The decision to adopt a dog, although exciting, fun, and very rewarding, is certainly not one that comes without complications. There are a number of stressors that are beyond your control, of course, such as certain adoption agencies’ insistence on performing a home inspection to ensure that you will make a safe and devoted pet owner. But in addition to these types of unavoidable complications, if you aren’t prepared, other aspects of the dog adoption process can also become quite stressful.
One component that, while very exciting, can sometimes become quite overwhelming is the process of selecting the right dog breed for your family’s lifestyle. Unfortunately, simply adopting the breed of dog that you think is the cutest often leads to dissatisfied pets, as well as dissatisfied pet owners. Therefore, before deciding on a dog breed, check out the important considerations below:
1. How big is the dog?
This is a very basic consideration, but it is nevertheless very important. The size of your dog can greatly impact comfort levels – both yours and your pet’s. No matter how much you might want a Great Dane, if you and your spouse are crammed into an efficiency apartment, perhaps you should consider adopting a smaller breed of dog instead.
2. What kind of coat does the dog have?
This might seem like a strange thing to consider before adopting a pet, but, in some cases, your dog’s coat can have a fairly significant impact on your life. For example, if you or a family member place great value on having an impeccably clean home, then adopting a breed dog that is known for heavy shedding would probably not be advisable. Even if you aren’t obsessively clean, if your dog’s coat is prone to heavy shedding, you’ll probably have to adjust your cleaning rituals accordingly. For most people, this means purchasing lint rollers for furniture and clothing, dusting more carefully, and vacuuming more frequently.
3. Is anyone in your home allergic?
Although nearly everyone would exhibit some sort of allergic reaction to pet dander if tested, studies indicate that approximately 15% of the population has a reaction severe enough to be considered allergic to dogs. If a member of your household is among those who experience pet allergies, this should definitely play a role in your selection of a dog breed. While completing your research, remember that dog allergies have little to do with dog hair and are actually caused by dander, meaning that long-haired and short-haired breeds are usually equally likely to affect allergy sufferers. Also be aware that although there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, certain breeds upset people’s allergies less than others. Allergy-friendly dogs include low-dander breeds such as Schnauzers, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Poodles, and most Terriers.
4. What is the dog’s energy level?
This often-overlooked breed characteristic can actually play a defining role in your relationship with your dog, and it should therefore be considered very carefully. Dogs need exercise and activity just like humans, yet the simple fact is, most pet owners do not provide their dogs with nearly enough physical activity. Dogs that do not receive enough exercise can exhibit many undesirable characteristics, including bad behavior and even aggression, but this can be avoided by choosing a dog breed whose activity levels your family can reasonably meet. If your family is highly energetic, and you have the time and resources to invest in exercising an active breed, then by all means, adopt a Border Collie, Dalmatian, or other high-energy dog. But if, like the average family, your household is more sedentary than physically active, perhaps you should consider adopting a dog breed that demands less exercise, such as a Bulldog or Pug.
Although this list is certainly not exhaustive, it should provide you with a good starting point for your search for the perfect dog breed. It is just as important to consider the dog’s physical characteristics, such as its size and coat type, as it is to factor in your own lifestyle. Before deciding on a high-energy breed, consider your own energy levels as well as the amount of time you’ll be able to devote to exercising your pet. By being honest with yourself in assessing your lifestyle, you will make both yourself and your dog much, much happier.