How to Choose a Dog Breed

If you’re going to get a dog or puppy, it’s important to think carefully about what type of dog is best for you and your family.  And you should do this BEFORE you fall in love with the neighbor’s new litter of puppies, or BEFORE you walk into your local rescue center or visit a breeder. The best way to learn how to choose a dog breed is learning what to expect from each breed. Asking a few important questions will help you choose the right dog breed for you:

  • How Big Will This Dog Get?
  • What Kind of Coat Does This Breed Have?
  • Does This Breed Fit My Lifestyle?
  • Consider Where You Live
  • How Will This Dog Behave?
  • Consider the Cost of Health Care, Dog Food and Supplies
  • Do You Have Time for a Dog?
  • Training Your Dog

We’ll discuss each of these questions and more in this post.How to Choose a Dog Breed


how to choose a dog breedHow Big Will This Dog Get?

Puppies start out small but consider how big he’ll be when he’s full-grown. Do you want to pull a Paris Hilton and get a purse-sized pooch?  Or would you rather have a large dog you can get on the living room floor and romp with?

Consider whether you want a lap dog, whether you’ll be travelling with the dog, whether you need the dog for protection…these are the things to think about.

And even more important are things like whether the dog is or isn’t good with children, other dogs, or cats.  Think about not only what kind of dog you like, but rather what kind of dog is good for you and your whole family – which type of breed will fit into your life. Affiliate Disclosure

How to Choose a Dog BreedWhat Kind of Coat Does this Breed Have?

Some dog breeds have coats that require more care than others including daily brushing or professional grooming. Make sure your schedule and budget allow for it!  Also, dogs who have thick fur may become uncomfortable if you live in a hot, humid climate.

If anyone in your family has allergies, consider a breed that sheds less. If you want a low-maintenance pooch, select a short-haired breed that does not require clipping or more than the routine bathing and brushing.

How to Choose a Dog BreedWhat Kind of Dog Fits into Your Lifestyle?

Select a breed that makes sense for your life and activities.  If you are an outdoorsy type and like to go walking, hiking, camping – then you might consider a high-energy breed like an Australian Shepherd, Border Collie or Springer Spaniel.

If you’re more likely to enjoy evenings cuddled up with a good book, then consider breeds that require less exercise like Bulldogs or Greyhounds (yes, Greyhounds!), or a breed small enough to be a lap dog, like Shih Tzus or Bichon Frises.

Consider Where You Live

Of course, you have to consider things like whether you’re even allowed to have a dog if you live in an apartment or condo complex.  But I think one of the most important issues people who want a dog deal with is if they live in the city.  This video will help!

dog training onlineHow Will This Dog Behave?

Certain breeds are prone to certain behaviors. Intelligent herding breeds like shepherds love to “have a job,” and if they don’t have one, they will find one — like trying to “herd” your children!  These breeds need lots of mental stimulation with games and exercise, or hobbies such as obedience training or agility.

Hunting breeds, such as Beagles and Dachshunds, have a keen sense of smell and an instinct to track down prey. This may drive you a little crazy if they start digging up the yard, so obedience training is a must for these active pups. Some breeds are better with children than others – some are less active and some are super active – so do some research on the breeds you’re considering so you’ll know what to expect.

Planning ahead for effective dog training is a must.  My suggestion for easy-to-follow, inexpensive dog training is

lemonade pet insuranceConsider the Cost of Medical Care and Dog Food

It’s impossible to predict what kind of health issues any breed of dog may have during their lifetime, but some are known to have certain health issues that you should be aware of ahead of time.  Research the breeds you’re interested in to find out what sort of health issues that particular breed is likely to experience.

I strongly suggest getting pet health insurance for your pet.  It can save you thousands of dollars in vet bills over the lifetime of your pet. My top recommendation is Lemonade Pet Health Insurance

You can also click here for information on getting help with vet bills.

Also consider the size of the breed and how much food he will eat!  A miniature doxy eats about 1.5 cups of food per day. Whereas, larger breeds may require anywhere from two to four cups of food per day.

Do You Have Time for a Dog?

Consider your work schedule and social activities to decide whether you have time for a dog.  Not only time to manage their care, but time to SPEND with them. Don’t get a dog if he’s going to be left alone ten hours a day while you work, then most evenings while you shop, go to movies, visit friends and family, then lucky to get a few hours of your time and companionship on the weekend. It’s not OK to get a dog then leave him alone most of the time.

Read my article, Keeping Pets Entertained While at Work (includes video).

If you live alone, this is a huge concern, because you’re the only one available for the dog.  But if you have a spouse and/or children, you might be able to be a bit more flexible as at least one member of the family might be home most of the time regardless of work and school schedules.

How to Choose a Dog BreedTraining Your Dog

I suggest you consider signing up with The Online Dog Trainer.  This is a video-based website run by a professional dog trainer that teaches you step-by-step techniques to deal with absolutely any training issue you may run into with your dog.  Go to the site.  Check it out.  SIGN UP.  Honestly, it’ll make your life with your new dog so much easier…not only when they’re new, but for years and years to come!  You can read my full review here.

the online dog trainer

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Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of my earnings from website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends and family who have a pet.  Thank you!  Debra

8 thoughts on “How to Choose a Dog Breed”

  1. I really like this website’s info. And speaking from experience, I know how important it is people are aware about choosing the right fuzzlump. My own aussie mix Barney, he was so small when we got him. He grew up so fast because we fed him. The behaviour and cost pages are an important touch-up.

  2. I can’t applaud this article enough. I think everyone should read this before deciding to get a dog. Your dog loves you unconditionally, and it’s important that you provide that love back to them by providing them everything they need to be happy and healthy.

    I loved how you mentioned beagles and dachshunds have a keen sense of smell and an instinct to track. My little guy is a beagle/dachshund mix (I call him a beenie, a beagle and a weenie dog). Because of his breed, i do tracking exercises with him around the house and outside with treats. I rub a biscuit on the ground, wall, or wherever when he not looking and make him track the smell to his reward. Its so stimulating and fun for him, plus he gets a yummy (and healthy) treat at the end!

  3. Hey thank you for this guide to get the perfect dog suited for me. I like any size of dogs. I was planning to get either pug or golden retriever. I love the both breed of dog I think they are suited for me. I have some questions. Can a small dog protect you against someone? How hard to maintain a golden retriever?

    1. I love both those breeds. I used to babysit a pug named Sophia whenever her owner went on vacation. She was so sweet – but she barked a lot. LOL Goldens are super smart – I’ve always wanted to get one as a puppy then take it to training school/competitions. I’m not sure a small dog can do anymore than bark to alert you to danger as far as protection. Goldens take some maintenance due to their size – they have to either have a big yard to run in or else be taken to a park regularly for exercise. They also need their fur brushed regularly. Also depends on where you live – if you have a big house with a big yard, then you could have a golden retriever, whereas if you live in an apartment, the pug might be a better idea. I hope this helps! Let me know what you decide and please send pics! You can find my email on my About Debra/Contact Me page.

  4. Is there a website that asks these types of questions and, based on your answers, gives you a list of possible choices at the end? I was hoping this was that type of site.

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