When welcoming a new puppy into your home, there are many important factors that should be considered when choosing which dog breed is right for you. Each breed has general characteristics that you should be aware of before you make your decision.
While socialization and early learning is a vital part of a puppy’s upbringing, there are other factors that will play into her character. In her blog, “Dr. Jen’s Dog Blog”, Dr. Jen discusses how your puppy’s genetic background and breed play a major role in who your dog is. This can help determine if your puppy will be good with kids, if they will be extremely active, or if they will be friendly with other dogs, just to name a few examples. Therefore, it’s vital to take a puppy’s breed into consideration when selecting a new member of your family.
When thinking about adopting a dog there are a lot of lifestyle factors to consider. For example, you need to take into account how active your lifestyle is, how much living space you have, who else will be living with the dog, how you feel about grooming as well as how much money you are looking to spend.
Your activity level is an important factor to consider – if you are looking forward to long hikes with your dog, you shouldn’t get a breed that is well known for their napping skills rather than their appreciation for outdoor adventures.
For those who prefer to spend their spare time relaxing at home, it is a good idea to select a dog that will enjoy downtime with you. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Chihuahuas and Great Danes are excellent choices when you’re looking for a cuddle buddy during an afternoon nap.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time exercising your dog every day, be sure not to get a breed that has a higher energy level than your own. Bored dogs easily become destructive dogs when they don’t have an outlet for their energy!
For those who enjoy high energy activities and want their dog to join in on the fun, you might prefer a dog breed like the Labrador Retriever, Border Collie or Husky. These dogs require a lot of exercise but will always be up for an adventurous afternoon. You can also look into breed-specific activities; Labs are often a great choice if you love a swim in the lake, Border Collies can often become excellent at brain games and agility course and Huskies often make great hiking companions.
It is also important to recognize that not all breeds are built for higher activity lifestyles. This is especially important to consider for brachycephalic dogs like pugs and french bulldogs – their noses are flatter so it’s harder for them to breathe, therefore they have a low tolerance for exertion.
If you have a family with babies or young children, you must be sure to look for a dog that is known for being good around kids. Dog breeds that are territorial or that might see your children as competition, such as Weimaraners, Akitas and Chihuahuas, should be avoided until your children are older. Breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Saint Bernards are well known for being gentle and patient with children. Saint Bernards, especially, were nicknamed the “Nanny Dog” for their gentle disposition and calmness around children.
The safety of babies and children is of the utmost importance, therefore, it is imperative that any dog that is in their presence be trained (as mentioned above, training in addition to genetics is important to a dog’s character) and there should always be adult supervision. You should also consider your future plans when adding a puppy to your home. If you are planning on starting a family within the lifespan of your new dog, you should consider that when selecting a breed.
Size of Home
Another major factor to consider when selecting the right breed for you is living space. If you have a small home, it makes more sense to get a puppy that won’t take up too much space and, if you’re in an apartment, you might want to consider getting a breed that isn’t known for barking. French Bulldogs, Pugs, Whippets and Shiba Inus are all examples of dog breeds that are good to keep in smaller homes and won’t disturb your neighbors with barking.
While activity level, family makeup and size of the home are some of the most important factors to consider when selecting a dog breed, there are some other factors that might be of concern to you.
If you are looking for a dog to be protective of you, you want to choose a breed that has more of a natural instinct to protect their family and home. Dogs like German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Akitas are well suited to guarding their territory and should be properly trained to do so.
You might have special concerns about the type of fur or hair a dog might have. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money going to the groomers, you could get a short-haired dog like a Beagle. If you don’t want dog fur stuck to all your clothing and furniture, a Poodle, for example, would likely be a better option.
Cost might be an important factor as well. If this is the case, you might want to consider a smaller breed, like a Bichon Frise, as they are less expensive to feed. You might also want to consider that certain breeds, such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Mastiffs and Golden Retrievers, are more prone to ailments such as cancer and hip dysplasia, and could cost more in the long run.
If there is a specific dog breed that you want to get but are unfamiliar with, be sure to learn as much as possible about the breed before taking the puppy home. It is important to ensure that your new pet has the right temperament and energy level, among other important factors, for their new home.