Choosing the right dog for you and/or family can be very exciting and stressful at the same time. I mean, it is another living, breathing being that you will have to love, feed, care and tend to for the rest of their life. When determining what type of dog you should get, so many questions can run through your mind: "What kind of dog should I get?" "What's the best dog breed for me and/or my family?" "Will the dog be good in my home?"
They say knowledge is power, and the more you know the better off you are in any decision you make. Well, that is just as true when picking a dog breed that will be just right for your situation. Remember to do your homework before you bring them home! Below are some great questions to ask yourself when deciding on the type of dog or breed to get.
Have you ever owned or had experience with dogs in the past?
Having previous experience with a dog growing up or past ownership is definitely a plus, as you already know all the work involved and how to take care of your precious pooch. If you answered no, that’s completely fine as you will embark on a new adventure, learning every step of the way.
Do you currently own any other dogs or pets such as cats, birds, etc.?
If you already own another pet, it's crucial to make sure they are considered in the decision process. Bringing a dog to a home that has been previously ran by another animal may cause stress to both animals if they do not get along, or be potentially unhealthy for the current pet. If you already have a dog and plan to bring another one into the home, be sure to slowly introduce them so it's not a complete shock to the current dog and can they can start to get comfortable with one another.
Where do you currently live: City, Suburbs, Rural?
The location of your home plays a huge part in the decision on what type of dog to get. Some animals do well in crowded small areas, while other breeds need their space to run around and would be better suited for suburbs or rural areas.. If you live in the city, be sure to check where the local dog parks are or if there is even one near you.
What type of Home do you have: Apartment, House with small yard, House with large yard?
Obviously the smaller the footprint you have, the smaller the dog you should get. The opposite goes for a larger space, having a large yard will give a larger breed optimal space to run around.
Do you have any children under the age of 10?
Parents with small children are usually very busy and often do not have the free time to spend hours grooming or walking a dog. Puppies require almost as much attention as a child does. Large dogs that have been bred as guard dogs or have a history of being aggressive or biting should be avoided if you have small children. Large, high-energy dogs that can knock children over or dogs that bark excessively would also not be good choices.
What level of noise tolerance do you have when it comes to barking?
This answer really depends on you as an individual. Are you looking for a quiet dog that barely makes a peep? Or a dog that needs a "Beware of Dog" sign posted nearby to scare of strangers? Louder barking dogs are great if you are looking for home protection, while quieter dogs would be best suited for smaller places or older couples.
Do dogs that shed bother you?
If dog hair all over your furniture and clothes doesn’t bother you, then dogs that tend to shed would be ok. If you stand on the other side of the fence when it comes to shedding, look at breeds that do not shed. You should also consider if excessive amounts of dog hair triggers your allergies. If that is the case then a non shedding dog should be the route to go.
How long each week will the dog be alone at home while you are away or at work?
Your day to day or work schedule can hinder what type of dog you should get. An adult dog can be left alone for up to four to six hours a day before the dog will need to relieve themselves. This rule can vary depending on your dogs level of training. Puppies tend to go more frequently so that will need to be considered. Also, having your dog alone all day by itself can be stressful for them. Dogs need interaction, they are social animals. If your daily life pulls you away from your pup for long periods, doggie daycare is always a great alternative.
If the above didn’t deter you away from getting a dog, the next important question to ask yourself is: "What breed should you get?" Below are the most popular dog breeds in the USA.
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- French Bulldog
- Yorkshire Terrier
- German Shorthaired Pointer