Pets can be a wonderful addition to a family, as long as you find the right fit. Dogs come in many breeds, and all have their charms as well as their drawbacks. Finding out which dog breed is a right fit for your family and its lifestyle is very important. The wrong dog can create tension, destruction and eventually end up in a shelter, which are already overcrowded as it is.
First, you should consider whether or not you want a purebred, or mixed breed animal. Families should be encouraged to check their local animal shelters for a mixed breed dog to adopt, before they shell out large amounts of money for a purebred dog. Adopting from a shelter will save the life of a dog that would otherwise end up euthanized.
Second, consider the size of your home and the amount of energy that you have to spend with a dog. Large breed puppies can be very exuberant and are occasionally very clumsy. Improperly trained, these puppies can also be very damaging to your home, so you might want to consider crating.
Next, how social is your family? If you are always coming and going then you will need a dog that does not mind a little alone time. Remember though, dogs, no matter how independent, they do need some interaction or they will develop behavioral issues. If you do not have any time at all to spare, skip the dog.
After figuring out the basic size and social needs of a potential dog, you will need to figure out the general temperament of the breed as well as their individual needs. Some dogs need minimal grooming for instance, while others need to see the doggy beautician more often than a pageant contestant. If girly frou-frou is not for you, skip the poodles, the Afghans and the other high maintenance puppy dogs. Some are shedders, but that can be minimized with frequent brushing. (Some dogs will actually let you run the upholstery attachment of your vacuum over them, but many will not.) Energetic families need energetic doggies, and laid-back people need laid-back pups. Make sure that the dog you are looking at will be happy in your home. Read up on the breed you are interested in and rate the level of potential fit. This is a long-term commitment we are talking about so don’t just fall for the first pair of big brown eyes that bat at you.
Finally, remember, no one dog is always going to be the perfect representative of their breed all of the time. Do not get stuck on the accepted stereotype of the breed, and never get a pet sight unseen. Interact with your potential puppy and spend some real time with him. Make sure that all family members get a chance to meet the dog, and vice versa. Hopefully it is a tail wagging, love at first sight connection for everybody.
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