We all have heard it said that a dog is man’s best friend. Many of us may wonder where the relationship between man and canine began. As it were, this relationship is timeless and even though we cannot exactly pin-point where the affair started, all we know is that these four-legged creatures are our great loyal and faithful companions – Best dog breed for your family!
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Everyone wants to own them, the young and the old, the disabled and the able-bodied and even notable personalities in the society.
Whatever reasons we may have for wanting to own one, what we all agree upon is the fact that dogs add some extra touch to our common lives and make us want to live life longer and pursue our goals harder.
The fact that we all want to have dogs is incontestable but what breed? This is where there is a divide.
If you are someone who minds about your family, then you would not go about selecting any breed. There are always some pertinent questions to ask,
‘will this be the right breed for grandma, is this going to piss my daughter off, how will this sit with my fiancé‘ et cetera.
For all those who have one time found themselves faced with these questions, this article could not have come at a better time, for it shall attempt to delve into the factors to consider and explain how to choose the right dog breed for your family & children.
To find out more about the key breeds and their main characteristics. By comparing how different breeds will fit your lifestyle and your needs – both now and in the future – you can make a sensible decision that will give you years of enjoyment and companionship.
Table of Contents
The first thing to consider is your existing lifestyle, and what type of dog will suit it best. If you have children or grandchildren (or plan to have them in the future) then you need to go for a breed that tolerates children. Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dog, largely because they enjoy a reputation as a good family pet and get very attached to their owners. Of course, this means that they can develop separation anxiety if there is no one with them for large chunks of the day, resulting in destructive behavior. If the house is empty throughout the working day, a Labrador is not an appropriate breed.
The Family Role
It’s also important to think about the role that you expect a dog to fill in your family life. For example, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an ideal choice as a companion dog. However, if you want a dog that would alert you if someone was breaking into your house, that breed would be more likely to befriend the intruder than sound the alarm. Some dogs thrive on activities and being busy, others aren’t as active and would prefer a more sedentary lifestyle.
Another big consideration is how much time you have available to commit to a dog. In order to properly evaluate this you need to consider the needs of yourself and your chosen breed. For example, a false assumption that many first-time owners make is that, the bigger a dog is, the more exercise they need. This does not necessarily follow: Greyhounds only need a small amount of exercise compared to a physically smaller Jack Russell Terrier.
An awareness of a dog’s training needs – the intelligent and eager-to-please Labrador requires comparatively less work than more challenging or less intelligent animals – is also useful, while you should also find out about grooming dogs. Don’t forget to also consider issues such as the cost of dog ownership, registration, and legal requirements. Avoid taking on a dog with higher needs than you can meet – it won’t benefit either you or the animal.
Choosing the right dog is a case of balancing priorities, making educated predictions about the future, and doing your research. All that time will be worth it, though, for a pet that your family will cherish.
Sadly, some dogs are not lucky enough to find new homes, or at least not good homes and that is where careful consideration and research could have paid off. I have compiled a listing of characteristics/attributes to consider prior to beginning your search for the new family dog, and I hope they can help you find the best dog for your family.
1) Size – You need to figure out the space you have available for your new furry friend, and if you can accommodate the needs of your dog in your home or kennel, depending upon where you plan to house your family pet.
If you live in a smaller home or apartment, a smaller breed may be the best choice. If you have a large home and a large yard, you have more flexibility in the size of the dog you can accommodate.
2) Shedding – Many dog breed do shed, if you plan on having a dog in the house, this may be a huge negative and looking for a non-shedding breed may be best.
Some non-shedding breeds are considered hypo-allergenic, meaning they do not produce the dander that can flare up allergies which can really affect the type of breed you get if allergies are a factor.
But most non-shedding dogs do require regular grooming and haircuts. You may have to deal with the grooming to eliminate dealing with shedding, dependent upon your needs.
3) Aggression – Determining if you want an aggressive dog that is intended to scare people or detour them or if you want a dog with little to no aggressive tendencies are an important choice to make, especially if you have young children that may not understand that a certain breed can be aggressive.
If you have children and still want a dog that can ward off intruders a bigger breed that is not as aggressive may be a great option.
Even though they may tend to be less aggressive, dogs are loyal creatures and if push came to shove, many breeds would do what they needed to do in order to protect the kids that love them, and that is where a larger breed could be more helpful.
4) Sociability – Finding a breed that socializes with people well or with other dogs well could play a factor in your decision, especially if you have a growing family and have many children coming and going in and out of your home.
If you have other dogs, you need to ensure that they are compatible and able to get along. Some breeds are very territorial and do not take well to other dogs crowding in on their territory.
I know with our own dogs, the oldest was not the most receptive to having new dogs in the home initially, but she has adjusted, it just took some time. But when you see my male dog, he is the social butterfly guy of the group. He will play with anyone and any dog, he loves to be interactive.
5) Needs – The needs of the breed and what you can offer the dog are vital. If the dog needs to run freely and you plan on keeping him cooped up inside all day, you may need to rethink your choice.
If you want a dog to go running with you and to go in the woods with you and your kids, choosing a small dog that may tire easily would not be the best choice either.
6) Medical Needs – Some breeds are naturally prone to certain medical problems. Being aware of these potential problems can help you determine if you would be willing and able to assist in the medical care of your pet if a medical condition specific to the breed were to occur.
Some things such as ear problems, tooth problems, hip problems, etc. are just some of the problems that can arise from certain breeds. If you are unwilling to deal with these issues and unwilling to watch for the signs of problems, then perhaps you should choose another breed.
We had considered getting a pug prior to out Shih Tzu’s but we knew we wanted our dogs to have puppies at least once, so our kids could be part of the process, but when I read that many pugs could have difficulty with delivery and require a C-section delivery due to narrow hips, I decided we would stick with our original choice of the Shih Tzu.
7) Train-ability – Certain breeds can be more difficult to train than other breeds, knowing what will be involved in training your dog will help you be patient if it takes longer than you had anticipated.
While there are other varieties that seem to get things like nothing, knowing what you will be faced with when training your new pet is the best way to plan ahead.
Other considerations to choose the best dog breed for your family
Your dog and the environment
Trained dogs are a joy to own and repay the time and effort made by their owners many times over. You should start teaching your puppy as soon as he joins your household and this is covered in the section basic training.
All dogs need exercise. The amount depends upon the breed and size. The dog that is properly fed and given a good walk or run every day will keep him, and probably you, in good shape and help to avoid the problems associated with putting on too much weight. It has been observed by both medical and veterinary experts that fat dogs often have overweight owners! There is nothing like taking the dog out for a walk for keeping yourself trim – mentally as well as physically.
Your puppy must first be introduced to his collar and lead. This is essential equipment for keeping him under control in public places. Never let a dog out to run loose. Do not let him off the lead near farm animals.
Train your dog to go to the toilet at home in your garden or in an area where you can clear it up afterwards. When out exercising him in urban areas do not let him foul public footpaths or children’s play areas. In an emergency the use of a clean up device is desirable.
A good house dog doesn’t bark at everyone and everything. He can tell who should be about, such as the postman, and who should not. Some nervous dogs are difficult to quieten, but if you give your dog companionship and affection from puppy hood and develop the right relationship with you as ‘pack leader’, it is unlikely that he will become noisy.
Dogs need companionship, preferably yours for as much of the day as you can manage. If you have to leave your dog alone regularly for short periods it might be better to have two dogs to keep each other company.
If your dog enjoys chasing, then teach him to chase and retrieve a ball. It is important that he learns not to chase cars, bicycles or other animals.
Your dog – the law
Dog ownership is subject to more laws than you think. Every dog while in a public place must wear a collar bearing the name and address of its owner.
The owner of a dog which causes an accident or does serious damage is liable, so it is wise to have him insured with Allianz both for veterinary fees and third party risks. Some household policies already cover owners against risks arising from their animals. Check whether yours does.
If you plan to put your dog in kennels whilst you are on holiday, book early, and try to visit the establishment in advance. Reputable boarding kennels will only take dogs if vaccination certificates are up to date.
It is an offence under the Abandonment of Animals Act for an owner to abandon an animal, whether permanently or not, in circumstances likely to cause suffering, so never go away and leave any of your pet animals without proper care.
I hope these pointers will help any prospective dog owners in their quest for the right pet. You may have a preconceived idea of wanting a particular breed, and that is fine, but just make sure you are fully aware of all the work that you will be investing into that breed before you go out and start checking out those adorable little puppies with the big brown eyes and the soft puppy dog kisses.
Because once one of them melts your heart, it will be very difficult to turn that little fur baby down. But if you know what you are getting into you can make an informed decision and still fall in love with the little bundle of fuzz it will make for a happy and healthy puppy filled home.
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