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Top 10 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Dog

Updated on March 7, 2012
Choosing a dog takes lots of research
Choosing a dog takes lots of research | Source

Choosing a dog is not a decision to take wholeheartedly. What many prospective dog owners fail to realize is that they will be stuck with that dog for 10-12 years or more and this is not a decision to take lightly. The puppy cuteness factor, along with other factors such as preferring looks over temperament or current trends in breeds after movies come out, are aggravating factors that may lead to bad decision making. With over 400 dogs breeds recognized in the world, choosing a dog is not an easy task. Even with mutts, it is important to recognize their genetic components to have a better idea of what the puppy or dog predispositions may be. The following are 10 important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a dog.

What size should you pick?
What size should you pick? | Source

Top Ten Considerations When Choosing a Dog

Choosing a dog is not an easy task. There are many considerations to keep in mind. Often, even with the best homework things may still not work out right, just as in marriages. Truth is, dogs live for a decade and more, and the choice as mentioned should not be taken wholeheartedly. While you can divorce a spouse, giving up a dog may often cost its life when surrendered at a shelter. Please do your best to choose wisely and try your best to work through problems before ever giving up. Most importantly, if you are a first time dog owner, avoid breeds that are not for everyone, and that require an experienced dog owner.

  • Consider the dog's activity levels

Several dogs surrendered in shelters did not match the owner's activity levels. If you are a couch potato, choose your dog breed wisely and avoid the sporting, herding and general working breeds eager to get stuff done. High activity levels are high on the list of unwanted behaviors for many dog owners. While a puppy may look cute and sweet, as it grows, its activity levels significantly increase, making it harder for them to be manageable and under control. If on the other hand, you are active, there are many dog breeds for active lifestyles.

  • Consider the dog's living space

Where will your dog live and where do you plan to be within the next decade or so? If you live in an apartment, consider that having a large breed dog with high activity levels may be quite unwise. Do your home work well, there are many breeds of dogs that may do well in apartments. However, keep in mind that regardless of size and disposition, apartment dogs still require their daily dose of exercise, play, socialization and mental stimulation.

  • Consider the dog's time

How much time will you have on hand for your canine companion? If you are out of the home a minimum of 8 hours a day (not including the daily commute), do you have a solution to avoid keeping your dog alone for all this time? Those many hours are very long from a dog's perspective, especially when left completely alone. Will you be willing to have a dog walker stop by or take your dog to doggy day care?

  • Consider the dog's family

Do you have children or do you plan on having any in the near future? If so, do the best you can in finding dogs that do great in company of children. While no generalizations can be made, there are many breeds considered to be child-friendly more than others. Look for breeds with good tolerance levels. However, keep in mind that no dog regardless of how good he is should ever be left unsupervised with a small child even for brief seconds! Also, if you have other pets, consider breeds that tend to get along with them, like if you have cats, choose breeds with low prey drive and known for getting along with cats.

  • Consider the dog's grooming

Do you suffer from allergies? Are you willing to groom your dog on a daily basis? Does it irritate you to find stray dog hair around your home? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you really need to do your home work on the breed's grooming needs. There are breeds considered to be "hypoallergenic" and even though this is hard to believe in the real sense of the word, there are indeed breeds less likely to shed and cause allergic reactions.

  • Consider the dog's size

Are you willing to walk a dog that weighs about 100 pounds? Do you mind being knocked over by a large rambunctious dog? Do you have enough funds to feed a dogs that eats like a horse? Do you mind picking up poop with a horse-size pooper scooper? Consider your dog's size if the above may be an issue.

  • Consider the dog's trainability

What are your goals when it comes to training your dog? Do you want to compete and earn titles and ribbons? If so, look for dogs known to be highly trainable. Avoid stubborn breeds that were bred to work independently or breeds easily distracted by scent. Owners of beagles and other scent hounds, are often frustrated by this breed's poor recall, but they often fail to realize that they were bred to follow scent. More persuasive training techniques may be needed. Learn how to train a scent hound a good recall.

  • Consider the dog's territoriality

While many dogs will alert you of any intruders, there are some that take this job more seriously, and may become highly territorial. Several breeds do best with experienced dog owners. It is important to socialize dogs predisposed to being highly territorial dogs heavily, so they can learn to recognize friend from foe. If you want a dog that alerts you, you want a dog with watch dog capabilities. Guard dogs belong to a totally different category. Because of high liability problems, you should only have a guard dog trained by a reputable professional with a solid background. Never try this on your own!

  • Consider the dog's history

If you are planning to purchase a puppy or adopt an adult dog, try to do good research on its history and background. Ask the breeder how the dog's temperament may be like in the future, and how its ancestors were. While no realistic predictions can be made, it is still a good idea to learn as much as you can. If you are adopting an adult dog, find out about its "baggage" so you can have a clear idea what he or she went through. A dog that has had multiple owners may have issues that may not be easy to solve or may require a certain level of experience.

  • Consider the dog's age

Puppy or adult? It is really up to you. With a puppy you have blank slate, but genetics and the environment still play a role. How a puppy turns out as it grows is really a question mark, based on both nature and nurture. Yet, it is quite a satisfaction when a puppy turns into a great dog and you can give yourself a pat on the back! With an adult dog, you mostly see what you get. This offers reliability, however, dogs never stop learning and good and bad habits may shift over time.

And of course, consider the dog's temperament, which is obvious, but often forgotten or taken too lightly!

Do your research on breeds!
Do your research on breeds! | Source


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    • profile image

      jasper420 5 years ago

      Great hub everyone considering a dog should read this so many people go into getting a pet blind and that pet ends up in a shelter or worse.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Great information here. I used the same criteria, well almost, to come to select our dog breed - a Kuvasz. I have covered it in my hub haha.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • pandula77 profile image

      Dr Pandula 5 years ago from Norway

      Very useful hub and i am glad that i read it before buying myself a pet dog. Thanks!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and very well informed.

      Take care and I wish you a great day. I now look forward to reading many more by you.


    • NetBlots profile image

      NetBlots 5 years ago from Melbourne

      Great hub!

      Love the choice of images too!! =)