Are you ready to bring a new dog into your home? Finding your perfect dog breed match can be the difference between raising your “heart dog,” and ending up with a disaster that you’ll be stuck with for 10+ years – or have to make the unfortunate decision to rehome.
Here’s a few things to consider when looking for your dream dog:
Where Do You Live?
Even a large dog can be happy in a small flat if they have a relatively low energy level, are taken out often, and can spend time unleashed in a fenced-in dog park. If you rent, you will need to know if your landlord or building owner has any restrictions on your dog’s size and the number of dogs you are permitted to have. Unfortunately, dogs affected by breed-specific legislation are often not permitted in flats because the building owner’s insurance company may see them as a liability, no matter how sweet and gentle the dog actually is.
Also take into consideration if you tend to move often, or travel. Small dogs are allowed to travel in small carriers in the cabin of most commercial planes, while large dogs may have to ride in the cargo area. Some hotels have weight limits for visiting dogs, or may not allow them at all.
Can You Keep Up With Grooming?
Are you willing to spend time and money taking your dog to a groomer every 6-8 weeks, or would you rather be able to easily bathe them at home? Most smooth-coated dogs like the Labrador Retriever, Greyhound, Bulldog and Beagle are easy to groom at home, but they actually shed more than dogs with longer fur.
Single coated dogs include the Poodle, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Papillon and Maltese. They do not have an undercoat, so they tend to shed less and are more tolerable to people with allergies, though no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.
Dogs with a double coat will shed more, particularly the downy undercoat that keeps them warm in the winter. Retrievers, Huskies, most Terriers,
Both long and short-coated dogs need regular brushing, which increases blood flow to the surface of the skin, spreads the skin’s natural oils through the coat, and keeps shed hair from falling out around your home.
What’s Your Activity Level?
Every dog needs exercise, but some are content with ten minutes of playing indoors or a few short walks per week. Others become destructive if they don’t get at least an hour of high-impact activity each day.
Active dogs include those from the Terrier, Working, Hound, Herding and Sporting groups. Laid-back dogs include those in the Non-sporting and Toy groups. Be sure to research individual breeds, as there are some exceptions.
What You Should Know About Designer Dog Breeds
It’s perfectly fine to opt for a mixed-breed dog. Some crossbreeds happen by accident or chance, while others are bred deliberately to capture the best qualities of each breed. These are known as “designer dog breeds.”
For example, a Puggle typically has the fun-loving personality of a Pug, but it’s Beagle parent contributes to fewer wrinkles and a longer snout that enables them to breathe more easily.
The Poodle is an intelligent dog breed with a “hypoallergenic” or low-allergy single hair-type coat. Many people have created Poodle crosses with the intention of breeding offspring with these positive qualities, but there is no guarantee that your Sheepadoodle, Labradoodle or Schnoodle will actually inherit these traits. If you choose a Poodle cross, ask the breeder if they have been breeding multiple generations, and if they have tested for hereditary health issues like hip dysplasia.
Mixed breed dogs, contrary to popular belief, are not necessarily healthier. A Maltipoo may be prone to luxating patella, a condition in which the kneecap becomes dislocated, common in toy breeds like the Maltese, as well as hip dysplasia, common in Poodles, in which the hip joint grinds against the socket instead of gliding smoothly.
Adopting a dog from a shelter means that you will not have much information about their origin or genetics. You cannot accurately guess a dog’s genetic makeup by their appearance. You also won’t know if their personality is suited to your household until they spend a few weeks with you.
That said, whether your dog is purchased from a breeder, adopted from a shelter, or found in the street, it’s a gamble – they may get sick at an early age, they might not have the right personality, or they could be your best friend for decades.