What you need to know

What to Look For When Choosing a Dog

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. April 5, 2022
What to Look For When Choosing a Dog

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Are you thinking about getting a puppy or a dog? Adopting a new dog is a big decision. Without a doubt, dogs are amazing companions that can bring a lot of joy into your life, but they are also a big responsibility. You should be aware of the fact that there are many things to consider before taking such an important step. Not only do you need to make sure you are ready to adopt a dog, but you also need to decide on what type of dog will best fit your lifestyle and personality.

In this AnimalWised article, we will give you some advice on choosing the right dog based on factors including your lifestyle, family, budget among other things.

You may also be interested in: How to Choose a Good Vet


  1. What do I know about dogs?
  2. Which type of dog would be best for my lifestyle?
  3. Which kind of dog is right for my family?

What do I know about dogs?

Whether you adopt a dog or go to a breeder, it is important that you choose a dog that fits your lifestyle and specific circumstances. This is why some basic dog ownership knowledge will make your life and your dog's life much easier when your new companion comes home.

Before adopting, give yourself plenty of time to learn about proper nutrition, household hazards, dental care and local veterinarians. As rewarding as adopting a dog can be, it's also a big commitment. And the more you know beforehand, the more likely you are to succeed at choosing the right dog for you.

Different breeds have different innate characteristics. This is why it is essential that you do research on the specific breed you are planning to adopt. These are some of the most important factors you should know beforehand:

  • Size: You may already have your heart set on a small lapdog that you can carry around, or you might prefer a large or giant dog breed. Keep in mind that very large dogs need a bit more space to move around. If you're unsure, maybe a medium-sized dog will work for you.

  • Activity level: There are dogs that have more energy than others. Breed is often a good indicator of how energetic a dog will become, although it is not the only factor. Either way, exercise is essential for every dog, regardless of their size or breed, so make sure you provide it daily. If you know you can not take more than one or two occasional walks a day, you are probably better off with a less energetic dog, such as a Basset Hound or a pug. If you are looking for a dog that can be a jogging partner, consider an energetic breed like the Border Collie.

  • Physical maintenance: A dog's maintenance needs play a big role in their appearance. In addition to basic grooming, certain breeds and hair coat types require more grooming depending on their appearance. If you have allergies, or prefer low-shedding dogs, you might want to consider hypoallergenic dogs, such as the Poodle. Dogs with short hair and smooth coats shed a lot, so you'll need to do a lot of extra cleaning.

  • Age: Over the first six months, puppies require the most training and attention. Adult dogs can be an excellent choice, especially if you want to get an idea of your new pet's energy level, attitude, and temperament. However, keep in mind that even with an adult dog, you should expect a certain amount of dedicated training initially. On the other hand, senior dogs can make a wonderful companion if you are looking for a lower energy dog. Senior dogs, however, need special attention, more frequent veterinary visits, and are more likely to develop health issues that cost time and money to treat.

If you want to know more about a dog's basic needs, do not miss our article on how to make your dog happy and healthy?

Which type of dog would be best for my lifestyle?

As we have mentioned before, owning a dog means great responsibility. Therefore, it is important to consider whether your lifestyle allows you to own a dog in the first place. Here are a few factors you should consider:

  • Money: Although dogs do not go to collage and do not ask for a car at sixteen, having a dog is expensive. Often people do not budget before getting a dog, which can lead to problems down the road. Find out how much you are willing to spend on your dog and if you can afford it. The cost of owning a dog is about more than just the expense of food, so be prepared to pay for initial vaccinations, spay/neuter, preventive care, toys, and cleaning supplies. You'll also need to factor in any emergency veterinary care for the dog's lifetime. Responsible dog ownership begins with establishing a budget. Read this article on 10 tips to save money on pet ownership to learn how to make the best use of your money when owning a pet.

  • Space: Even if you plan on bringing home a small dog, keep in mind that dogs require a lot of space to run around freely and feel comfortable. Each breed has specific space requirements that shouldn't be ignored. The same as humans, dogs need their own space in which to sleep and eat. Dogs are known to be territorially aggressive, so by giving them their own space you can ensure they will be more relaxed and happy. Also, make sure that you are allowed to have a dog in your home to being with. Many apartments and condominiums have restrictions on the size of dog residents may keep (usually measured by weight), and some do not allow pets at all. Also consider whether you live in an area where breed bans apply. In most cases, dogs feel comfortable in a yard where they can run around. However, if you live in an apartment, you should check out our article on the best dog breeds for apartments.

  • Time: How much time and attention a dog requires depends on its breed and training. Since dogs are pack animals, most of them appreciate attention and companionship. As a general rule, you should set aside at least one to two hours each day to meet your dog's needs. This may include walks, playtime, employment activities, training, or general cuddling. Also, keep in mind that having a dog is a long-term commitment. Your dog may be with you for the next 10, 12 or 15 years. If you want to know more about the life expectancy of a dog, do not miss this article about how long do dogs live?

Which kind of dog is right for my family?

Before you get a dog, you should discuss with everyone who lives with you how they feel about it. The whole family must agree with the decision to get a dog, otherwise problems may arise that will make daily living together difficult. This conversation will also tell you if the other family members are willing to share the responsibility of caring for and raising the dog.

If you are wondering which dog to choose for your children, remember that a dog is not a toy, but a living being that experiences fear, pain, stress, anxiety and sadness, but also happiness and joy. Therefore, first consider whether you want to adopt a dog to be a member of the family or because the children are looking for entertainment. Even though children and dogs can grow up together and form a very strong bond, compatibility is important.

If you decide to adopt a dog, you must prepare your children for the arrival of the dog and, above all, they must know how to treat the dog properly. It is equally important to choose a dog that fits the personality of the children. A dog that can not stand being disturbed too much can easily get stressed around people. If you want to learn more about the breeds that get along best with children, do not miss our article on the 6 best dog breeds for kids.

On the other hand, if you already have other dogs or pets in the family, you should also look for compatible breeds and go through a socialization process. Although dogs are social animals that love the company of other dogs, sometimes it can be difficult to introduce a new dog to the family. Remember that the introduction is the first contact and must take place in an area that is neutral for everyone. If you want to know more about how to properly introduce two dogs, do not miss our article on how to introduce your dog to a new dog.

If you want to read similar articles to What to Look For When Choosing a Dog, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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What to Look For When Choosing a Dog