The time has come to welcome a new, tail-wagging friend to the family. Whether you are adopting a puppy, a full-grown dog, a pure bred or a mixed breed, it is important to consider common characteristics of various, possible breeds before making a final choice. Although the choice ultimately comes down to the connection you and your family feels when you meet a dog for the first time, researching common traits of possible dogs increases the likelihood that you bring home a new companion that is compatible with your family's lifestyle.
Take a good look at your living quarters. Do you live in a small apartment in the city or do you live in a farmhouse with lots of wide-open space around. If your space is limited, consider a smaller, non-sporting breed, such as French bulldog, or a toy breed, such as Chihuahua. Don't forget, even small breeds still need walks. Breeds like greyhound and standard schnauzers do well with small to medium-size yards. If you live in the country and want an active dog that will work outside with you, choose from a working breed, such as boxer; a sporting breed, such as Labrador retriever; or a herding breed, such as German shepherd.2
Eliminate breeds that may pose a potential threat to any infants or young children in your family, such as German shepherd, Rottweiler and pit bull. Breeds known as being well-suited for families with young children include standard poodle, cavalier King Charles spaniel and Boston terrier. Some toy breeds tend to bark or nip and are also not suitable when an infant is present, including Maltese and Pomeranian.3
Look outside. How precious is your outdoor environment. If your family spends hours manicuring flower beds or cultivating fruit and vegetable gardens, narrow your choices down to breeds that tend not to dig. You might want to avoid terrier breeds, which are especially known for digging.4
Consider if anyone in your family is highly partial to an environment free of pet hair. If so, choose a light-shedding breed, such as toy poodle, Yorkshire terrier, American water spaniel, Bolognese, or giant schnauzer. Dog breeds that tend to shed more include golden retriever, Labrador retriever, Rottweiler, husky, beagle and Dalmatian.