Selecting the Right Dog


Making the decision of what kind of dog you should get is as crucial as making the decision to get a dog in the first place. 


Every breed is unique in appearance, energy level, temperament (or personality) and needs. It is important to thorough research to determine which breed of dog is the right fit for you and your family. 


There are six key elements of responsibility as a new dog owner that you should consider:


1. Temperament or Personality

Consider the activity level of the dog that you are considering - is it a passive and  subdued or is it very energetic? Is it resolute or trained without difficulty? Is the dog curious and friendly when meeting other dogs and people, or one that is fearful of strangers? Dogs need lots of attention and activity to avoid becoming bored and destructive. Is the dog comfortable being left alone or does it require monitoring by way of a dog sitter or doggy daycare? You and your family will be living with this dog for a long time so you need to make sure that it's a dog you can live with and that can live happily with your routine as well.


2. Male or Female?

Typically, there is no major difference in temperament between male or female dogs. If you plan to show and/or breed your dog, you must be vary cautious to prevent any unintended breeding by keeping an intact male isolated from a female as she comes into season. Females go into heat twice a year. If you're getting a dog as a pet, then you'll want to have it spayed or neutered when the dog is old enough to do so. 


3. Age of Dog - Puppy or Adult?

Let's face it, puppies are adorably cute. The benefits of raising a puppy are that you can provide the necessary early socialization, training and desensitization that it needs every step of the way. The drawback is that training a puppy requires a substantial amount of patience, not to mention time. If your family is busy with lots of extra activities outside of the home you should consider that puppies cannot be left unattended for more than a few hours at a time. They require frequent feedings, lots of playtime with their new family and ample trips outside. Adult dogs generally have fewer immediate needs and can be the best choice for a family with a busy schedule. Adult dogs can be obtained from breeders or adopted from rescue groups. Adult dogs tend to be already housebroken, know basic obedience skills and tend to be more subdued.


4. Size

Be sure to look beyond the cuteness of that adorable "little" puppy and remember that puppies grow up. How big will the puppy be when it grows up? Larger dogs require more food, space to run outside and sufficient room inside your home as well. Small dogs require a sufficient amount of room to run as well to eliminate built up energy.     


5. Grooming Requirements

Just like people, dogs need to be bathed and groomed regularly to stay healthy. Short-haired dogs are easier to care for than long-haired dogs. A short-haired (or hairless) dog may need additional protection in cold or rainy weather. This could be in the form of additional shelter or clothing apparel items. Dogs with lots of hair may require special grooming with meticulous professional grooming and  trimming. Almost all dogs shed - some more that others, some all year round. Consider the amount of hair you're willing to put up with and the grooming expenses that your budget can handle when selecting your dog.


6. Health, Veterinary Expenses and Pet Insurance

Educate yourself regarding any inherent diseases or conditions to the breed of dog you are considering. Some breeds are prone to hip displaysia, eye problems and require screening or special testing. The results of these certifications for the Sire and the Dam should be made available to you upon request when inquiring about a puppy. Being educated can help you alleviate future issues that you might otherwise not be aware of. Pet Health Insurance is a wise and responsible choice when planning for the healthcare needs of your dog. Accidents, illnesses and injuries can occur at anytime no matter how well you care for your dog. 


Now that you've considered the key elements in selecting a dog you'll want to consider all your options in choice of breed. You can search for the perfect breed of choice at the AKC (American Kennel Club) Alphabetical List of Breeds.


You should also consider attending an All-Breed Dog Show to see the many breeds and speak with breeders, that are dedicated to the welfare of their chosen breed. You can also contact your local kennel club for area breeder referrals and additional resources. To search for an upcoming dog show in your area go to the Event Search on the AKC website.


See you at the show!

If your dog is not a purebred check out AKC MIXED BREED PROGRAMS


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