Where does one begin the search for a new dog! Before you adopt the newest four – legged member into your family, stop and ask yourself the following questions:
- What size dog is going to work best in my household?
- What is my lifestyle like….meaning how much time each day will I be able to allocate to my dog?
- Do I want a puppy (and all that comes with it) or should I adopt an older dog?
- Do I want a dog that is more of a lap dog (low energy) or do I want a dog that will run/exercise (high energy) with me?
- How much dog hair am I willing to vacuum up daily?
- Will this dog need to be good with children and other dogs or is that not going to be an issue? (All dogs should be socialized to the best of their abilities, but some breeds tend to be better as family dogs).
- Do I have the available funds to care for this dog and his/her needs (food, medical, training, etc)?
Before you invest in a dog, the wisest thing you can do is research, research, research! Too often people purchase a dog without any thought at all and unfortunately, the unsuspecting owner often ends up having taken on more than he or she bargained for. So, do yourself a favor and open a few books, Google a few sites and ask a few dog savvy people their opinions of specific breeds prior to getting a dog.
It is important to remember that dogs were bred for various purposes so make is easy on yourself and find one that will work easily into your lifestyle. A good place to begin your research of specific breeds is the American Kennel Club. The AKC has categorized dogs into 7 groups. Each group has distinct qualities that help define what breeds in that group were meant to do. The groups are: Sporting, Herding, Non-Sporting, Working, Terrier, Toy and Hound. One of the benefits of categorizing the dogs into groups is to help potential owners find a dog with qualities that they will enjoy. After all, the goal is to provide a beneficial relationship for both dog and owner. For more information on specific breed characteristics check out the AKC website at: http://www.akc.org/breeds/
FYI – The Westminster Kennel Club Dog show is on February 13th and 14th. It is another great way to check out breeds and watch the different groups in action. For more information go to: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/