Not all dogs are created equal. The differences in temperament and personality among dog breeds can be as varied as the differences in people. Finding the right match between the dog breed and the owner or family is the key to success in bringing a dog into your home. Dogs come in many varieties that are naturally introduced to the dog world as well as those created specifically by cross-breeding, such as a Labradoodle (a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle). The obvious question to ask yourself is, what size dog can your home handle? A home with a large yard out in the suburbs can offer enough room for a large dog to run and play. Do you want a dog that is sturdy, yet cuddly and plays well with children? Are you hoping to get a guard dog for your home or business? Do you want to develop a show dog to enter competitions? Or do you just want a loyal companion, small enough to be comfortable in an apartment and calm enough to sit with his head on your lap in the evening? These are practical considerations to think about as you search for the right dog breed.
How many humans live in your home? A single person who works long hours needs to choose a dog breed that can manage with lots of alone time indoors - perhaps a dog that enjoys toys and entertains himself. A family with small children needs a medium to large-size dog that is gentle by nature and patient with children. For small children, a dog is like a toy - they don't understand it's a living, breathing being that can get hurt by roughhousing. Some breeds would not tolerate the antics of small children, but would be great with older children.
A dog for older adults needs to be low maintenance, calm and undemanding. Dogs can also be divided into two important categories - those that shed and those that don't. Shedding is a huge complaint of dog owners. Dog hair clings to furniture, clothing and guests who sit anywhere in the house. Short haired dogs may look easier but they can shed, too. Shedding can be divided into barely sheds, seasonal only shedding or constant shedding.
Size of the breed is both a height and weight issue. Smaller dogs weigh under 10 pounds, medium dogs weigh 11-25 pounds, large dogs weigh 26-50 pounds and extra large dogs weight 51-80 pounds. Extremely large dogs, like Mastiffs and St. Bernards, can tip the scale at 100-180 pounds. Can your furniture stand that much dog? In choosing a breed, don't decide on the dog as it appears a puppy - make your choice based on the size the dog will grow to as an adult. Big dogs are big eaters.
If you bring home a Mastiff, you may need a second job just to pay for the dog food and care. Care requirements are another important consideration. Some dog breeds require more grooming and care than others. Dogs that have fancy trim, like poodles or show dogs may spend more time in the spa than you do. Even ordinary family dogs may need weekly (or even daily) grooming to keep their coats from tangles and to maintain good physical health.
Take time to research the dog breed, size, temperament and grooming requirements before you make a choice. It's only fair to the dog you choose that you be prepared to care for basic needs, plus provide the love and attention that only you can give.
More dog information and training tips are available at Training Dogs For Obedience 123. All the content on the site is free to help you train your dog or puppy!