How To Pick The Perfect Dog Breed

by Kelly Marshall

There are so many factors to picking the perfect dog breed and everyone will emphasize one factor or another in their selection process. Generally it is recommended by most breeders and professional trainers to try to match a breed to your lifestyle, rather than simply choosing a dog and trying to match your lifestyle to their needs and temperament.

There are general characteristics that each breed has although not all dogs within the breed will exhibit these characteristics to the same degree or in the same manner. Mixed breed dogs are more challenging when trying to predict the various attributes as there is no way to know which breed characteristics they will favor for each trait.

Generally the most important considerations for choosing the right breed of dog include:

  • Size - avoid getting a dog based on his or her size as a puppy. Many of the very large breeds are relatively small as puppies, but quickly grow much larger than your house or apartment can manage. If you have a large fenced yard and a bigger living area either a large, medium or small dog would be fine. If you live in an apartment or smaller house perhaps a medium to small dog is best. For those that live in very small spaces a toy or miniature breed is likely the best choice.
  • Breed type - various breeds have been bred and developed for hundreds of years or longer to perform various tasks for humans. Don't expect to choose a breed that is a hunting breed and not expect some difficulty in helping it understand not to chase the cats or other pets in your yard. In addition working, herding or guarding dogs will also have natural tendencies that may or may not work with your lifestyle.
  • Exercise level - each breed has its own general exercise level that is not necessarily based on size. There are some small to medium breeds that require a lot of activity and exercise whereas some of the larger or giant breeds are very sedate and calm dogs requiring little exercise.
  • Health concerns - almost all breeds have some genetic health concerns but clearly understanding all the issues before deciding on the breed is important. Buying from a reputable breeder will eliminate most of the issues but there is still the chance that health conditions may arise with the breed.
  • Experience with dogs - some breeds tend to do better with a more experienced dog owner as they may be stubborn, headstrong, or even naturally very dominant. Breeders and information from breed associations can help you decide if the breed is right for you if it is a challenging dog to train or work with.
  • Tolerance of children - if you have children in your home or are planning on having children it is very important to ensure the breed you are selecting is a "child-friendly" breed. Some dogs just naturally love being around kids whereas others are less likely to be a good combination or match.

Research the breed of dog that you are interested in looking for both challenges and benefits to raising the dog. Pay close attention to the temperament of the dog as well as if the breed tolerates being left alone or if it requires constant attention. Doing your homework and selecting the perfect breed of dog will ensure a good fit and will help you find just the dog you are looking for.


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