Are you thinking of adding one of man's best friends to your family? Selecting the breed of dog that best meshes with your personality and lifestyle is an important first step toward many years of happy dog ownership. With the many breeds of dog out there, you're sure to find one that suits you nicely. Do some preparatory research ahead of time and you're well on your way to determining the best dog breed matches for you and your family.
Consider Your Lifestyle
You run three miles every day and spend your weekends hiking and exploring all the nearby parks. Or maybe you're more of the couch potato type, preferring to relax around the house in your spare time. Whatever your lifestyle, rest assured that there is probably a breed of dog to match it. Thoroughly investigate the personality, exercise requirements and training needs of any breed you're considering--because what may seem like the perfect breed of dog could be a disaster waiting to happen.
Evaluate Your Finances
A demanding career keeps you out of your home 11 hours a day, five days a week. But on the weekend, you really want your dog to be able to go running with you. Is it a lost cause? Not necessarily, as long as you can afford a dog walker or dog daycare on those weekdays. Some breeds are also more likely to require expensive veterinary care, so you should consider your financial situation before selecting the best dog breed for you.
Ponder Physical Characteristics
A frail elderly person would be ill-advised to bring home a huge mastiff. Similarly, if you have small (and thus unpredictable) children in your home, a fragile toy breed dog wouldn't be a good choice. Consider how much time you have to spend bathing and grooming your pet and whether you have time to devote to additional care like cleaning facial wrinkles, caring for long ears or bringing your pet to a professional groomer.
There are a number of websites devoted to helping prospective dog owners match their lifestyles to the correct breed of dog. Try DogTime's Dogfinder Matchup for a quiz to help you narrow the field or check out MSNBC's interactive dog breed finder. The American Kennel Club's website offers in-depth descriptions of AKC-recognized breeds and is a useful jumping-off point because it can also connect you with individual dog breed clubs.
Visit your local library or bookstore to find a wealth of dog breed books that can help you to narrow your selection.