When you make the big decision to get a dog, whether you are buying one from a breeder or adopting one from a dog shelter, it is important to get the right breed for you. Often when people are deciding what kind of dog they want they just base their decision on what the dog looks like or perhaps a breed that they are already familiar with.
There are a few questions you need to ask yourself about the dog you are after:
- Do you want a pedigree dog or a mix breed?
- Have you owned a dog before or will this be the first time?
- How often will you be able to walk your dog?
- How much space do you have in your house and garden?
- What size dog are you looking for?
- Does any one in your household suffer from allergies?
It is important that you choose a breed that suits not only your lifestyle but also your personality. This is a big life decision and the dog will be living with you for up to 16 years, so it's important all these factors are taken into consideration. While all dogs should be evaluated individually, there are many characteristics that are common in each breed.
For example, if you are looking for a great family dog and have a reasonable amount of space and time on your hands then a Labrador could be a great match for you. However, if you live in a flat or apartment and will be at work for the majority of the day then a large, high energy dog will become restless and unhappy. If you are looking for a small dog who does not need as much exercise, then perhaps a Terrier or a Chihuahua would be more suited to you.
There are many online tools you can use to aid you in your research such as the Animal Planet Dog Breed Selector these tools help you answer the above questions and assert what breed of dog would suit you and your family.
The other option of course is to foster a dog first. This would put you in a temporary situation with a dog allowing you to decide whether the breed suited your lifestyle. This however is a decision in itself and should not be rushed into as you may end up fostering a difficult dog with behavioural problems or you may end up getting very attached to the dog you have fostered.