How to Choose a Dog Breed

choosing a dog breed
choosing a dog breed

So you’ve decided to bring a new pup into your home? The next step is to choose a dog breed for you! Choosing a new pup is an extremely exciting decision and a lot of thought needs to go into it. You might already have a breed in mind that you know you’ll love, but it’s important to make sure you’ve considered all the characteristics when you come to choose a dog breed. This will mean you are absolutely sure that you can care for them properly and they suit your lifestyle.

 On the other hand, you might have no clue which breed is for you, and that’s absolutely fine!. And there are so many to choose from! Try narrowing it down by finding which characteristics will suit you best and go from there. Regardless of if you have a breed in mind or have no ideas yet, check out these important things to consider when you choose a dog breed. 

Size

Dogs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, meaning there is a huge variety to decide between! When choosing a dog breed, one of the most important factors to consider is the size that your dog will be when fully grown. While it is important to remember that every dog is different, size can affect your dog’s temperament and behaviour, as well as the amount of space they require and will take up in your home. Ask your vet what size of dog breed is right for your living situation.

It is also important to find the side of dog that suits you best as a person. Large dogs can be incredibly strong, so it is important to find a dog that you can comfortably control and handle while out in public or on walks.

Large dogs can also be more energetic and have greater exercise requirements than small dogs, even though this isn’t always the case! Therefore, it is important to consider if you have enough outdoor space or ability to walk large dogs very regularly to keep them happy! However, don’t be under the illusion that all small dogs are always calm and gentle. This isn’t always the case! Some small and medium sized dogs can be very energetic and require a lot of exercise too, while some large breeds can be calm, gentle giants. Every breed and individual dog is different! 

So, while size doesn’t mean that other characteristics like temperament and energy level is certain, it is still important to consider. Make sure you have the space and ability to look after the size of your chosen dog. This can also depend on your experience as a dog owner! An easy dog to train and handle might be much better suited to a first-time dog owner. Regardless of the characteristics of the dog you are looking for, make sure to thoroughly research them before you come to choose a dog breed!

Lifespan

Although it’s not something that is often considered when many people come to choose a dog breed, different breeds of dog can vary significantly in their life expectancy. Large mountain dogs such as St Bernard’s can only have a life expectancy of 7 years, whereas many other breeds can live until 15 or 16 years old. 

This is a very important factor as you must be sure that you can commit to caring for a dog for this length of time, including when they reach their old age. Similarly, if you have very young children, you may want a dog with a longer lifespan which they can grow up with. This will give them the best chance to make as many memories as possible with their childhood pet. They will also be able to learn responsibility towards animals which they could carry with them for life, while giving them a great love of dogs! 

Bereavement of a pet may be the first loss your children must face, and although the time this will come is never certain, you may wish to consider the stage of life they will be when it is most likely that they will face this. Similarly, if you are looking for a dog while you are in a later stage of life, you may not be able to commit to dogs with extremely long lifespan.

Temperament

The temperament of your dog can be a very significant thing to consider when choosing the breed for you. While every dog is different and not all dogs of each breed have the same temperament, some breeds are thought to be likely to have certain characteristics compared to others. Always remember, every individual dog is different!

Some dogs have playful and energetic temperaments while being extremely gentle and loving. This makes them perfect for families with children looking for an excitable playmate! It is important to choose a gentle and affectionate dog if you have children and want them to be a close family pet. This will make sure that your children’s possibly first encounter with a family pet is the best it can be.

However, elderly people searching for a companion may be better suited to low-maintenance, calm lapdogs which do not need as much time playing or exercising. Some dogs are particularly good at being calm and not hugely active indoors. This is likely to be something that an elderly owner will find more manageable when caring for their dog at home. Just make sure you can give them enough exercise outdoors to keep them happy!

Some dog breeds may be better adapted to living alongside other dogs or even pets such as cats or some may be better with strangers. This is important if you are looking for a guard dog compared to if you want to take your dog out in public often or to work where they are likely to encounter lots of unfamiliar people.

Shedding

The amount of shedding you can expect from your dog can be predicted largely by their breed! Some new dog owners assume that, the longer the fur, the higher the amount of shedding. But this isn’t always true! The type of fur itself as well as the thickness and the breed of dog can all contribute to the level of fur your dog could be losing! 

Fur shedding can also come at different times of year depending on the breed. For example, some dogs shed seasonally compared to all year round. Make sure you research your chosen breed thoroughly or ask a vet to find out exactly what you should expect when it comes to fur shedding! These are just some of the groups with distinct shedding patterns that your breed could fall into:

Seasonal shedding dogs:

Some dogs can shed around twice a year. This is because they have both a winter and summer coat which they shed in preparation for the next one. This means that, while they might shed a substantial amount during these times, you’ll know when to expect it and get the vacuum cleaner out! Most commonly, these breeds will shed their winter coat close to the beginning of spring in preparation for gaining their summer coat. Similarly, their summer coat is often shed in autumn in preparation for their winter coat.

All-year-round shedding dogs:

Some dogs don’t follow the same seasonal shedding pattern that other breeds do. Alternatively, they will shed consistently throughout the year. While for some breeds this is only a small amount, for others this can be constant and relatively substantial! 

Water dogs:

Water dogs are a group of breeds which characteristically shed no or very little fur. Examples of these include poodles, with short curls which do not often shed throughout the year. While this is a popular feature of these breeds and will save you a lot of time with vacuuming and cleaning up after them, this can make them a challenge to groom! They often require more regular and specific grooming methods to make sure their coat is kept neat and healthy!

Grooming

This is another feature which depends largely on the type of fur your chosen breed has, similar to their level of fur shedding. This should also be considered when choosing the right dog breed for you, as some dogs may demand much more time to be spent with regular grooming or even trips to a professional dog groomers!

Some dogs only needs simple regular grooming with a simple dog brush to keep their coat neat and healthy. However, some breeds will need much more care. For example, water dogs such as poodles which do not shed much fur, need much more attention paying to their coat! This will mean more time spent grooming them as well as the possible need for more specialist grooming equipment. Alternatively, some dogs may even need regular trips to a professional grooming company to keep on top of keeping their coat neat and healthy!

Energy

Along with size, the energy level of your new dog is also an important thing to consider when you choose a dog breed. High energy dogs will need more outdoor space to expend this energy and an owner who can dedicate time to giving them frequent and longer walks. More energetic dogs are also likely to be much more playful which may be a great quality for families with children looking for an energetic playmate! However, this might mean you require a dog walker during the day if you are out at work or for reasonable lengths of time to make sure they can get the exercise they need!

You might be looking for a calmer and more low maintenance companion for your retirement years or if you live in a smaller space. If this sounds like you, then a low energy dog is definitely a good choice!

More energetic dogs may also require more toys or stimulation to keep them happy. There are plenty of games you can play with your dog to keep both of you happy and give your energetic dog some much needed exercise. But before investing in a high energy dog, make sure you can give them the exercise and attention they need. Always be sure to look into exactly how energetic your chosen breed is likely to be so you know what to expect!

Family and Other Pets

Who your new pup will be living with or likely to come across regularly can be very important when you come come to choose a dog breed for your lifestyle. If you’re thinking of introducing a dog to your family home with children, choosing a child friendly dog is essential. This will not only help to make sure that your children and their new pup will get on well, but hopefully give them a love of dogs for the rest of their lives! Make sure to never leave children unattended with a dog.

Another important consideration is if you already have other pets in your house. Some dog breeds generally get along much better with other dogs and other animals than others. If you have other pets, make sure you’re going to be getting a dog breed that is going to be friendly with them for a happy household!

Temperature Tolerance

This factor is something that will be heavily dependent on where you live! Some dogs are better adapted to cold, hot or both conditions than others. This will heavily impact their ability to tolerate living in certain environments. This makes it very important to consider where you live or are likely to live during your dog’s lifetime depending on their temperature tolerance level. 

Some dogs with high tolerance to cold temperatures will not be well suited to warmer conditions and vice versa. This is an incredibly important thing to consider to make sure your pup is happy, comfortable and healthy wherever you live! Make sure to ask a vet about how to keep your dog healthy and at the right temperature.

Cost

Regardless of the size of breed of your pup, all dogs have certain requirements that can add up in cost! It is important to make sure that you are able to supply your new pup with everything they might need throughout their life before investing in the dog them-self. Here’s a checklist of just some of the things that you might have to pay for when having a dog, but there could be more depending on your dog or your circumstances:

  • Dog food and treats
  • Collars with information tags and a lead
  • A puppy crate
  • Dog beds as they grow to different sizes
  • Toys
  • Vets bills and medication
  •  Bowls for food and water
  • Grooming equipment or professional groomers
  • Dog sitters or those to look after you dog when you go away or are at work

However, these costs may vary depending on the breed you choose. For example, larger dogs may require more food and larger beds as they grow. Some breeds such as water dogs, including poodles, may have greater grooming requirements. This may mean investing in more grooming equipment or even sending them to a professional groomer more regularly than other dog breeds. More active or intelligent dogs may require more to keep them entertained such as specialist toys. Some dogs are also prone to more and different health issues which can require more and more regular veterinary care.

While the cost of supplies for your new dog is something that every owner needs to consider, the cost of your chosen breed itself is also important. Many breeds vary in the cost of puppies depending on a variety of factors and even how far you’ll need to travel to get them. 

Final Thoughts

Finding the right dog breed for you is an incredibly exciting decision. The likelihood is, you’ll want to do a lot of research to make sure your chosen pup is the perfect one for your lifestyle! So whatever your requirements for a dog breed, with a little research into these factors, you can easily find the dog for you when you come to choose a dog breed!

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