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How to Choose the Best Dog Breed

by Louise W. Rice

Dogs are the funniest, friendliest, and cutest pets ever. They bring joy to our lives, offer unconditional love, constant entertainment, devoted companionship, and help us cope with a crisis.

Bringing a new dog into your life is a major decision, especially with so many available breeds, such as Morkie Poo, Akitas, boxers, etc. After all, you are committing to care for a breathing, living being who will depend on you his entire life!

All dogs require training, exercise, and care, but there can be major differences between the many breeds. We’re here with some tips on how you can choose the best dog breed that perfectly suits your needs and lifestyle. Let’s dive in!

1. The Size of the Dog

There is often a lot of size variation within breed groups. You may already have your heart set on a giant or large dog breed, or you may want a little lap dog that you can carry around. If you cannot decide, then a medium-sized dog is probably the perfect choice.

The size of your living space is a major factor to consider when selecting a dog breed. Giant dogs with long, whip-like tails require more space to move around to avoid damage to household objects or to avoid tail injury. Having a backyard is great for them; they can easily go outside for exercise and do their business. Expenses are another key factor here. The larger the dog, the costlier its things, such as medical treatments, dog supplies, and dog food.

On the other hand, little dogs don’t need much space, but they are vulnerable and delicate. Being mishandled or stepped on can cause them serious injury. They can be sensitive to colder temperatures as well. So, be prepared to keep them warm. Moreover, some small dogs can develop a tough dog attitude, apparently to compensate for their small size. You need to be prepared for this possibility as well.

Some other important factors to consider while choosing the right size of your dog include your children’s ages, car, and living situation. Also, consider who else may need to spend time with your dog or how you will find care when you are away on vacations.

2. Your Activity Level

Finding a dog that complements your activity level is crucial when selecting a dog breed. A low-energy pooch can frustrate an owner who is always on the go, and a high-energy dog can swiftly exhaust a low-energy owner.

Although a dog’s activity level is mostly determined by breed, you can’t just depend on breed alone to determine how energetic your dog could become. Regardless of size or breed, every dog needs routine exercise. If you don’t believe you’ll be able to go for more than one or two pleasant walks per day, a less energetic dog like a Whippet or Basset Hound is a good choice. If you want a dog that can be an agility competitor or jogging partner, consider a breed like the Australian Shepherd or Border Collie.

3. Your Schedule

Choosing a dog compatible with your schedule will make sure that your pet receives the training, attention, and love they need. Training your dog is beneficial for you, your neighbors, and the greater dog community.

You’ll need to keep aside some time to work with your dog regularly, even if you send him for obedience training. Some shy or skittish dogs need socialization training. If your pup is going to spend time in the yard, ensure a proper fence there so that he does not pay your neighbor an unwanted visit. When required, you can keep your dog on a leash too.

4. Age of the Dog

Puppyhood, adulthood, and senior- a dog’s personality usually changes throughout each stage. Puppies need the most amount of attention, particularly during the first 5-6 months. He may face plenty of accidents in the house and perhaps chew your personal belongings and furniture. These issues will eventually resolve with patience and dedicated training. However, you must remember that your puppy may grow up to be different than you thought, especially if you bring a mixed-breed dog.

An adult dog can be a great option if you want to have a better idea of the true attitude and energy level of your new dog. Also, adult dogs are more likely to have calmer temperaments than younger puppies. However, adult dogs also need some degree of dedicated training in the beginning. Luckily, many adult dogs are socialized and trained to some extent and can easily cope with their new lives in their new homes.

If you are looking for a lower energy dog, a senior dog can be an excellent companion. But it is important to be aware that senior dogs need frequent veterinary check-ups, special attention and are more likely to grow health issues that cost money and time to address. Also, unlike an adult dog or puppy, you must remember that you will not have as many years with your senior dog.

Another important fact to take into consideration is that some older dogs do not do well around small children, perhaps because of their traumatic experiences in the past. Consider adopting a senior dog only if you are willing to accept these facts and responsibilities. It can be one of the most compassionate things you can do for these precious creatures.

5. Grooming Needs

All dogs need basic grooming, but some breeds require a lot of grooming based on the type of hair coat, while others are very low maintenance. If the hair of your dog keeps growing, advanced routine grooming is necessary. Most smooth-coated, short-haired dogs are major shedders, so be ready for some additional cleaning up or regular appointments with your dog groomer. Some grooming tools can help decrease shedding.

Make sure to study if your favorite breed has any particular needs. For instance, Shar-Peis have loads of skin folds and need regular and careful cleaning to avoid skin infections. Alaskan Malamutes have a very thick coat and shed twice a year. Mastiffs, Bloodhounds have droopy lips and tend to drool a lot. On the other hand, Poodles and Poodle crosses (Cavapoo, Goldendoodle, etc.) are hypoallergenic breeds and don’t shed much hair.

6. Veterinary Expenses

A pet’s overall cost during its lifespan might be as high as $20,000. These expenses include everything from unexpected accidents and sickness to vet appointments for immunizations and teeth cleanings. All the little things, like food, dog bowls, leashes, flea medication, grooming, microchipping, doggie doors, and a dog bed to snooze on, add up too. Also, you may need to make accommodations for your dog when you travel or need to hire a dog walker if you work long hours.

7. Different Breeds

Different breeds have different inherent traits. Each breed comes with different personalities, and it is important to know them well to find the breed that will be perfect for you. Here is a look at the various types of dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC):

  • The toy group: this group includes the darling King Charles spaniel, playful Chihuahua, cute Morkie Poo, Poodle, Pomeranian, and Pug. These dogs are great for small spaces. They may be small, but they are tough, high-spirited, and jolly.
  • The working group: Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, Akitas, Boxers, and Great Danes are ideal watchdogs. They are intelligent, fast learners, and wonderful companions but are not always suitable for families with children.
  • Terriers: the wildly popular Jack Russell terrier and Miniature Schnauzers are part of this group. They range from large to small but are usually energetic across the board and need owners who are willing to put up with a little attitude.
  • Sporting dogs: This group includes Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, and Weimaraners, who love outings, especially the sort of activity where they can run and roam free. They need regular, vigorous exercise.
  • Non-sporting dogs: this is a diverse group that includes the Chinese Shar-Pei, Bulldog, and Dalmatian. Popular as sturdy and friendly dogs, they range in size as well as coat and personality.
  • Hound dogs: There ain’t anything like a hound dog. These include Dachshunds, Beagles, and, well, hounds, all of which are known for their hunting traits and endless energy. Many of them are excellent family pets, like the famous, happy-go-lucky beagle. Remember that some of these hounds know how to give a loud, good howl.
  • The herding group: this group mostly includes Sheepdogs and Collies. The dogs are great for families and farms. They are highly responsive to training and are amazing companions.

The Bottom Line

While getting a dog is a major commitment, it is also the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship. Once you create a list of your favored breeds, try meeting them in person. Speak with family and friends who own some of these breeds. Ask your vet for tips and recommendations. Visit sporting events or club meetings. Also, remember to visit local shelters, where you will find a great variety of dogs that need a loving home!

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