How Do You Decide on the Best Dog Breed for You?

If you’ve just decided to get a dog of your very own, you’re probably already beside yourself with excitement. Perhaps your mind is already racing ahead to the many preparations you need to do to welcome a new four-legged family member into your home. Maybe you’ve already begun to design your pup’s martingale dog collars, leashes, and other personal items in your mind, or started window-shopping online for dog toys and cute outfits. Don’t get so ahead of yourself, though, that you forget to consider a fundamental question: what breed of dog would be best for you? 

Deciding on the right dog breed isn’t a choice to be made lightly. After all, different types of dogs have different needs, temperaments, and abilities. You, therefore, want to be sure that you choose a dog you can care for well given your own circumstances and lifestyle. If you’re wondering how to determine the best dog breed for you, asking yourself the following questions can be a big help: 

Where Do You Live? 

The size of your living space is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a dog breed. If you live in a small apartment, for instance, you’re probably best off choosing from among small to medium breeds that don’t require a lot of space to live comfortably. Living in a house means you can accommodate larger breeds, particularly if you have a spacious yard they can exercise and play in. If you have neighbors close by who may be bothered by noise, you may also want to choose a dog breed that isn’t prone to barking. 

The general climate in your area is another worthwhile consideration. Large dogs with thick, multilayered fur coats are highly tolerant of cold temperatures. Shorthaired dogs and those with less dense coats, meanwhile, thrive in hot weather. 

How Much Exercise Do You Get? 

Choosing a dog breed with energy levels and activity needs that match yours will help you both lead a happier and more fulfilling life together. Low-energy dog owners may find more energetic breeds exhausting to take care of, while owners who are naturally more keyed-up may find themselves bored with an animal companion who’d just like to laze around all day. It’s also worth remembering that dogs tend to act out if they don’t get the exercise they need to dispel their excess energy. 

If you’re highly active, you may want a hardy, athletic breed that can go on daily runs, hikes, and even swims with you. On the flip side, if you don’t get as much exercise yourself or have hard limits on your time and energy, you might prefer a breed that needs less exercise. Lower-energy breeds will often be happy to take short walks around your neighborhood or local dog park. 

How Much Physical Maintenance Are You Willing to Do? 

Dogs with long, silky coats will need to be bathed and groomed regularly to avoid problems like shedding, knotty fur, and unpleasant smells. Grooming can be expensive and time-consuming, however, so it’s best to only consider such high-maintenance breeds if you have the time and resources to invest. Short-haired dogs and dogs with more wiry fur won’t require such extensive grooming and will benefit just from occasional baths and nail-clipping sessions. 

It’s also worth familiarizing yourself with the common health concerns that tend to crop up for dog breeds you might be interested in. For example, active dog breeds may be prone to hip and joint problems, while dogs with flat faces can often experience breathing problems. Take these possible health issues into consideration before you purchase or adopt, and ask yourself if you can commit to regular vet visits and any other care your dog might eventually need. 

Do You Have Children? 

Many dogs are highly social and love being part of a pack, which is why they make such wonderful family pets in the first place. If you have babies or young children, however, you’ll want to look for dog breeds with even temperaments that can interact gently and safely with them. Such dogs will also be better able to tolerate occasional boisterousness or rough play from children than more easily agitated breeds.  

Do You Want to Train Your Dog? 

Training your dog to do things like sit, stay, and heel when you tell them to can make caring for them day-to-day easier. You can even train your dog to alert you when it needs to be let out to do its business, which lowers your chances of stumbling on unpleasant accidents in your home. Some dog owners also like the idea of teaching their dogs to do fun tricks like fetching tennis balls or catching frisbees.  

If you’d like to go all in on dog training, you should be aware that certain dog breeds take better to training than others do. It’s not just about finding a highly intelligent breed that can understand complex instructions, either. You’ll also want a breed that’s more likely to be compliant and eager to please, as more stubborn and independent breeds will probably be harder to train. 

Choosing the right breed of dog for your lifestyle and household may take some time, but it’s best not to rush the process. After all, you’ll be living with your chosen animal companion for many years. Thinking it over carefully and doing your research will help ensure that you and the dog you eventually choose will be good fits for each other. 

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