Owning a dog can add a tremendous amount of love and joy to your life and the life of your family. Not to mention the enhanced quality of life you will experience by owning a dog - or two. However, it's extremely important that the breed of dog you choose is the right fit for your household. Otherwise, you may be getting a little more than you bargained for. But how exactly do you go about choosing the perfect dog for your family?
Research Different Breeds
The first thing you should do is head over to the AKC.org website, or talk with your veterinarian, to learn about the different traits and characteristics for each of the many breeds. Why is this important? Different types of dog breeds have different needs, as does your family; therefore, choosing the right breed could mean the difference between a happy union or one that is wrought with distress.
Assessing Your Family's Lifestyle
There are several things to consider while narrowing down the right dog breed for you and your family.
1. Energy Level - Does your family include a younger generation with a high energy level and one that enjoys a multitude of outdoor activities? Or is your household an older and/or quiet environment with a low level of activity?
It's important to find a dog that matches your lifestyle. For example, you may not want a large breed puppy, if there won't be anyone home all day, every day to care for a large energetic dog. Otherwise, your new dog may end up chewing everything in sight, turning your life into a stressful environment for both of you. Whereas, choosing the right age and breed of dog would make your life more rewarding than you could have ever dreamed possible.
2. Grooming Needs - In many ways, having a dog is like raising a child. You have to feed, water and groom a dog properly, if you want him to live a long healthy life.
Some dogs require much more care and upkeep than others. And that includes having to deal with pet hair and pet odors that are common among different types of dogs. For example, many breeds smell and shed constantly and will therefore require continual upkeep, which includes bathing, brushing and vacuuming your home more frequently, whereas some breeds don't shed at all.
3. Other Things To Consider - There are plenty of things to consider before finalizing your decision about which breed is the right fit for you and your family.
- Do you have kids? If so, what are their ages?
- Size - do you live in a house with a yard, or an apartment?
- Do you have allergies?
- What is the age of dog you are considering?
- Can you afford dog food and veterinary care such as: annual vaccines and flea and heartworm treatments, etc?
Where To Adopt Your Dog?
The best place to go once you have chosen the perfect breed for your family is the nearest pet rescue center, SPCA or animal shelter. There are so many homeless animals that will be euthanized if they aren't adopted. All animal shelters and rescue organizations assess each dog to determine their probable breed, personality and other traits that will help you decide whether or not they are a good fit for your family.
Unfortunately, if you buy a dog from a pet store or breeder, you won't usually receive any insight about potential problems, such as inbreeding, unhealthy conditions and diseases, etc. that could end up being a problem later on down the road.
The Bottom Line
Once you have adopted the newest member of your family, it won't take long before you love that dog as if it were your own child. And at that point, it won't matter if he is a full breed, a mixed breed or anything else! Because you now have an inseparable bond that no one can break and an unconditional love that only your dog can give!