Choosing the Right Dog for You

Wanting a new dog? Unsure what type to pick? Let us tell you a bit about choosing the right type of dog to fit your lifestyle. When choosing a dog to have in your home, you may want to consider the type (breed) you and your family could care for. If you’re a first-time pet owner or experienced, it is always best to look at your lifestyle and suit an animal to those needs/wants.

The first thing to consider when thinking about getting a dog is what does your daily schedule look like. Is someone available to let the dog out during the day and how many times? Is it just once, or twice…is someone home all day long? Puppies need a lot of attention, and if the animal cannot get out for regular bathroom breaks, you may want to reconsider getting a young animal. Once an animal reaches an adult stage, this will differ with how long they can go between bathroom breaks. If this sounds better for you, maybe try adopting an adult dog who has had a bit more experience in scheduled bathroom breaks.

What size of home do you have? If you live in a small house such as an apartment building, condo, trailer etc., a small dog would be more manageable. When you get a puppy, they may start out small and fit in smaller areas, but large breed dogs grow with age and need to have enough room in their environment.

Does your home have a big property that a dog could get a lot of exercises or will they need to go for regular walks?
High energy or working breeds have increased energy and therefore need more exercise. If your home has enough room where a dog can run free that is great, but not everyone has that luxury. A dog should be walked at least once daily, if not several times a day. Are you the type of person that runs frequently and wanting a partner to journey with you? If so, you may want a breed that can go for long walks/runs with you. A brachycephalic breed such as a Pug, Shih-Tzu, French Bulldog, English Bulldog may not be the breed for you.

Do you have children in your home, or need a gentle family pet? This may bring you to choose a more docile breed. Although all dogs should be supervised around young children, some breeds are more docile and calmer than others.

When thinking about large breed dogs, do you think about cost? Although large breed dogs tend to be the biggest cuddle bugs around, they do cost more than small dogs. They eat more so that increases money you spend on food. They tend to go through toys more since their teeth are bigger and stronger. Their vet bills can increase since higher dosing/more medication is needed for larger body weights. Vet trips can be expensive whether they are big or small, but it is something to consider if wanting a larger breed dog.

Now, let’s talk about keeping those pets clean and tangle-free. Are you interested in taking your dog to the groomer regularly? If not, try finding a breed that has short hair. Yes, they will need baths occasionally, but no clipping/shaving is required. If you do want a long-haired dog, think about cost when it comes to grooming. Smaller dogs again will be cheaper to groom than large dogs. Thick, double coated dogs will need to be brushed more so than not. Of course, with any animal, long or short hair, be prepared to have a lot of shedding and hair in your home!

Here are a few suggestions of breeds (only a few common ones that come to mind):

Active Dog Breeds: Labrador Retriever, Vizsla, Australian Shepherd, Cattle Dog, Collie, Pointers, Sheepdogs, Dalmation, Jack Russel Terrier, Husky, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Setters, German Shepherd, Weimaraner

Docile Dog Breeds: Havanese, Shih-Tzu, Pug, Chow Chow, Bulldog, Greyhound, Basset Hound, Saint Bernard, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Dane, Newfoundland, Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound, Spaniels

We hope these tips have helped you in choosing the right dog for you. If not, well…there is always a CAT!

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself” –Josh Billings

Take these quizzes to help you find the right dog breed for you.

Written by: Kendra Stoddart, RVT