Adopting a dog is likely going to be the best thing that you have ever done in your life. Seriously. There really is nothing else like the bond between canine and owner. Having a dog around can truly enrich your life. However, deciding to open your heart and home to a dog is the easy part, finding the right breed of dog for your specific lifestyle is a whole other story. As much as breed characteristics can vary, so too can their needs and wants. The majority of the abandoned pets in shelters were given up due to an imperfect fit. The simple fact that you are here means that you are going about the process in the right way. The following guide is going to teach you exactly how to choose the right breed of dog for your lifestyle.
Consider the Chemistry:
What a lot of people do not realize is that the personality of the dog can be just as important as breed, if not more so. Each canine, regardless of their technical breed, is individual with their own individual wants and needs. Matching your personality with that of your potential new four-legged friend is super relevant. For example, if you are a high energy person, with a highly active lifestyle, you are probably not going to want to adopt a Basset Hound. Dog ownership is a lifetime commitment, or, at least, it should be. Find a fur-ever friend that will fit into your life.
Active Lifestyle VS Laid Back One:
Speaking of high energy lifestyle, or lack thereof, whatever breed that you choose needs to be amenable to your lifestyle. If you are a workaholic and rarely home, you likely want to stay away from breeds that need a lot of attention. For instance, a boxer is probably not a good idea as they are not known for being the most solitary animals – they prefer to be in someone’s face or lap.
The Environment Should Be Taken Into Account:
This is a big one. Although preference and lifestyle are going to play a big role in your decision, the dog’s potential home environment also needs to be considered. Living in an apartment, house, with kids or without, other pets in the home or not, big yard or no yard – these are all things that need consideration before bringing your new friend home.
Patience is a Virtue:
Bringing home a new furry family member is an exciting time, there’s no doubt about that. But, as much as you want to rush into it, grabbing the first adorable furball that you see, patience is most definitely a virtue in this scenario. Take your time. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Be sure that whichever pooch you choose is going to fit well within your family.
Why Compatibility is So Important:
According to statistics released by the ASPCA, approximately 1.5 million (yes, million) animals are put to sleep each year in the U.S alone. Unfortunately, many pet owners fail to do their due diligence and end up having to surrender their animals. There are far too many unwanted, homeless dogs that are in need of fur-ever homes. Let’s not add to the list.
The financial aspects of adopting a dog should also be considered. Certain dog breeds are more prone to health issues than others. Not to mention, regardless of breed, many pets tend to have medical problems as they age. The long-term financial aspects must be considered before making a commitment. Larger breeds, like Great Danes or German Shepherds, are predisposed to develop hip dysplasia, while smaller breeds can suffer from patella luxation (where the kneecap dislocates or can be manipulated), both of which can require expensive surgery to correct.
Factor In the Future:
Dogs, depending on breed and overall health, have been known to live for 20 years or even more. Adding a new furry family member is for life. Therefore future plans should be taken into account. Are you planning on having children? Moving to a completely different climate? Changing careers? All these questions (and more) should be asked before deciding on a pet. Animals, dogs, in particular, get incredibly connected to their human family. Being ripped away from all that you know because you no longer fit in, is cruel and unnecessary, and can cause health issues such as depression, in your canine friend.
General Recommendation Guide:
Although the dogs’ unique personalities will more than likely come into play, the following guide will give you a general idea of what type of breed that you should be looking for based on your needs and ultimately your lifestyle.
- German Shepherd: German Shepherds make excellent pets, especially for those with an active lifestyle. They enjoy doing high energy activities with their favorite humans and are incredibly smart and easy to train.
- Labrador: Both Black and Yellow Labs are high energy and intelligent. They love nothing more than spending an energetic day by their person’s side.
- Border Collie: What better jogging companion than Lassie herself (himself)? Border Collies are extremely intelligent and enjoy keeping busy. They make the perfect fit for a busy and active lifestyle.
- Basset Hound: These guys are super laid-back. They make the perfect companion to lounge on the couch with. Plus the short legs and over-sized ears make the Basset Hound one of the cutest pups on the list.
- Greyhound: They are incredibly fast but when they aren’t on the track, Greyhounds happen to be one of the most laid-back breeds around. They, of course, need appropriate exercise but are otherwise pretty easy-going.
- Bulldog: These adorably smooshy-faced dogs are certainly cute and they make excellent sidekicks – so long as it does not require too much physical activity that is. Thanks in part to being a brachycephalic breed with shortened nasal passages, these handsome guys don’t do well with strenuous exercise but they paw-sitively thrive when just hanging out on the sofa 🙂
- Boxer: Although the Boxer breed could fit nicely into a number of different lifestyles – they make great pets for households with (well-behaved) children – being playful is kind of the name of their game. They love to run, play, and keep you on your toes but they are also a highly protective breed and no how to get down to business when necessary.
- Jack Russell Terrier: Or any terrier breed, really. The cute Jack Russell is a little guy filled to the brim with fun, playful energy. They can need a lot of attention, as they don’t do well when left to their own devices but are great for basically any type of family environment.
- Beagle: Beagles were made for hunting however that energy can also be channeled into lots of playing. Beagles love to interact and socialize, not only with other dogs but with their human counterparts as well. If you want a pooch that will never tire of playing, then this is the breed for you. Be aware that Beagles are known for developing separation anxiety.
- Saint Bernard: Who doesn’t love Beethoven (the breed, although the man himself was also quite extraordinary)?? These guys are huge and need a lot of space, but they are truly one of the best dogs for a family home. They are loyal, loving, protective, and do very well with kids.
- Golden Retriever: Not only are Golden Retrievers stunningly beautiful (after all they are one of the top show quality breeds), but they are also one of the best breeds for families.
- Dachshund: And, for our little guy representation, the Dachshund, or Weiner dog, is relatively calm, fairly easy to train, and they get along great with small children. Although, keep in mind that the smaller the breed the more supervision is necessary when interacting with little kids. This is to avoid injury.
- Chihuahua: Despite their small stature, Chihuahua’s have so much personality. They are fiercely loyal and highly protective. They aren’t ideal for homes with small children but make an excellent companion for a single household.
- Australian Shepherd: This cattle dog is not only smart, but they also build very strong bonds with their ‘person’. They tend to attach to one person in the home making them a terrific option for singles.
- Great Dane: As the dog version of a horse, these lovable giants need quite a bit of space, and preferably a backyard to run around in. They do make excellent solo companions as they are both protective and loyal.
The Main Takeaway:
Looks aren’t everything. Just because you like the appearance of a certain breed, it does not mean that it will be a good match for you and your lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to take your time and never go into it with preconceived notions. Instead of searching for a specific breed, get to know the pups, their personalities, when the chemistry is right, you will most certainly know it. Have fun and good luck – no matter the breed you’re in for a woof-tastic ride!