So you want to get a puppy and you’re not sure where to start. Owning a dog is a big commitment that usually lasts for 10 to 15 years and that’s a long time! If you are going to be a first time dog owner, there are many things to consider like the lifespan, health problems and activity levels of your prospective new family member. You want those years to be happy ones and you want your new pet to be a good fit for your lifestyle, so it is best to do a little research first. Important points to consider are:
What Was the Dog Originally Bred To Do?
Different dog breeds arose from the needs of man. If you live in an apartment, a guard dog like a German Shepherd, that barks to let you know when people are around, might not be the best choice. A dog like a Jack Russell Terrier, that loves to dig, might not be a good choice if you love and cherish your garden. If you are a social person that loves meeting new people and going out with your dog, then dogs that are natural protectors like Komondors and Cane Corsos might not be a good choice since they are naturally wary of strangers. Educating yourself on what your chosen dog breed “does” is very important to determining if your dog will be a good fit for your lifestyle.
How Big Will The Dog Get?
If you weigh 100 pounds soaking wet, then you might not be able to control that 150 pound Great Dane that you want to own. Living in an apartment also has it’s limitations. Do you really want to have a huge Bullmastiff constantly underfoot in your 900 square foot condo? If you have small children, then that delicate 10 pound Yorkshire terrier could get easily hurt with rough handling.
How Active Is The Dog?
Activity levels of each dog vary greatly and can be a make or break situation when choosing a dog breed. If you are a couch potato, then a very active Vizsla or German Shorthaired Pointer will probably drive you crazy! If you are very active and sporty, then owning a Bulldog or Chihuahua just won’t cut it. Dogs that require a lot of exercise, but don’t get it, tend to develop destructive behaviors as a result. One of the number one reasons that adult dogs are surrendered to shelters is that the dog is too rambunctious or active for it’s owners and they cannot handle it.
Do You Have Small Children?
Young children tend to handle pets roughly and a small dog like a Chinese Crested or Chihuahua can easily be injured. Some dog breeds simply do not tolerate the antics of small children and will snap and bite when they have had “enough”. Choosing a dog breed that is good with children is imperative to avoiding dog related injuries.
What Are the Grooming Requirements of The Dog?
If you’re a wash and wear kind of person or don’t like a house full dog hair, then fluffy dogs like Collies or Golden Retrievers probably aren’t for you. Most terriers need to be taken to a professional dog groomer every few months to have their coats hand stripped. Do you have a money and time to do this? Bulldogs and other dogs with lots of facial wrinkles need them cleaned weekly to prevent infections and skin sores, can you dedicate them time to keep them clean and healthy?
Does The Dog Breed Have Any Potential Health Problems?
Every dogs can get sick unexpectedly, but with purebred dogs, almost all of them have some kind of inherent health issues. Large breeds like Irish Wolfhounds are famous for developing bone cancer. A lot of the sporting breeds develop Hip Dysplasia. Bulldogs are one of the most notorious for developing a multitude of health problems. Are you willing to shell out thousands of dollars for expensive vet bills if your dog gets ill?
How Intelligent and Easy to Train is The Dog?
Very intelligent dogs like Border Collies and Dobermans need a job to do and have a low tolerance for boredom. When they get bored, these dogs tend to amuse themselves which usually manifests itself as destructive behaviors. Some dogs need a lot of repetition to learn obedience commands, so if you are a person that doesn’t have a much time to dedicate to training your dog, then a dog like a Golden Retriever might be a good choice.
Karen Friesecke is the owner of doggiestylish.com where there is an extensive list of more than 150 different dog breeds