If choosing dog is such a straightforward process, and it is, how come so many puppies find their way into adoption centers every year? Well, one reason is that people choose the wrong dog breed.
Don’t let your puppy become a statistic. Make it your goal to choose a puppy suited to your family and circumstances. Think about how much time you have for training, grooming and exercising. Look at your health including possible allergies, your financial resources and the amount of space in your house and yard. Most of all work out how much time you have for a dog.
Of all the different factors in choosing the right dog breed, among the most important is the relationship you want with your dog. Some breeds by nature are rather aloof and elegant, others are independent and energetic while others are dependent or submissive. If you want to do specialized training, consider breeds known for courage and trainability. If you want an affectionate pet, choose a breed that typically likes to be close to its people.
To ensure that your puppy fits in with your lifestyle begin by asking yourself these questions:
- How much time can I spend with my dog, a social creature who craves companionship? – If your time is limited don’t get a breed which can become dependent on their owners.
- How much exercise can I give my dog? – If you hate exercise, buy a small dog happy with a short walk. If you like to walk the mountains all day long get a dog breed which likes a lot of exercises.
- How much grooming can I do? – If you hate grooming, buy a short-haired dog.
- How much training can I give? – If you have limited time, choose a breed known for ease of training.
- How much room do I have? – If you live in a small apartment don’t get a large dog!
- What characteristics do I want in my dog? – Think of words like independent, energetic, submissive, affectionate, protective, quiet, funny or sociable.
Try to match them to the characteristics of your family members. Your dog will fit in much better if you do.
Finding The Right Dog Breed
Once you have answered these questions it is time to go out and find the right dog breed for you. The internet is a great place to start. Just go to your favourite search engine and type in something like “dog breed information” or “dog breeds” and you will find some excellent sites giving detailed information about each breed.
Note the characteristics of the different breeds. What is best for your situation: large or small, male or female, purebred or mix? Short coat or shaggy coat? A dog needing lots or little exercise? A lot or little daily grooming? Think through your choices in detail and compare this information to your requirements and make a short list.
Next ask people you trust about the dog breeds you are interested in. Ask friends, family members and co-workers for suggestions of dog breeds they think
would be good for you and your family. Ask them to be honest about the good points and bad points of the breeds they suggest. Visit dog training schools and breeders and ask about the dogs your think may be suitable. Follow up on and meet the breeds you feel are a good match.
Finally make every effort when choosing a puppy to make your final choice of a dog breed a family decision. Your dog will be part of the family, and each member needs to feel a sense of ownership for the dog and a willingness to help in its care.