Choosing a puppy
Choosing a puppy

Tips for selecting the right dog breed

Dog breed for every lifestyle

Who isn’t charmed by sweet little puppies? Buying a puppy on impulse is rarely a good idea. Owning a dog is a long-term commitment and requires some thought and planning. With over 160 different breeds of dogs, each having its own unique temperament, appearance, activity level and needs finding the right dog for you requires a bit of homework. If you are just starting your search, here are some things you should consider:

Why do you want a dog?

Every dog needs a job. What will your dog’s job be?

  • Companion
  • Playmate for the kids
  • Special activity such as hunting or search and rescue
  • Special tasks such as therapy work or service dog
  • Home or office security

How much experience do you have with dogs?

Some dogs are great for first time owners, such as Golden Retrievers, Havanese and Greyhounds. They are relatively easy to train and have a gentle temperament. Other breeds such as Fox Terrier, Tamaskan and Dalmatian need an owner who is experienced working with dogs.

How much time do you have?

Exercise and grooming are the two areas which can require a lot of time. Some breeds like the Fox Terrier require lots of room, lots of activity and as much as 2 – 3 hours per day of exercise and activity. Other breeds such as the Great Dane are great apartment dogs and a good half hour walk can be sufficient for them.

A wash and wear breed such as a Schipperke requires very little grooming time, compared to an Olde English Sheepdog or a Bouvier des Flanders.

Living with your dog

Other factors to consider are:

  • The size of your home and yard
  • Your lifestyle and family activities
  • Your finances
  • Your family members.
  • Does anyone have allergies to dogs?
    Some breeds like the poodle and the Havanese do not shed and are hypoallergenic.
    Other breeds, like theTamaskan are heavy shedders twice a year and the Dalmatian sheds year-round.

You can find health and temperament information for many breeds, as well as a list of breeders, through the American Kennel Club. A local dog show is an excellent place to physically meet dog of different breeds and talk to breeders..

Finding a puppy

Once you have identified the breed or breeds that will fit your lifestyle, the search begins for that new family member. You have several choices:

Purebred breeder

With a purebred breeder, breeding pair is health tested, usually require spay/neuter for pets, provide support after the puppy is purchased

Hobby breeder

Little to no health testing, no contract, no support

Commercial breeder/retail purchase

No information on pedigree or health, no support

Rescue dogs

Puppies usually turned in because of problems, ask questions and make sure you can handle the issues for which the puppy was turned in.

Puppy mill

It is unlikely that anyone knowingly purchases from a puppy mill. Here are some puppy mill red flags:

  • The seller has multiple breeds and combinations
  • The seller does not ask you any questions other than money and pick-up arrangements.
  • You are not allowed to meet the parents or visit the home or business
  • The seller always seems to have a lot of puppies for sale
  • The seller has no idea how many litters the female has produced
  • The seller does not offer a contract other than a purchase agreement

Selecting the right breed for your lifestyle, and the right puppy for your family is well worth the time and effort spent in research. A healthy, well-socialized puppy easily becomes a valued family member.