What’s the Best Dog Breed For Me?

When you’re looking to add a new dog to your household, it’s important to remember that this new addition could be part of your family for the next 15 years or so. Choosing the right breed of dog for your lifestyle requires careful consideration.

Ideally, you should look for a breed that matches your lifestyle as well as where you live. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • The space that you have
  • The adult size of the pet
  • The activity level of the breed
  • The time that you have available to spend with a pet
  • The amount of grooming that will be needed
  • If the breed is a good fit for your lifestyle

Does the size of your living space match the size of your dog?

The amount of space you have and the adult size of the dog breed you are considering are related, key factors when making your decision. For example, if you live in a studio apartment in a city versus a large house in a rural setting, you may want to consider a smaller breed.

It’s important to choose a breed that matches the room inside your home as well as the size of the yard you have. A Great Dane may not be the best choice for a studio apartment in a city, as this breed will require more space to be comfortable.

A better choice might be a smaller dog like a Chihuahua or Shih Tzu—definitely more appropriate for apartment living. Additionally, if you think that your situation is likely to change in a few years, it’s important to take into consideration where you might be living in the future in terms of how big your dog is going to be.

What kind of time commitment does your breed need?

The activity level of the breed and the amount of time you have to spend with the pet are connected, too. When choosing the right breed, it’s also important to think about the time you would realistically be able to spend with your dog.
Some dogs simply need more exercise and attention than others, and it’s important to consider the kind of time you have to dedicate to meeting your breed’s need for activity and one-on-one attention.

Many breeds like Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers have high energy levels and may require more of your time than you could ever imagine. Other breeds such as Bassett Hounds and Great Danes are more laid-back and may require less of your time from an exercise perspective.

In addition to being able carve out time for throwing the ball around the yard, taking walks, and socializing at the dog park, new dog owners also need time for training — another time-oriented responsibility that can vary according to breed.

Some dogs, like Labradors, and Australian Shepherds, have a reputation for being easy to train, whereas other breeds like Chow Chows, and Bulldogs may require more effort.

Regardless of the breed you choose, your pet will require your time in one way or another.  When making the commitment to become a responsible pet owner, it’s important to make sure that you can match the need of your breed.

Coat considerations

The amount of grooming needed is also something to consider when researching  breeds. Would you like a dog that sheds minimally or not at all? What if someone in the family has allergies?

Length and type of hair coat could make a difference. Long-haired breeds such a Golden Retrievers, Shih Tzus or Australian Shepherds will require brushing multiple times per week. Short-haired dogs such as Labrador Retrievers may not need frequent brushing. Other breeds like Poodles or Schnauzers may entail regular trips to the groomer.

Does the breed match your household?

Finally, it’s important to ask yourself if the breeds you are researching fit the needs of you, your family, and your lifestyle.

Are you looking for a dog that’s good with children? Are you looking for a watchdog that’s protective of your home, or one that is friendly with visitors and strangers? Are there other pets in your household? These are all important questions to ask yourself when it comes to picking the most suitable dog for your household.

Remember, dogs come in all shapes, sizes, personalities and temperaments, and not all breeds are the same. It’s best to do your research and talk with your veterinarian to find out which dog is right for you.

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