How to choose the right breed of dog

Some people choose a particular dog breed because they like the way it looks. Appearance is only one of many factors you should consider. Here are some tips to help you find the right breed for you.

Identify your needs and lifestyle before you start looking at puppies. Answering these questions will help you choose a breed that fits your family’s lifestyle. Do you have children? What are their ages? Some breeds do well with young children and others don’t. Do you have a home or an apartment? Some breeds need room to roam, some are couch potatoes.

Is your yard fenced or will you have to take your dog for walks? You might not want to walk a huge dog several times a day. How much time can you spend with your dog? If you’re gone most of the day, choose a breed that doesn’t mind being alone for long periods of time.

Are you an active person or a couch potato? Be honest. Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? Choose a breed that matches your energy level. Where will your dog be spending most of his time? Outside or inside? If outside, make sure the breed you choose can handle the temperature changes in your area.

There are many factors to consider when looking at dog breeds. Once you’ve identified your families needs, it’s time to start researching breeds. One caveat: Breeders raise a particular breed of dog because they love that breed. They truly believe that their breed of dog is the best. Do your research before you visit a breeder.

How do you find the perfect breed for you? Armed with your family’s “lifestyle profile”, read and research breeds that interest you. Here are some important points to consider:

Size How big will this dog get? Look at height and weight. Even though a Bulldog is short, it can weigh 50+ pounds as an adult. Can you lift a 50 pound dog? Perhaps you think a little dog would be the perfect choice for a family with little kids. Maybe not. Small dogs have small bones that are easily broken if stepped on. Dog breeds come in every shape and size. Find one that fits your needs.

Hair and Grooming Do you want a long-haired or short-haired dog? The amount of grooming each breed requires varies greatly. On one end of the spectrum you have the easy care coats. These breeds need an occasional wipe down with a damp cloth and a bath once or twice a year. On the other end, you have coats that need extensive grooming and care. Afghan Hounds, for instance, require daily grooming. From the time an Afghan puppy is 8 weeks old you can expect frequent baths, cream rinses and daily brushing to prevent tangles. Most dogs fall somewhere in between. Decide how much time and money you want to spend on your dog’s grooming needs.

Energy level How much exercise will your dog require as an adult? Will a game of fetch be enough to wear him out? Some smaller breeds are easily exercised indoors. Dog breeds are separated into groups. Breeds in the Working and Herding groups, for example, are usually high energy and require lots of exercise. This is not the rule, however, so be sure to read everything you can about your chosen breed.

Doing your research before you shop for a puppy is the easiest way to minimize frustration later on. Now you can be sure that you and the breed you choose are a good fit for each other.