Choosing the Right Dog Breed for Your Family

How do I go about picking the right dog for my family? It seems like such a simple question, but any dog owner will tell you that every dog has their own unique personality, and there are traits and quirks associated with every breed of dog.  

Before bringing a dog home, there are several factors you should consider what breed of pup will work the best with your family and lifestyle. 

1. Do you have children, or do you plan to have children? 

If you have young children, it is preferable that you select a breed that is known for being compatible with children. For example, Labradors and Golden Retrievers are famous for being lovable and great with children, whereas breeds such as the Chihuahua and Akita generally don’t get along as well with kids. There are exceptions to every rule though, so this doesn’t necessarily mean that all dogs in that breed will fit the profile. It’s very possible to have a retriever that doesn’t love kids or a Chihuahua that does. 

2. What is your activity level, and where do you live?

Choose a breed that will complement your energy level, lifestyle, and where you live. If you want a dog that loves going on walks and being active, an English Bulldog, which is largely sedentary and lazy, probably isn’t for you. If you live in an apartment with not a lot of room for exercise, getting a larger or highly active breed probably doesn’t make sense for you, but if you have a house with a yard, getting a breed that loves to run and stretch its legs is ideal.  

3. What age of dog do you want, and what will the dog’s size be upon maturity?

There are plenty of reasons to get dogs either when they are puppies or when they are older. Determine what age of dog will work best for you. Puppies will be high energy and require a lot of training and consistency, whereas an older dog will likely already be trained and most likely be a bit calmer. Dog size will vary vastly by breed. Some dogs never even reach 10 pounds, while some larger breeds of dogs can weigh in at well over 100 pounds and stand as tall as a small horse.  

4. What are the nutritional and grooming needs of the dog?

Some dogs are prone to health issues and may have special dietary needs. Additionally, some breeds, such as poodles, need regular grooming to keep their coats from becoming matted. If you can not afford to meet the dietary, health or grooming needs of a particular breed, you should consider a breed that requires less maintenance. You’ll also want to consider how much the dog will shed and, if so, how much and if that will have an effect on any allergy sufferers in your home.

Use these guidelines, and you’re sure to find the perfect dog match for your family!