Choosing the Right Dog Breed for Your Family

Choosing a type or breed of dog just by how it looks can be a disaster. It is extremely important to look into what type of dog you will be getting by offering a home to a specific breed - and some breeds are more suited to some homes and family than others will be.

Dogs are all so different - where a middle aged Staffordshire Bull Terrier would probably be happy with a run around the local park once each day then retire on a comfy bed, a young Border Collie will need much more exercise and attention.

Exercise levels and stimulation requirements are very important when choosing a dog. Most dog breeds when young will manage long walks. Older dogs prefer a plod and extensive sniffing. So have an in depth and honest think about what type of lifestyle and the amount of exercise that you and you family can offer to a dog. Be fair on yourself and do not take on more than you sensibly think you can manage.

Take into account the dogs coat type and whether there could be risk of allergy within the family. Many pets have to be given up due to coat and dander allergy reactions from people, particularly children living with the dog. This is a heart breaking situation which could possibly be avoided by research into coat types. Careful consideration of coat type can minimise the risk of pet hair irritation both for adults and kids.

Size is another important aspect when choosing a dog. Logistically it is certainly easier living with smaller dogs but avoid the assumption that smaller is easier. A lot of smaller dogs come with large ideas and can be rather complicated. The Jack Russell Terrier is an example of the tenacity and intelligence present in many smaller dogs.

Family members and type of home needs to be considered. A highly strung breed that can be reactive may not be the best type of dog for a home with young children. It could prove stressful for the dog and dangerous for the children.

If you are interested in a dog then it is undoubtedly worth looking up the breed and researching its characteristics and needs. Find out if it was originally bred to work and if so what type of work. Bear in mind that this breeding will have focussed attention on certain behaviours and instincts. These instincts may still be present in the dog sometimes diluted but present nevertheless. For example the English Springer Spaniel was originally bred for flushing game birds out of scrub areas therefore has high energy levels. The Springer Spaniel could literally run all day. This breed of dog could potentially become very unhappy without a long off leash run every day.

A different breed, the Shih Tzu, is kept as a companion dog and will be more adaptable to the exercise available. Lower energy levels make dogs bred for companionship suitable for the less active home and family. There are varying types of companion dog and they can make great family pets.

Unfortunately many of the working breeds are given up when they reach adolescence and therefore inhabit rescue centres. Interestingly this is often due to the lack of opportunity to channel instinctive behaviour resulting in destructive or unmanageable habits forming. If dogs of this type are then placed in a more suitable home and their needs met these habits can become extinct quite quickly. A lot of these dogs were chosen as puppies on looks alone.

So when choosing a dog you must ensure that the home offered meets all of the dog's needs. You can do this by thorough research resulting in the matching of a suitable breed type of dog to your home. This will ensure that the relationship between the dog and your family will work and be long lasting and beneficial to all involved.