Most families have or will have a dog at some point in their life. Is choosing a dog as simple as finding whichever looks the cutest? No, there are many important aspects one should look at when finding a dog. This will show you how to find that dog yourself instead of relying on random websites or the appearance of a dog!
Step 1: Dog Size
The easiest thing to be able to cut out a large number of breeds is to determine the size of dog that you would like. When determining this take into consideration not only your preferences of size but also your living situation. If you are living in a small apartment it will be difficult to have a giant size dog breed that can barely maneuver, if you have a 10 acre back yard it may be difficult to keep track of a small dog who goes outside unattended.
Step 2: Initial List
Now that you have an idea of the size of breed you are interested in and that suits your living circumstances, next you will create a list. Using a pencil and paper create a list of all the dogs under the size category you have selected. If there are multiple sizes you are interested in you will create multiple lists headed by the size in order to keep track. Use the following website to help make your list. This may not include all dog breeds, if there is one you are interested in just add it to the list after looking up its size on the internet.
Step 3: Grooming and Climate Tolerance
The next category that is most easy to identify is the coat of the dogs. There are three things to consider when determining what coat is best for you. One important aspect is the climate of where you live. Consider the weather in the location that you live. Typically the long haired, fluffy dogs have very low heat tolerance, so if you live somewhere that is hot a majority of the time those would not be good breeds for you. If you live somewhere cold most of the time the dogs with what looks like no hair have extremely low tolerance to the cold.The next aspect is the amount of time you are willing to spend grooming, typically the more hair an animal has the more grooming required per week. Lastly, what you think is cute is important here. If you don't like the hairless dogs there is no need to look at them, if you don't like shaggy dogs there is no need to keep them around either. Using the list you just created in step 2 cross off all animals that do not fit your categories above. Use the following website to look at a picture of the dogs on your list to determine what the coat looks like, you can click on the picture of the dog if you are unsure what the coat is like based on the picture and it will go to the breed page and provide a brief description of the coat.
Step 4: Exercise
Determine the amount of exercise you want to give your dog each day. Along with this determine the amount of energy you desire in a dog. One that will just lay on the couch and cuddle all day or one that is always wanting to do something and doesn't run out of energy or somewhere in between? Your list should be relatively small by now. Use the link to look up each dog on your list to determine its exercise requirements and energy levels. Once again cross off the dogs that do not fit the requirements you are looking for. Rewrite a new list to be able to view the breeds that are left.
Step 5: Purpose
The last step is to decide what you are looking for in a dog. For example, a dog to keep you company, a guard dog, one that is good with the kids, one to compete in obedience or agility, etc. If you are wanting to do something along the lines of obedience and agility for example, you would want a working dog. If you want a protective dog you may want a herding dog or guarding dog. Use the following website to look up each dog breeds characteristics and highlight or circle the ones that have the protection, intelligence, and training levels that you are looking for. While you are looking up the dogs purpose, use this website to confirm that the dog breeds you have selected match all requirements that were stated in all previous steps.
Step 6: Choosing a Dog
Now it is time to choose a dog! You should have a list under 15 breeds at least. You may even only have one breed left. Now you can choose the dog you want based on looks and what seems the most fun! As you think about which dog you would like, search the breed on the internet to find the life span and health risks associated with the dogs to be informed and ensure those are things you are willing to deal with if they happened to come up. I would always recommend contacting a local dog trainer and setting a time to talk with them and hear their opinions on the breed you have selected and the next steps for your specific situation.
Step 7: Finding a Dog
Using the website listed below look up breeders for the breed you have selected. Look at the qualifications of the breeders and decide what your standards are, if they are AKC registered or not, if they have had health panels done on them, if they have been tested for the problems that are commonly found in that breed, etc. You may also look at shelters in the area, go onto petfinder.com, or contact a dog trainer in your local area asking for recommendations. Which route you choose will be determined by the amount of money you are willing to spend or currently are able to spend on a dog.
Step 8: Check Your Work!
The following are different websites that have quizzes and give you the top breeds for your life style. The results will most likely be different for each website. The deeper you have gone in your research the more accurate it should be. Your selected breed should appear in your top five in at least one of the tests if not more.