Choosing the right dog is an important decision and especially if you have a family, the question of ‘which dog to go for’ requires careful consideration. While the final decision is yours, here are a few pointers that might help you answer the important question, that is, which dog is best for you and your family?
Table of Contents
- Do you have a certain dog breed in mind already?
- What is your budget?
- Active dog breed vs gentle dog breed
- Time and attention
- Principal caretaker
- Space constrains
- Special needs of your family members
- Purebred vs Mixed breed
- Puppy vs full grown dog
- Physical health of the dog
- Other considerations
Do you have a certain dog breed in mind already?
- What is the temperament of this breed?
- How big does this dog breed get?
- How much exercise/activity does this dog breed need?
- Does this dog breed bark a lot?
- Does this dog breed shed If yes, how often?
- Does this dog need a lot of grooming?
- What are the best training methods for this dog?
- Does this dog breed do well with children?
- Does this dog breed do well with other pets?
What is your budget?
Initial buying price
- Of course, your choice of which dog breed to go for is totally dependent on what you can afford.
- Unless you are planning to adopt or you happen to get a dog gifted to you, there is almost certainly a price tag associated with the puppy of your chosen breed.
- Not just the initial price of buying a puppy from a breeder, you also need to think of other initial expenses like puppy supplies: a dog collar with identification, a leash, food and water bowls, dog food, treats, a dog bed or a dog crate.
- You also need to allot a monthly budget that you can afford for your dog of which dog food alone would be an important item.
Other incidental expenses
- There will also be expenses related to veterinarian visits, vaccines, medicines and supplements, etc.
Active dog breed vs gentle dog breed
- Do you want to go for an active dog or one that does not need a lot of exercise? A highly active dog would not be a good fit for your family if your lifestyle is rather sedentary.
Time and attention
- How much time and attention will you / your family be able to provide to the dog? This is important as loneliness is not manageable for a dog at all.
- Who will be the principal caretaker of the dog? If it is going to be your children, are they likely to shoulder the responsibility well enough on a daily basis? Do you have other people who can pitch in when the primary caretaker is not available?
- How big is your house? You need to make sure you have enough space if you plan to go for a big sized breed. Otherwise, if your house is rather small, you would do better with a smaller breed.
Special needs of your family members
- Do you have infants, young children or elderly people, or anyone who is sick or disabled in the house? If yes, you would do better with a gentle dog breed.
- Do any of your family members suffer from mobility issues? If yes, an active dog might be a problem and a gentle breed would suit better.
- How much shedding can you live with? If you are a super clean person who prefers a very tidy home, you might not be comfortable with breeds that are prone to too much shedding.
Purebred vs Mixed breed
- Would you like a purebred dog versus a mixed breed dog? The benefit of selecting a purebred dog is that you can gauge the size, coat, care requirements and temperament based on breed.
When going for a purebred dog, it is advisable to go for a responsible breeder. It is important to screen the breeder thoroughly. Go for one who has the patience to answer all of your questions.
Check how long the person has been breeding dogs.
- Ideally, look for a breeder who has several referrals or one who is a member of reputable dog-related organizations.
Health screening before breeding
- Check if the breeder conducts health screenings before breeding a litter?
Breeder’s interest in your background
- A good dog breeder will also try to understand your personality and ask you questions about your lifestyle, your family etc.
- Ideally, you should try to visit the dog breeder’s home to get a first-hand feel of the environment in which the puppy has been born and living.
Check out the progenitors
- Ask to see at least one of the progenitors of your puppy, either the dam or the sire.
Relationship between the breeder and the puppies
- See how the dogs interact with the breeder. Are they friendly and outgoing?
Puppy vs full grown dog
- Would you like to have a puppy that needs training or a full-grown dog that is already trained?
- Are you prepared to spend your time and energy in training/retraining your dog?
Physical health of the dog
It is important to check the physical health of the puppy or dog before you bring it home. Unless you are choosing to go for a disabled or sick dog or a dog with special needs, and even in that case, it would be wise to be fully aware of the physical state of the dog / puppy.
Consider adopting a senior dog or a previously owned dog
- Would you be happy to provide a home and a family to a senior dog? This is only for those who are already experienced in dog keeping and have a full understanding of the dog’s problems and the owner’s responsibilities.
- If you are about to adopt a previously owned dog, check if it shows any apparent signs of fear or aggression. Handling such dogs requires prior experience with such behaviors. Hence if you lack the required experience, you might want to reconsider as it might just be difficult for you to take good care of such a dog. Also in such a case, it is important to make sure that you live in a place where the dog will not end up having to interact with a lot of strangers and other dogs every day.
- Once you have confirmed that the dog does not appear to be fearful or aggressive, try to interact with it, play with the dog, take it out for a walk etc so you can assess if the dog is going to be manageable for you or not.
Consider adopting a disabled / special needs dog
Here again, only those people should go for this option who are already into dog keeping and have substantial experience handling problems and situations associated with such dogs.
Would you like to bring home shelter and rescue dogs?
Just to reiterate, this option is only for experienced dog owners who are able to cater to the special needs of such dogs.
Consider alone time for the dog
How much time will the dog have to spend alone each day?
What can you do to keep your dog entertained while he is alone?
Services like Dog walking / Doggie daycare
- Are you able/willing to hire a dog walker or take the dog to a doggie daycare as and when needed?
Before you get a new dog, make sure you take all members of your family to meet the new dog, including any dogs or other pets that you already have, who will be living with the dog henceforth.
- Just observe how the new dog interacts with all of them.
- Approach the dog calmly and call it over.
- Feed it a treat.
- Make sure it is not aggressive or scared.
- Go ahead and pet the dog.
- Handling and cuddling the dog is fine too. See if the dog enjoys the attention and warmth.
- Put the dog on a leash and take it for a walk around the block. Pay attention to how the dog interacts with you and the world.
- In a fenced location, let it interact with other dogs.
Based on the above, do you feel the dog is positively engaging with you and others? If yes, you have found the perfect dog for yourself and your family.