Getting Your First Dog? How to Choose a Dog Breed

It’s only natural for us, humans, to pick things or make choices that go with our personality and lifestyle. When we buy a phone, we make sure that the phone we buy is right for our daily phone needs. For a businessman, that’s a phone that can quickly go online and answer calls for hours and hours. For a photographer or a videographer, that’s a phone with really good camera capabilities. When we buy clothes, we subconsciously pick the ones that go with our personality – they may be bright and cheerful for the jolly, and dark and plain for the serious or mysterious ones.

Picking a dog is no exception, especially if we’re talking about our first dog. There are a lot of factors to consider, but perhaps the biggest question is “which breed is for you?”. In this article, I’ll share the things you need to think about when choosing a dog breed for you, and a few tips that may help you decide which breed to pick.

Are you ready to get your first dog?

Deciding to take a dog into the confines of your home, to feed, take care, and grow with them is a very big step. It’s not like buying the wrong type of cereal, wherein you can always take the cereal back to the store and replace it with something that better suits your taste; no, bringing a dog into your life means that you’re taking on a huge commitment.

So, before you think about which breed you’re getting, ask yourself first if you’re ready to get a dog in the first place.

Dogs can be energetic, noisy, playful, messy, and costly, so make sure that you are ready to handle all of that before stepping into this long-term commitment.

A few more things that you need to do or think about are:

  • The regular visits to the vet – dogs aren’t decorations, they are living creatures. Once you decide to take a dog home, you become responsible for their health and wellbeing.
  • Proper dog diet and its costs – dogs cannot make do with any diet; they require a well-balanced one. If you’re getting a puppy, you’ll have to feed them more because they need a lot of calories to sustain the growth of their teeth, muscles, fur, and bones.
  • Dog-proofing your home – when exposed to a new environment, most dogs tend to wander around, chew everything, and pee everywhere. Make sure that there are no poisonous plants or toxic materials lying around within the reach of the dog.
  • Training your dog – if you want your relationship with your dog to be better, train your dog right away. By doing this, you will ensure that your furry friend has the time of their life, and you will enjoy the perks of having a well-behaved pup.

Once you’ve thought things through and decided to take a dog home with you, it’s time to figure out which dog breed is perfect for your personality and lifestyle.

What to consider

Thinking about the things that you want and what works for you will help you narrow down your choices when picking the right breed. Some of the major things that you need to think about are the following:

  • Activity level – Some dogs are innately more active than others. While it is true that a dog’s activity level is often determined by its breed, you can’t solely rely on your dog’s breed to anticipate how energetic they will be. You have to be ready to satisfy the needs of your dog, or else they may act out and chew everything on their way. If you can’t commit to walking your dog once or twice a day, then perhaps it’s a good idea for you to opt for a low-energy dog, like a Basset Hound. By contrast, a Border Collie is a good breed to consider if you’re looking for a jogging partner.
  • Size – Do you want a large dog that seems as big as you or do you perhaps want a tiny dog that you can carry around when you go to the mall? This is one more thing to consider when choosing a breed. Small dogs tend to be vulnerable and fragile; they are more sensitive to low temperatures and like to wear a “brave face” to compensate for their size. Large dogs, on the other hand, need a lot of space to move around. Make sure that you don’t have anything too fragile in your house that large dogs can just accidentally whip with their tail when moving around. If you can’t decide between the two alternatives, there are also medium-sized options.
  • Age – In a nutshell, there are three main choices: puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs. Puppies require the greatest amount of attention from you; over the first six months, you need to be hands-on in training and taking care of your little puppy. With dedicated training, your little fur ball will grow up to be a good and well-behaved adult dog. If you want to get a good idea of the attitude and energy level of your new dog, get yourself an adult dog. Most of them are already trained. If you got yourself an adult dog that hasn’t been trained yet, you might need to dedicate some time to solve this issue, especially in the first few months. Lastly, senior dogs – we can’t forget about senior dogs. These can be an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-energy companion. Just keep in mind that senior dogs require more attention, because they are more likely to develop health problems.
  • Grooming needs – Each and every breed of dog requires basic grooming. If you choose to have a dog with long hair, you might have to get them groomed often. Short-hair pups, on the other hand, tend to shed a lot of hair. Of course, there are grooming products that cater to the needs of such dogs.

Dog breeds and their characteristics

To help you choose the right fur ball to take home, here are some of the dog breeds with their distinct characteristics. Hopefully, this information can help you decide which dog breed you should get, especially if you don’t have any experience with dogs and don’t know what to expect from them.

  • Easy to groomSome dogs require regular baths and extensive grooming to look and be clean; these dogs, on the other hand, can go around and about with just a simple brush.
    • Alaskan Klee Kai
    • American English Coonhound
    • American Foxhound
    • American Pit Bull Terrier
    • American Staffordshire Terrier
    • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Easy to train – not to be confused with smart dogs, easy-to-train dogs are the kind of dogs that can easily grasp the connection between hearing the word “sit,” the act of sitting and the idea of receiving the reward after sitting.
    • Alaskan Klee Kai
    • Alaskan Malamute
    • American Bulldog
    • American English Coonhound
    • American Eskimo
    • Collie
    • Dalmatian
    • French Bulldog
    • Great Dane
    • Japanese Spitz

Tips to help you how to choose the right dog breed – which dog breed is best for you

If you’re having trouble deciding which dog breed is right for you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Every dog owner has gone through this process, hours upon hours of brainstorming about which dog they want to bring home. Personally, when I first got my dog, it took me more or less a day to decide between a German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, and Golden Retriever. In the end, I decided to take the Labrador Retriever with me. I regret nothing about that decision and I am very happy about it.

Here are some of the tips that helped me choose the right breed for me:

  • Make a list of things that you want from your furry companion. It would help to actually write this list on a piece of paper or on your phone. If you only think about what you want, you can easily forget and maybe change the things you have in mind. Here are some guiding questions for you to answer and write on your list:
    • Can I cope with having a lot of hair around?
    • Do I want a puppy or not?
    • Do I want a purebred dog or not?
    • How much time do I have for a dog during the day?
  • Consider the costs – some breeds are naturally more expensive than others; for example, some require more grooming. You can ask your local dog grooming shop for their rates and take this detail into account when you’re deciding. It’s best to know what to expect, both for you and your new companion.
  • Be prepared for emergency medical costs – no one can anticipate the future for certain; it’s best to be prepared for the worst so that we don’t end up feeling helpless if push comes to shove. We all want to avoid this at all costs, but our dog might get injured moments after we take them home. This is why we need to be prepared to attend to their immediate medical needs.
  • Check the insurance cost – I highly recommend that you get insurance for your dog. The younger the dog, the cheaper the insurance will be. Having insurance for your dog will definitely help with the medical finances when the need arises.

Conclusion

Now that you know all of the things that you need to consider when choosing the right breed for you, I hope that this article will help you get your first dog with a big smile on your face. Always remember that there is absolutely no rush when it comes to choosing the right dog, so take your time. Tend to your dog’s needs and your dog will surely reward you with a fruitful, joyful, and stress-free relationship.

Don’t rule out adopting a rescue dog or a senior dog, consider going to your local shelter first and you might find the one for you right there. You’re doing them a huge favor and I’m sure they’ll repay you with comfort and happiness ten folds.

I hope you’ll have a great time choosing. I wish you and your new companion the best of luck!

Related tip: The Best Possible Dog Breeds for First-Time Dog Owners and Tips on Proper Care

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