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- Selecting a Dog
What is the Best Dog Breed for Me? How to Find Your Best Dog Ever
What Kind of Dog is Best for Me?
Do you know how to select the breed of dog that is best for you? With the large number of dog breeds that have been developed in the last 100 years it seems there is a dog out there for everyone!
There are a few important considerations you need to look in to when selecting a new dog, however, so please take the time to choose carefully. There are breeds that do not shed much, do not bark much, dogs that are great with kids, are good watch dogs, and some others that are just good at being a companion.
A dog is not like a new purchase that you can just dump if you do not like, since with proper health care she is going to be part of your life for the next ten or fifteen years!
So what kind of dog should you get?
Are Big Dog Breeds Better Than Small Dogs?
If you live in an apartment or a rented house you may be faced with restrictions: they may require that you only have a dog under a certain weight. Does that mean you cannot find a great dog?
You can find a great dog no matter what the size. The main reason that many small dogs have such a bad reputation is that they were not properly trained. If you do get a small dog treat him just like you would a larger pet from the first day. Take him to obedience classes and make sure that he is properly socialized.
A bid dog is not better than a small dog.
Which Dog Breed is Best?
There is no such thing as a “best breed”. Certain dogs were developed for special purposes. Although they make acceptable pets, breeds that were developed for personal protection, like the Doberman, will probably be happiest if they have a job to do.
Some breeds are better for some lifestyles; some are not suited well and will be unhappy in their new home. A Border collie has a lot of energy and is not the type of dog that should be locked up all day long in an apartment. A Pug shouldn’t be owned by an “Iron man” who wants to take his dog on 20 mile hikes in the mountains.
Do plenty of reading. Start out with books that discuss all of the breeds you might be interested in and if you think you have found out what type of dog you want research even further. The breed books written about the individual breeds are usually terribly biased so it would be a good idea to talk to just a few people that own that dogs of that breed.
I have owned large dogs like Pit Bulls, Siberian Huskies, and Rottweilers, small dogs like the Maltese and the Pomeranian, as well as a Lhasa, a Shepherd, and several dogs of questionable ancestry and medium size. I have also had the joy of working with dogs of many different breeds in veterinary practice and training classes. As you can see I have no breed preference. The Siberian Huskies were perfect at that point of my life, my Maltese was great when I lived in Chicago, but at the moment I have a Pit Bull cross from a backyard breeder. They were all great.
Is It Cool to Have a Rare Dog?
As long as you are not getting a dog just to put up on a shelf or show off to your friends, it is fine to have a rare breed. Keep in mind that the requirements for care are not any different, and only get one of these dogs if he meets all of your other needs.
- Do you work long hours?: If you are away from home 8 hours every day you need to consider that. Not all dogs and very few dog breeds can handle that sort of isolation.
- Do you have allergies to dogs?: If a member of your family is allergic to dogs that needs to be your most important consideration when getting a dog.
- Do you have kids?: Some dogs look on children as a seperate species of humanity since they look differently, act differently, and certainly sound differently than adults. If you have children in the house it is important that you find a dog breed that is good with kids.
- Does dog hair gross you out? If you want a dog breed that will not shed much there are several good choices available.
- Do you dislike a dog that barks a lot?
- Do you have cats?
Should I Get a Purebred Dog?
Having a purebred dog can be important, not just because of your new ability to show him off to your neighbors! When you get a purebred you know what your dog is going to look like and how big he will be when he is older, and maybe more about his personality.
Unfortunately some purebreds are selected to have traits that make them less than healthy, and other purebreds all trace their ancestry back to a few dogs that carried a genetic disease. There are numerous examples, like hip dysplasia in German Shepherds, bleeding disease in Dobermans, back problems in Dauchsands, eye problems in Pugs, etc.
Getting a mixed breed dog does not mean that your dog will have no health problems. If you get a Lab/Rottie cross, and both parents had bad hips, you may find that your crossbred develops hip dysplasia early. I have seen numerous "designer dogs" that had serious problems despite being mixed.
This decision on whether or not to have a crossbred puppy is really up to you and no dog should be looked down upon because he does not have “papers”.
Where Should I Search For My New Dog?
- Pet shops: If you get your dog from a pet shop, he comes from a backyard breeder or a puppy mill, and the puppy has probably not had any socialization and may have been raised in a cage where he has been playing in his stool. If you start out with a dog like that you are going to have problems. Housebreaking a pet shop puppy is going to be more difficult or even impossible, and your new dog may never be socialized normally.
- Animal shelters: Some shelter puppies and adults are excellent. He may be a great dog that has just outgrown his puppy cuteness and the owners have grown bored with him, he may be a dog from a puppy mill that will be difficult to train, or he may be a dog with a serious behavioral problem that will require extensive therapy. Shelters keep a lot of dogs from being euthanized by providing them with new homes, though, so you have to look into your heart and decide if you are willing to save a dog´s life.
- Petfinder.com: If you have a specific type of dog available, be sure to check the listing of dogs available on Petfinder. The site can tell you if there are dogs available in a local shelter or even somewhere you may never have checked, like a shelter only a few states away.
- Breed rescue: These groups are set up to help specific breeds, so if you know what you want go to your search engine and type in the dog you want, the word rescue, and your location. The dogs available might be young, might be old, or might be in need of training. Contact the rescue to learn more.
- Backyard breeder: A backyard breeder is someone who is raising a litter or two of puppies so that he can earn a little extra cash. Most of these puppies are well socialized since there are no facilities for isolation, however the breeder is in the business for the money so has probably spent nothing on genetic testing for diseases, xrays to find signs of hip dysplasia, etc. Backyard breeders usually advertise in newspapers, Craigslist, sell their puppies in parking lots, etc. The dog may be fine or may have numerous problems.
- Breeder. It is really better to buy a dog from a responsible breeder that has spent plenty of time with the puppies and evaluated the personalities before sending the puppies on to their new homes. Take the time to research the breeder on the internet, meet the parents and look over the location, and discuss all genetic screening that was done before breeding. If you are not happy with the way the adults are treated you should not be buying a puppy there. Look for another breeder, find a breed rescue, or try the local animal shelter or Petfinder.com.
Best Dog Ever
Actually finding a dog that suits your personality is the most important part about getting a new dog. Make sure her personality fits yours. If you are quiet and spend most of the day sitting at your computer and writing articles on the internet, you need a quiet dog who will be satisfied with the attention you give and then sit around quietly. If you are in to taking long hikes and want a companion for camping, find a dog that fits that style of life. Are you a runner? A rancher that needs a dog to run the cattle? No matter which dog you choose she will need to walked and groomed, but look at every dog you can and find one that is right for you; remember, there is a dog out there for all sorts of people.
Even getting a specific breed does not guarantee you will be free from problems. There are horror stories about aggressive Golden Retrievers, lazy Border Collies, hyperactive Maltese, and Siberian Husky guard dogs. The only thing you can do is pick the right type of dog and then make sure that she has been evaluated properly and will fit your lifestyle.
Several of them did not fit my lifestyle but the dog I selected is a perfect companion!
Yours can be too.