Although you’ve made the decision to buy a dog, you now have the huge task of choosing a dog that’s right for you. This article looks at all the major factors to consider when choosing a dog.
1. Dog Gender
Most first-time dog owners want to buy a female, thinking they’re less trouble. This is not true. There is no real difference in disposition between males and females. Plus, males don’t go through heat cycles – and if they’re neutered as they should be – they don’t go through hormonal surges at puberty.
Most breeders keep more of their females for future litters, but house only one or two males. This means that you’ll have fewer dogs to choose from if you’re set on buying a female dog.
Unless you plan to breed your dog, keep an open mind about the sex. Good health, temperament and personality are far more important qualities to consider.
2. Adult Dog or Puppy
Puppies take patience. They aren’t all cuddles and cuteness. On any given day you can expect less endearing moments including potty training, nighttime howling, puking and teething.
With adult dogs, what you see is what you get. You know exactly how big the dog is going to be. Her personality is pretty much set. If she’s likely to growl, you’ll see it right away. Health concerns should also be apparent.
Adult dogs are perfect for families that are away from home during the day. They can be left alone for longer periods of time than puppies. Some may even already have basic training or are housebroken. They’ll also have had their initial shots and may even be spayed or neutered.
3. Dog Grooming
Some breeds need professional grooming; others just need to be brushed regularly. And then some need little to no maintenance for their fur at all. If you barely have enough time to brush your own hair, avoid dogs with long hair and stick to low-maintenance breeds.
If someone in your household has allergies, you might want to consider a hairless breed or one that doesn’t shed very much.
If you’re someone who can’t stand finding fur laying about the house, avoid long-haired breeds. They don’t actually shed more than their short-haired counterparts, but their fur is much more noticeable when it does.
4. Dog Size
A large dog doesn’t necessarily need a large home. As long as your dog gets proper exercise, most dogs will be content living wherever their master lives.
Tiny breeds aren’t the automatically the right choice for a family with kids either. Actually, many big dogs are more easygoing and patient with children. They are less likely to be injured by a slammed door or rough handling and therefore less likely to react with teeth to protect himself.
That being said, large dogs can be harder to manage simply due to their mass. You may be required to physically force your dog somewhere occasionally and this can be hard to pull off if your dog is stronger than you.
5. Dog Temperament
Calmer dogs, whether due to breed or by personality, tend to do well with kids. When they’re in the mood they’ll join in on the fun, or if they’re tired, they’ll sleep through the commotion of their play.
If you’re a bit of a loner, you might be fine with a dog that is friendly with you but aloof with others. But if you have guests often or you’ll want to take your dog with other people, you’ll want to find a more outgoing dog.
Try to pick a dog that suits your own personality.
6. Indoors or Outdoors Dog
When choosing a dog, first decide where you’ll keep her. You may need to keep her outside in the backyard depending on your circumstances. There are a few breeds that must live inside because they’ll suffer in extreme temperatures. Others will adapt to almost any weather.
All dogs do better living inside with the family for at least part of the day though. They need time to bond with you to become one of the family.
7. Dog Lifespan
Dogs live about 12 years on average, but some breeds tend to live longer than others. If you’re buying a dog from a breeder, ask the ages of her oldest dogs. This will give you idea of how long they’ll live.
Generally, most small breeds outlive larger ones. Giant dogs have the shortest lifespan. Old age symptoms occur as follows:
- Small. Age 13-14.
- Medium. Age 11.
- Large. Age 10.
- Giant. Age 7-8.