Before choosing the right dog breed when you’re ready for a new canine friend, you should know a little bit about each breed that you’re considering for adoption.
Many people choose the breed of dog they wish to adopt based on their experiences with one or more dogs or puppies from their childhood. They may have fond memories of a dog they or a friend owned when they were young.
Another way some people choose their new pet is to visit a pet store or animal shelter and walk along the cages, looking for a dog that seems to be just the right match.
The third way of choosing the right dog breed is to consider all the situations that might arise during your dog’s lifetime. This is probably the most sensible approach to finding the dog that’s just right for you,. Before you make a final decision on which dog to adopt, ask yourself the following important questions, and be honest with your answers because those answers will determine which breed of dog is right for you.
How much time do you have to devote to raising a dog? If you choose to adopt a puppy it will require a lot of attention during all its waking hours. If left alone and there is no one around, it may become nervous and leave a mess for you to clean up. It may also chew or scratch something valuable . If you choose a long-haired dog be prepared for daily brushing or your dog’s coat will be a tangled mess in a very short period of time. You’ll also need to bathe your dog and clean its teeth and ears once a week. Every dog, no matter its age or breed, requires some one-on-one attention every day.
Dogs of all sizes need to have room to move around without running into obstacles or getting underfoot with every movement. To remain healthy they need room to run, either in your yard, in a park, or at the beach. Many smaller-sized breeds can comfortably live within the confines of an apartment with no problem. They can get the exercise they require by living and moving around a one bedroom apartment — but they still need to be walked at least once or twice in an evening to handle their bodily functions.
If you have small children you’ll need to choose a dog breed known for its friendliness and tolerance of children who sometimes do strange things to their pets. A dog needs a laid back temperament that allows it to tolerate being squeezed, held tightly, or otherwise mishandled. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are ideal for this type of situation. Some of the smaller breeds are too delicate to be handled roughly as some children are likely to do. Some breeds don’t appreciate getting picked up and carried all over the house, or being hugged a lot. The wrong choice in a dog when you have children in the family, could result in serious injury to an aggressive toddler. Dogs weighing under seven pounds are generally not suitable for children, while most dogs weighing ten pounds or more are usually appropriate for all ages.
Some healthcare expenses will be necessary simply because of the breed of the dog. Large breeds have an inbred predisposition to develop hip dysplasia and arthritis just because of their size. Other degenerative problems affect the shoulders, elbows and hocks.
Another important thing to consider is your budget, or your ability to feed and care for a dog. Your expenses start accruing as soon as you select a dog. You’ll have to pay the pet store, breeder, or animal shelter to adopt the dog; your dog will require shots, the specific ones will depend upon the city or county where you reside. Don’t forget grooming needs – brushes, shampoos, medications, etc.
And don’t underestimate the cost of food. You will be the only source of your dog’s meals. He or she cannot hop on over to McDonald’s or the local pizza parlor whenever hunger strikes. The larger the dog, the more food it will consume. And as your dog ages you’ll realize medical examinations and medications become more expensive. These lifetime medical expenses are not trivial, and if you do not plan on them, you can be caught off guard with some pretty large bills from the vet.
An important thing to consider if you choose a puppy is whether you’ll be staying home a lot or whether you frequently travel. If you have to travel, are you able to take your new puppy along with you? Traveling with puppies is a lot like traveling with small children. The trip is not so much about you as it is about them! It doesn’t matter how big your dog is – all sizes of dogs require frequent stops, and short walks are necessary if you’re traveling by car. Trains and buses no longer allow even small dogs to travel on board. Before you choose to travel with your dog by air and have it placed in the cargo hold, check the airlines track record for delivering pets alive and well to their owners once they have arrived at their destination. Check out Petfinder.com for the most pet-friendly airlines in the U.S.
On average, smaller dogs mature faster and live longer than larger ones; bigger dogs mature later and generally have shorter spans of adulthood. Here is a general breakdown of the stages of a dog’s life:
* Puppyhood ends between six and 18 months of age.
* Adolescence starts between six and 18 months of age.
* Adulthood starts between 12 months and three years of age.
* Senior years begin between six and 10 years of age.
Dogs are as individual as people and there’s no hard-and-fast rule for how a dog will age and how long it will live. If you need a pet that will live a long time or one who is not susceptible to major debilitating diseases, it’s important that you choose the right dog breed.