Well, the time has finally arrived. You’re ready to add a new dog to your family! An exciting time for sure. However, to prevent much pain and heartache, give just a little bit of time to decide what age, breed, sex and entity to go with. Should you adopt a rescue dog, buy a brand new puppy, get a big dog, a toy breed? The options are endless. But, alas, I’m here to help. Boy do I wish more of my clients contacted me before acquiring their new dog.
Ok, let’s get down to business!
Do you have young children? If you don’t and don’t plan on having any, skip to the next section. Young children (2-10) make very poor choices when it comes to dogs. Screaming at them, chasing them, sitting on them and ripping toys out of their mouth are just a few of the tortures known to dogs living with small children. For this reason, I never recommend getting a toy sized breed. The smallest size I would entertain would be in the 20lb range, give or take. Moreover, pick something substantial e.i. Cockapoo instead of a whippet. If you’d like to rescue and have small children, I’d encourage looking for a young female though suitability truly lies within the individual. Pick an outgoing, happy dog with no signs of being fearful. If possible, look for a dog that has been in a foster home/family that has young kids. Stick with non-edgy breeds (unless you find a truly exceptional, “edgy” breed). Non-edgy breeds are particularly social, often with bird hunting backgrounds. Field Spaniels, Beagles, Golden Retrievers, Weimaraners (if you can provide the exercise), English Cocker Spaniels are some of the many, traditionally fabulous with children, dog breeds. I also love Border Terriers for family homes. Edgy (er) breeds would be Rottweilers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, German Shepherds, Akitas and many more. Please don’t get huffy because you grew up with a [insert edgy breed here] and it was the best dog ever, blah, blah, blah. This is a general guide with generalizations that generally apply. Wink.
If you don’t have young children then I would encourage you to make a rescue dog your first choice. Seek out a reputable rescue (yes, there are many bad ones) not just trying to shove a dog at you. Ask them if you can first foster a dog that you like before making the choice to adopt. Ask your vet, animal shelter, and local dog trainers what rescue they recommend working with. If you are interested in a particular breed, search the breed group page for a link to their rescue. I.E. Golden Retriever Club of America will have contacts to Golden Ret. Rescue; Border Collie Club of America (or American Border Collie Club) will have contacts to Border Collie Rescue.
Finding a breeder: Purchasing a dog online is a risk, a big one. The breeder can post all the pictures they want of dogs frolicking in a meadow. The reality of the parents’ lives may be very different. Whenever possible, visit the home that your puppy is coming from and meet the parents. Make sure your money isn’t benefiting an unethical operation. Additionally, research the health problems that are associated with your breed of choice and be sure to ask for applicable health clearances on the parents. Do not take breeders at their word. Research. Ask questions. Take your time. Impulsive choices are regretted far too many times. The best place for information own a particular breed are AKC parent breed clubs, as mentioned above. In closing, find a dog who fits your lifestyle not your wardrobe. If you work ten hours a day and like to spend the rest of your time on the couch, don’t get a Siberian Husky just because they are pretty. Make sure you will provide a happy home for the pooch you choose.