There are as many kinds of dogs as there are kinds of people. Most of them are separated into distinct breeds. When you are choosing a dog to welcome home, look at the characteristics associated with the breed. That is an easy way to get an understanding of whether they might be for you. Of course, dogs have their own individual personalities beyond breeds, but here are a few things to know about the dog you might be adopting.
Where they’re going to live
Some dogs can adapt to all kinds of environments. If you have a house with a yard, then you will likely be able to house any kind of dog happily enough. However, when it comes to apartment life, not all dogs are as suitable. For instance, though they don’t need as much space, some small dogs are too yappy and high-energy to live happily in an apartment. Apartment life is better suited for lower energy, more polite dogs. Similarly, some dogs do not tolerate certain climates. Those with thinner coats like a Beagle do not do well in colder areas, for instance.
Whether they’re good for new owners
A new dog owner could rise to the occasion and take care of a more demanding dog with relative easy. However, if you’re uncertain of how well you can cope with the demands of a more difficult canine, it’s better opt for dogs that are considered “newbie friendly”, such as the good-natured Golden Retriever or the playful Yorkshire Terrier. Dogs that aren’t considered as good a fit for new owners are those who are very independent or very assertive, who require something more of a firm hand to help them fit into their place in the family. If you’re able to offer a dog a consistent and well-regimented life with some authority, then you can look at those more suited for experienced owners.
How sensitive they are
Dogs can have different levels of sensitivity, just like their human owners can. Some dogs will tolerate a stern reprimand, not to mention noise, and a somewhat more inconsistent lifestyle. These are known as low-sensitivity dogs and are a good fit for those who live a somewhat noisier and busier lifestyle. However, that doesn’t mean there is any room to offer them less care than any other dog.
On the other hand, some dogs are will not be able to rest easily if their owner is active, and will get very grumpy about a noisy household, indeed. If you’re looking for a faithful companion for a quieter lifestyle, then highly sensitive dogs such as a Bichon Frise might be a good fit.
How well they handle being alone
As well as regular anxiety, there is a condition that is common among certain breeds of dogs called separation anxiety. As the name implies, when they are separated from their dog, they get anxious. Not only does this cause the dog suffering, but it can also lead to disruptive behavior such as barking, howling, chewing and being too hyper-active when it comes to reunions with theirs. Dogs that can’t tolerate being left alone for any period of time simply should not be left alone, and their owners should be prepared to spend most of their time by their side. Sensitive dogs tend to be more prone to separation anxiety, whereas low sensitivity dogs tend to tolerate being alone just fine. Not having separation anxiety does not, by any means, mean that these dogs form less of a bond with their owner, however.
Sociability towards strangers
Do you live in a neighborhood full of lots of people? If so, you’re going to want a much more friendly dog, and searching for chocolate labs and similar breeds might just be the answer that you need. As this implies, some dogs are friendlier towards strangers, and happy to greet them, while others will tend to ignore them, and others still, will be more aggressive. Similarly, dogs also have different levels of dog friendliness to the other four-legged friends they see out and about. This isn’t purely innate, however. Socializing your dog with different types of people and dogs as a puppy will help them behave much better with them in their adult life.
Friendliness with kids and other pets
If you have a big family at the home, then not only should you be looking for a low sensitivity dog, but you should also be looking at those who are kid-friendly and affectionate with their family. Some dogs like an Akita, Pomeranian and English Toy Spaniel, for instance, are considered to be not very kid friendly at all. Similarly, some dogs are much better suited to finding friends in the family, even among the pets, and love finding affection and companionship all around, while other dogs are much more independent and may instead bond very closely with one person while “tolerating” the others. Of course, how you raise your dog goes a lot way into how they behave with their family.
How much work are you willing to put into both caring for your dog and cleaning up after them? Some dogs are going to be much easier to clean, you can simply brush them and not worry too much about other needs except occasionally. Other need to be bathed and have their toenails clipped more regularly. You should take in a dog that needs more grooming like a fox terrier only if you have the time and inclination to handle all of its needs. Similarly, you should be aware of how much they’re likely to shed and drool, as you will have to clean up after them when that happens, too. Some people have no trouble looking after a messy and demanding dog, but you need to be sure you’re ready for that responsibility.
Their general health
Every breed is at least somewhat prone to certain health problems, but some breeds are even more likely to develop a range of genetic health problems due to widespread poor breeding practices associated with that breed. Not every single dog is going to get every condition that they are genetically predisposed to, but they do have an increased risk. When you’re talking to a breed or looking at dogs for adoption, get to know their breed and which conditions they’re more prone to, so you can look at the health of the dog’s health as well as the health of their parent’s to see just how strong the risk of them inheriting a genetic condition is.
Size and weight
In part, this point relates to where you and the dog are going to live. As mentioned, not all smaller dogs are well suited for apartment life. However, larger breeds are definitely going to need more space to move around, whether that’s in an apartment, house, barn, or otherwise. Aside from the overall size of the dog, you should also look at the dog’s potential for weight gain. Some dogs put weight on more easily than others, and a dog being overweight can be just as vulnerable to health problems as humans can. If you choose a breed that’s more likely to put on weight, then making sure they get enough exercise and carefully measuring how much food and how many treats you give them is a must.
Every kind of dog can be trained and at least a little training is essential for every individual dog. However, some are going to require a lot more time and attention to help them get over particularly strong instincts. For instance, some dogs have a very high prey drive. This means they are more likely to chase anything they perceive as prey. Others are more prone to wander away from their owners if given the opportunity. These dogs will require more time and attention and may require the help of a professional dog trainer. Other dogs are very easy to train. Some are very intelligent, meaning they can pick up tricks and commands very easily. However, they also need to be commanded by an owner with some authority.
If you’re bringing a dog home with you, then you had better be certain that you’re able to take care of all of their exercise needs. Big or small, the energy levels from breed to breed can vary wildly. Some pups are content to spend most of the day lazing by your side. Others only seem to stop moving for a short part of the day. As well as their overall need for exercise, you should also be aware of how intense and active some dogs are. Think about how likely they are to play and try to get you to play. Dogs that are very active and playful need an owner who can regularly engage with them.
Consider your needs, as well as you what you can provide, when looking at a certain breed. If they don’t seem like a good match, it’s probably wise to look at something else instead.