It seems like everyone I know is getting a puppy or has puppy fever! I am no exception to this rule myself! Choosing to add a puppy to your life is a huge decision. Let’s talk about how to select the best pup for your lifestyle.
- Allergies? Do you or anyone in your family suffer from allergies? If the answer is yes, you should be looking at dogs with hair versus dogs with fur. Some of my favorite breeds that have hair are the Poodle, Havanese, Chinese Crested, and Portuguese Water Dog. You will also want to spend some time around different dogs of your top breeds just to make sure it will work out! Also, a quick word about Doodles. Doodles can have just hair, fur, or a combination of the two. If a doodle is on your wish list, but you have significant allergies a doodle may be a riskier option for you. If your heart is set on one, you must spend time around a variety of them to see how you fare!
- Activity Level: Are you a couch potato, an avid adventurer, or somewhere in between? You will not be happy with a Border Collie puppy if you are a couch potato! And similarly, you probably won’t enjoy a Pekingnese if you love to adventure! Be sure to match your lifestyle with the energy demands of your future puppy. Now, if you love Border Collies, but aren’t quite the highly active type that doesn’t mean you cannot have one. It does mean you must research the breed and find a breeder who produces lower drive dogs and matches the dogs to the owner based on your lifestyle. You will not be happy if you pick the highest drive puppy in a litter if your more of a casual weekend adventurer. Let the high drive puppy get placed into a home that will provide appropriate levels of training, enrichment, and exercise! Also, if you are looking at a breed that produces lots of fun colors don’t get sucked into the colors!!! Pretend they are all Golden Retriever puppies and look the same. Choose the puppy based on their personality!
- Size: Do you want a large dog? Or a small dog? Do you wish to travel with your pup a lot? It is easier to travel with smaller dogs. Do you live in a condo or rental with size restrictions? All dogs can enjoy lots of different activities so if you envision lots of adventures, but think you need a Labrador Retriever to go hiking with, guess again! My hairless Chinese Cresteds love to go out and do things. They are up for just about anything. Agility, nose work, a hike, a romp with friends, and even a trip to the beach and they are all in. They are also perfectly happy to spend the day at home sleeping the day away. They are wonderful to live with! If you have younger children in the home something more robust may serve you well. A tiny Chihuahua can be easily injured by a toddling toddler much easier than a Pug or Golden Retriever.
- Genetics: Do you mind a dog that will nip at your ankles when you try to move? Or herd your children? What about one born to follow it’s nose wherever it may take them? What about a tenacious terrier? Guardian breeds can be prone to dog and/or human aggression. Are you prepared for that? You will not be able to erase your dog’s genetic traits. You can certainly train them, but raising a herding dog is very different from a sporting dog! And a terrier is much different than a toy dog.
- Grooming needs: All dogs require grooming to some degree. All dogs must have nail care. Nails should be kept nice and short. You should not hear clicking when your dog walks on a hardwood floor! Do you have time to keep up with the grooming requirements of a Poodle, Doodle, or Husky? Even if you send them to the groomer every 4-6 weeks, you must keep up with regular brushing in between. Consider the cost of professional grooming when considering any long hair or double coated breed!
- Physical ability: You must consider your level of physical strength and fitness when choosing a canine companion. If your strength or mobility is limited a Great Dane, German Shepherd, or Mastiff may not be the ideal breed for you. You should be able to pass the squirrel test! What’s the squirrel test you ask? Can you hold your dog back should they suddenly bolt after a squirrel?
Whatever breed or mix of breeds you consider be sure that you have the time, energy, and funds to care for that pup! I hope this blog helps you choose the right puppy to add to your life!