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What Breed of Dog Should I Get?

Updated on September 6, 2017

There are a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing a puppy from a refutable breeder or adopting a dog from the shelter.

At the crossroads...
At the crossroads...

What type of dog do you want?

Some dogs are extremely high maintenance. Some dogs are silly and goofy. Others are quiet and reserved. A lot of your dog's personality depends on the environment it was raised in, but some can be attributed to the breed of dog as well.

A General Idea...

Low Exercise Demands
High Exercise Demands
Easily Trainable
OK for Apartments
Good with Children
Border Collie
Chow Chow
Golden Retriever
Labrador Retriever
Siberian Husky
Labrador Retriever
Golden Retriever
Jack Russell
Basset Hound
Cocker Spaniel
Labrador Retriever
Great Dane
Doberman Pinscher
German Shepherd Dog
Boston Terrier
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Basset Hound
Irish Setter
German Shepherd Dog
Doberman Pinscher
Great Dane
Border Collie

Remember all dogs are different, so your dog may differ from it's breed and be the exception. If you absolutely want a certain characteristic, it's best to get an adult dog, where you get what you see. Puppies personalities haven't yet formed and they are a work in progress.

Also remember that one positive trait may not outshine other traits that aren't compatible with your life style. A German Shephard is easy to train but that comes at a price of being high energy. If you don't train your doberman, he'll find a way to occupy his mind- and you may not like what he has in store!

Where do you live?

  • Are there any size limitations? If you live in an apartment, or could be doing apartment living in the next ten years, many apartments require dogs smaller than 25 pounds.

  • Do you have a fenced in yard? If so, you can accommodate a larger breed. (Please note that having a yard does not give you an excuse to not exercise your dog)

  • Do you have expensive furniture or clothing that you would mind getting hair on? A short haired dog might be your best bet.

  • Are there any breed bans in your town? Some towns have prohibited pit bulls and other similar "bully" breeds.

  • What's the weather like? If it's hot most of the year, you won't be able to leave your long haired dog out in the heat. Likewise, if it's below freezing where you live, you don't want to get a cold-sensitive dog like a chihuahua.

Who do you live with?

  • If your household has young children, or you plan to get pregnant in the next ten years, you might be interested in finding a dog that is known to be forgiving and gentle. Finding an adult shelter dog that grew up in a family with children might be your best bet.
  • Many families on Craigslist are forced to give up their well behaved dogs due to circumstances beyond their control. If you go this route, you'll be able to see the dog in it's element -and know all of it's past history, something you may or may not be able to see at a shelter.
  • If anyone in your family is allergic to dogs, take that into account and don't get a dog that sheds excessively twice a year.
  • Do you have another dog already? It is best to get a dog that is around the same size and age as your current dog. Always supervise meetings and interactions.

Most cute pictures of puppies depict a puppy laying down, sleeping or being calm. Most of the time, they aren't like that!
Most cute pictures of puppies depict a puppy laying down, sleeping or being calm. Most of the time, they aren't like that!

How much time do you have?

  • How much time do you spend working, eating out, visiting friends? How much time will your dog spend alone?

    This question is especially important to consider if you think you would like to get a puppy. Puppies require someone to let them out to potty and play every 4-5 hours at the age of 8 weeks, which is the youngest they should be taken home. They also take a lot of work to train, clean up after and entertain. If you cannot provide this, don't buy a puppy.

    Remember: no matter how cute it is, it will turn into an adult dog one day. If you didn't have time to train it, you won't think its very cute anymore.
  • Some breeds require mental and physical stimulation, which can take a lot of time. A full grown Husky or Dalmatian may be beautiful but they require daily jogging, hiking, or running. If you aren't doing these things now, you aren't going to suddenly change when you buy a dog.

    Likewise if you're a very on the go person that needs a dog to bike or jog with, a pug might be cute, but it is not going to work for you.

    Be honest with yourself and buy a dog that fits your lifestyle instead of being miserable with one you liked the looks of but that isn't compatible in any other way.

How much money do you have?

Never buy a puppy or dog that you don't have the money for. Look at the typical expenses for dogs and your finances and plan accordingly.

Account for:

  • Cost of food (small dogs cost less than large dogs)
  • Essentials: crate, water and food dishes, collars, leashes, ID tags
  • Vet bills (initial cost for puppy will be more with vaccinations)
  • Cost of dog (shelters cost less than breeders)
  • Training classes, toys, treats, and mental stimulation
  • Groomers, dog walkers, boarding
  • Heartworm medication, flea medication & other preventives

Your new best friend

Thinking about these things when you're ready to purchase a new dog or puppy can help you not make a mistake.

Buying a Puppy

  • Don't purchase puppies from pet stores. They come from puppy mills- places where dogs are sold purely for profit, often kept in substandard conditions, and bred back to back without proper love or care. If you purchase a puppy from a pet store that supports puppy mills, you support puppy mills.

  • Always visit the home of the person selling you a puppy. You should see a clean environment, and meet a person interested in improving the breed they're selling you.

  • Avoid buying puppies that were bred by backyard breeders. Dogs should not have bred "just for fun." Breeders should seem knowledgeable. Look for memberships to the American Kennel Club or another club with a code of breeding ethics.
  • Don't take a puppy home before the age of 8 weeks. Make sure puppies have all their shots. Never take home a puppy without learning how to care for it first.

  • Never punish a young puppy in a harsh method, hit it or shake it. Use positive reinforcement training techniques instead, offering treats for behavior you want the puppy to repeat.


  • Whenever possible, support shelters by adopting. They have puppies there too! Fostering a dog is another great way to show your support.
  • Think critically about training methods before applying them to your pet. Cesar Milan can work TV magic- but did you know that dominance theory is based on outdated research?

  • When you buy an animal, make a commitment to that animal for the rest of its life.

  • Don't buy an animal if there's a possibility you might be moving somewhere you couldn't take it. Don't buy an animal if you're in the middle of a divorce, or another major life change, or if you aren't 100 percent sure about it.
  • Follow laws and ordinances regarding animals in your area. If it's illegal to let your dog out without a leash, then follow that law.
  • Don't contribute to pet overpopulation. If you feel there's even a remote chance your dog could get pregnant or impregnate another dog, get it spayed or neutered.


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    • reptilia profile image

      Rachel 5 years ago

      Thanks, amirn! :)

    • amirn profile image

      amirn 5 years ago from NY

      great coverage, great hub!!


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