With over three hundred officially recognized dog breeds out there, there really is a dog for everyone. Different breeds come with different needs, though, so a dog that works for one family might not be a good first for another. It’s important to take into account several factors when you’re picking the right dog for your family.
Some dogs are very relaxed and low-key, while others are needy and high-strung. Small dogs tend to be more jittery than larger ones, and may bark more often or suffer from such things as separation anxiety. There are also some breeds, such as dalmatians, which are not highly tolerant of small children. You should take into account your own family environment: consider the members of your family (including other pets), whether your house is loud or quiet, and whether you have frequent guests over or not. All of these things can stress a dog out, especially one that already has a very high-maintenance personality.
All dogs can benefit from regular walks, but some of them need it more than others. Larger dogs should be walked far and often, preferably a few miles every day. Smaller dogs don’t require as much exercise. Certain breeds like greyhounds should also be taken out and allowed to run off some energy each day as well. If you live an active lifestyle, you might love to have a canine running buddy. If you’re pressed for time throughout the week, though, a dog that requires a lot of time and energy might not be the best choice for you.
Breeds like Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Corgis, and Samoyeds all tend to shed a lot. They should be taken to the groomer when needed (usually at least once a month for long-haired breeds) and brushed several times a week at home. Cleaning up large amounts of dog hair might be a labor of love for some, but others might find it bothersome. You should consider whether you will be bothered by the excess fur on your furniture and clothes before you select a dog.
Age & Lifespan
Many people tend to buy their dogs as puppies straight from breeders. While this is a good way to ensure that your can influence your dog’s habits and personality, it also comes with a price: getting a dog at the beginning of its life means you’ll be responsible for your pet for probably a decade or more. If you aren’t sure if you’ll want to own a dog for that long, a great alternative is to adopt an older dog. Many older dogs get overlooked at shelters since so many people want cute puppies, but they’re often calmer, quieter, and easier to handle than a younger dog. Getting an older dog is also a good idea if you don’t have a lot of time to invest in training a puppy, since adult dogs come with the training already instilled.