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Things To Ask Yourself When Choosing A Dog

March 1, 2024

Are you planning to adopt a dog soon? With so many charming pups in need of homes, it could prove difficult to pick the perfect canine. How do you choose the ideal dog? A local Lapel, IN vet provides some advice on this below.

What Breed Of Dog Is Best For Me?

We’d generally advise starting with the AKC. Even if you’re not looking for a purebred, their website could prove a valuable resource. 

Start by checking out the groups. Every breed was established for a specific job or function. Knowing what category a dog is categorized in could tell you a lot about his disposition.

Here’s an outline of the major groups.

  • Herding Group The canines in the herding group shared one common objective: to assist their people in herding and protecting cattle. This requires quite a bit of thought and calculation, so it’s no surprise that this category includes some of our most intelligent and energetic canine friends. This category includes puppies such as German Shepherds, Collies, and Sheepdogs.
  • Sporting Group Sporting dogs were originally tasked with aiding humans with hunting. For example, the Labrador Retriever’s enthusiasm for swimming and fetching stems from his initial assignment: retrieving waterfowl. This category contains Retrievers,  Setters, and Spaniels, among others.
  • Hound Group Hounds specialized at tracking and pursuing prey. They are divided into their own subcategories. Scenthounds, like Bloodhounds, use their noses to track, whereas Sighthounds use their eyes. (It’s worth mentioning that many hounds are rather loud; some of the puppies in this group produce a particular sound known as baying.)  
  • Working Group As the name implies, the working dogs were trained to do certain jobs. These include cattle guarding, cart hauling, and protection. These canines are usually highly clever and strong. This category includes well-known watchdogs like the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler, livestock guardians such as the Great Pyrenees, and sled dogs like the husky. Many of these dogs are quite energetic, but they also require a lot of cerebral stimulation.
  • Terrier Group The Terrier Group’s dogs all have a strong desire to hunt. Smaller terriers were commonly used to chase rats, sometimes through underground dens. That line of business demands tenacity and a touch of confidence: Fido is probably fun, energetic, and a little bold, as well as loving and devoted.  He may also love to dig.
  • Toy Group The dogs in this group range in size, coat, and look. The pups in the toy group are all fairly small. As far as jobs go, well, their sole duty is to be adorable. Most of these guys are cuddly companion dogs, whose primary job is to charm and soothe their owners. This adorable group includes the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pekinese, Pug, Pomeranian, and Yorkie breeds. Because of their petite size, toy breeds are excellent for apartment dwellers.
  • Non-Sporting Group Last but not least, there is the non-sporting category. This category serves as a catch-all for dogs that do not fall neatly into any of the other groupings. That’s not to say that these breeds don’t have special talents. The Dalmatian, for example, has a lengthy history of being an excellent horse companion, which led him to becoming a beloved fire dog. Then there’s the Poodle, a renowned circus dog, and the French Bulldog, whose unique face and bat ears have won over enough hearts to make him America’s most popular dog. Actually, the Frenchie supplanted the beloved Labrador Retriever from the top position. That’s quite an accomplishment for a tiny dog!

What Factors Should I Consider When Picking A Dog?

The American Kennel Club’s website is also a good resource here. Once you’ve whittled things down, start looking more closely at the remaining choices. Every approved breed has their own profile on the site. These outline the features that individuals should look for while choosing a canine companion.

Here are the major ones to consider:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Lifespan
  • Affectionate With Family
  • Good With Young Children
  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Shedding Level
  • Coat Grooming Frequency
  • Drooling Level
  • Coat Type
  • Coat Length
  • Openness To Strangers
  • Playfulness Level
  • Watchdog/Protective Nature
  • Adaptability Level
  • Trainability Level
  • Energy Level
  • Barking Level
  • Mental Stimulation Needs

Should I Get A Mutt? 

We can’t overlook mixed breeds, as they offer the best of both—or several—worlds. In reality, mixed-breed puppies make up the vast majority of shelter dogs.

What Are My Dealbreakers?

It’s also essential to consider what qualities you don’t want in a dog. For example, if you are renting and your landlord allows only small dogs, a Great Dane would be an inappropriate pet. If you want to keep chickens in your backyard, a puppy with a strong prey drive probably wouldn’t be right for you. 

What Traits Do I Want?

If you want to have kids soon, you’ll of course want a dog that will make a nice family pet and is tough enough to withstand inadvertent baby roughhousing.

If you or your close family members have allergies, you might want to go select a puppy with fur that is unlikely to trigger severe responses. Poodles are a good choice here. 

Do you want to be able to trust Fido off leash? You’ll want a dog who is obedient and won’t be sidetracked by every squirrel they see.

What Age Dog Do I Want?

We all know that puppies are incredibly adorable. Many individuals prefer to raise their dogs themselves. This is understandable; There’s a lot to be said about getting Fido when he is still young. However, young dogs require much attention and training. They are messier than adults, especially during the housebreaking stage, and require a lot of toys, training, and activity. There’s also the terrible twos, or, as we often refer to it, the terrible chews.

Age also plays a role in lifestyle compatibility. If you’re an energetic person who wants an animal that can join you on excursions and treks, a younger dog might be a good choice. If you prefer spending your time indoors, perhaps reading, working on hobbies, or watching movies, a senior may be a better fit.

Speaking of seniors, they can be wonderful pets! They’re generally peaceful and pleasant, have typically outgrown harmful habits like gnawing, and don’t require as much movement or excitement.

Should I Get A Rescue?

No matter what you’re searching for, rescue dogs have a lot to offer. Some shelters even offer foster-to-adopt programs, which allow you to test things out!

Do I Feel A Connection With This Dog?

Once you believe you have a contender or a selection of candidates, the next step is to spend time with Fido. Making a personal connection is also vital! We recommend that you complete your shopping and pet-proofing before bringing your new pooch home.

Consult Your Lapel, IN Veterinarian

No matter what kind of dog you choose, one of the first things you should do is contact your Lapel, IN veterinarian for specific recommendations and guidance. We can provide advice on anything from diet to getting Fido accustomed to keeping him fit and healthy.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding your dog’s care. As your Lapel, IN veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!