Choosing a Dog Breed: Which Breed of Dog is Right for You?
By Valerie Goettsch
If you are considering getting a dog, it’s wise to explore the characteristics of different breeds of dogs to determine which one is right for you and your family. You’ll want to find a dog that goes with your personality, lifestyle, and pocketbook.
The importance of choosing the right breed cannot be emphasized enough because a major cause of issues between dogs and owners revolves around unsuitability between the two. For example, an avid gardener probably would not be happy with a Fox Terrier, which is bred to dig vermin from their underground burrows. He’s born to dig up the garden!
So how do you choose the right breed? Let’s look at some key considerations:
What kind of experience is required? Some breeds like Border Collies are strong willed by nature and will challenge you for leadership. An experienced dog owner would likely do better with them. However, the Smooth Collie and Bearded Collie are easier to train and are suitable for new dog owners.
How is the Breed with Children? If you have kids or your dog will be around them, it’s important to get a dog that does well with children. More importantly, you need to teach your children how to handle the dog properly. Even the most easygoing and tolerant breed of dog can bite if it is hurt or frightened.
Size – Size DOES matter, when it comes to choosing the right dog breed. Do you have a house with a large yard, or an apartment or condo? Do you want to take your dog with you when you travel? Are you willing to clean up after a large dog? Do you want a dog to cuddle on the couch with you?
Exercise Requirements – With the exception of a few, almost all breeds enjoy brisk exercise. Do you have time to walk your dog regularly? Does the breed need daily vigorous exercise to prevent it from being hyper? If you work long hours you may be happier with a dog with lower exercise requirements.
Grooming and Coat – As for grooming, dog breeds run the gamut. Some have no-fuss coats and need occasional brushing, some breeds require regular trips to the groomer, and others fall in between. Think about the time and money you are prepared to spend on brushing and combing your dog and groomer visits, if required to keep your dog stylish.
Shedding – Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a truly non-shedding dog. However, there are breeds that shed less than others. Some breeds shed profusely, particularly at certain times of the year. Consider possible allergies and the amount of vacuuming you are willing to do before you settle on a breed.
Ease of Training – Typically only really little dogs, like toy dogs, don’t require much training other than potty training. Some breeds, such as Jack Russell Terriers, are strong-willed and harder to train. This is something else to consider when narrowing down your breed.
Sociability – How do you see your dog behaving around strangers? Do you want a happy-go-lucky dog that is friendly to all, or a more reserved dog that barks to alert you when strangers come to your door?
Now that you have answered some important questions, research the characteristics of the breeds you are considering to find the best fit for you. Check your library, bookstores and the American Kennel Club (or KUSA in SA)) for profiles of breeds. Taking time to do your research will pay off tenfold, and you will have a great companion for years to come.
Valerie Goettsch is webmaster of http://www.my-favorite-dog.com featuring articles and information on dog breeds and where to find the best of everything for your dog, from flea meds to beds, training and designer dog clothes.
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