By Deb Young
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to bring a furry four-footed pooch into your home, making you an instant hero to your kids.
But before you settle on a breed, there are important lifestyle considerations to weigh, as each breed brings its own personality and needs to the mix.
A dog is a dog right?
No… Choosing a dog that suits you and your families needs and lifestyle is important.
Things to think about…
Are you and your family willing to make a 10 – 15 year commitment to this Dog?
How much room do you have & what age and size of dog is best for you?
So you have big back yard, then you can choose a dog that needs space to run, or if you have a small apartment, maybe you should stick to one of the toy breeds; but trust me, exercise needs are not based only on size.
There are many small/medium size dogs that need lots of run around room. My Chihuahua is a good example, they may be the smallest breed, but, are they fast and they truly love to run!
They definitely don’t like being left alone, and will whine and cry, even if its only for short periods of time. They have voracious appetites for attention.
Toy dogs are fine-boned, touch-sensitive creatures that do not weather rough or clumsy handling well. They break relatively easily and are quicker to bite than their larger boned, mellower relatives.
While Saint Bernards are notably great with children, they may not be the best choice for families with small kids. The massive dog might knock over a child or even “smush them.”
And while some smaller breeds are terrific family dogs, others just aren’t, like Beagles can be snarky (but not all) and Labs and golden retrievers can be easygoing (but not always).
If there are youngsters in your household under seven years old, they are usually not developmentally suited for puppies 5 months old and under or toy-sized dogs of any age. Puppies have ultra sharp “milk teeth” and toenails and often teethe on and scratch children, resulting in unintentional injury to the child. The puppy then becomes something to be feared rather than loved.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, are there frail elderly or physically challenged individuals in the household? If so, strong vigorous adolescent dogs are not a wise idea. No aging hips or wrists are safe from a playful, jumping dog. . People who were one-breed fans throughout their lives may one day find that their favorite breed demands more than they can physically handle. The new dog must fit the current physical capabilities of his keepers with an eye toward what the next 10-15 years will bring.
An adult might be a better choice if you want to have a good idea of the true energy level, attitude, and temperament of your new dog
Senior Dogs should not be forgotten, Welcoming a senior dog into your home can be a wonderful way to bring joy to the golden years of a dog. Unfortunately, senior dogs are less likely to be adopted and often end up living out their lives in shelters or being euthanized. A senior dog can make a wonderful companion if you are looking for a lower energy dog.
Are allergies a concern?
Poodles and some terriers and schnauzers, for instance are best for people who are allergic to dog hair and dander.
Can you afford a dog?
Owners often underestimate the cost of pet ownership. It’s not just the adoption fee or where you’re getting it from … it’s visits to the vet, food, etc.
Choosing the family dog should include input from all family members with the cooler-headed, more experienced family members’ opinions carrying more weight.
Look at each breed you’re interested in and determine the exercise requirements, the grooming requirements, the temperament and trainability of each breed.