There are a variety of breeds to choose from, which is where the problem begins and you don’t want to make the wrong decision because it’ll affect you and your family as well as the dog. And while some breeds might have been trained differently depending on where they live and who trains them, it might not be the same for you. So when you’re getting down to it, here are three important factors to consider when choosing your new puppy.

Size

This is very crucial. While the dog might be tiny in puppy form, they could grow to become really large dogs that might take up a lot of space. Remember that big dogs will not only need lots of room to live, but they’ll need more space to walk and exercise and just exist alongside you. You can’t expect them to fit into a tiny basket for the rest of their lives. Their comfort is as important as yours and you need to keep that in mind. It’s not just space, it’s also the amount of food that the dog will consume as well as their traits. Depending on the size you think you’re ready for, you can move onto the next fact.

Temperament

While a lot of the temperament is down to the way you might train your dog, there is still a lot that is part of who they are already. And if you’re adopting a dog, they might already come from a home where they’ve been mistreated and you need to keep that in mind as well. Look at your family, your neighbourhood and your living situation when deciding what kind of temperament would suit you best. If you have young kids, a dog that is friendly and laid-back is obviously a better choice than getting a large dog that bares its teeth every chance it gets.

Hairy Or Not

And finally, depending on where you live in the world and the kind of situation you live in, you need to decide whether or you want to adopt a hairy dog or one who doesn’t require very high maintenance. One of the things is that hairy dogs shed a lot and that is something to keep in mind when putting your requirements together and if people are allergic to dog hair, then it’s a bad idea!

Adopting a dog is not just really about these three factors, but about how much of your time you can devote to helping your dog adjust to their new home. But planning ahead never hurt anyone!

Adopt or buy a puppy from a breeder

Adopting saves pet’s lives, and that’s an important factor to consider. As you probably know, adopting a dog has become very popular in the United States as there are so many rescues and shelters doing amazing work and so many incredible animals who need homes. According to the ASPCA, the number of adoptions have gone up every year and the number of animals being surrendered to shelters has gone down. That’s mostly because of the awareness the general public has now of the benefits of adoption. In addition, the revelation of the conditions of many puppy mills who supply pet stores and online distributors that sell puppies has made it a bad choice for people looking to get a puppy.  Remember, if you seek a specific type of breed there are rescue groups based on breed. Buying from a breeder: there are plenty of reputable breeders around the country and if you do want to buy a dog, do your research carefully and certainly look for referrals to find the best breeders so that you know what you’re getting (the environment they are in day-to-day, get references from other buyers from that breeder, etc.)

Age

Perhaps one of the most important decisions you need to make when considering a dog is whether to get a puppy, an adult dog or even a senior dog.  All age groups need a home, and the impact of that age on resources needed vary. With a puppy you will know the dog their entire life and be able to train them from the start, but they take a lot of work (from feeding them more often, taking them out more often, potty training them, etc.) Remember, with a puppy you have the power to prevent unwanted behaviors before they start, but you also have the ability to inadvertently teach them bad ones as well. With an adult and senior aged dog you will likely have less training to do and the dog will probably be past their voracious chewing phase.  These age groups make can amazing companions. One thing to to take into consideration with senior pets are medical issues and possibly behavior issues. But your rescue group should be able to present you with those before adopting.

Energy Level

No matter the dog’s age, breeds will have different energy levels and you need to find a dog that will match what’s going on in your home. Make sure you choose wisely as a dog that has a lot of energy will not be happy if you just want them to sit next to you on the couch. You need to ask yourself:

  • What kind of companion do I want? For instance, are you looking for a hunting dog, a dog to provide protection for your home, a family playmate, a running companion or a lap dog.
  • What time do I have to commit to exercise daily?
  • Do I have the resources to get a dog walker to help if necessary?
  • Do I have access to the type of yard/dog park, etc. that will supply enough spots for me to exercise the dog properly?
  • Does my day-to-day schedule allow for me to be with them enough to make them happy to run around, play, etc.?

Grooming & Shedding

Some dogs shed way more than other breeds. The dogs that tend to shed more are breeds/mixes such as Corgis, German Shepherds, and Labradors/Retrievers. Dogs that tend to shed a lot let less are breeds/mixes like Bijon Frise, Poodles and some Terriers.  If you are averse to having dog hair become a major issue in your home or if someone has allergies, be sure to look for a dog that will have less of a shedding issue and are actually hypoallergenic. This also comes into play in terms of grooming required on a monthly (or more infrequent) basis.

Training

Just as every person is different, so is every dog.  If you’re seeking a full breed (not a mix) puppy, you should give some thought as to how easy/difficult a specific type of dog is to train, and also look at how capable you feel in providing training for the dog.  Are you someone who is patient, positive and willing to work towards a strong relationship with your dog? Or,  are you a little more impatient and don’t have the time to commit to training? Either way, you can consider getting a trainer to help you get on a training course 1:1 or do a group class. Some breeds tend to take more easily to training than others such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Boxers and Labs.  On the other hand, dogs that show less aptitude to picking things up quickly or are a little more on the stubborn side would be Dalmatians, Basset Hounds and Beagles. Remember, both you and the dog are factors here so include both in this calculation.  When choosing a trainer, make sure you select one that uses positive reinforcement as their method of choice!

Children

Every dog is unique and how they are/were treated by humans will determine much of their personality.  If a dog that you are bringing home is going to be around small children you will need to give some thought to not only the dog’s natural characteristics but also the level of energy that the children can display.  At all times, until you know a dog inside and out use caution. When you start with a puppy, you do have the ability to help develop the dog’s personality from a young age so they’re adapted to children from the onset.  But, if you’re not going the puppy route you won’t always know exactly what an older dog has been through. Though a good shelter will generally evaluate a dog for even the slightest aggressive tendencies, teach your children to behave appropriately around them as it’s humans who have to respect the dog’s natural tendencies.

Before you make your final decision about the type of dog to bring home, be sure to evaluate each of these things above as it will really help you narrow down your options. Doing plenty of research upfront will help you find the right dog and then create a strong bond with the furry family member from the beginning.