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You have taken a major decision that the time is right to become the owner of a dog. Your dog will be part of your life for years to come. Unless you have owned a dog before or grew up with a specific breed, you may be unsure which breed is best for you. Commitment like this requires some major research on your part.
Every dog breed has essential needs, but you also need to take your lifestyle and home into consideration before making a final decision. This guide is for those of you who have asked yourself the question: “What dog breed is best for me?”
Responsible dog ownership requires the consideration of several factors before making a choice. In this article, you can read how to choose a dog breed according to your lifestyle and according to the dog’s needs.
Breed matters when asking What Dog Breed is Best for Me
Since prehistoric times, people have been breeding dogs to help them perform various tasks. According to the American Kennel Club, there are 340 dog breeds worldwide, and the club recognizes 197 of these.
You can expect each breed to have certain traits, but like people, each dog has its own unique personality. The American Kennel Club divides the breeds according to their occupation, but also according to their activity level, size, coat type, barking level, trainability, and how often they shed.
Let’s break this down a little further:
Finding the best dog breed is easier when they are divided into groups that match human needs.
The pastoral group of dogs falls into this high activity breeds category. These dogs were bred to help humans as herders of all our domestic animals, including reindeer. Characteristics of this breed include their passion for herding and loyalty. They are happiest when they are helping their human owners.
- Border Collie
- German Shepherd
- Old English Sheepdog
Bred for Specific Tasks
These dogs are also known as non-sporting breeds because they don’t fit into other groups. Their breeding was intended for them to carry out specific jobs, so they have varied origins, individual skills, and temperaments.
- Originally bred for bull-baiting, this gentle and cuddly breed is now suitable for families.
- these truffle hunters are now an adorable and pampered breed.
- a sought-after breed, originally bred to keep the road clear for horse-drawn carriages and fire engines.
- Chow Chow
- these loyal and loving companions were bred to hunt, guard, and pull sleds.
Loads of personality in a small parcel
Small but tough, these breeds have loads of personality, are usually overexcited, and very playful. They are the ideal companions for people who want a lively and active dog. Above all, they are affectionate companions.
- Yorkshire Terrier
Skilled hunters of the hound group
Within this group, you will find long-legged sleek-bodied hounds with wide vision and explosive speeds that can chase fast prey. There are also smaller hound dogs whose keen sense of smell never deceives them and reveals their quarry.
Trained to work
These dogs are strong, intelligent, and big-bodied. Bred to search, rescue, and guard, the group includes some of the most ancient breeds. Train them well, and you will have a loyal friend for life. Not always the best choice for families with young children.
- Great Dane
- St Bernard
This is a lively breed of dogs that were bred to go in search of vermin. The short-legged terriers went in after them underground, while the long-legged dug them out. These strong characters are affectionate, but also love to dig and chase. They mostly need plenty of space for their activities and their owners need to patiently put up with their spunky attitude.
- Jack Russell
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Fox Terrier
- Bull Terrier
Bred to retrieve, these dogs are also excellent swimmers and love to play fetch, whether it’s with a ball or feathered game. Most of the breeds in this group can bear harsh outdoor conditions and have water-repellent coats. They love learning, are almost always eager to please, and are extremely loyal. If you don’t like to go for long walks and play endlessly, these dogs may be unsuitable because of their high-energy levels.
- Golden Retriever
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Cocker Spaniel
A few tips to answer the question, What Dog Breed is Best for Me
Now you know a few things about the various dog breed groupings and some of their traits. If you are still asking yourself “what dog breed is best for me?” then the next step is to consider the following:
Purebred or mixed breed
You may have your heart set on a specific dog breed because you are acquainted with their temperament. If you have decided on a breed because of what you have heard, take some time to do some research on any issues like health problems, temperament, or grooming needs. Always buy purebred dogs from responsible dog breeders and avoid breeding mills.
Mixed breeds combine more than one dog species. This helps balance out their physical characteristics and personalities. Mixed breeds have a lower chance of developing genetic health problems. Give a mutt some care, love, and training, and you will be rewarded with a loyal pet for years to come.
Adopting a mixed breed puppy or older purebred dog from a shelter allows you to be the human owner of a unique dog. Besides saving a doggy life, you can get your dog for a fraction of the price.
Deciding on size
There are many considerations you need to take here. Giant breed, medium-sized or small dog? They all have their pros and cons.
Giant breeds are less active than smaller dogs but will need a bigger space to move around in. Space is vital for their size because they can hurt their tails or break household items when they whip their tails with joy. The bigger the breed, the more expensive their maintenance is. They eat huge amounts of dog food, and medical treatment is also more expensive. Training is essential with bigger breeds – you don’t want an oversized dog walking all over you when fully grown.
Small breeds are cute but feisty and can go everywhere with you if you desire. They are also vulnerable because of their size and are prone to serious injury if they are mishandled or accidentally stepped on. Small dogs are sensitive to cold weather and need to be kept warm, especially when going outdoors. Obedience training is vital for them, and you need to be prepared for the possibility that they may turn into “tough” characters because they need to compensate for their size.
Match your energy levels
The energy levels of dog breeds vary, but you need to take into consideration that all of them need exercise, regardless of size. Choose a breed depending on how many times a day you are prepared to take your dog for a walk. The minimum is twice daily unless you have a huge garden. Remember, dogs also need to socialize.
If you cannot commit to more than two slow-paced walks a day, then look for a breed like a Basset Hound that has lower energy levels. If you are looking for a dog with high-energy levels and agility as a partner to your activities, then consider a Golden Retriever or a Border Collie.
Dogs need attention and to get rid of excess energy, otherwise, you may be faced with behavior problems. These behaviors can cause your dog to destroy household items, dig up your garden, bark incessantly, or even bite. Persistent behavioral problems in dogs often lead their owners to give them up or have them euthanized. Make sure you choose a breed you can give your utmost attention to.
Age may be important
Puppies are gorgeous and difficult to resist. However, for the first few months, be prepared to give them lots of attention and training. With dedication and patience, you should get housebreaking right within the first six months. Be prepared for some accidents along the way and some chewed-up items. Keep in mind that as your puppy grows, its temperament may be different than what you expected – especially if it is a mixed breed.
Adult dogs may require a little bit of training in the beginning, but most are trained. They tend to be adaptable to new environments. The advantages of getting an adult dog are that their attitude, energy levels, and temperament are established.
Senior dogs are not a popular choice, but make wonderful companions if you want a dog with lower energy levels. By adopting a senior dog, you offer it your compassion and are saving it from being euthanized or living its last days in a shelter. Senior dogs have the added responsibility of requiring special attention and regular medical checkups.
Some dogs are shedders; others dogs hardly have hair, and then, there are those with long-haired coats that can get matted and untidy. Basic grooming is vital for all dogs, no matter what hair length they have.
Major shedders are usually dogs with smooth, short-haired coats. There are special grooming tools that can help reduce shedding, but you will need to vacuum more regularly. Some dogs have hair that grows, and they require routine hair cutting.
Other grooming needs include regular washing and nail cutting. Dogs with long ears are prone to ear infections and their ears need to be cleaned frequently.
Breeds like Mastiffs, Great Danes, and Bloodhounds are prone to drooling. You may need to carry a cloth to wipe them clean if you don’t want to constantly be covered in drool.
As you can see, whatever breed you decide on, grooming will be an essential part of your best friend’s routine. Help him maintain his physical appearance by finding a dog groomer near you at https://www.petgroomerfinder.com.
Wondering how you find the right groomer?