Obviously, deciding to get a dog is a huge step. Before you make any commitments, you really need to ensure that your home and your lifestyle are compatible with dog ownership. If you are certain that you can provide the level of care that a dog requires, you can begin to do some research into the different breeds. Finding the right dog breed for you is key. There are a lot of choices out there, which can feel a little overwhelming at times, especially if you have never had a dog before. This is why we have put together the following guide; let’s dive in.
There are a few things that you will want to explore during your initial research stages. If you have a few breeds in mind, you really need to learn as much about them as possible. Each breed has its own benefits and drawbacks, as well as being better suited to different lifestyles. It might make sense to try and meet those breeds; this might be easier said than done unless you know people who have those breeds or there is a local kennel or dog show that you can visit. Social media can also be an excellent resource by allowing you to get in touch with owners to discover what their experiences are.
It is also worth considering whether or not the breeds that you are interested in are more likely to be predisposed to health risks. Of course, this doesn’t mean that just because you choose a certain breed, it will definitely develop these conditions, but it is something to think about. For example, brachycephalic breeds are thought to be more likely to develop breathing problems. Brachycephalic breeds refers to any dog with a flattened face, like Pugs or Bulldogs. While this feature is often a selling point because it is cute, this is definitely something to keep in mind.
The next thing to think about is whether you want a pedigree or purebred as opposed to a crossbreed. A pedigree dog has a long, often traceable, lineage which proves that the dog is a purebred. This means that the dog is likely to be more predictable in its behavior, its looks and sometimes its health too. On the other hand, crossbreeds have parents from different breeds, and the resulting puppy tends to be more unpredictable. However, they do also tend to be more robust unless, of course, there is a history of similar illnesses in both parental lines.
Finally, the last thing that you will need to consider when undertaking your initial research is whether or not you want to rescue or buy from a breeder. While it is entirely possible to find a puppy from a rescue, it is more likely that you would be adopting a dog. If you want a puppy, you are more likely to have to buy one from a breeder. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options; it really depends on your preference.
Other Characteristics to Take into Account
Once your initial research is out of the way, you can start to think more about the specifics. Firstly, what gender dog do you want? Sometimes, gender can determine important characteristics like the size of the dog and even sometimes its personality traits. For example, males tend to be bigger than females, and female dogs can be more affectionate, although this is not to be relied upon. The size of the dog itself is also a notable consideration. Think about how much room you have and how much time you have to dedicate to walking it, as well as whether or not it would fit in with your family situation; for example, if you have young children, then a big dog can be a big undertaking.
Speaking of exercise, this is something that you will need to really think about. Some dogs require far more walking than others; dogs with more energy also need enrichment activities to ensure that they aren’t bored or unstimulated because this can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing. You will also need to think about the grooming needs that your preferred breed has. Some dogs require regular brushing and cutting, which does constitute an extra expense. Other dogs can be groomed at home. Some breeds are touted as being hypoallergenic and better for people with allergies, but again this is not definitive.
There are also certain breeds associated with certain behaviors. Some dogs are simply bred for their looks, others for their intelligence and others for their working ability. If you want a dog simply for companionship, then you will want to explore different breeds than you would if you wanted a dog that would act as a protector. For example, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are often chosen to be working dogs because they do share a few characteristics. However, there is also a difference between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois Retriever, outlined by Native Pet, who also have a plethora of other great resources and dog treats that you can buy.
It is also worth considering the color of the dog too. A crossbreed is obviously going to be harder to predict, but purebreds all tend to have a recognized color chart, and their color is heavily influenced by their parents. Some colors are rarer, and therefore purchasing them from a breeder is likely to cost more money because the puppy will be seen as more unique or unusual. Depending on where you live, you might also want to consider native breeds; there are several areas around the globe where the native breeds are considered vulnerable because of dwindling numbers. Finally, if you have children, or if this is likely to happen in the future, then you should also think about whether or not the breed is child-friendly. Of course, you will still need to make sure that you are prioritizing the safety of both the dog and your child, as well as teaching your child how to appropriately interact with the dog.
The Bottom Line
Finding the right breed is incredibly important to ensuring that you both have a long and happy life together. In addition to taking the time to choose the right breed of dog, you really need to take some time to think about whether or not you are genuinely ready to get a dog at this point in your life. Remember that a dog is a huge commitment, and you should not enter into it lightly.
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