Getting a new dog or puppy is so exciting! What dog you bring into your home can make the difference between being the best decision you have ever made or being a nightmare. Many people base this huge decision on how cute the dog is, how affection it is at the first meet and greet, and how many kisses he or she gives. To know if a particular dog is right for a household, it takes a little investigating and some basic dog knowledge. I am going to give you some guidelines on how the breed of dog can work for or against your idea of the perfect pet and if it is the right dog for you and your family.

THE BREED OF DOG MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE – LITERALLY

At birth, most puppies are within a few pounds of each other. Taking it to extremes, at 4 weeks old a Yorkshire Terrier will weigh between half a pound and a pound and a half while a Great Dane will weigh between 5-8 pounds at the same age. Sounds like a big difference, but their adult size differences are even more enormous! An adult Yorkie will weigh in at about 4-7 pounds, while the adult Great Dane will weigh in at about 100-200 pounds! 

Knowing at least the basics about the breed you choose will help solve many future problems. Size is obviously one very important factor. If you have a small apartment in the city, living on the 5th floor, you probably don’t want a St. Bernard! Although a St. Bernard does not usually need a lot of exercise, you certainly wouldn’t want him using puppy pads to go to the bathroom.

There are many dog breeds between these 2 extremes. The American Kennel Club recognizes 167 breeds of dogs, while the World Canine Organization recognizes 340 breeds. So many to choose from! And they all have their own positives and negatives.

Size is not the only factor in a breed that can make a big difference between a happy home and a frustrated home. The shedding and drooling, the barking and compatibility, child friendliness and trainability, are all factors to consider in the breed you choose.

Do your research on the dog breed you are considering and take all these attributes into consideration. There are very few puppies I would not consider adorable. I melt just like anyone. But they only stay puppies such a short time. Discover what the dog will be like for the next 7-12 years to come.

DECIDE WHAT YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR DOG – KEEP IN MIND THE LIFESTYLE YOU LIVE

If you are a couch potato looking for a snuggle bug, you probably don’t want to be looking at a Jack Russell Terrier. If you love to run and hike, then a Chow Chow probably isn’t the dog for you. Choose a breed that has the energy level that fits your lifestyle. Otherwise, one of you (or both) will end up frustrated and exhausted.

Although most dogs can be trained to respect, if not outright love, strangers and guests, some breeds are notorious for being distrusting of strangers and/or aloof. If you love to socialize and throw parties and have friends over for dinner, make sure the dog you choose is going to want to be part of the party, not the party pooper.

If you already have another dog in the house or plan to get one, consider whether the breed of dog you are considering is generally a dog friendly breed. This too can be trained and managed, but it makes it easier if the sociability of the breed is already part of the DNA.

Do you have small children in the house? Some breeds are much better and tolerant than others. There are several breeds that could be dangerous to have around in a family with small children, even if it is only because of their size, not their temperament.

Some breeds do not do well with chaotic and loud environments. Others do not handle change very well. Others require a great deal more time to train or have frequent health issues that will require more frequent visits to the vet. And then there are the breeds that want to be the center of attention or require a lot of time. If you were hoping for an easy pet to just look cute and greet you when you come home, make sure the breed you choose is not from one of the dog groups that are highly active. 

Have a clear idea of how you expect your dog to fit in your family, and what you expect the dog’s role will be. Make sure the breed you choose will provide you with what you are looking for.

WHERE YOU BUY THE DOG CAN AFFECT TRAINING – AMONG OTHER THINGS

How much is that doggy in the window? Many times, the cost of the dog in a pet store is much greater than the price tag assigned to it. 99% of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. I won’t get into a debate on puppy mills, but I will say that puppies that are born in puppy mills come with health problems that may not be seen until years down the road.

The dogs from these mills are much harder to train because of their living conditions before they were sent to the pet store, and after. These dogs spend most of their time in cages, learning to urinate and defecate where they sleep, which makes potty training a much more difficult feat than with a puppy not born in these conditions.

Find a reputable breeder, ask for references, ask if they have a return policy. Go see where the puppy is born, where it spent its first 2 months and ask to see the puppy’s parents. Make sure the conditions are sanitary and that the dogs are treated like pets, not commodities. These things will help to ensure you get a quality, healthy pet who will give you the best chances of having a new best friend.

CUTE, CUDDLY AND JUST WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED!

So, don’t fall for the first cute furry face you see. Get to know the dog’s history and what they were originally bred for. Buying a puppy is not like buying a house. If you don’t really love it, you can’t sell it in a few years. And when you finally choose your puppy, start the training! (That will be another post to be coming soon!)

Comments (12)

  1. Reply

    This is amazing! Thank you for all of this fabulous information. We are looking to buy a pup, but are really taking time to decide what breed we are looking for and if they will get along with our other fur babies.

    It is very tough, because we love big dogs but we don’t want the to be too rough with a baby. One of my other babies doesn’t realize how big he is.

    I had no clue about the puppy mills! How sad! Is there a specific place you search when looking for a dog?

    • admin

      Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Adding to a home that already has dogs can be somewhat of a challenge but handled correctly it can be just fine. We have had 5 dogs over the past 9 years, and we haven’t had any major issues with introductions. I eventually want to get a Great Dane, but 3 dogs right now is enough (well, at least that’s what my husband says 🙂 ) I don’t know where you live, but you can start with your vet to see if he/she has any recommendations about reputable breeders. Do not order online, as most are puppy mills. If you can see the pups and the place they were born, you probably could get a good idea if they care about their animals or just about the money. Good luck!

  2. Reply

    My dogs are one of the most important parts of my life. I simply do not know where I would be without them. This was a great article and it can be very important to find the right dog to match your personality and activity level. I had a Border Collie that just about wore me out every day.

    It’s also important to keep in mind your environment. A 40sq ft studio may not be the right place for a great dane lol.

    Thanks for a great article.

    • admin

      Reply

      Thank you Kevin. Our dogs are just 3 more kids in the house (added to the 4 kids there now). They are our babies. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. If you ever have any questions, just let me know.

  3. Brandon

    Reply

    This is an amazing article and couldn’t have come anymore timely, as I’ve JUST convinced myself to get a dog but didn’t know where to start. I love the fact that you pointed out that you should pick a dog that is right for you and your lifestyle. I never thought about it like this and that is what I’ll look at when choosing one. Thanks a lot!

    • admin

      Reply

      Thank you Brandon. I am happy that I could help. I love dogs and would probably empty out the Humane Society if I could. As it is we have 3. If I can help you with anything, just let me know.

  4. Reply

    This is great information for any want to be dog owner to have. I actually foster dogs, and it frustrates me that the dogs get abandoned for getting too big, barking too much, or being too hyper, when a little research would have told you this was going to happen ahead of time. I think of my dogs like my kids. I wouldn’t leave one of them on the side of the road or drop them off at the orphanage. Dogs have feelings too. Thank you for your article!

    • admin

      Reply

      Thank you for your comments. My dogs are also my kids. I couldn’t imagine giving any of them up. When I take one in its for life. Training takes some time and patience, but its worth the investment. I think dogs give back buckets more than they cost.

  5. Reply

    Hi Joanne,

    Great introduction info for future owners of puppies, and the thought process that should occur, as to breed, size and behavior, etc., before attempting to buy a puppy. Keep those quality articles coming, and I know you will be providing an excellent service and be rewarded for it. Thank you……….., Terry

  6. Reply

    I just started looking for a dog to replace the one I had for 14 years. Your article is right on point and the information is very helpful. I know the decision to get a dog should not be done lightly and you’ve provided some great thinking points.

    • Reply

      I’m so glad I could help you Yvette! If there is ever a topic you would like me to write about regarding dogs, please feel free to let me know!
      Thanks for your comments.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *