Summary: So you have made the decision to bring a dog into the family. You have determined that you have the ability to take care of a dogs needs and provide him with a wonderful environment. Now the frustration and fun begins: deciding which type of dog will suit you best! We cover 6 Dog Breed Selection Tips.
How to Select a Dog Breed Before Adopting?
There is much more to choosing a dog than the breed. You may think you want that sweet Collie you saw on TV as a child, or the tiny Pomeranian you saw in that fancy lady’s purse. But I caution you on choosing a breed by looks or perceived temperament. There is much more behind the breed. That is what you must study and understand.
6 6 Dog Breed Selection Tips
Here are 6 basic things to consider when deciding on a breed or type of dog.
- Size: How big do you want your new dog to be? A Great Dane will definitely take up more room in the car, eat more food, and have more clean-up than a Yorkshire Terrier. Large or small, your dog will have a lot to offer. You need to decide what makes sense for your lifestyle. Do you want to take your dog everywhere? You may want to choose a smaller breed, or get a large enough car to accommodate your St. Bernard.
- Activity Level: A Border Collie will have much more energy and therefore require much more exercise than an English Bulldog. How much time can you afford each day to schedule exercise for your dog? If you do not give him/her enough opportunity to be stimulated (mentally and physically), he will likely become VERY destructive and VERY frustrated. A well-exercised dog will be happier and will train better.
- Intelligence: Just like people, some dogs are smarter than others. A smart dog needs mental stimulation. Training and games are essential for all dogs, but some breeds need more of it than others. Do you have the time to take care of your dog’s mental needs? A well-stimulated dog will be happy. If a smart dog is not taken care of properly, he will find ways to take care of himself. Learning to open the fridge or drawers in the kitchen, for example, are well within range for most dogs. If you have trained your dog to do this, GOOD JOB! If not, it can be a major nuisance to come home to find your dog has eaten what was supposed to be tonight’s dinner.
- Allergies:Is anyone in your house allergic to dogs? If that is the case, don’t despair. There are many different dogs that may offer a solution. Some dogs have fur. That’s where their hair falls out all over your couch and rug. There are different types of fur depending on the breed. Some have an undercoat. If you have allergies, you may want to stay away from these dog breeds. Other dogs have hair, like people. They shed a hair here or there, but not noticeably. Their dander doesnt seem to affect people with moderate allergies too severely. Then there are hairless dogs. If your allergies are mild, you may find any dog will work for you. Try visiting the dog park and with the permission of the owners, smell each dog. If you feel itchy and sneeze, you probably don’t want a dog with that type of coat. You can also visit your doctor. She may be able to give you ideas, like vacuuming often or keeping your dog well groomed to help your allergies away.
- Grooming Requirements: As stated above, dogs have different coats, and therefore, they have different grooming needs.
- A dog with fur needs to be brushed often to pull out loose hair. By brushing her hair often, you can help keep much of it off your furniture. Twice a year, your dog will shed more than usual. During these times, I like to take my dog to the groomer. She will bathe my dog and give him a really good brush-down which helps pull out most of the shedding fur. It gives my dog a chance to be pampered, and makes less work for me during those times. Labradors are a good example of this type of fur. Short fur (like a Pit-Bull, Doberman, or Rat Terrier), is a little more easily managed and less noticeable than long fur (like a Collie or Newfoundland).
- If a dog has an undercoat, they will typically blow-their-coat twice a year. Pomeranians have this type of coat. It can be a mess if you don’t take the time to brush VERY well. A friend of mine takes her Poms to the groomer during this season to have them shaved down. It makes grooming easier and less messy.
- A dog with hair requires quite a bit of grooming. They must have their hair brushed often to keep mats and knots from forming. They need haircuts (like people) frequently to keep their hair at an appropriate length. Most dogs with hair can have short or long hair depending on which fits your lifestyle. I have my groomer cut my Shih-tzu’s hair fairly short with her ears and tail long. This helps keep the snow from bunching in her fur and it also help keep the burs from getting too stuck in her hair while on hikes. My dog needs her hair cut every six weeks. I bathe her every week to keep her hair smooth and shiny. A dog with hair will develop severe mats that can cause a lot of pain if not properly cared for.
- Hairless dogs may not need haircuts, but they have grooming requirements of their own. Sunscreen, lotions, special soaps, and attentive care are essential when grooming a hairless dog. Study and research before getting a hairless dog. Make sure it is within your time constraints and budget to care for a dog of this kind.
- Do I want a Puppy, Adult or Senior Dog?
- Puppy: Puppies are certainly cute and very fun, but they can also be frustrating and destructive. Large breed puppies can be too boisterous for some young children while small breed puppies can be easily hurt by attentive children. However, with proper training and attention, getting a puppy can be a wise decision. They will give you 10-17 years of life fun and since you are the only family, you know where they come from and how they have been raised.
- Adult: A dog becomes an adult around 2 years of age. Sometimes 3 years for certain breeds (like boxers). You still have plenty of years of life left to enjoy their companionship. An adult dog is typically past the chewing stage and they are generally more calm than puppies. Often, they are already house trained! However, you may not know his history. Has he been abused? Neglected? Is he good with kids? Is he well socialized? These are questions you must ask yourself, especially if you have children or other pets at home.
- Senior: Helping a dog live out her golden years in your home can be a wonderful experience. You can offer them a peaceful retirement environment and give them a chance to enjoy their wisdom! A dog becomes a senior around 8-10 years (again, depending on the breed). Just because a dog is old does not imply that they have nothing left. They will still play and go on walks, though perhaps for not as long as in their younger years. A senior dog will often be content to sit on the porch watching the sunset with you.
There is certainly a lot to consider when choosing a breed of dog. It can be a fun experience as you research different breeds and temperaments. If you take the time, you will be more educated and more likely to make a better decision for you and your family. If you have further comments or questions about ‘6 Dog Breed Selection Tips’, feel free to visit our Forums or make a comment on this article below.