This question gets asked a lot by friends and clients alike. The truth is, it’s a highly personal decision that requires careful consideration of many factors.
Some of the factors to consider include your lifestyle, your level of activity, and what you’re looking for in a canine companion. Here are a few tips that may help you decide:
Your Living Space Should Meet Your Dog’s Needs
For example, if you live in an apartment you should probably get a small dog. If you live on the third floor of those apartments, then you should get a young small dog. Old dogs don’t like to climb stairs. Your dog must be tailored to your needs and your living situation for both of you to be happy.
If you live in a place with little or no yard space, avoid dogs that need a job. Australian Shepherds or Border Collies are good examples of herding dogs that need to work. If their job is sitting in an apartment waiting for you to get home, they will drive you and themselves crazy out of boredom. They might:
- Destroy your property on a regular basis
- Use the bathroom anywhere and everywhere
- Develop separation anxiety
These behavior issues stem from boredom and a lack of engagement with your dog. Hounds, sporting and herding breeds particularly suffer from these issues, because they were bred to run and work all day. If you want one of these dogs, then you must have enough room for them to run and exercise to their heart’s content. Luckily, there are places like DogBoy’s where you can bring your dog to run and play on acreage if you don’t have as big of a yard as you need.
Protection Shouldn’t be a Factor in Picking Your Dog
Let me explain. A lot of people get certain breeds with protection in mind. We’ve had owners call us and ask for protection training, which is a bit of a misnomer. Your dog will naturally protect you if you love and care for it. You don’t have to train the protective instinct into a dog.
Some people aren’t just looking for protection though. Instead they want some sort of attack dog. What they don’t realize is that those dogs can attack on command, but may not even be potty trained! Attack training doesn’t translate well into the life skills that are necessary for a well behaved pet.
Attack dogs are for the Police K-9 unit. You don’t ever want to train your pet dog to fight. If you’re worried about protection, don’t be. Your dog has your back, so long as you have theirs.
Find a Breed that Matches Your Activity Level
The breed of dog you’re getting needs to match your activity level. If you like to hike outdoors, then you might want a larger, more active dog. Some good breeds for this would be:
These are dogs that want to be outside A LOT! They can go for long walks, runs, and hikes with you all the time.
It’s really important to take this into consideration. If you have a Chihuahua, Pomeranian, or Dachsund, going on six mile runs with your dog just won’t happen. If you want a small dog to accompany you on your active fitness excursions you might be better off getting a stroller or a carrying pouch. A small breed would be lucky to last six minutes on a run, let alone six miles.
Think about how many steps are in a mile. Then think about how many steps your dog has to take to equal one of your steps. Now multiply that by six miles! After a quarter-mile your dog will probably just lay down and make you carry it the rest of the way. Which could be great for your strength training, but maybe not the most comfortable for you and your dog.
If you bring a baby stroller, go for that six mile run with your Shih Tzu! Otherwise, think about what your dog is capable of and prepare to match your activity with that.
What Do You Want From Your Dog?
Lastly, make sure you are considering what you’re really wanting out of a canine companion. If you’re retired, you might not want to keep up with a young Border Collie or Australian Shepherd. You probably don’t want a dog that will need constant exercise and attention. Especially at a time in your life when you’re less active, or just want to chill out on the couch with your dog.
Not all of us are hiking, biking, and running on a regular basis. If you are one of those people, more power to you! For others, a less active breed might be exactly what you need. There are so many breeds of dogs to consider, and your decision becomes so much easier when you give yourself some parameters to narrow down the choices.
If you only want a dog to be a cuddle companion consider adopting an older dog. Dogs over the age of eight, especially black furry ones, have the hardest time getting adopted. Which is unfortunate, because they make excellent companions. They just won’t run a marathon with you. They need a soft, warm place to lay down, and somebody to rub their belly. Maybe that’s just the right fit for you.
Ask For Help Anytime!
Here at DogBoy’s Dog Ranch, we’re happy to give advice to anyone who is looking for the right dog. Want to know a little known secret? DogBoy and DogGirl will actually help you choose the right dog for free! We also recommend using the American Kennel Club’s website to start narrowing down your options. It has a good resource for matching you with the right kind of dog for your personality, your needs, and your living space.
The Peaceable Kingdom by Hunter Desportes
…Border Collie by Echo Valley Ranch
‘balou’ by Ivo Posthumous