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Choosing the Right Dog Breed for Your Family

Choosing the Right Dog Breed for Your Family

Whether you have children who beg for a puppy regularly or just want a companion for yourself, choosing the right dog can be overwhelming. After all, there are almost 200 breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club. That doesn’t count hybrids, shelter dogs, or breeds which are only recognized abroad. Fortunately, by considering your living situation, lifestyle, and desired doggy traits, you’ll have the perfect pooch lounging on a comfy dog bed in no time.

Consider your living situation

First, consider your living situation, because doing so can help eliminate some breeds or characteristics. Probably the biggest consideration if you’re a renter are the terms of your lease. For instance, many apartment complexes have breed restrictions. These typically prohibit tenants from having certain breeds of dog. Another common restriction is size. Some apartment managers will specify a maximum size or weight on a dog. If you’re renting a house, these restrictions are less common, but you need to check for them in advance.

Homeowners must also check for restrictions. Some homeowner’s associations, for instance, have pet rules. Your insurance company might have a breed blacklist, meaning they won’t insure owners of those breeds. Finally, some local governments have restrictions on which breeds you can choose to enjoy a comfy dog bed in your home.

Another consideration is the ability of a dog to be happy in your living situation. For instance, putting a large dog in an efficiency apartment, even if technically permitted, is probably unwise. These dogs need a lot of space to run and play, or at least get plenty of walking. However, small dogs often thrive in apartments. With these factors in mind, you can start to eliminate some breeds.

Think about your lifestyle

Next, think about lifestyle considerations. As part of your family, a dog should be included in your activities. While most pups must enjoy their pet bed while their pet parents are at work, they need attention during off hours. The type of attention they get will depend on you, so it needs to be something they would enjoy.

Couch potatoes

Are you the kind of person who comes home from work and crashes for the evening? All dogs need exercise and bathroom breaks. However, their needs vary widely based on size and breed. There are breeds of all sizes that are highly active, and those which are more sedentary. Be sure to pick one that’ll greet you, enjoy a walk, and then lounge near you on their comfy dog bed.

Active adults

Alternatively, some dog owners are much more active. For instance, they might love going on a long bike ride or a jog before work. Maybe going to the beach every weekend or hiking in the woods is their kind of fun. If this describes you and your family, then consider selecting a more active breed. This way, you can train them to accompany you on outdoor adventures.

Specialty pursuits

If you’re a hunter, farmer, or horse person, then certain dog breeds are especially well suited. In particular, the AKC “sporting group” is made up of dog breeds that are often used for hunting. They tend to have a great sense of smell and will often chase certain kinds of animals. Farmers might want a dog breed that herds livestock. Alternatively, dogs that like horses will perform pest control duties, help their owners hunt on horseback, or just be friendly buddies to man and beast. In these situations, consider putting a pet bed out in the barn so fido can relax a little while you work.


While most of us get a dog for companionship at some level, some people get them primarily for that purpose. Probably the most common example is with someone who lives alone and needs company. Single people and elderly couples often fall into this category. If this describes your situation, then you might consider a dog that craves attention. Smaller breeds in this category are often lap dogs. Others, however, might curl up next to you on the couch or a comfy dog bed.

Owner health

For some of us, lifting a 75-pound dog into the car is relatively easy. For these people, when a large breed dog needs to go to the vet it’s no problem. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to get a large dog for someone who can barely hoist a bag of groceries. Another way that owner health can be an issue is with allergies. Some breeds of dog are better suited than others for people with allergies.

Doggie characteristics

Once you’ve found dog breeds that fit your living situation and lifestyle, it’s time to consider more subtle characteristics. Many of these are personal preferences, while others address specific situations.

Coat type

Dogs have a wide variety of coat types. These include short and long hair, double coats, wiry hair, and curls. You can choose something you like in this regard or have specific reasons behind your preferences. Double coats, like those found on Labrador retrievers and Corgis, result in a lot of shedding. If this is a problem, consider something with wiry hair or curls.


Even among dogs that suit your lifestyle and living situation, there’s a wide range of personalities. Some hunting dogs, for instance, are outgoing while others are reserved. Certain dogs can be anxious when left alone all day, while others are perfectly happy to chill out on their comfy dog bed. Finally, some breeds, like pit bull-type dogs, are famous for their love of children.

Level of care

Some dogs take more care than others, and this isn’t always due to their coat type. Certain dog breeds have a lot of health problems which can result in a lot of medical expenses. And even sedentary pooches need different amounts of cuddling from their people.

Choosing the right dog breed for your family is critical for everyone’s happiness. Luckily, by sorting through the issues we’ve discussed here you should be able to narrow down your options. Then, when you’re ready to commit, be sure to seek out a reputable breeder or rescue.


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