Adopting a dog is a big decision. But deciding on which dog breed to get can be even harder; there are just so many different options it can be difficult even to know where to begin. There is no exact science to picking the right dog breed for your household, but here are a few things to consider that may help you narrow down your list.
What size dog breed works best with your lifestyle?
As a general rule, larger dog breeds need more space than smaller canines, so if you live in a small apartment with no backyard, you will probably want to adopt something mid-sized or smaller. Similarly, if you live in a rural area, you may want to look into larger dog breeds that can keep up with you on hikes and are less likely to be attacked by local fauna. This is not a hard and fast rule; plenty of people who live in apartments own large dogs without any issue so long as they are getting enough exercise. Long walks outside are necessary regardless of the size of your pooch, but exercising a chihuahua is entirely different from exercising a Great Dane. You may also travel across the country often, in which case, adopting a smaller dog that fits into a pet carrier will make traveling with your pet less of a hassle.
Has your local government banned certain dog breeds?
While many states have banned Breed-specific Legislation (BSL), over 700 US Cities still have breed-specific laws prohibiting or restricting the ownership of certain dog breeds they deem too dangerous to exist. Such laws particularly target breeds like American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and English Bull Terriers, so be sure to check your local ordinances before attempting to bring home an animal.
How much fluff is just enough?
It can be super tempting to get a breed with a particularly gorgeous fur coat, but people don’t always realize just how much work is needed to maintain all that fluff. Most double-coated dog breeds need regular brushing to avoid their undercoat compacting or becoming matted. Breeds like; Pomeranians, Pekingese, Chow Chow, and Samoyeds require almost daily brushing to stay healthy and pain-free. This can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have young children or mobility issues, so if spending half an hour a day brushing your pet seems excessive, you should probably look into something a little less fabulous. Short-haired dog breeds like Boxers, Dalmatians, greyhounds, and Weimaraners require much less maintenance for their coats while still being just as cuddly.
Do you need a dog breed that’s child friendly?
While you can’t judge all dogs by only their genetics, certain breeds are more inclined to be tolerant of small children than others. A particularly high-strung dog could be perfect for an older, more laid-back family. Still, toddlers tend to be loud, messy, and not great at reading body language, which can be essential to interacting safely with certain dog breeds. As such, if you have or are planning to have young children in your household, adopting a kid-friendly breed can go a long way for the health and safety of everyone involved. Labrador retrievers are an excellent choice for a growing family, along with Golden Retrievers, Irish setters, and Newfoundlands.
Finally, if you are still unsure, look into fostering to learn what dog breed is an ideal match for you.
Many shelters encourage volunteers to temporarily foster dogs they don’t have room for in the shelter. This is a great way to meet all sorts of different purebreds, mutts, and mixes and learn what they need to live long, happy lives. At the end of the day, you’ll find a dog that fits with your family; it’s all a matter of love and timing.