Choosing a dog for your family can be an exciting experience. All those loving eyes looking your way, just waiting to be chosen for their forever home. But choosing the dog breed that is best for you and your family can be tricky, and few things are more important in pet parenting.
Dogs breeds vary greatly in size, temperament, and needs (such as dogs that don't shed), and you'll want to share your life with a dog who will thrive in your environment and with your family. According to the ASPCA, millions of animals are given to shelters every year because a family's needs don't match those of the pet. Set yourselves up for success by learning more about the dogs you're interested in.
Remember that every dog is different, and so your greatest resource will be the shelter or breeder you're buying from. Ask lots of questions! And if a specific doggie personality would be a dealbreaker for you, consider adopting an older dog, since their behaviors and needs will be much easier to discern than those of a new puppy.
Take a look at some of the best dog breeds for different lifestyles.
If you're looking for a hiking buddy, hunting partner, or camping mate, take a look at these dogs that love the outdoors. They may even help to keep you in shape!
If you're a globe-trotter, consider getting a dog that will love traveling with you. These breeds are great adapters to new situations, and will be well-heeled in no time.
Some dogs love nothing more than being brushed and groomed, and luckily for them, some dog owners are ready with clip and comb to pamper and primp. If that's you, take a look at these breeds that have great coats for fancy grooming styles, and who'll love the attention.
Even the most devoted city slicker can tire of the noise and crowds, and dogs are no different. You'll want a breed that doesn't mind the hustle and bustle, and one that will quickly learn to stay by your side when the traffic is whizzing by.
Retirees and older folk are ready for a different pace of life, so a choice in dogs should reflect that. You'll want to consider your activity level and desire or ability for frequent grooming or play. Here are some breeds that will be just right.
Almost any dog can be taught to be gentle around children, but some breeds are more naturally disposed to the constant attention and prodding children might give a dog. You'll want a dog that's patient and loves attention, and if you want a play buddy for your children, an active breed should be considered as well.
More on Caring for Your Dog
The Importance of Socializing Your Dog
The Top 10 Dog Training Tips
How to Check for Fleas