How do you choose the right dog breeds for your family from the nearly 200 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC)? And there are hundreds of purebred breeds that the AKC does not register. With such a large number of breeds to choose from, how do people manage to decide which breed is right for them? Hopefully, you can narrow down the choices and find the right dog breed by following a few simple steps.
How to Choose the Right Dog Breed
First, consider your available space. Do you live in an apartment? If so, you may want to rule out large dogs. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, as many people living in apartments do pretty well with larger dog breeds. Look for dogs in the Toy group, such as Yorkshire Terriers, or some smaller dogs in the Terrier group, like the Miniature Schnauzer.
You will also want to consider your dog’s size if you have children. Tiny dogs, such as Chihuahuas or Maltese, can be very delicate and are often accidentally injured by young children. On the other hand, giant dogs, such as Mastiffs or Saint Bernards, can be overly boisterous as puppies and accidentally turn your child into a human bowling pin. You might consider medium-sized breeds, such as Border Collies or Australian Shepherds, instead.
Do You Have Time For Your Dog?
Next, consider how much exercise you can give your dog to choose the right dog breed. If you have a home with a fenced yard, your dog can get some exercise on his own. However, dog breeds in the Sporting, Hound, and Herding groups are very high-energy animals, and you will need to have enough time to provide them with more intensive workouts.
Plan to take a lot of long walks with your dog or go for a daily romp in the park. After all, these dog breeds were bred to work hard and don’t do well unless they have a job or a way to burn off excess energy.
Can You Take Care Of Your Dog?
Finally, don’t forget to consider grooming needs when you choose the right dog breed. Some dog breeds only need a half hour or so of grooming a week, while others need to be groomed for an hour a day. If you are short on time, don’t buy a Standard Poodle or a Maltese unless you plan to take your dog to a groomer. Breeds like Boston Terriers or Whippets are good choices for people who don’t have time to do a lot of grooming.
Where Should You Get A Dog?
Once you decide which breed of dog you want, you will need to consider the dog’s age. Many people opt to buy a cuddly little puppy instead of an older dog. While puppies have not developed any bad habits, it will be up to the new owner to be sure that the puppy becomes housebroken and obedience trained.
Older dogs are frequently already housebroken and usually have some obedience training. They are also more likely to be less hyper and less destructive. However, they can have behavioral or health problems that prompt the former owner to give them up. Don’t overlook older dogs if you want to choose the right dog breed.
Do you want to buy a puppy? If so, you will need to find a reputable dog breeder with a litter of the breed you are interested in. Often, a good breeder will have a waiting list for puppies. If you aren’t patient, you may be tempted to buy a puppy from a pet store. However, many pet store puppies come from puppy mills and have genetic health defects, bad temperaments, or other problems. It is usually safest to buy a puppy directly from the breeder.
Get An Older Dog
If you are interested in an older dog, you may want to visit your local animal shelter or call a breed rescue. These groups evaluate the dogs’ health and temperament before adopting them out.
Once you narrow down the breed choices and choose the right dog breed for you, don’t get too relaxed. After all, you still have one more important decision to make, what to name your new companion!