Are you considering bringing a furry dog-friend home this year? Good for you! Research published in Time Magazine shows that having a dog can lower levels of stress for adults and kids, is linked to lower blood pressure, and can even decrease the risk of children developing asthma. On top of all that, dog owners take an average 2,760 more steps per day than non-owners, which is super-healthy! Benefits aside, it’s important to remember that owning a dog is a commitment for your new friend’s lifetime, so choosing the right dog breed is essential. There are lots of factors to consider, but here are our top 3 tips.
1. Choosing the Right Dog Breed: Size Matters
Remember when the movie “Beethoven” came out? Suddenly St. Bernards were the must-have pet for many Americans. But the fact is, living with a 200-pound animal is not for everyone, no matter how charming they may seem on screen. If you are drawn to big dogs, keep the following in mind:
- Where you live: apartment or home
- They eat a lot (a lot!) and live shorter lives, which can be financially costly
- Some health issues, such as hip dysplasia, are more likely
- They generally require lots of exercise, which is especially true of dogs from the hunting, working, and herding groups
Size matters—big time (pun intended). Be brutally honest with yourself as to whether you’re ready to handle all that comes with a big dog and whether your lifestyle can accommodate such a large companion and all their needs. The time to think it through is before you nvite a big dog into your home (and heart).
P.S. All puppies are cute and small…do you research on how big that puppy will get once they’re grown.
2. Choosing the Right Dog Breed: Family Friend or Not So Much?
All dogs just love kids, right? Um…not really. Some dog breeds seem to be designed to be a child’s best friend: Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, and Golden Retrievers are great examples. But there are other breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas, Chihuahuas, Rottweilers (and more) that have a reputation for not being good fits for families with small children. Of course, there are always exceptions—not all Labs are great with kids and not all Akitas are unfriendly to kids, but in general some dog breeds do not mesh well with small children. So do some breed research and let that be a serious guide in your decision-making if you have small kids or anticipate starting a family soon.
3. Choosing the Right Dog Breed: Are You OK with Dog Hair as a Condiment?
No matter how much nutritious food you give a dog or how often you have them groomed, there are some breeds that are just gonna shed—a lot. All breeds shed, so if you just can’t stand the idea of dog hair ending up in your sandwich sometimes, performing daily brushing duties, or vacuuming the furniture several times a week, be sure to choose a lower-shedding breed. If you think short-haired breeds shed less than long-haired ones, that’s not always true. Dalmatians and Beagles have very short hair, yet can shed like crazy.
If the thought of cleaning up a lot is a sticking point for you, some of the breeds that shed the least include:
- Most Terrier types
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
The Tip of the Tail
What do these three tips for choosing the right dog breed have in common? They all relate to whether or not a dog breed fits your existing lifestyle. Being realistic with the type of care you can provide a dog every single day is a key ingredient to a lifelong, happy relationship for both a pet and their humans.