So, you have weighed all the pros and cons and decided that a dog is the right pet for you and your household. Congratulations! Now for the hard part, finding the perfect dog match for you. There are so many choices out there and it can be hard to decide what breed or type would be best.
To start off with, let’s look at your life. You need to think about things like where you live, what you like to do, how much you are home, and whether you can devote time to grooming and training.
Are you active and outdoorsy?
If you love the great outdoors and want to share it with your dog, consider some of the sporting, working or herding breeds like the retrievers, spaniels, shepherds, collies or northern breeds. Terriers, like the energetic Jack Russell, can also fit the bill. You should understand that each of these types of dogs offer something different in the way they bond with you. For instance, while Golden Retrievers have been called ‘velcro dogs’ because they always want to be near you, some of the herding breeds enjoy a little more independence and are happiest when they have a ‘job’.
Dogs bred to hunt and run will enjoy doing just that, but careful training is required for some of the hounds, terriers and running dogs like Siberian Huskies. So, before you let them run off leash, make sure you have trained a reliable recall. To start, you might be better off jogging with some of these breeds on a leash.
As far as a home life goes, consider how much space you have to share with a dog. How much outside space do you have? How much time do you have to devote to your canine pal? Let that be your guide to finding the perfect companion.
Are you happy with taking a walk once or twice a day?
If you would consider yourself to be a moderately active person, but are not constantly outdoors, the following breeds could be a good match for you.
Interestingly, some of the giant breeds might be a good fit, like the Great Pyrenees or Leonberger. Other large breeds like Great Danes or Greyhounds who might seem like they need a ton of space, can get along quite nicely in a condo or apartment with a couple of leash walks a day.
Some of the calmer terrier breeds like the Airedale, Scottish terriers or Sealyham or Cesky terriers would also match a more relaxed lifestyle. Miniature poodles are also popular choices, as are Beagles, Schnauzers, Shetland Sheepdogs and Dachshunds.
Are you older or less active?
Maybe you are older or less active and just don’t have the energy or ability to expend walking and exercising a dog multiple times a day? In this case, many of the smaller breeds like French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, Papillons, Chihuahuas, and Boston Terriers do just fine in a mostly indoor setting. Some dogs like the Pekinese really prefer to be a couch ornament. Also, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are sparky little dogs who make excellent family pets and do well in smaller environments, but can still enjoy a run at the park or a long walk.
If you are set on a breed or type of dog that maybe just doesn’t suit your quieter lifestyle, consider adopting or rescuing a senior citizen of that breed. Senior dogs still require exercise but less so, and you will be giving them a loving forever home.
Research and don’t rush
Don’t forget, the internet is full of sites that will help you choose the right dog for you. Most of them will choose purebreds, but never forget that there are thousands of dogs in shelters and rescues that are just waiting for their forever homes! Many of them are purebred, but most often they are mixed breeds. It’s good to remember that a mixed breed dog will give some hint of his heritage just by his appearance and behaviours, so you will have some idea what to expect when you bring him home.
Most importantly, take your time when you are looking for your perfect match. There is no reason to hurry and the chances are better for a successful match if you don’t rush things. The perfect dog is out there for you somewhere!
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- Carrie and Cliff