Your kids may have been begging for a dog for months, or you may simply have decided it’s time to add a furry companion to your life. Whatever the reason, you’re looking for a new dog to call your own. While it may be tempting to simply browse through pictures of puppies and choose the one with the greatest “Aww” factor, you need to think long and hard about what you’re really looking for in a dog.
Each dog breed has different needs based on their size, activity level and temperament. Take the time to do some research and find out what breeds or hybrid breeds (crosses such as the Puggle) will be a good fit for your lifestyle. Puggles, for instance, have the best qualities of Pugs and Beagles, making them an excellent indoor pet who will be devoted to family life.
If you have young children at home, keep in mind that you’ll want a pet that is gentle and loving, willing to put up with the occasional pulled tail or some rough-housing. Two dogs that are wonderful with children are the Beagle and the English Bulldog. Many people are surprised to learn that the English Bulldog, despite his fierce looking facial expression and strong, stocky build, is one of the gentlest and most loving dog breeds today. They will quickly form a tight and loving bond with children and can be inseparable guardians and playmates for children of any age.
The Yorkshire Terrier (or Yorkie) is an excellent choice if you live in an apartment or have limited yard space. These pocket-sized bundles are brave and energetic, with enormous personalities packed into a small dog. They are also very adaptable and travel well, so if you like to get out and do things, a Yorkie will be more than happy to accompany you. They are best suited to homes with older children simply because they are so tiny and tend towards bossiness. You will also need to frequently brush your Yorkie.
Shar-Peis are wonderful pets for the owner who has lots of time to train and play. These dogs are loyal, stubborn and highly intelligent, but do need a strong leader who lets them know who is in charge (it shouldn’t be them!). You will be happy with a Shar-Pei if you enjoy the need for daily exercise, as they do like to get out every day for a nice long amble. This dog is also more suited to cooler climates; high temperatures can make them very uncomfortable due to their many skin folds.
There are so many wonderful dogs available today. Do your homework and be sure you are getting the best fit for your family by talking to your veterinarian and checking out the information provided by reputable websites such as the American Kennel Club and the Continental Kennel Club, both of which offer great tips on finding the right dog breed for you and your family as well as excellent dog breed information.