Dog Breeds

Ready to Find Your Furrever Friend? 9 Must-Ask Questions Before Choosing A Dog Breed

That ultra-fluffy puppy may be adorable, but is it right for you or your family? Answer these 9 questions and avoid the biggest mistake when choosing a new dog breed.

At the end of the day, you want to be sure that this pup is a perfect fit.

For you, your lifestyle, and your family, we can both enjoy our life together for many years to come. After all, bringing home a new furry friend is an enriching experience that comes with lots of love, laughter, joy, AND responsibility!

When selecting the perfect pup, several essential elements should be considered. We have pinpointed some of these critical components for you to review! Before determining if a specific dog breed is a correct fit for you, here are 9 essential questions to consider.

1. What energy level should you look for when selecting a new breed?

two beagles running and playing outside
Some dog breeds have high energy, love running, and need lot’s of exercise

When picking out a dog, it is important to make sure that the pup’s energy level matches your lifestyle. For example, if you like going for walks and playing in the park all day long, it would be best to pick a pup with lots of energy who loves running around and playing fetch.

Huskies, Spaniels, and Australian Shepherds are known to have boundless amounts of energy. The same applies to Border Collies and Dalmations.

On the other hand, if you prefer lounging on the couch watching movies with friends, then a pup with lower energy who likes taking naps would be ideal for you. If your home or outdoor space is small, a small to medium-sized breed that has a more relaxed and cuddly nature might be a perfect fit.

Consider beautiful breeds like the Bichon Frise, Bulldog, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These pups love lounging around the house, snuggling up with their owners, and getting plenty of belly rubs!

woman working on a laptop lying with dog on a couch
Some dogs love relaxing indoors and are great companions

Medium-sized breeds such as Greyhounds and Rhodesian Ridgebacks may look like they are full of energy, but these breeds actually enjoy spending time relaxing indoors—and they make great companion animals.

If you have lots of space in your home and don’t have an active lifestyle, then a giant breed dog may be ideal for you. Some larger breeds that have been bred for companionship rather than work include the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundland. These loving giants are easygoing and affectionate, plus they make great lap dogs!

It is critical that you can offer a dog the appropriate amount of exercise and stimulation to meet its energy level. If not, your pet may resort to destructive actions, which would be disastrous for yourself, your dog, or any items in the house!

2. What size dog will fit your life best? Size always matters.

Six different dog breeds in size and age lying beside each other
Consider the size of the dog and your space when choosing a new dog breed

It’s important to consider size when choosing a canine companion! If you have limited space, such as an apartment or small house with a backyard, then opt for a smaller breed like a Chihuahua or Dachshund. These dogs don’t need much exercise and won’t take up too much room in your home.

On the other hand, if you have a spacious home with lots of outdoor space, then why not consider larger breeds such as Alaskan Malamutes or Great Danes? These large pups are full of energy and will love having plenty of room to roam.

They also make excellent guard dogs so that your family can feel safe at night. No matter what size pet you choose, be sure to give them plenty of attention and love!

3. How can climate impact your decision when choosing a new puppy?

Brown and black German Shepard standing in the snow
Take into account extreme weather conditions when choosing a dog breed

Climate is an important factor to consider when choosing the perfect pup for your family. Different dog breeds do better in certain climates, so it’s important to choose a breed that will thrive in the climate where you live.

Though highly resilient, dogs don’t always do well in every environment. Most puppies thrive in temperate climates. However, if temperatures get too high or low, it can lead to issues. At best, some dogs will be uneasy and, in serious cases, may experience health problems.

Those living in hot climates may want to look into shorter hair breeds, such as Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Basenjis, which tend to fare better in hotter weather. On the other hand, those living in cooler climates should consider longer-haired breeds like Collies and English Sheepdogs that are better suited for temperatures on the chillier side.

Grey and black dog hassling in tall grass
Extreme heat can be very hazardous to a dog’s health

What’s more, you’ll need to think about the extremes of each season in your area. For example, if you experience long periods of heat during summer or extreme cold during winter months, then be sure to look into breeds that have been bred specifically for these conditions.

For example, Alaskan Malamutes or Huskies are adapted for colder weather, while Airedale Terriers or Pharaoh Hounds are suited for warmer environments. No matter what breed you choose, be sure that it can cope with the changing seasons!

4. How long should you expect to spend grooming your pampered pooch?

Red Chow Chow being washed in a bath tub
Some breeds require more time and energy for grooming

Those long-haired and ultra-fluffy dogs may look adorable, but they do require quite a lot of upkeep.

The super fluffy, long-haired pooches may be adorable, but they demand plenty of grooming and care. Grooming is an important factor to take into consideration when choosing a dog breed.

Breeds with long and thick coats, such as Poodles, the Bichon Frise, and Cocker Spaniels, require regular grooming and clipping. To avoid mattes, You will need to keep them well-brushed. They will require regular grooming sessions, which is an extra financial investment.

Small white dog getting hair and nails clipped.
Breeds with long hair and coats require regular clipping and grooming

Other breeds, like Dalmations and Labrador Retrievers, have shorter, dense fur that may only need brushing once or twice per week. High-maintenance breeds require more time and energy devoted to their care, so be sure you have the commitment to provide this kind of attention before bringing home a pet.

Consider your lifestyle and the amount of time you realistically have in your day-to-day schedule to commit to brushing, bathing, and caring for a pup with special needs. At the same time, don’t forget that all dogs need love!

Regardless of the species, each pup will appreciate plenty of attention from its devoted human companion. That’s why it’s important to pick a breed that fits both your lifestyle, home environment, and paycheck!

5. Are you aware of the breed’s common health problems and the cost?

Rhodesian Ridgeback with injured paw lying in a dog bed.
Be aware of the typical care and cost required for any dog breed you are considering

It’s important to consider the life expectancy and check whether the breed is prone to any health issues. Some breeds are more vulnerable to certain diseases and physical conditions than others. Make sure you select a pup that is healthy and well-suited for your lifestyle.

Common health issues can vary from breed to breed. Some may suffer from hip dysplasia, while others may struggle with obesity or skin allergies. Though these issues are not guaranteed in every dog of that breed, they can affect the overall quality of life of your pup and require extra care in order to be managed properly.

It’s especially important to consider this if you have limited financial resources as, depending on the issue, treating these illnesses can be expensive.

6. Which breeds play nicely with others?

two dogs leaning into each other while sitting in an outdoor scene
Some dogs have marvelous temperaments and are wonderful with other dogs and pets

Choosing a pup should be a well-thought-out decision, especially when you have children, friends, and other pets in your home. Some breeds are known for being good with children, guests, and other pets, while others may prefer staying away from larger groups and being more solitary.

If you have an outgoing household full of visitors and furry friends, then the Labradoodle or Golden Retriever might be just the right fit! These pups love spending time meeting new people, exploring the outdoors, and playing games with their canine companions. They also have wonderful temperaments that make them gentle with kids.

While most pups are friendly and loving companions, there are some breeds that might be better suited to households without young children or other pets. As with any animal, it’s important to remember that all dogs have their own personalities, so just because a puppy is prone to certain behaviors due to its breed doesn’t mean it will always act accordingly.

Young boy hugging a large dog face to face
It’s important to consider current and future children when choosing a dog breed

Breeds such as the Chow Chow and Akita tend to be more independent and may not do well in households with small children. They can be highly territorial, which means they don’t take kindly to visitors and strangers. They also tend to bark a lot, making them less than ideal for families with infants or toddlers who need peace and quiet at home.

Bully breeds, such as the Pit Bull Terrier and American Bulldog, due to their strong prey drive, may not get along well with smaller animals. This means they instinctively chase after cats or small dogs when given the opportunity!

These types of breeds also require a lot of patience, consistency, and socialization from an early age in order to ensure they display appropriate behaviors around other pets. Overall, it’s best to research potential dog breeds before committing.

Getting pet insurance could also help protect your family if you choose a breed that is known for being difficult around young children or other pets.

7. What training challenges should you be aware of with this breed? Are you up to the task?

Labrador Retriever shaking paw for a treat
Consider how easy it is to train the dog breed

When it comes to training, some breeds are more challenging than others. Breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and Akita tend to be very independent and have a strong prey drive, which can make them difficult to train. Their stubbornness and intelligence also mean they need consistent leadership from an experienced handler in order to stay focused on commands.

On the other hand, breeds such as the German Shepard or Australian Cattle Dog are known for being incredibly smart and eager to learn new commands, which makes them much easier to train. These pups love receiving positive reinforcement for good behavior, so rewarding them with treats or playtime after each successful command will help keep them motivated.

No matter what breed you choose, it’s important to start training at an early age so your pup can develop proper behaviors around other people and animals. Consistent practice and patience while training could mean the difference between having a well-mannered pup or one that is difficult to control in public settings!

For those looking for a pup that is easygoing and easy to train, breeds such as the Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may be just the right fit. These pups love cuddles and snuggles but also enjoy learning tricks. They’re perfect for families looking for a loyal companion who is both gentle and still loves adventure!

8. Is frequent travel a part of your life, and is fido welcome?

Shih Tzu seating in airplane carry on bag
Some small breeds make excellent air travel companions

When it comes to flying with your pup, some breeds meet restrictions better than others. Breeds such as the Pug and Maltese are known for being small, quiet, and well-behaved on planes, making them perfect for air travel! On the other hand, larger breeds may have more difficulty due to airlines limiting their sizing of crates or carriers.

Additionally, there are certain health and safety regulations that need to be followed by all airlines in order to ensure air passengers can travel without any disturbances from pets. Before bringing your pup on a flight, make sure you research ahead of time what specific documents and vaccinations you will need in order to abide by airline laws.

Bulldog riding in the backseat of an automobile
Other breeds are better suited for road travel

For those looking to take their pup on the go, some breeds are better suited for travel than others. Overall, when it comes to taking your dog on an airplane or through the airport terminal, smaller breeds tend to fare better in terms of meeting regulations and traveling comfortably.

Breeds such as the Bernese Mountain Dog and Vizsla have an even temperament which makes them great for long journeys inside a vehicle. They love spending time with people and can often be content just laying down and snoozing—perfect for when you’re in transit!

9. Will you be leaving your dog alone for long periods of time?

dog misbehaving and tearing the stuffing out of a pillow
Certain breeds can suffer severe separation anxiety

If you’re planning on leaving your pup at home for a while, some breeds may suffer from separation anxiety more than others. Breeds like the Beagle or Pug tend to get very attached to their owners and do not handle being alone well. They may bark excessively or become destructive when left alone for too long.

If you’ll want to board your pup during a trip, you’ll need one of those breeds that will be content with this situation. Yes, there are certain dog breeds that may not do well in kennels.

Breeds such as Chihuahuas and Greyhounds can be particularly sensitive to the stress of a kennel environment, as they tend to be less social than other breeds. Additionally, larger dogs may struggle with the physical confines of smaller or more cramped kennels while your traveling.

Before booking a long-term stay for your pet in a kennel, take into consideration their individual needs and personality traits to ensure that they have all of the necessary comforts while away from home.

Choosing the best breed ultimately comes down to your current and future lifestyle.

Woman sitting and backpacking with her dog on a hillside
Choose a breed according to your current and future lifestyle

The biggest mistake people make is failing in love with a breed based on looks alone, and not understanding the key characteristics, traits, and needs of the breed. Getting a pet you are not ready or equipped to care for is not fulfilling to you or fair to the dog.

Choosing the right breed of dog for your lifestyle is an important decision. The best breed for your family will ultimately depend on your individual requirements, way of life, tastes, and budget.

In addition, you should contemplate your future plans. Most dog breeds live for ten or more years, and while a puppy may come into a home without any small children, this could change over time.

Having patience in your selection process is key. Take your time and do thorough research. With the right research and preparation, you will be able to find a furry friend who fits perfectly into your life for many years to come!

Shannon Young

My name is Shannon and I am a passionate advocate and rescue animal parent for over 12 years. Having been exposed to a wide range of furry creatures since a very young age, caring for animals has always been second nature to me. I enjoy animals of all types and currently have two rescue dogs, Sammy and Chloe. I enjoy biking, reading, spending time with friends and family, and am an avid wildlife photographer.

My name is Shannon and I am a passionate advocate and rescue animal parent for over 12 years. Having been exposed to a wide range of furry creatures since a very young age, caring for animals has always been second nature to me. I enjoy animals of all…

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