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  Choosing a Pet Dog: What Breed is Right for Me?


We see a cute puppy, fall in love with it, and take it home. We allow our hearts to dictate our decision-making process and overlook one critical question: are you and the breed a good match?

It's important to avoid making sweeping generalizations about all dogs and keep in mind that specific dog breeds have unique needs. Some may adapt well to you and your home situation, while others will not.

Know Thyself Before Getting a New Dog

Finding a suitable dog breed for you (and your family) should be approached as a match-making process. Be realistic about the dynamics of your life and then determine which breed is best suited to coexist with you in your world.

Selecting a new pet pooch should not be taken lightly or done on the spur of the moment, especially since canines can live beyond ten years on average. It's important to assess your home situation, personality and lifestyle before you head out to the pet shop.

Sounds like a tall order, but it will steer you towards the right type of dog and help prevent unnecessary problems in the long run. Too often, dogs are returned or abandoned because they just did not fit into the lifestyles of dog owners.

Not all Breeds Are the Same

If you're athletic, for example, you may be better suited for dog breeds that need lots of exercise, like a German Shepherd or a Labrador. If you feel that there is no place like home, choose a stay-at-home type dog, such as a Shih Tzu or a poodle. Do you love to hunt or travel? Do you have young children? There are dog breeds for every single one of these lifestyles.

Know that there are certain dog breeds that are very comfortable living in small areas, such as Bichons, Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Poodles, and others, like Jack Russell Terriers and Border Collies, who need lots of space and long walks. So practice due diligence by researching dog breeds, asking family, friends or neighbours who have dogs, and consulting experts.

Other Considerations

Getting a dog that's compatible with your character, your financial situation, even your size will also help you find the best match. For instance, a strong dog will be more easily trained by a master who can be authoritative. If this is not your case, you would be better off with a dog that is more submissive.

In terms of your financial situation, the cost of feeding of your companion is proportional to its size. For example, a 10-kg (22-lb) dog will eat about 150 g (5 oz) of dry food per day, while a 30-kg (66-lb) dog will eat 400 g (14 oz).

Here are other questions that you and your family should ask before getting a new dog:

  • Will my schedule allow me to spend quality time with my dog?
  • Do I have the time and energy to take walks every day?
  • Can I tolerate dog hair and dog smell in the house?
  • Is anyone in the house allergic to dogs?
  • Are dogs allowed where I live?
  • Do I really want a dog or is this just a fleeting need that will fade?
  • Who will be primarily responsible for feeding and walking the dog at home?
  • Do I want a dog or puppy, pure breed or mixed, male or female?

There are many more questions that you should ask yourself before making the final decision. Be objective and practical as much as possible. Try to curb your emotions, as the initial excitement of seeing a cute little puppy will inevitably go away once practical issues arise. If you have a family, everyone should actively participate in the decision-making process, as dog care is a shared family responsibility.