Welcoming a dog into your life requires more planning than you think. Whether we simply see dogs as pets to keep us company, or we need their help with specialized tasks, choosing the right dog breed for the environment they’re going to live in is vital.
Of course, it is important to prepare your home before bringing a dog into it – but there’s a step you need to take before that. Thinking about the right dog breed for your circumstances will improve your chances of building a harmonious relationship with your new best friend and reduce the potential for frustration in the long run.
Dogs come in different sizes, shapes, traits, and needs. A lot of these differences – if not all – are determined by their breed. If where they live and spend the majority of their time isn’t suitable for them, they won’t be as happy, and may cause problems for your home – even if you love and provide them with everything else they need.
While you might have already decided in your mind which dog breed to get, there are a lot of things to consider. Owning a dog is a big commitment. Just as dogs are different, so are our homes. Some families live in larger homes, with plenty of open space for dogs to roam in a spacious backyard; others live in smaller spaces like apartments. Other than these, factors such as your life and family circumstances; what you want to do with the dog in terms of training; and your prior experience with dogs should also be in your mind when settling with the dog breed you will get.
Considering these factors can help you figure out the right dog breed for your home, but with so many things to look at, it may be challenging. In this article, we have broken down everything you need to weigh up to help decide what type of dog breed would be the right candidate for your home.
Factor #1: Your home circumstances
One of the first things to do when thinking about your choice of dog breed is to take a look at your home.
How big is your home? Do you have a yard? Are there others that live with you?
Your answers to these questions will help you decide which dog breed is most appropriate for your home.
Most smaller dog breeds do fine in apartments and houses with less open space, but larger dogs may not be as comfortable. You wouldn’t want your dog in a limited space that is too small for its size. It also wouldn’t be good for your furniture or appliances, as the dog can break things when trying to move around in a confined space. Dogs are usually very small when they’re young, but they can grow very quickly, and their rapid growth can make you question your decision. You wouldn’t want to call your dog clumsy, when in reality, they are too big for their living space.
Your home should have enough space for a puppy to grow, and be able to accommodate its adult size. Whilst it isn’t impossible to raise a big dog in a smaller apartment, it is considerably more challenging and time consuming. You would need to take your dog out for walks more frequently for them to get enough daily exercise. Having other people in the household can help your dog get enough exercise and speed up your training aims, but only if they are actively involved. Even when there are others in your home, they may not be as committed as you are.
Some dog breeds are also well-known for barking a lot. While you may think that your dog is just being yappy, the neighbors can find it frustrating. The barking can sometimes be attributed to the dog’s breed. Humans have utilized them for centuries as watchdogs to alert us in cases of danger. Some dogs in particular tend to be more alert at night. If your dog is more vocal, it can cause tension with your neighbors. Excessive barking, especially at night, has been the leading cause of problems between neighbors involving dogs. A vocal dog may not be the best choice in an apartment complex with thin walls.
Families living in homes with a yard are fortunate, because they provide dogs with an open space to roam freely and offers them with extra exercise. This is especially good for dog breeds with higher energy levels, but the time spent in the yard should be in addition to daily walks and other activities regardless of the breed. Like humans, dogs thrive on variety, and just because you have a yard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your dog out on regular walks. Walks and public outings provide necessary mental stimulation, in addition to exercising them physically. Let your dog spend time in the yard to let off some steam, relax in the sun, and play with toys, but be sure to provide extra exercise. When incorporated with walks, yards can help a dog get enough of a workout if you don’t have enough time.
Factor #2: Your life circumstances
Caring for a dog is a lot like caring for a child, especially if you get a puppy. If you don’t dedicate enough time to play and exercise, some breeds can get destructive, regardless of age.
For most adults, our jobs consume the majority of our time during the week, keeping us away from home. How much free time you have available to spend with your dog is an important consideration. If you have other people in the household that can look after your dog, this shouldn’t be a big problem. However, who is going to supervise and play with your dog also matters. For example, it may not be a wise move to leave your dog to your school-aged children or grandparents.
You must be extra careful, particularly with young children, when choosing a dog breed. Most dogs tolerate and play with young children without any problems, but if a young child doesn’t know how to approach a dog, it can result in disastrous outcomes that can hurt both the dog and the child. Research the temperament of the dog breed and decide on the one that is best for your family.
If you live alone and don’t have anyone to look after your dog while you’re at work, dog breeds that struggle with being alone all day are obviously not going to be the right pick. This is especially true if you’re holding more than one job at a time. Even though some dog breeds enjoy being alone, they shouldn’t be left unsupervised for long periods, no matter the breed. Separation anxiety and loneliness can cause destructive behavioral problems such as digging and scratching. How much time you can spend with your dog is therefore a pivotal factor to consider.
Factor #3: Your dog training goals
Dogs are generally seen as pets for most people, but humans have trained dogs for various purposes over thousands of years. They specialize in tasks that can help us hunt, find missing people through search and rescue, guard our home and loved ones, and uphold many other duties.
Naturally, most dog breeds have the instinct to act a certain way. For example, Retrievers have been used for hunting for centuries, and naturally, they have the urge to retrieve things. If you want a dog to help you hunt, there are dogs who intrinsically have this skill.
There are many specialized tasks that dogs can perform, and they can become even better at them with enough training. Some dog breeds are more qualified at specific tasks than others due to their history and years of breeding to complete these. So, what do you want from your dog? Do you have a specific training goal, or just want a pet to keep you company?
These are important things to consider when choosing the right dog breed. If you want a pet to keep you company without needing a specialized task, companion dog breeds may be a better pick, as they won’t expect much from you aside from friendship. That’s not to say that they don’t have the qualifications to do certain things, as there are a large number of companion dog breeds that work as service dogs.
After reading this information, you have probably formed an idea of which type of dog breed is right for your home – but here is a summary of the questions you should ask yourself before committing to a specific breed.
- How big is your home? Do you have a roomy backyard that your dog can spend time?
- Who is living in your home? Are there others in the household that can look after your dog while you’re busy?
- Do you have small children? Are there seniors that live with you?
- How much free time do you have? Do you hold more than one job at a time?
- How experienced are you with dogs? Are you going to be a first-time dog owner?
- Do you have a specific task in mind that you’ll train this dog to do, or do you just want a family pet?
Working through the above questions – and finding the right answers – will lead you to finding the right dog breed to suit your home.