Congratulations, you've taken the time to make the very important decision of whether you can handle a new dog in your life and came out feeling confident that you're ready. Well now you have to make the just as important decision of which breed of dog you should get. Although it's true that not all breed stereotypes are true and every dog is unique in personality, it is important to know a breed in order to estimate its adult size, exercise needs and temperment. The American Kennel Club recognizes over 160 different breeds of dog so to help narrow that huge list down, follow these 10 Tips For Selecting The Right Dog Breed!
1. Plan Ahead...15 Years Ahead
Getting a dog is a huge commitment that is going to be a big part of your life for the next 10-15 years. You need to do your research and find a dog breed that not only fits your current lifestyle, but also your future lifestyle. You may want a dog that's good with children if you plan to have them later on, or a dog that is happy in any climate in case you move. Also consider your finances for the next few years as a dog will now be a new added cost and some breeds can be more expensive then others.
One of the first things to consider is what size dog is going to fit your lifestyle. Consider your living space but remember, even though it seems like a smaller dog would be happier than a larger one in an apartment or a condo without a yard, that isn’t necessarily true. You would be surprised how many larger breeds like the Mastiff tend to enjoy lounging on a couch while some smaller breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier are hyper and need space to wear themselves out. Keep in mind that larger dogs will inevitably cost more then a smaller dog because they require more food as well as larger doses of medication and usually cost more for grooming and boarding.
How much time do you have to spend with your new dog? Some dog breeds require more attention and socialization than others. If you work a full time job and only have time to take your dog out before and after work, then a dog that needs more time commitment wouldn't be ideal. If you don't spend enough time caring and training your dog, especially in the beginning, it may become an unhappy and difficult pet later on.
Ask yourself, do I mind having a pooch that requires more grooming than I do? Some breeds require grooming needs that are a necessity to keeping them happy and healthy. Dog breeds like the Pekingese, Maltese, and Bichon Frise require a lot of time and extra money to satisfy their daily grooming needs. Some breeds are also known to shed more then others which may cause extra cleaning work for you around the house.
What main purpose do you want your new dog to serve? Maybe you're looking to have a guard dog or maybe you want more of a lap dog that loves everyone. Knowing what a certain dog was bred for will help you know what instincts they have that will make them a better companion for you. A good thing to do is write a list of your 5 favorite activities you want your dog to be a part of and find a dog breed that fits into most of them. For example, if you enjoy hiking or swimming you should find an active breed such as a Border Collie, but if you're happier sitting on the couch you should find a lazier breed such as a Bull Dog or Pug.
Make sure you know if there is someone in your family or household that is allergic to dogs. If so, you may want to look into hypoallergenic breeds. Poodles, Schnauzers, and Yorkshire Terriers are some of the best breeds for people suffering from allergies. It may even be a good idea to consider one of these breeds if you're single and plan to have someone new in your life later on. This way you won't have to ever deal with the issue of them being allergic to your pup.
This usually comes down to the fact of whether you're a first time dog owner or not. For a first time dog owner an easily trainable breed such as the Golden Retriever or Poodle would be ideal. However, if you like a challenge and will be home with the dog a lot, a more independent and not so easy to train dog such as the Shiba Inu may be okay too for first time dog owners. Also, decide if you're only planning on teaching your dog the basics or if you want to have your dog bringing you your shoes or running an agility course.
8. Online Breed Selecting Quizzes
Once you have answers to all the above tips, one of the best ways to narrow down your dog breed options is by taking an online dog breed quiz. Animal Planet, Purina, and Puppyfinder are some of the many websites that provide quizzes which will narrow down breeds that may be right for you. Each quiz will ask the same basic questions like what size you prefer, how much time you have to spend with your dog, and the affection level you want. Once you finish the quizzes, your choices will be given with descriptions of each breed so you can read further into each one to pick your favorite.
9. Make Dogs 101 Your New Favorite TV Show
Dogs 101 is a show on Animal Planet that goes through every breed of dog and describes their needs and temperament in detail. If you can't catch it on TV, they also have individual Dogs 101 breed videos on their website. Each episode shows dog specialists giving their honest opinion of which kinds of homes and people would be best suited for each type of breed. The show also gives a brief history of each dog showing it's origins as well as what health concerns may affect each breed.
10. When All else Fails, Find a Mixed Breed
If there are a few breeds that appeal to you, and you just can't decide, try finding a mixed breed at a shelter. This is actually the best option as thousands of dogs are euthanized every year because they can't find homes. You could be saving a life as well as getting a dog that combines the looks and personalities of your favorite breeds so you have everything in one perfect little package.
A dog can be an amazing addition to any family but please make sure you do your research. Thousands of dogs end up in shelters because of people not being able to handle their temperaments. You can avoid this from happening by researching your breed as much as you can beforehand. Also, make sure to adopt from a reputable breeder or shelter to avoid getting an unhealthy dog. What dog breed have you decided on to be in your life?
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