Choosing a dog breed is just as important as deciding that a dog will be right for you. If you buy a breed solely on looks, you may not be satisfied with its temperament. Choosing a dog breed can be made easier by having criteria about what you’re looking for.
When choosing a dog breed, make sure you consider all of the factors. Below, I have elaborated on the different criteria. Be sure to discuss the choices and criteria with anyone else that will be living with the dog. If the dog is going to be a family pet, make sure that everyone agrees. As a family, you might have to negotiate. For example, one family member might like a big, tough dog, while another might want something they can pick up. In that situation, a small but tough dog might be the answer.
Criteria #1: Size
Size is a very important factor to consider when choosing a dog breed that will work out best. Dogs range in size from 2-lb chihuahuas to 200 lb mastiffs. Which size would you like better? A bigger dog probably won’t live as long, you can’t pick it up, but they tend to be more active. They cost more to spay and neuter, more to feed, and need more exercise in general. Smaller dogs can be picked up, cost less to feed, live longer, but can be more snappy, less active, and easier to injure. A lot of people like medium sized dogs (30-70 lbs) like golden retrievers.
Also, consider your living space when choosing a dog breed. A mastiff may not do well in an apartment, but a chihuahua would.
Step 2: Are You Allergic?
Before choosing a dog breed, please visit an animal shelter or be around dogs so you can see if you are allergic to dogs. Anyone else that will bve living around the dog should also come so they can see if they are allergic. If you find that you start to cough, sneeze, or have a runny nose around dogs, there is still a way you can have a dog. Some dogs, like portuguse water dogs, poodles, and many terriers are hypoallergenic. In other words if you are allergic to dogs, you may not be allergic to them.
Step 3: Exercise Requirements
Are you an avid jogger, or a couch potato? Keep this in mind when choosing a dog breed. Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, and German Wirehair Pointers, for example, need lots of exercise. Spinone Italianos, Irish Wolfhounds, and Pomeranians are some examples of breeds that need less exercise. If a dog doesn’t get enough exercise, they can become restless and destructive.
Step 4: Purpose
The most important factor when choosing a dog breed is to know what you want in a dog. Are you looking for a hunting dog, a child’s companion, or a dog that will be nice to everyone? Below are the breed categories and the general temperament for each.
Hunting dogs like to chase, hunt, and run free. They ususally need a fair amount of exercise. They can be good with children. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are in this group, and make great family pets.
Toy dogs tend to be more snappy and fragile, but are also devoted companions that are easy to pick up and hold. Chihuahuas, Maltese, Pugs, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are some examples of breeds in this group.
Herding dogs lik Border Collies need a lot of exercise, try to herd people and children if not trained, but are active, hard working dogs in general. Collies and Corgis are a few other examples of this group.
Working dogs tend to be more protective, which can be good or bad. A fair amount of them are good with children. Malamutes, Boxers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs are some breeds in this group.
Hound breeds, like beagles and basset hounds, are harder to train in general, have good noses, are loving and devoted (especially to food!), and love to bark. They can also be good with children.
Terriers tend to love to hunt, chase, work, dig, bark, and are usually hard to train. But are also fun, adventurous, and mischievous companions as long as you have a sense of humor.
Non sporting dogs are kind of the extras, so their temperaments very greatly. Boston Terriers, Bichon Frises, Bulldogs, and Poodles are some breeds in this group.
Choosing a dog breed can be an educational and stress-free experience if you decide what you really want in a dog and choose one that will bring you joy for many years.