How to Select the Right Breed Part 2

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Selecting the Right Dog for You

Choosing the Right Dog

Now that you’ve determined you have the time, money and resources, it’s time to choose the breed of dog who is right for you. Before you peruse shelters and adoption websites in search of the perfect pooch or purchase a dog who is of your favorite breed, keep in mind the breed, size, age, coat type and activity level of a dog may contribute to his ability to fit into your lifestyle.

Dog Characteristics

Size

It may seem like a realistic deduction that the size of the dog should be relative to the size of your home. However, depending on the breed and temperament of the dog, larger dogs can be much calmer than smaller dogs and can thus have better manners in a small apartment or condo.

Large dogs need exercise options so a person living in an apartment must be prepared to take his dog for daily walks, play ball at the park and do focus training. Another thing to consider is larger dogs cost more in regards to supplies, such as bedding and toys, surgeries and medications, and food. Larger dogs also normally live shorter lives than smaller dogs.

Small dogs are typically energetic, needing more space to run in the house. This means that potential owners of small dogs must be prepared to provide tons of exercise options to their small pets while keeping them primarily indoors, such as biweekly training sessions with a Certified Animal Trainer.

Breed

If your heart is set on a purebred dog, do your research. Learn all about the personality traits of the breed you’re hoping for and seek animal training for your new pup as soon as he is of age.

Also, consider mixed-breed dogs. They often experience fewer health problems, such as hip dysplasia, which is all too common in purebred pups, and breathing problems that are frequent in dogs of brachycephalic breeds (those with short snouts, such as Pugs and English Bulldogs).

Your veterinarian can help you decide on a dog whose breed does not carry too many medical hindrances. However, keep in mind that mixed-breed dogs can be just as enjoyable as purebreds and even have the advantage of a unique appearance.

Age

One of the biggest pleasures of dog ownership is watching your new puppy play and grow gradually into an adult canine. Puppies are so cute, playful and delightfully irresistible that most people looking to get a dog are searching for a puppy. However, puppies carry many more responsibilities than adult dogs do.

Puppies are practically a blank slate. Besides any traits that may be ingrained in their breeding, they don’t have any training or manners. New puppies will need to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. In addition, they must go through potty training, obedience training and socialization, and they must be taught to not chew on anything and everything. The disadvantage of adopting a puppy over an adult dog is that you don’t know how his temperament will develop whereas adult dogs already show their true personality.

For a new dog owner without the proper time to devote to a puppy’s immense needs, a young adult dog may be a better choice. Usually, adult dogs have already undergone dog obedience training (which commonly includes housetraining) by a professional trainer or shelter volunteer. This will save new dog owners a lot of time and anxiety when bringing their new dogs home.

Coat Type

The type of your chosen dog’s coat can be a blessing or curse, especially if you’re opposed to dog hair on your furniture. As a rule, long-haired dogs shed more, need more coat care and can also become very dirty when exposed to grass, weeds, brush and dirt.

RELATED: Dog Grooming Brushes for Every Coat Type

Dogs with specialty coats will require frequent trips to the grooming salon, which will cost even more money. If the dog is going to spend time in the backyard on somewhat cold days, you may need to sacrifice the time and money for upkeep or choose a dog with a thicker coat for warmth. Dog breeds with short hair may be better for dog owners with allergies.

Energy Level

Sure, that Jack Russell Terrier is adorable, but his energy level is so high that he will require walks more than once a day, games of ball and specialized dog training to keep his four feet on the floor. For a jogger, this spunky pup may be a perfect companion. For elderly persons whose level of activity barely stretches beyond brief trips to the supermarket, this breed would drive them crazy. Instead, the laziness of a Basset Hound is the right breed for sedentary dog owners.

When researching a breed, make sure to choose a dog whose energy level fits your lifestyle. If you don’t have the time to take a 30-minute walk twice a day, avoid breeds that have excessively high energy levels. Even with animal behavior training, a dog’s energy level isn’t going to diminish.

Selecting the right dog to bring into your life is a big decision. You want to choose a dog who you can accommodate and best fits your lifestyle. Remember to put aside enough time for your dog, complete all routine veterinary examinations and attend dog training classes. With careful consideration, you can and will find the canine companion of your dreams. May you have a happy and healthy life together!

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