What breed of dog should I get?
When you are ready to add a dog to your family, deciding what breed is an important decision. There are over 100 breeds of dogs, and each one has different characteristics. These questions can help you examine your life and decide what characteristics you are looking for in a dog.
What is your experience with dogs?
Are you new to dogs? Do you currently own a dog? Have you owned a dog in the past? Some breeds are easier to train than others, some are higher maintenance, some have higher energy levels. For a first time dog owner, looking into dogs that are eager to please and lower maintenance may be a wise decision. Dog breeds with a lot of energy may be better suited for a dog owner with more experience. For example, a Labrador Retriever is very eager to please, making them easier to train. This would be a breed a first time dog owner would want to consider.
How much time can you put into training?
- A little time (1-5 hours a week)
- Some time (6-10 hours a week)
- A lot of time (10 plus hours a week)
All puppies require a significant amount of time. However, some breeds do take more time than others, especially once they are an adult. If you do not have as much time to put into training, you will want to find a breed that is easy to train and is fairly independent. If you are wanting to spend many hours a day working with your pup, you may want a breed that is more attached.
What is your home like?
The size of your house does make a difference in what breed of dog will be best for you. Do you live in an apartment, a house with a small yard, a house with a large yard? Size and energy are the main two things that will need to match your living space. For example, a small studio apartment may not have room for a giant Great Dane. Remember though, just because you don’t have the “ideal” housing situation does not mean you won’t be able to provide your new puppy with all its needs. And on the flip side, just because you have an “ideal” housing situation doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put work into your puppy. While housing is a consideration, the time and energy you put into your new puppy will matter more.
Do you have young children?
Do you have children under 10 years of age? This is something to consider when choosing a dog breed. Some breeds are better around kids than others. Do your research about the breed you are interested to make sure they will be patient and kind with children. This is a good place to start your search.
What is your lifestyle like?
Are you always out doing something active? Do you spend most of your time watching TV? Is relaxing on the porch after a long day at work your thing? Are you road tripping often? These kinds of lifestyle questions can help guide you to the perfect dog breed. Consider the size, activity level, eagerness to please, grooming requirements, and nutritional needs of each breed you are interested in. Think about how they would fare in your everyday life considering these attributes.
What job will your dog have?
Dogs need jobs. Having a job helps them fit in the pack, is good for their physical and mental health, and adds joy to both of your lives. A job could be a traditional breed job such as herding cattle, retrieving ducks, or pulling carts. Other jobs that are common for many dogs include: going running or hiking together, offering emotional support, and fetch or other games.
What traits are you looking for?
Why do you want a dog in the first place? The answer to this question can guide you to discover what traits are important to you. Maybe you need a dog that can run long distances with you or a dog that can offer emotional support or a dog that has a loud bark to scare off intruders. Think deeply about what these traits are. Do you need a dog with high energy, a small dog, a fast dog, a quiet dog? Choosing a breed with the characteristics that best fit you will result in a lifetime of joy with your new puppy.
Remember: Choosing the right breed of dog for your life and family is crucial. However, don’t forget that their is no perfect dog. No matter what breed you choose, you will need to put time and effort into training. Choosing the right breed will put you on the right path, but you will need to keep working to have an enjoyable companion in your dog.