Dog size can play an important role in deciding which breed is right for you. Size is most important to consider in relation to your living environment. A dog’s size can determine how comfortable they will be in your home and how much space they will need to be comfortable. A general rule is that large dogs need more space and smaller dogs need less, but there are exceptions depending on temperament and energy levels.
- Remember that size does not always correspond with energy level. There are many large dogs with low energy levels and small dogs that can run forever.
Understand a breed’s temperament.A dog’s temperament is another important factor to consider when choosing a breed. Some dogs get along better with children and other dogs, others are better at guardianship or tracking. Understanding your breed’s temperament will help you make the right decision for your lifestyle. Temperaments generally vary by breed, but they also vary by dog. It is important to evaluate your dog’s temperament when you meet them even if your dog’s breed may be known for a specific temperament.
- A few breeds that are good with families and children are Foxhounds, Terriers, Bulldogs, Corgis, Setters, and Retrievers.
- Examples of guardian breeds are German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans.
- Use resources, like the American Kennel Club, to research breed temperaments and decide on which temperament will be best for you.
- Consult employees at your local shelter or adoption agency. Ask questions like, “Which temperaments would you recommend for apartment living?” “Which breeds get along best with children?” or “Which breeds are best for first time dog owners?”
Consider the breed’s energy level.Considering the breed’s energy level will allow you to evaluate the amount of time and attention you will need to spend exercising and stimulating your dog. High energy level breeds will need to be walked frequently each day, which may make them difficult to deal with if you find yourself having a busy schedule.
- Consider a dog with a low energy level if they will be spending the majority of their time indoors or in smaller spaces.
- Examples of breeds that have low energy levels are Basset Hounds, Chows, Bulldogs, and Irish Wolfhounds.
- Keep in mind that breeds may be known for a specific temperament but that individual dogs can vary greatly. Get to know the dog at the shelter before you adopt. Or, if you’re buying a puppy from a breeder, make sure you approve of the parents’ temperaments.
Look for health restrictions.Some breeds are also known for common health issues, like Spaniels and ear infections or Pugs and breathing difficulties. Check for health restrictions that are associated by breed to determine whether you will be able to accommodate the necessary adjustments to the dog’s potential conditions. Use online resources and indexes to search for your dog breed and understand any health restrictions they may have.
- Remember that dogs who have health restrictions may also have shortened lifespans and higher healthcare costs the older they get.
Consider a breed’s lifespan.Knowing the approximate lifespan of your breed will help you choose which dog breed might be best for you. Think about how long you want to care for your dog and at what age you would like to adopt them. Knowing your dog’s lifespan will also give you an estimate of what kind of care they might need once they are in your home. For example, older dogs might need to be walked and fed less, but will need a significantly more comfortable environment than younger dogs.
- A general rule is that smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds.
Choose between a mixed breed or purebred.There are advantages to choosing both mixed breed and purebred dogs. Purebred dogs will generally have paperwork proving their genealogy, which will allow you to anticipate any health issues that might arise. Purebred’s temperaments and behaviors will also likely take after their parents’. Mixed breed dogs are more affordable and are more common in shelters and adoption agencies.
- If you don’t have a specific breed in mind, go down to your local animal shelter and consult an employee about mixed breed dogs.
Considering Your Lifestyle
Check for legal restrictions.Before you get a dog you will need to consult your state and landlord about potential pet restrictions. Many states have restrictions on what they deem to be aggressive breeds, often making it difficult or illegal to adopt. Some landlords will not allow animals of any kind while others might only restrict certain breeds. Ask your landlord about which dogs they will allow on their properties.
- Ask questions like, “I’m thinking of adopting a dog, are there any policies you have for renters?” or “Are there any pet restrictions in my lease?”
- Some landlords may also require you to pay a small fee for keeping a pet in your home.
- Some states may also have legislation banning specific dog breeds known for violent or aggressive behavior.
Make sure your housemates all want a dog.Consulting all of your housemates, whether friends, family, or loved ones, about whether or they also want a dog is essential before adoption. This will ensure that your dog has a loving home once they arrive and that others are willing to help out if needed. Check in with your housemates about which dog breed they may have an aversion to, or invite them to come to shelters or adoption agencies with you.
- Ask your housemates questions like, “Are you willing to live with a dog?” or “How would you feel if I adopted a dog?”
Look at your schedule for obligations.Dogs require a lot of attention and care, and this requires a lot of your time. They need to be exercised, played with, fed, and occasionally taken out for bathroom breaks. If you have a very busy schedule, are rarely home, and travel frequently, getting a dog may not be the best choice. However, if you do have a busy schedule, or can’t make enough adjustments to be home with your dog often, then consider hiring a dog sitter or enlisting the help of a housemate.
- Look for breeds that are low or high energy depending on your schedule availability.
Consider other dogs and small children that live in your home.Discussing your decision to get a dog will ensure that everyone is on board before adopting or purchasing a dog. If you already have a dog, be sure to check the current state of your dog’s temperament and training before getting a second one. If you have any small children in your home, be sure to get a breed that is low-energy and sociable to avoid any unwanted conflict or tension.
Selecting Your Dog
Go to your local animal shelter or adoption agency.Once you have researched enough information about the breed you’d like you are ready to start making trips to animal shelters and adoption agencies. Try to visit multiple shelters and agencies to see a large variety of breeds. Let any employee or personnel know if you are looking for a specific breed, or if they have any breed that is similar to the one you are looking for.
- Ask questions like, “Can you help me find a specific breed?” “How often do you receive new dogs?” or “What is the most common breed that you receive?”
Search out dog breeders.Search out dog breeders if you are looking for a specific breed or a purebred dog. Make sure that the breeder you are considering purchasing a dog from has all of the certifications to meet health and Humane Society standards. Look for breeders through kennel clubs to ensure that your are not buying a dog from a “puppy mill” or other inhumane process of breeding.
- Ask the breeder to let you meet your dog’s parents. Their size, temperament, and activity will give you a good idea of what your dog will be like when it grows up.
- Ask your breeder to provide you with a five generation pedigree document to ensure that your dog is purebred.
- Ask your breeder to supply a Puppy Information Pack (PIP) to make sure that your dog is bred healthily and will have a high quality of life.
Spend time meeting your dog before adoption.Visit and spend time with your dog if you have decided on a specific dog or puppy. Go to the shelter a few times and ask to see the dog you are considering adopting. If you are going through a breeder, ask them if you can come by regularly to see your dog a few times before making a final decision. Although history, health, and behavior have an effect on your dog’s life, what matters most if your connection and relationship with your dog. Meeting your dog before you adopt will ensure that you both get along with one another and have the potential for a happy life together.
- Ask the shelter or breeder if they have any toys you can use to play with the dog while you are visiting.
QuestionHow do I find the perfect website to search the perfect dog?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSearch the internet for the most-loved animal shelters in your area. Look at the quality of the dogs that each shelter has.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I convince my parents to get me a dog?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionShould I choose a rough collie or a sheltie?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI would choose the one that behaves better, but it's your choice.Thanks!
QuestionI would love a husky, but my family doesn't want one. What should I do?Lily CastleberryCommunity AnswerIn a situation such as this, you may be able to settle for a mixed breed that is part husky. Ask your family members what kind of dogs they like and then see if you can find the perfect mixed breed puppy.Thanks!
QuestionIf part of our family wants a protective dog, and the others want a non-protective dog, what should we get?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are a variety of breeds out there that are fiercely loyal companions and are protective at the same time. Really, how protective a dog is depends on the training. You can often train your dog to be protective by using a certain code word or something along those lines (search for videos on YouTube for further help). To ensure that your dog is willing to protect you, make sure it gets plenty of interactions with people outside of your family. This will teach your dog which people are bad, and which are good. This way, when a friend of extended family member comes over, your dog will be good.Thanks!
QuestionI have my heart set on a teacup Pomeranian but my family has lots of little kids. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLittle kids should get a big dog, like a Labrador, instead. Little dogs and little kids are NOT a good combination. Bigger dogs are protectors, whereas little dogs are jealous.Thanks!
QuestionI have my heart set on a teacup Pomeranian, but my family has lots of kids, what should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it is your first dog and/or the kids are very young, I would recommend a bigger dog breed. Labradors are especially nice dogs for kids. You can always get the Pomeranian in a few years.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are good shelters I can pick up a puppy from?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf there's an SPCA in your area that's a good choice. Just do a little research about shelters in your area and go from there.Thanks!
QuestionI want a small, cute breed that does well as a pampered pet. What is the ideal breed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHow about a Bichon Frise? They are incredibly cute and pretty small. It sounds like exactly what you're looking for.Thanks!
- Consider popularity of breeds. There's a reason that sweet, loyal Labrador Retrievers are so popular!
- If you're not ready to buy a dog, wait. Don't rush into it. You will enjoy your dog much more when you're ready to provide for his needs.
- Make sure you know how to train your dog. If you don't have the time to do all the obedience and potty training, get an older dog. If you don't want an elderly dog, you can get one around the age of two or so. A good breeder will possibly have a dog he or she is willing to give up, and there are plenty of young purebred dogs in shelters.
- Watch out for pet stores! Never get a pet store pet, as their puppies are more often than not from puppy mills, horrible breeding centers in which puppies are bred for quantity not quality and are, along with their parents, treated terribly and kept in disgusting conditions. For more information, visit peta.org.
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