If you and your family are thinking about getting a dog, remember that there are plenty of factors to consider. Getting a dog is a big responsibility, one that is akin to adopting another child. If you have kids, this is a value you need to instill in them as well.
One of the biggest considerations is what kind of dog breed you should get. All dogs are precious and valuable, but not all dog breeds are the same. Dog breeds have various personalities and needs that may or may not match your family’s lifestyle. Here are the kinds of dog breeds that can fit your family. Here are some tips on finding the best dog breed for your family.
Factors to consider
Dog breeds have different temperaments, sizes, and energy levels. The American Kennel Club released a specific classification for dog breeds, and they’re categorized into seven types:
- Herding dogs, which are known for assisting shepherds in herding and protecting livestock. Some examples include collie and German shepherd.
- Working dogs, which are known for being smart, observant, and physically strong. They are known for being good at guarding their masters. Some examples include Doberman, Siberian Husky, and Great Dane.
- Hounds, which are renowned for being a favorite group of breeds. Ancestors commonly used them as assistants in hunting. Some examples include Dachshund and Irish wolfhound.
- Toy dogs, which are also favorites by pet owners since they are more delicate and cuter. They are perfect for families that tend to be calmer and peaceful since these dogs are too small to compete with boisterous kids. Some examples include chihuahua and Maltese.
- Sporting dogs, which are known for being alert and active—perfect for families who love sports and be physically active. Some examples include Labrador and golden retriever.
- Terriers, which are intelligent, good-natured, and confident. Some examples include Dandie Dinmont terrier and Irish terrier.
- Non-sporting dogs, which are more diverse and have different coats, sizes, appearances, and personalities. Some examples include Lhasa apso, chow chow, and french bulldog.
When looking into the types of breeds you’re interested in, do your due diligence and research on everything about them: How big they’re going to get, their energy levels, and the kind of attention they need regularly.
Questions to ask
Here are some questions to ask before you settle on a decision:
- How is the physical health of your family? Is anyone asthmatic or allergic to dog hair? How about everyone’s mental state? Is everyone capable of having a dog around and being part of this dog’s life?
- What is the family’s fitness and energy level? Does your family love the great outdoors? If yes, you might want a dog that can accompany you on your jogs, long walks, and hikes.
- What are the dog’s maintenance needs? What is the long-term care that your family can accommodate and prioritize? For example, dogs that grow hair pretty quickly will always need to be taken to the groomers. Can your family’s schedule handle that? Another example is a breed that needs training. Will you be able to take them to dog training boot camp? Identifying if your family can accommodate the breed’s short and long-term care is crucial to settle on a breed.
- What is your family’s lifestyle? As parents, will you create a schedule that will teach your kids how to care for another living being?
- How big are your house and your yard? Can it accommodate the breed that you want?
- What does your day-to-day life look like?
Answering all these questions may seem intimidating, but having these day-to-day realities sorted out is crucial to providing your dog the care it needs. It’s important to be realistic about the level of commitment you and your family can give right now because it will help you determine the best kind of breed for your family’s current season in life.
Adopt, don’t shop
Here’s another important note: Please consider adopting instead of shopping. Going the adoption route is the kinder path that helps people rescue dogs who need a home. Rescuing dogs is so important because every year, there are an estimated 1.5 million dogs and cats euthanized in the United States.
At the same time, it can help breeders and puppy mills go out of business. These breeding businesses are not always the most ethically-run places because they prioritize profit over caring for the animals. I promise you that it’s possible to find the breed you want, even from shelters and rescue homes.