The decision to get a dog is huge. While it may be easy to make, it’s a lot harder to live with the consequences. So, it should never be taken lightly. The average life expectancy for a pet pooch is 10-13 years, though it’s not uncommon for domestic dogs to live much longer. Either way, adopting a dog is akin to welcoming a new family member.
If you want the experience to be a happy one, think carefully about which type of dog suits your home, lifestyle, and personality. Even people with allergies can own a pet, but it’s best to stick with hypoallergenic dog breeds if you are sensitive. This is just one example of why making an informed choice is important.
This article offers advice on picking a pet dog and making sure your new friend is a perfect addition to the family.
Age and Maturity
The first big decision is how old you’d like your pooch to be. Most families instantly opt for a puppy. They want the animal to grow up around them. It’s certainly true that dogs raised from infancy tend to be fiercely loyal. They also mature alongside children much like furry siblings. Often, they become natural protectors and display great affection for babies and toddlers.
It’s a really compelling reason to choose a puppy. However, you must consider the work involved in raising and training it. It’s not easy. Puppies constantly chew, gnaw, drool, bark and bound. You should only opt for a young dog if you’re sure you can handle its boisterous nature and need for attention.
Coat Length and Shedding
Another important factor is shedding intensity. If anybody in your home has allergies, it’s best to choose a hypoallergenic dog. They include the Maltese Terrier, Poodle, Shih Tzu, Tibetan Terrier, and the Portuguese Water Dog, to name a few. There are more hypoallergenic breeds than you think. So, do some research and find a pet that won’t cause uncomfortable flare-ups.
You may want one of these dogs even if you don’t have allergies. They don’t shed, so it’s easy to keep your home clean. Certainly, if maintenance is a concern, stick with short-haired breeds. Dogs with short, wiry coats tend to shed less frequently than breeds with long, silky fur. Keep this in mind when making your decision.
Size and Manageability
It’s common to equate size with manageability. However, families with smaller breeds will be the first to tell you dimensions are no predictor of behavior. Generally, small dogs are fiercer and more mischievous than larger ones. Most larger dogs – even the supersized breeds – are quite laid back and happy to sit and watch the world go by.
So, if you have the space in your home, don’t write off the larger breeds. Often, they are calmer and easier to manage. The mastiff, for example, has a reputation for gentleness and affection. It’s true that they’re big enough to knock children over, but they’re rarely aggressive. Chihuahuas, on the other hand, can be picked up and carried around, but they’re known for being rather naughty.
It is possible to pick up a pet dog from a shop or breeder, but we encourage you to check out your local pound or shelter first. If you’re not fixated on a specific breed, it’s a great way to find a forever friend and rescue a pooch from a life of captivity or worse. Plus, shelters make sure pets are pest free, healthy and socialized before handing them over to new owners.