7 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Dog Breed
There are so many dog breeds that it can seem impossible to choose the perfect pet. All dogs need care, exercise, and training, but there can be big differences between the many breeds. You’ll want to feel confident that you can meet your new friend’s needs while also enjoying time together in a way that suits your lifestyle.Here are some top tips to consider!
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
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1. Family-Friendly Breeds
Some breeds are known to be patient, tolerant, and loving towards younger members of the family. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Flat Coat Retrievers are often an excellent choice. Boxers and some Terriers, such as the Border Terrier, are traditionally loyal companions for the whole family.
Choose the right size of dog to fit your lifestyle. Some important factors to consider include your home/living situation, car, children’s ages, and yard or access to outdoor spaces for exercise. Consider who else might need to spend time with your dog or how you’ll find care if you’re away on vacation.
There is often a lot of size variation within breed groups, so be sure to do plenty of research to find your right match!
3. Consider Your Level of Activity
If you prefer to lounge around at home, a Greyhound or Whippet may be your breed of choice. Many other breeds are known for their laid-back nature and love nothing more than being your lap dog.
Alternatively, working dog breeds like the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd are full of energy. If you love the great outdoors, make sure to find a breed who’ll be your willing companion.
4. Grooming Needs
Some breeds require a lot of grooming while others are very low maintenance. Grooming may involve frequent brushing at home or regular appointments with your dog groomer.
Be sure to research your favorite breed’s individual needs. For example, Alaskan Malamutes have a very thick coat and shed twice a year. Shar-Peis have lots of skin folds that require regular and careful cleaning to prevent skin infections. Newfoundlands have droopy lips and tend to drool a lot.
5. Hypoallergenic Breeds
Human pet allergies can be difficult to manage and may prevent dog ownership. In this situation, Poodles and Poodle crosses (Labradoodle, Cavapoo, etc.) may be just what you’re looking for. They don’t shed much hair, are good family pets, and come in all shapes and sizes, including miniature breeds. Check out the American Kennel Club’s website to find out more about hypoallergenic breeds.
6. Looking for a Highly Intelligent Breed?
For those looking to train their dogs to do a special job, intelligence is key. Man’s best friend can perform many incredible tasks. You may want to train a mountain rescue dog, drug detection dog, agility champion, or a working farm dog. Border Collies are very clever and really enjoy working with their owners. Spaniels, German Shepherd Dogs, and Pointers are also top of the class when it comes to learning certain jobs.
7. Worried About Health Risks?
Some breeds are predisposed to certain diseases and, unfortunately, have a shortened life expectancy because of this. Brachycephalic breeds (those with short noses), such as Bulldogs and Pugs, can suffer from breathing difficulties and a variety of other conditions. Giant breeds like Great Danes and Mastiffs are more likely to encounter joint and bone problems.
Many purebred dogs have an inherent risk of certain diseases because of their genetics. The winner of the healthiest dog category frequently goes to mix-breeds. Our adorable mutts are often the fittest and longest-lived of all dogs.
Once you have a list of favorite breeds, try to meet them in person. Chat with friends and family who own some of these breeds. Visit sporting events or club meetings. Speak with your vet for recommendations and tips. And don’t forget to visit local shelters, where you can meet a wide variety of dogs that need a loving home!
Do you have more questions about dog breeds, or any other aspect of pet care?
Book a video appointment to chat with one of our vets.