So you've decided you want to own a dog! It seems like such a simple decision to make, but which breed is right for you? This isn't a decision you want to rush into, as there are many factors that play a part in choosing a breed of dog. Here are a few things you need to consider when choosing the breed of dog that is right for you and your family:
- What size of dog do you want? There are breeds of dog that range in size from around 5 pounds to over 100 pounds. Make sure you choose a breed that will stay a good size for you and its home. (For example, as cute as that Newfoundland puppy might be, it isn't going to be very happy in a studio apartment!)
- How much activity is the dog going to receive on a daily basis? Everyone starts with the best of intentions of walking the dog twice a day for at least 30 minutes each time, but as busy lifestyles show, this isn't always possible. If you know the dog will be alone in the house for long periods of time, avoid breeds that need to get out and run or are typically more "high strung," such as a Border Collie. But, if you know you'll be taking your dog camping every weekend and to the dog park every night, you can opt for a more active breed.
- Is the breed known to become aggressive? Of course any breed can become aggressive if not treated and trained properly, but some breeds are more apt to do so by nature. Breeds like Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers and Australian Cattle Dogs are going to be more likely to become aggressive. If you have young children, definitely try to avoid breeds that have this tendency.
- Are you willing to groom the dog or take it to a groomer? If you don't want a lot of maintenance on the dog's coat, avoid breeds with long hair or that need a lot of grooming, such as Poodles, Wirehaired Dachshunds, Scottish Terriers, and Portuguese Water Dogs.
- Are there any allergies to dogs in the family? If so, breeds like a Standard or Toy Poodle or any other non-shedding breed would be the ones to consider.
When choosing a breed of dog, research is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and the dog. Knowing things like if the breed is typically good with children, if they have a tendency to bite, if they need clipping, if they can adapt to city life and if they need to live indoors are huge factors when choosing a new family member, and things that any prospective dog owner needs to know about their future companion. Books like Simon & Schuster's Guide to Dogs or the American Kennel Club's The Complete Dog Book can give you a lot of insight into dog breeds, as well as introduce you to some you may not have even known existed. Take some time and check out a bookstore's dog section or the American Kennel Club online and you can learn about over 150 breeds of dogs!