Selecting the right breed of dog for your family is simple when you break it down. While almost any dog can be trained to fit into a household, it makes the assimilation process easier if you consider some issues beforehand and choose a breed accordingly.
Several criteria are addressed below and examples of dog breeds given but, remember, choosing a dog is also somewhat of a love affair and if you fell in love with a Chihuahua even though you’re a big, husky guy, go for it!
The easiest issue to consider when you’re choosing the right breed is space. Do you live in an apartment? Do you have a backyard? Do you have access to outside walks?
If you live in the country or suburbs and have a fenced-in backyard, almost any breed of puppy will work. In a small space, such as an apartment, something like the Bichon is a good choice. But some bigger dogs are excellent for this, too, including the Greyhound.
The main thing for keeping ANY dog healthy is giving them enough exercise.
In conjunction with space limitations, you should consider the activity level of the breed you get. An elderly person would be poorly matched with an Irish Setter, while someone active might be disappointed with a Papillion.
Terriers have that tenacious, speedy gene that keeps them on the move. Many guard dogs, such as the Neapolitan Mastiff are low-key because they’re only expected to be “on” in the presence of an intruder.
Dogs are as different in personality as people are. Some are extroverted, some are introverts. Some listen well, others prefer to lead.
In general, you’ll find that Terriers are tenacious, friendly, trainable, and good with kids. They work well with someone who wants a constant companion who likes to run around in circles.
The Bully dogs, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Pit Bull, also make great companions but their owners should be prepared for dog aggression.
The Northern breeds tend to be loyal, reserved and intelligent. They are fine with children but not usually playful. Guardian dogs are only fairly recently house dogs. Despite that, many are very affectionate toward their family, but are wary with strangers. They tend to be good with kids and ignore all other dogs.
The Border Collie is usually what is thought of first in the Herding group. They are friendly, sweet, intelligent, and highly trainable. Usually good with other dogs, they are also good with children when supervised.
Hounds are laid-back creatures who croon at the moon. They are slow when not in pursuit of something, and are good-natured. They tend to be great with children and other dogs and have a tendency to be goofy.
Companion dogs tend to be small and cuddly. They tend to be sweet and affectionate with people (including children), alert, and stubborn. A few are better off in adult-only households.
Some people are nervous of big dogs. Some people don’t consider little dogs canines at all. Consider a few things when you look at size: can I control this dog out walking if an incident occurs, can this dog handle family rough-housing, and how much space do I have?
When looking at breeds, look at temperament and activity level first. It’s nice if your dog immediately fits into your lifestyle. But, if you find, that you got a Cairn Terrier when a Pug would have been better, don’t worry. With training and patience, it’s possible to make almost any kind of dog a good member of your family.