Whether the question of “Is puppy ownership right for me?” is a familiar face or a first-time visitor, dog ownership isn’t a responsibility to turn a wet-nose up at. Before you invite a furry family member into your living spaces, you’ll need to have a heart-to-heart with yourself before you start puppy window shopping.
Start by working your way down the list of puppy ownership prerequisites. Can I afford a dog? Do I have time to regularly exercise my dog? And the list goes on and on.
If your schedule is ready to roll out the welcome mat for wagging tails, slobbery kisses, and bi-weekly trips to the dog park, it’s time to narrow down your breed options. Choosing a dog is an enormous decision, one that will impact your family’s lifestyle for years to come. Here are seven essential questions to ask yourself before choosing the right breed for you.
Do you have children or plan on having a family?
Not all dog breeds behave well with children, through no inherent fault of the child or the dog. That being said, it would be heart-wrenching to have to give away your pup because they aren’t good with your kiddos.
If you have or plan to have kids, check out some of the best breeds for families:
- Labrador retrievers
- Bernese Mountain Dog
If any of these breeds, such as the Labrador Retriever, pique your interest, you’ll need to sniff out reputable white Lab breeders to ensure your new puppy is the missing puzzle piece in your family unit. Remember, a quality breeder will ensure your dog’s temperament and trainability meets your expectations.
To land on a high-quality breeder, ask your veterinarian for a reference, visit local dog shows, and always ask breeders the right questions, i.e., how long have you been breeding for, or how do you socialize your puppies?
What can you afford, both now and in the future?
A dog is a significant financial commitment. Puppies can be very expensive, but some breeds are more prone to costly health issues, need specialty food, or might run up bills in some other way. Make sure you consider the costs of having a pet in general and your breeds of choice specifically.
How much time can you commit?
Do you want a dog who is happy to lay on the couch with you all day, or who you can take for a jog every morning? Certain breeds of dogs need more exercise than others, and it won’t be a matter of choice when they start releasing pent-up energy in destructive ways. Be sure to research the physical activity level of your desired pet.
How much noise can you tolerate?
A chihuahua might seem perfect for a small apartment until you get them home and they won’t stop barking. Noise level is something else that you can plan for by carefully researching your breeds.
While some people want a quiet dog, others might prefer a loud dog that barks when people approach your home. Or you might live on a large piece of land and not particularly care.
What do you want your dog to do (besides be your best friend!)?
Besides being your companion for their lifetime, do you want to take your dog on hunting or fishing trips? Guard your home when you’re not there? Some people also want a dog that they can train as an emotional support animal or therapy dog. Once again, when it comes to these characteristics, breed matters.
Does anyone you love have allergies?
It isn’t a bad idea to have your family members tested for allergies to dogs before bringing them home. Even a moderate or mild allergy can cause severe discomfort to someone you love if you bring a dog into the home. Even if your immediate family is clear, are there extended relatives who may no longer be able to visit?
Love your dog and your breed
If you carefully consider the items on this list, you’ll have nothing to worry about. You can rest assured that you made the perfect choice in a dog for yourself and your family.