So you’re ready to bring a new family member into your household – you’ve decided to get a dog. You understand what is required to become a responsible dog owner – and are prepared to do it. The dog breed selection and how you choose it is vital to the happiness of both you and your dog. Here are some questions that should get you thinking along the right lines:
Questions To Ask Yourself in the Dog Breed Selection Process
- What size of dog breed do you favor? Size does matter but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a big dog needs a big yard and a small dog breed is suited to apartment living.
- Can you handle a dog that sheds heavily? Almost all dogs shed to some degree but some like Golden Retrievers, Pugs and Dalmations are shedding machines!
- Is it important that your dog is good with children? Some breeds are very good with children and some aren’t.
- How important is it for your dog to be well trained? Some breeds are more suited, willing and capable if you plan to get involved in advanced obedience training.
- Will your dog be living with other animals and dogs? Some breeds may not happily coexist with other animals, while there are some dogs that love the company of others.
- What energy level should your dog have? Do you long for a dog who lounges around on the couch with you or one who continually tries to get you to play tug of war?
- Is it likely that your lifestyle, commitments or requirements will change drastically in the next 12-15 years? Choosing a dog breed is an important long term decision – it pays to look ahead for the wellbeing of the dog.
- Will your dog be left home alone for long periods? Many dog breeds (such as the Jack Russell) get bored easily and can get destructive if left alone for long periods.
- Will your dog be an inside dog, an outside dog or a bit of both? Some breeds are simply not suited to being kept outside and others absolutely need a yard.
- Does the breed you are interested in have a tendency for specific health problems? Common breed specific problems are hip dysplasia, various eye problems and skin conditions.
- How much and what kind of exercise are you prepared to give on a daily basis? If you are not prepared to meet your dogs exercise requirements, his energy may come out in other, destructive ways.
- What was the breed originally bred for? Many breeds still retain the strong drives and instincts which they were bred for. So if you like having a nice and tidy flower garden you may want to avoid some of the terrier breeds– they love to dig.
- Do you suffer from any dog related allergies? Hypoallergenic dog breeds such as Poodles, Bichon Frise and the Bedlington Terrier have a very low tendency to cause allergic reactions.
Of course, these aren’t the only factors but as you can see, picking a breed of dog is much more complicated than looking at a picture book and making a decision based just on what a breed looks like. Take your time, consider as many different factors as you can and then do your research. In the end, it will be well worth the time!