How to Choose a Dog Breed

Irish setters are good dogs for energetic people who love the outdoors.
Dog image by Miron Kostiukov from

Choosing which dog breed best suits your lifestyle will require research and careful contemplation. Not all dog breeds are suitable for families with small children, and some breeds will not do well in small living spaces. Different types of dogs have different temperaments, so it's important to learn as much as you can about what they are like as you choose your dog breed. Matching a dog's personality with yours will ensure that you select the best companion for your needs.

Step 1

Make a list of the types of dog breeds that you are interested in having as a pet.

Step 2

Research each dog breed by looking up information about them on the Internet. As you read about the different breeds, take notes on the average adult size, fur type, grooming time required and play time required. Some dogs with long coats require long periods of combing or brushing to prevent the fur from matting. If you do not have time to dedicate to pampering your pooch with brushing sessions, you may not want to get a long-haired dog.

Do not get a large dog breed if you do not have a yard for such a dog to run in or if you do not want to take a dog on daily walks or runs. Larger dogs tend to want to exercise more, as they were bred to be working dogs.

Step 3

Calculate how much of your budget you can dedicate to dog food and veterinary care. On an average, food, veterinarian care, toys, grooming and other necessary purchases for small dogs can cost $780 or more per year, whereas providing for large dogs can cost $1,500 or more a year. If you cannot afford the high price of veterinarian care and the large volume of food you need to purchase for a large dog, you may want to consider getting a medium-size or small dog breed.

Step 4

Review your list and take into consideration your budget, living arrangements and yard space, and whether you want a lap dog to cuddle with or a large dog to play with your kids and protect the home. Rule out any dog breed that is too large to live comfortably in your home or that has a temperament or energy level that does not suit your personality. Another thing to consider is whether you or someone you live with is allergic to dogs or suffers from allergies. Short-hair dogs and some dog breeds, such as the Portuguese water dog, the cairn terrier and the shih tzu, are less prone to triggering allergic reactions in people that suffer from allergies.

Step 5

Research the breeds that you have selected to see if any of them are prone to genetic defects or disease. Purebred dogs are more likely to have inherited health problems than mixed-breed dogs, due to the fact that dogs are bred to have certain characteristics and this purposeful breeding has also caused physical deformations and the development of genetic diseases. Some of these genetic defects may not affect your dog or your budget, while others will not only cost a lot of money to treat but also can affect the overall well-being and happiness of your pet.

While responsible dog breeders will not purposefully breed dogs that can pass on genetic defects to offspring, some diseases do not become apparent or show signs of existing in the parent dog until after the puppies are birthed. By knowing what to expect from the type of breed you choose, you will be more prepared to tackle any health conditions when they start to occur.

Step 6

Research local dog breeders that sell the breed of dog you have decided to get. Make sure the breeder takes time to properly socialize puppies. Responsible dog breeders will have copies of veterinarian records that contain information about the dogs' vaccinations and records of purebred dogs' parents. Breeders that aren't interested in where the puppies are going or what type of home you have generally are not interested in properly socializing the dogs they sell and may be running puppy mills. Always research the breeder to ensure that you are not supporting a puppy mill and to make sure that the purebred dog you get comes from healthy parents.


  • Some dog breeds have a lot of energy and are highly active, while others are not. If you want a dog with a more mellow temperament, consider adopting a senior-age dog.

Items You Will Need

  • Paper
  • Pen



About the Author

Alexis Rohlin is a professional writer for various websites. She has produced works for Red Anvil Publishing and was one of the top 10 finalists in the 2007 Midnight Hour Short Story Contest for Rohlin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in English from Madonna University.

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