Dog Breeds: So Many Choices! Don't Make the Wrong One!

How to Pick a Dog Breed

Jun 3, 2016 | Dewdney Animal Hospital, Dewdney in the News, Dogs

“I think people spend more time thinking about what kind of car they’re going to get than an actual pet.” – Dr. Walton

Dr. Walton was on CTV this month to talk about how to pick a perfect pet puppy, and we thought we would expand on the advice! Picking a breed of dog is not an easy decision. Several things should be considered and it’s important that everyone in the family is on board with the decision and has had lots of time to think about it and research it!

We always recommend exploring the rescue option first. However we are also supportive of excellent breeders.

1.) Consider your Lifestyle

Dogs are a true part of the family. Therefore, it’s important to consider exactly what it is about your family that makes it unique.

Do you go on nature hikes and camp all summer? An active but people-oriented breed might be best for you!

Maybe you live in the city but maintain a fairly active lifestyle and want a running buddy? Consider a small but compact breed that is happy to live in close quarters but can hold their own when it comes to fun and games.

Are you more of a couch potato? There are types of dogs bred specifically to be indoors companion animals, even bred to be the lapdogs of royalty or caregivers for the elderly.

Try taking the Animal Planet Dog Breed Selector quiz to get a specific breed list!

2.) Understand the True Purpose of the Breed (and of dogs as a whole)

We sometime forget that most breeds of dog were developed for a specific purpose.

You should never decide on a breed because it is trendy or cute. For example, Corgis have been all the rage lately but people fail to realize that they are indeed a HERDING dog, and are surprised when the dog matures and starts nipping and barking at the family toddler. This is no fault of the dog, or the breeder, but simply genetics. Corgis have been bred to move cattle by nipping at their heels! Therefore their tenacity and drive needs to be relieved through some form of work.

And finally, we should always keep in mind that dogs are living breathing beings and not toys. If your desire is to have a dog that simply lays about all day while the family is away at school/work, and is then expected to sit quietly all evening: perhaps it’s time to rethink getting a puppy at this time.

3.) Meet Multiple Breed Ambassadors

I cannot stress enough how important it is to meet several (shown and titled) dogs within your chosen breed.

Yes, it’s true, I’ve met a Siberian Husky that was super calm, never barked, and always came when called. HOWEVER, this is so not the norm! An individual does not represent the total group. It’s so easy to create an ideal based off of one amazing dog you once met.

Visit multiple breeders, go to a dog show or agility competition, find people working with the breeds you are interested in and ask to meet the dog. This will give you an incredible opportunity to also ask questions about the breed.

Just like everything, dogs fall on a spectrum. By getting experience with multiple ambassadors of the breed, you will gain a better understanding of that breed’s potential spectrum of temperaments, quirks, energy levels, and overall attractiveness to you.

Once you have found your perfect breed of dog, make sure you check out our Puppy Guide for tips on finding a great breeder or rescue!


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Dewdney Diaries is a blog updated every month, recounting the exciting and interesting stories at Dewdney Animal Hospital. There's never a dull day at Dewdney!

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