You can confidently predict that your kids will fall in love with a cute puppy if you take them into a pet store. However, it’s something you shouldn’t do unless the entire family is 100 percent agreeable to buying a new puppy. Before we consider what dog breed is best for me, let’s first think about whether you should be getting a puppy in the first place.
Do you really want to adopt a puppy?
Crying and pleading children can be extremely effective and it can be difficult to say no to, when they beg you to buy them a puppy. And you have a horrible feeling it will be you taking it for a walk every day and generally looking after it, despite assurances from your children that they’ll do that.
If you give in, you’ll probably find yourself walking out of the pet store with puppy accessories, as well as the new dog. And you may also be questioning yourself on whether this decision is something that most parents do in this situation.
Buyer’s remorse is common with many things, but it’s perhaps more noticeable with a new puppy than with anything else. After a few days, you discover that your family’s personality and lifestyle just doesn’t match the personality of the new dog. Soon, you start to have the horrible feeling of having made the wrong decision.
Of course, your children are too busy with homework and other commitments to actually help to take care of the dog. You find yourself spending your lunch hour feeding the puppy, and taking him for walks even though you don’t really have time. After a while, it’s easy to resent your children and regret that decision to buy the new puppy.
And you may find that many of the little annoyances become more irritating over time. Things like barking during the night, chewing on the furniture and having an accident in your home can quickly become tiresome. Neglecting or abusing an animal is common with some dog owners at this point.
If it gets to this point, many dog owners may simply abandon their dog as they don’t know what else to do. The extra work involved in looking after a pet and the resulting stress begins to take its toll.
Not realizing exactly what is involved in owning a dog is a major reason why many dogs end up in a shelter. If you buy a new puppy, consider the characteristics of that particular breed, and consider how you would cope with the dog when he’s fully grown. It’s not all about being swayed by that adorable puppy in the pet store. Remember, all puppies look adorable.
Unfortunately, the only ‘crime’ committed by many dogs is being taken home by the wrong family. Many dogs that languish in pet shelters would make wonderful pets if they were adopted by the right family.
Some dog breeds need you to interact with them for at least several hours each day, and you need to be prepared to do that. Barking loudly or chewing items in your home is often the results when a dog is ignored. It is actually crying out for attention.
If you’re taking home a dog from the pet store or the shelter, you need to make a point of knowing which dog breeds would be a good fit for your lifestyle, your family and how much time you have available. Some dogs just don’t get on well with toddlers or young children, but have no problem interacting with older children. And with some breeds, you need to ensure you have enough room for them to play and run about.
There are also breeds that require a lot of grooming, will that become a financial strain on you? Will you have enough space in the house to add a dog crate if you need to keep it in one during the day when you’re at work? These are some of the many questions you need to think about first.
It is important that you do not be seduced by those cute puppies next time you’re in the pet store. Leaving the kids at home when you go back to look at the dog and find out more, is a good idea. Remember, you want your dog to feel at home with you and you want to make sure your family members are all comfortable too.
What dog breed is best for me?
If after all the carefully considerations, you’ve decided that you do want to have a dog in your family, do you simply get the next adorable puppy you see? No!
After you’ve made the decision to bring home a dog, here comes the big question. It’s time to ask what kind of dog to bring home? What dog breed is best for me and my family? With about 330 pure dog breeds and another 80 common mixed breeds out there, the decision is anything but easy to make.
Also take into account the fact that mixed breeds were developed by breeders in a way to keep the characteristics of one or the other breed intact. However, this may lead to the alteration of the size of the dog (smaller or larger than the original breed/breeds). Thus, having so many options to choose from, you must tread carefully and take into account all the specific characteristics (size, temperament, function, abilities) of any dog breed you might fancy.
Since keeping dogs as house pets have become a common trait for a good while now, breeders keep that in mind, too. For instance, a hunting dog such as an Irish Setter is bred in such a way as to reduce its original hunting instincts and make it temperamentally more suitable as a family pet.
There are also other major dog breed categories, including working dogs, guards, companions, toys, spaniels, spitz, scent hounds, sighthounds, terriers and herding dogs. However, when it comes to the all too famous pound mutt or ‘Heinz 57’—little is known as to its exact heritage.
Know that historically, almost all dogs that lived with human beings were working dogs. That is how, in the first place, dogs collectively developed the trait to live in human habitat or in close contact with humans. Different breeds of working dogs helped their keepers in various different jobs including cattle tending, sheep herding, helping track escapees and fugitives, guarding property and partnering their masters during hunting.
Dogs were kept as house pets in earlier times, too; however, the concept was far less common than it is today. In any case, as a modern pet parent, what you need to know is that although breeders do their best to make today’s bred dogs suitable as family pets, each dog breed nevertheless continues to carry the genetic code that made them the right candidates for the original sort of work (cattle tending, hunting, so on) they used to perform.
What this means is that if you’re looking for a cuddly and cute playmate for your little kids, you would obviously not opt for a watchdog breed. It is true that greyhounds (originally watchdogs) are often pretty quiet and gentle. However, do keep in mind that they also demand/require a lot of outdoor time and space. Greyhounds can run lightning quick and if you’re not too active a person yourself (read couch potato), you had better stay clear of them!
Instead, opt for a herding or pastoral dog (such as Welsh Corgi, Collie or Old English Sheepdog) if you are looking for a medium- to large-sized dog who will be protective of your kids and is easy to train, to boot. These herding dogs keep their instincts from before and will do a great job watching over your kids as they play in the backyard while effectively thwarting any unwelcome intruders.
Or, if you want a dog (usually a smaller one) purely for amusement purposes, consider toy dog breeds like Pug, Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Manchester Terrier, Poodle or King Charles Spaniel. Never expect any sort of work whatsoever from these vain and spoiled brats (no matter how cute), but stay prepare to act as their slaves as and when they demand!
The hunting breeds such as Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter, English Setter and English Springer Spaniel have all inherited the proud legacy of their ancestors of being faithful and efficient partners and companions to hunters. Over the centuries, they may have lost some of their hunting instincts, but apparently none of their faithfulness to their masters.
In conclusion, on one hand, there are breeds that require space, lot of exercise and the like. On the other extreme, there are those who may rival the most pampered of movie stars in their demand for primping and preening. So, make your choice according to what suits you best!
However, here is the last word: if you want to bring home and love a dog that is the easiest to raise and train, simply go for the “pound mutt.” Available in all sizes, shapes, colors and patterns, these are dogs that have endured enough hardships (the reason why they are in the pound or shelter) and all they want is a loving foster family. Bring one of them home and you’ll have a sweet, loving and faithful companion for life.
Also keep in mind the personality of your family and yourself. Consider if you have a lot of time at hand to decide on the breed of dogs to get. If possible, it may even be a good idea to foster the dog first before adopting it. And yes, it’s always better to adopt than to buy as you’ll be helping another poor soul out there which may have been abandoned by its previous owner.