You’ve made the decision as a family; the addition of a four-legged friend is in order and why not? Many studies show that pets possibly add years to your life. Now that the declaration has been made, as a soon to be canine owner there is much business that needs to be in order prior to purchasing your furry friend. A healthy, long lasting relationship between your family and dog is dependent on various things, all of which should be thoroughly researched before a commitment is made.
One of the first considerations is whether to buy or adopt either a purebred or mixed breed. The differences are subtle but should be recognized. Some feel that because purebreds have identical DNA to their parents, their physical and behavioral traits can be better predicted. While this may be true, it is not guaranteed. Predictions can be similarly made with mixed breeds (as long as you know what the multiple breeds are). Many folks prefer mixed breeds because you have the benefit of characteristics of more than one dog thus making him or her unique. Either mixed or purebreds can be a great addition to your family, though keep in mind often times purebreds are more costly.
The most important thing to consider when choosing the right breed is that the particular breed is a good fit for your family and lifestyle. First consider where your dwelling is. Many breeds of dogs need space and room to run such as Retrievers, Huskies and Collies because they are highly energetic, so being cooped up in a small apartment could make for an unhappy canine. If you live in an apartment or home without a yard (or know you have little time to walk said pet) there are many breeds that don’t need a lot of exercise such as Dachshunds and Pugs. Smaller dogs such as Pomeranians can often get enough exercise by walking and running about the house.
Choose a dog that matches yours and your family’s temperament. If you are not active, don’t choose a dog known for high activity levels such as a German Sheppard; instead go for something like a Basset Hound.
Another point to contemplate is the level of grooming your dog will need. Grooming can be a tedious and sometimes expensive necessity. Long haired dogs such as Pomeranians without proper daily grooming can be a nightmare on furniture, clothes and allergies. Short haired breeds like Poodles only require grooming every 6-8 weeks. Grooming not only ensures an attractive dog, but also lowers health risks such as skin parasites and thrush.
Understanding breed’s trainability is of the utmost importance. While all dogs are trainable, some are easier than others, so it’s important to gauge your patience and realistic time restraints. Among the easiest to train breeds are Retrievers, Keeshonds and Collies.
Finally, if you have small children, it is wise to choose a breed that does not tend to bond with a single owner. A larger dog may be a good choice simply because they are stouter and little ones are less likely to toss them around causing them stress or injury. While some pet experts will argue that some breeds are not kid-friendly, most will tell you any breed of dog can be safe and flexible around young ones as long as they are trained correctly and brought up around kids.
The easiest way to choose the right breed of dog for you and your family is to first know yourselves. Carefully consider what you want and expect from your pet, how much time can be devoted to them realistically and know the specific traits that will work best with all the family members in the home.