Choosing a Dog

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When choosing a dog, learn what kind of dog will compliment your individual or your family’s lifestyle. If you have a family, discuss who will have the primary responsibility to take care of and train the dog. Also, consider the cost of keeping a particular dog.

Choosing the right dog means considering different breeds and their compatibility to your lifestyle:

    • Large dogs are generally not for apartment dwellers, the elderly, or anyone who might have trouble handling a large dog.
    • Small dogs are not for people who want to be active with their dogs.
    • Does the dog’s temperament and energy level match your temperament and energy level?
    • If you have children, is the dog good with kids?
    • Do you want a puppy or an older dog?
  • Be aware that some breeds have inherent health problems, such as eye problems or hip dysplasia.

If you want a purebred puppy or dog, use your local kennel club and veterinarians to help you find a reputable breeder.

If you are interested in adopting a dog, talk to your local humane society or breed rescue organization for assistance with adoption.

Here are some tips to help you in choosing a dog breed:

Working Breeds

Many people prefer dogs from the American Kennel Club’s workinggroup. Breeds that belong to this group include the Rottweiler, the Siberian Husky, the Akita, the Bullmastiff, and the Giant Schnauzer. Generally, these dogs require an experienced owner who can firmly establish leadership.

Many of the dogs of the working group have thick undercoats and shed a lot, so decide if that is something you want to deal with. You also want to make sure you choose a dog in this category from a reputable breeder, as hip dysplasia is common in these breeds.

Toy Dogs

Toy dogs are popular. But don’t let the size fool you. Often, these cute little dogs have big personalities. Dogs in this group include the Pug, the Shih Tzu, the Pomeranian, and the Maltese. These small dogs still require training and exercise but may be a better choice for apartment dwellers.

Herding Dogs

If you have a farm and work livestock or if you want to spend a lot of active time with a dog, you may want to consider choosing a dog in the herding group. These dogs include the Border Collie, the Australian Shepherd, the German Shepherd, and the Shetland Sheepdog.

Sporting Dogs

If you plan to hunt with your dog, you may want to consider choosing a dog from one of the sporting breeds. The most popular of the sporting group are the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever. Both are relatively easy to train and are good with children. You will want to have a more active lifestyle and ideally a fenced in yard if you want a dog of this nature.


The most important point in how to choose a dog is to take your time and get to know many different breeds of dog. Talk to pet store personnel, groomers, breeders, and your veterinary staff for assistance. Make sure to consider all aspects of dog care, and you can ensure a happy time for your new dog and family.

For more help choosing the right dog, see Choosing a Dog for Dummies it’s a great read & provides all the background information necessary to help you make the right decision for you!

Updated: August 25, 2013 — 7:12 am

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