The Right Dog for You
The right dog for you, whether you're considering a
purebred or a mixed bred dog, should always be the result of taking the time to
research the dog's breed. This research will help you to determine whether
your new dog will fit your life
One of the biggest mistakes you can make (for you and the
dog) is getting the wrong dog.
If you are thinking of a mixed breed,
you need to look at the information about all of the mixes and that
way you will know what to expect from your new dog. It will also make
your shelter search for the right dog much easier if you already know that you want
"a dog that has some previous training" or "something the size of a lab" or "some with the energy of a beagle."
Making sure you get the right dog requires
that you know the history and breed
characteristics of the dog. This will give you the proper insight into
what the dog will need for exercise, feeding and training. If you
think you already know what breed you want, you may still want to spend some time researching it. You may learn something new –
or you may find that the “right dog for you” is something much
different than you hadn’t considered before.
If you have a question, be sure to ask.
There are a lot knowledgeable people out there and they are very
wiling to help you find the right dog. We will also be glad to offer
suggestions when you want to choose a breed. When asking others, you
should expect to hear the negatives as well as the positives about a
breed. This is not intended to scare you away. On the contrary, you
should be really sure that the breed you are choosing is the right
one for you. There are over 400 recognized breeds of dog in the
world today and no one breed is right for everyone.
Here are some questions for you to
consider when you're looking for a dog.
What size dog is right for
When you begin your search for the right dog, don't just ask for a
“small dog” or a "large" dog because, for some people a large
dog may be 25 pounds, for others it may mean 75 pounds. A better
way to refer to the size of the dog you are looking for would
be, “something the size of a Miniature Pincher, a Cocker Spaniel
or a German Shepherd Dog”.
Which sex do you want, male or
female? There are
pros and cons to either sex, but unless you plan to breed them it
really doesn’t make much difference because most dogs are spay
or neutered before you adopt them. If you have a preference, get
the sex you want. If you are not sure, just look for the right dog
that fits your needs.
How much space do you have?
This question could be “Part B” of the first question.
Although it's quite possible to successfully keep a larger dog
in a small house or apartment, it can be a lot more of a
challenge because you will need to provide plenty of
opportunities for exercise outside the house or apartment. If
you don't, the dog may become destructive. One thing to keep in
mind is that if your house is very small, a Newfoundland or a
Great Dane may take up all of your room and you may not have any
room for your furniture.
How much time will you have
to exercise your new dog?
Some smaller breed dogs can get by with a short walk, but
others need to be walked or ran for an hour or more every day.
You need to be honest with yourself and decide what amount of
time you are willing or able to spend with your dog. Be sure to
consider both, your physical abilities and your time schedule.
If you'd like to own an active dog but your job keeps you busy
10-12 hours a day, you may not want to get a really active dog.
Active dogs need to go for long walks or runs with you every
day, not just on weekends when you don’t have anything better to
do. An active dog would be miserable (and probably very
destructive) during the work week if you can’t spend the time to
exercise him properly.
How much training can you do?
Regardless of what kind of dog you decide to adopt, a trained dog will be
much easier to live with. A well trained dog can go to more
public places with you. This is because they cause less of a
disruption. A well trained dog will also be more
easily integrated into your life. Obviously a puppy will need
more of your attention, while most older dogs have had at least
some training and will therefore take less time to train.
Where will the dog live?
In the past few years a lot of individuals and professionals
have adopted the opinion that dogs who live outside are more
apt to be neglected and abused than those who live inside. They
feel very strongly that all dogs should live in the house.
Although most any dog will do well inside if it is given enough
exercise, some dogs (given proper shelter and attention) are also equipped to live outside
the coldest winter conditions or in the hottest summer
conditions. Some perfect examples of this are the Labrador
Retriever, the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky. They
all are capable of handling the cold weather, but don’t really do
to well in the heat of summer because of their double coat of fur. If
your new dog will be spending any time outside, you must
consider your area's climate when you are choosing a breed. If
your dog must live outside, be sure that it has adequate
(enclosed, covered, maybe even heated or cooled) shelter, and
make an extra effort to spend time making sure that your dog has
enough food, water and shelter during severe hot and cold
How much grooming are you
willing to do or pay for?
Dogs that have long or curly hair will require you to spend more
time to keep their coat free of tangles and mats. These types of
breeds will require a lot more time on your part to keep them
properly groomed and if you can not do it yourself it will cost
you more money to have a dog professionally groomed on a regular
basis. Many of these breed types may require regular grooming
every 6-8 weeks. Even short haired dogs like the Dalmatian, the
Chihuahua and others that are fairly low-maintenance can go
through periods of profuse shedding and their coats will need
extra attention. No matter what breed you choose, all dogs need
to have their nails, eyes, and ears taken care of on a regular
What do you plan to do with
Are you looking for a watchdog, a loyal “fireplace” dog, or a
running partner? Maybe you want an active and athletic dog that
you can do things like agility training, hiking, herding or
hunting. You might even be looking for a dog that you can train
for Police Work, Therapy Work or as a Service Dog for you or a
loved one. The reason you want or need a dog can really affect
your breed choice because, for example, most toy breeds just
don't make very good Police dogs.
What kind of past experience
do you have with dogs?
Everyone has a first dog at some point. After all, we all had to
start some where. But it’s important that you know that there
are a few breeds that are not recommended for first-time owners.
For instance, an older Dachshund is a lot easier to care for than
a one year old Husky, a Bull Dog or a Border Collie.
Are there other family
members in your home and are they all willing to teach, and care
for the dog?
Adopting a dog should be a family decision and all family
members should be a part of raising the family dog. Teaching
children to properly care for and train a dog can make a lasting
impression on them. Learning how to control and train a dog can
help build self esteem and help them become better with people
I have kids, what kind of
dog is best around kids.
The answer to this question depends more on how the dog is
raised and trained than what breed it is. No matter what breed
you choose, supervision of the dog and the children is critical
when they are with the dog, Just because a dog is usually good
with children, you still need to supervise the activity because
children can sometimes get carried away and may not realize that
every dog has its breaking point. If you are unsure of your
ability to properly train young puppies and/or children in this
respect, you may want to consider waiting until the children get
older, or find an adult dog known to be good with children under
Finally, if you already have a dog or two
in mind, don't forget to think about the breed and the job that
breed was meant to do. There are only a few breeds that were
specifically developed to be pets. Most breeds of dog were
originally bred to be hunters, herders, guards, or some other job
which might be in conflict with your expectations of a perfect pet.
For instance, if your lawn is important to you, you might not want
to adopt a terrier; almost all breeds of terrier will dig
relentlessly. If you don't have a lot time to exercise a dog, you
probably won't want to get a Greyhound, a Dalmatian, a Husky, any
kind of pointer or retriever, or most of the Herding breeds -- all
of these dogs were bred to run for many miles without getting
tiring. Remember, if there is no breed specific work for them to do,
they still crave the challenge and the exercise because it is part
of their DNA. If you don’t give it to them, they'll find ways to let
you know that they don't have enough to do. Most of these ways are