How to Choose the Best Dog Breed for Your Family

Mommy, Can We Get a Dog?

Kids and puppies are natural together. As babies they’re both cute, noisy, messy, and a ton of fun to have around. And like children, dogs have their own personalities, with some aspects having to do more with genetics than with their training.

So how do you choose the right dog breed for your family? First, make a list of your family’s personality: Is your family spontaneous or regimented? Noisy or quiet? Lots of visitors or few? Homebodies or world travelers?

Truthfully assessing your family’s habits and traits will help you find a dog that will easily mesh with your lifestyle.

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Second, ask yourself how much time and money you want to invest in a dog. Do you have the time and/or money to properly groom a long-haired breed? How much time are you willing to spend walking and playing with the dog?

Do you prefer no dog hair, long hair that collects under the furniture, or short hair that sticks to your couch? What is your patience level when it comes to noise and activity?

Once you’ve thought about these questions it is time to research the different dog breeds. Books and websites are both great resources.

On-line opinions and articles can provide important information but watch for those that are biased towards one breed over others. Remember, the person who writes negatively about Labrador retrievers is probably just the wrong owner for that breed.

At this point in your research look for a general dog site rather than one that’s breed specific. The Dog Channel website is a good on-line starting point as its articles are clear and informative. The American Kennel Club also has a well-balanced and educational website.

There are myriad books on the subject of dog breeds. One of the best is The Dog Breed Bible by D. Caroline Coile, Phd. Dr. Coile includes easy-to-use charts that give a quick run-down of each breed’s care requirements, a wonderful tool that will help you narrow down your choices.

Dr. Coile is also author of Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds which is another well illustrated book filled with information organized to help you make an intelligent choice when selecting your new family member.

Be sure to read the information about common health problems your breed possibilities might have.

Once you have narrowed your list of possible breeds it is time for a little phone and leg work. Call your friends, relatives or co-workers who own dog breeds you’re interested in.

Search on-line for breed rescue organizations and call to ask them the top 3-5 reasons why that breed of dog is given up by its owners.

Take a drive to a near-by dog park and watch the dogs in action. Talk to their owners and ask them to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly about their beloved Bailey.

As you collect all the data from books, websites and dog owners you’ll soon find that you return to one breed of dog over and over. This is your dog and it’s waiting for you to bring it into your family.

Be sure to research the breeders as thoroughly as you did the breeds. Check adoption websites, especially if you’d rather have an adult dog. Soon you’ll have your new buddy and will enjoy many years of canine companionship.

Note to parents: If you want to involve your child in the selection it is best to let your children choose from a very short list of breeds you’ve pre-selected. That will help avoid arguments and broken hearts.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  
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