You're thinking about getting a puppy or maybe rescuing a pedigree dog. It would be a nice addition to your family, giving your kids a loyal companion to grow up with. But if you're going to choose a specific breed, which one is right for your family? They come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities, lifespans, and even health problems. There are many things that you might want to think about before you decide which dog breed is right for your family, whether it's your first dog or you've been a dog owner before. This guide will take you through some of the essential considerations to help you make a decision.
The first thing that many people are going to think about when choosing a dog breed is the size. Do you want a small dog, a large dog, or something in the middle? Dogs come in a range of sizes, and different sizes can have a bunch of pros and cons. A large dog like a Great Dane or St Bernard is great to cuddle, but also takes up a lot of space and typically has a shorter life expectancy. A small dog takes up less space so can be good for people who live in apartments or smaller houses, but they can also get under your feet.
Whether you want a big dog, small dog, or a medium dog, you'll still have plenty of breeds to choose from.
After size, the next thing that you might want to think about is energy levels and how much exercise your dog will need. If you're planning on getting a puppy, you can count on pretty much any dog having a lot of energy in the first year or so of their life. But once they're out of that puppy stage, some dogs have more energy than others. And if they don't get the exercise that they need, they can sometimes be destructive.
High-energy breeds such as huskies will need a lot of exercise. This could mean multiple walks each day or longer walks, which requires you to dedicate more time to your dog. Other breeds may need less exercise or even be unable to get too exerted. Brachycephalic breeds, such as several breeds of bulldog, can't exercise too hard because they are unable to breathe properly and cool themselves down.
It's essential to choose a dog breed that matches your family. Some families are more active, while others prefer to be homebodies. You need to have energy levels that match your dog's. Maybe you're thinking of getting a dog because you want to exercise more, but think about whether you're really going to stick to your promise and make sure your dog gets the right amount of exercise.
When it comes to training a dog, some are easier to train than others. Some of the dogs that train well are those that have been used as working dogs. If you read about the labrador retriever breed at https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/labrador-retriever-breed, you'll see that labradors are very receptive to training. Other dogs that train well include border collies, poodles, papillons, and corgis. You'll find dogs of different sizes that you're able to train, whether you just want them to sit and lie down, or you're thinking of doing something like agility with them.
Other dog breeds are typically less easy to train. Some breeds can be stubborn or are perhaps not as intelligent. For example, beagles, basset hounds, and chow chows, and some of the breeds that aren't so receptive to training. However, that doesn't mean they can't be trained. It simply means that you might need to be willing to put in a little more work to train your dog to your desired standard.
Of course, if you have children, you want a dog that is good with kids. Being any particular breed won't guarantee that a dog is right for a family with children, but it does increase the chance that they have the right temperament. Energy level and size can also make a difference when you're looking for the right dog breed for your kids. Dogs that are too big or boisterous may not be suitable to have when you have children, especially when you have young children. A calmer dog is often best for families with children, but you might also be looking for a dog breed with enough energy to play and go on long walks.
There are some breeds that have good character traits that might make them better family dogs. These include breeds such as golden retrievers and labrador retrievers, Irish setters, poodles, bulldogs, and beagles.
Availability (and Price)
If you're thinking of getting a pedigree dog, one of the things you'll have to think about is their availability and how much they're going to cost. Is it easy to find a responsible breeder for the breed that you are considering? You might need to be willing to wait if you want to find the perfect puppy. Price is another factor to consider. Breeds that are less common or that are particularly popular could end up costing more. You should be sure to do your research to find a registered breeder who is responsible and takes care to breed healthy puppies.
Another option is to consider rescuing a pedigree dog. There are plenty of pedigrees that no longer have a home, so if you have a particular breed in mind, you can find the dog that you want without having to pay a high price for it. Of course, you're much less likely to get a puppy, but this can be beneficial. You already know what the dog's personality is like, what they look like as an adult dog, and more. You can find specialist rescues that deal with certain breeds, or you can check your local rescues to see if they have any dogs that you might be interested in.
Grooming and Health
Your dog's health is another important factor to consider when choosing a dog breed. Some dogs require more grooming or might need more care for their skin, ears, eyes, and other aspects of their health. Many pedigree dog breeds also have a higher risk of certain health conditions. For example, hip dysplasia is common in retrievers.
Before deciding which breed might be right for your family, you should be aware of any health problems that could occur. Responsible breeding can help to reduce these problems, but they're still a possibility even when you choose a good breeder. Another thing to check is whether particular health issues are covered by pet insurance providers. Some might exclude conditions that are common in particular breeds.
As for grooming, consider how much time you want to put into taking care of your dog's coat, nails, and other grooming needs. If your dog needs to be groomed regularly, you need to be willing to take them to a groomer or learn to do it yourself. Dogs with longer coats will typically need to be groomed more often, from daily brushing to frequent trips to the groomer for a trim.
Getting Along with Other Pets
It's not always just children that your dog will need to get along with. If you have other pets, this is something that you'll need to consider before choosing which breed is suitable for your family. For example, a lot of terriers have a strong prey drive, meaning they're not the best option for having with small pets such as hamsters, rabbits or guinea pigs, or even cats. Even dogs that are friendly with other animals can sometimes become overwhelmed and hurt them without meaning to. Some of the best dog breeds for multi-pet homes include Australian shepherds, corgis, English springer spaniels, and Malteses. However, it does depend on the temperament of individual pets.
Climate and Weather
Before choosing a dog breed, it's smart to think about where you live. If you live somewhere particularly hot, cold, wet, dry, or humid, it's worth considering how this could affect a dog. Dogs that are bred to be able to stand lower temperatures are going to be a better choice if you live somewhere that has cold and snowy winters. Brachycephalic breeds don't do too well in hot places due to the difficulty they have regulating their heat. This won't necessarily rule out a breed, but it could mean you need to be more careful.
Consider Mixed Breeds
Before you decide to get a pedigree dog, give some thought to mixed breeds. They might not have looks that will get them approved by the Kennel Club, but they can be just as cute as any purebred dog and have plenty of personality to boot. Mixed breed dogs are often rescue dogs too, which gives you the advantage of knowing all about them before adopting them. You'll know if they're good with kids, if they have the right personality and if there are any health problems that you need to manage. A mixed-breed dog could be your perfect pet if you give them a chance.
Do your research before you choose a dog breed for your family. It's important to get the right dog for your situation.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.