General Question

Supergirl's avatar

How do we know what dog is best for us?

Asked by Supergirl (1696points) September 11th, 2008

We are starting to look at getting a puppy—we have been doing a lot of research, but there are great breeds out there that seem right for us. How did you know the best breed for you?

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16 Answers

Allie's avatar

Get the type of dog that has the same lifestyle you do. If you like to exercise, get an active dog. If you like to sleep and stay at home, get a dog that wouldn’t mind being indoors a lot. If you like to go to the ocean and lake, get a dog that like to swim.
I have Bleu, Blue Heeler, who is very energetic. He loves to play catch and run around the parks and fields. He especially loves it when we take a trip up to the California Redwoods so that he can explore the trails and smell everything. You know he’s had a good day when he passes out in the living room from being worn out.
Our other dog, Angus, a Blue Heeler and Border Collie mix (with I think some Lab), has the exact opposite personality. We got him because we thought he would play with Bleu and they could waste some energy that way. He likes to play for a bit, but after a while he just lays in the grass and sleeps. If we go to the Ca Redwoods, he runs around with Bleu for a bit, then walks next to me. Sometimes he lags behind. Sometime he’ll just stop and sit and wait – his way of telling me “Take me back to the car. I’ll sleep there and wait for you.”
If I had gotten Angus first, I don’t think I would have gotten Bleu. Angus is much more the dog for me. Likes to run around for a bit, explore some new things, then nap and relax. Having Bleu keeps me active though, and it’s a ton of fun taking him new places and seeing him so happy to be outdoors.

sacaver's avatar

Getting online and doing that research is a good start. Knowing the breed for you I think depends largely on what you can offer the dog. If you’re in an apartment and work long hours, you certainly don’t want to get a large, high-energy breed. That’s asking for trouble. Some breeds have a greater propensity for various illnesses/disorders at different stages of life. Think about that.

Second, go to the shelters and see if there’s some special surprise waiting for you. Try and always look at the shelters first. You’d be surprised at what you find (or what ends up finding you!). If there’s a breed you just absolutely “must” have, see if there’s a rescue group in your area. Sometimes they have dogs that need good homes, and that’s just a win-win situation.

greylady's avatar
Study, study, study. Go to the library, and begin to narrow down your search to those breeds that look like they would be appropriate. It is just as important to know what you do not want, and what you are not willing to put up with, as it is to know what you like or think you want.

tWrex's avatar

Yeah, it’s really gonna be about your lifestyle. If you want a great dog that’s able to both be very active and sedentary you can look at labs. They’re great family dogs, which is why they are the main breed used for leader dogs for the blind. BUT you gotta do the research. I have a siberian husky who is a nut! She’s really hyper, which is cool for me cause I like to be active and what not. She loves playing with other dogs as well. My parents have a boxer who started out really hyper but has kind of calmed down. My parents are both very active and go camping 2 – 3 x’s a month.

You also have to remember that each dog, regardless of breed, has it’s own personality. So meeting your dog beforehand is usually good. My wife and I didn’t – we contacted the breeder through email first, then on the phone, and picked our pup out of pictures from the litter – but we got lucky. I would suggest meeting with the breeder and picking the dog out there. The problem I’ve noticed lately is that if you want a dog right now, you’ll normally have to put a deposit down first on a dog you’ve never seen or only seen pictures of. If you’re willing to wait for a dog, you can wait for the pups to be born, go look at them and then pick one out. Or you can just do what most of us do, find a breed you like and go on puppy finder and find a breeder with the dog you like. There also adoption. You can look at the Humane Society or just check out pet finder which does adopt-a-pet stuff. If you end up wanting a boxer, pug or siberian husky I can give you names, numbers and a few sites for some breeders that I personally have bought dogs from.

JackAdams's avatar

I hope my answer isn’t considered flippant at all, but it is a fact with me, that everytime I have selected any kind of pet, that I didn’t.

The pet selected me.

Honestly, that’s what happened.

bodyhead's avatar

First, I would figure out what kind of dog you would like.

Second, I would go adopt or rescue that type of dog. For every puppy you buy there will be a dog that’s kept in it’s cage for it’s entire life until it gets a lethal injection. That’s hard for me to live with so I always adopt.

Around here, you can actually ‘foster’ animals that need homes. This allows you to see if you want to keep the dog. If you do, great. If you don’t, you’ve kept the dog from living in a cage all day. If you’re interested in this type of thing, contact the local humane society.

There are also groups of people who just rescue certain types of dogs around here. There’s a pug rescue, a German Shepard rescue, etc. Maybe look into this type of thing if the ‘type’ of dog is important to you.

jballou's avatar

You should pick the breeds that best fit your lifestyle, as people have said before me. This includes your living situation and your family plans as well. A friend of mine has had a dog for a long time, and he doesn’t get along with their new baby, which is very hard for them to deal with. They didn’t foresee it happening when they first got the dog, but now it’s an issue. Remember when getting a dog that you will have and take care of this pet for several years if you’re lucky. Dogs can like to be 10, 11, 12, and even older. So don’t just pick the dog that’s right for you right now, but that will also grow with you and your family and your surroundings.

Another friend of mine loves traveling and has a huge dog, and while he loves his dog, he adds around $500 to the price of any trip he takes because he has to send the big guy to a doggie hotel. (He doesn’t trust dogwalkers. Don’t ask- depressing story)

There are a lot of factors to consider. Good luck!

Emilyy's avatar

Whatever you do, please, please, please adopt a dog from a shelter or humane society. There are so many great mixed-breed dogs out there (and even purebreds sometimes) who need loving homes and will otherwise face euthanasia.

I’m personally a big fan of Shepherd mixes, because they tend to “herd” their family up, meaning that they like to keep an eye on everyone and act sort of protective of them. They’re also very loyal, but do need a lot of exercise since they are used to running for their job.

deaddolly's avatar

3 of my dogs are rescue dogs and are the best animals I’ve ever had. Adopting a shelter animal is the best feeling in the world.

And, I agree…go to a shelter—they’ll pick you.

If you must buy a purebreed…research first and then see both parents. NEVER BUY FROM A PET STORE.

rooeytoo's avatar

I too am a fan of adopting a rescue animal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean going to a shelter, as bodyhead said, there are rescue groups for just about every breed that is recognized by your national kennel club. Also I always suggest going to a dog show and talking to the breeders and exhibitors. They will give you truthful information about their breed because they don’t want dogs to go to homes and then returned later because the prospective adopters were not aware of the breeds needs, temperament, etc.. I value intelligence over beauty so I usually opt for working or herding dogs but the sporting group has a lot of loveable members.

reljen19's avatar

can you show me the picture of person who are known in this world as intelligence?

doxie_chick's avatar

i would suggest that you determine what you want from your potential dog. if you want a lap dog versus a guard dog you’ll be looking for very different things. break things down by size, how much grooming you will be willing to do or if you can afford to have them groomed, temperament with children, dogs and cats (some dogs hate cats, don’t like sharing their territory with other dogs or are just to small or rough to be around young children), and energy level. if you want a couch potato or a hiking buddy.

some suggestions: if you have young children try to stay away from the smaller more fragile toy breeds as they can easily break a bone with a careless rough handed child

if you want a couch potato i would generally stay away from dogs that were bred to hunt or herd.

try to narrow your search down to your top 3 favorite breeds and then read up on their traits/behaviors to see if you can fullfill their needs.

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Kayak8's avatar

Agree with all the suggestions about studying the breed to match your lifestyle. In addition, I wholeheartedly agree with getting a shelter dog. I also strongly encourage folks to temperament test any dog they are thinking about getting (there are all sorts of websites that describe how to do it and the Monks of New Skete have a section in one of their books about it) to get a better sense of how a specific dog reacts to things in their environment. You can tell a lot about a dog (or puppy) by temperament testing.

CherrySempai's avatar

Well, my brother has been researching online and he’s found different quizzes and surveys in order to find the dog best for him. :)

When my family got a dog, though, we knew Labradors were fantastic family dogs, and my little brother and I were about 6 and 9 so we needed something good for smaller kids. We knew a yellow lab would fit our lifestyle because we have a pool (she LOVES swimming), a farm (a big dog would enjoy a farm way more than a small one, in my opinion), and we just didn’t want a lapdog. Labs are friendly, active, playful, nice, etc etc. I don’t mean to advertise labs, but I’m just answering why we chose her!

We got our dog from a breeder (which I wouldn’t change for the world, she was happy and healthy, a bundle of joy!) but there are plenty of dogs in shelters just waiting for a loving home. =] It’s your choice, though!

Moegitto's avatar

Research is your best friend. Animal Planet has a compatibility quiz that you can use, and they don’t give you 5 answers, they compare almost ALL dogs. It tells you the percent that a certain dog compares to you, but you can check out any dog on the list. They also have data on every available dog out there. Alot of people think Greyhounds have unlimited energy, but after some research i learned that Greyhounds are actually great apartment dogs. They CAN run fast, but they don’t require it, they like to laze around and be with it’s owner. Research can change your view on some dog breeds. Most big and strong dogs have a genetic relation to Mastiffs, but the Mastiff breed is a really lazy dog that has a low bite history and is great with kids. When you think about this awesome loving dog is basically the start point for what people consider to be the worlds most dangerous dog (pitbulls) you begin to see just how important research is. I’m a retriever man myself, but there’s a strain of retrievers out there that have been known to bite kids. Retrievers are known to be so friendly that they can’t be used as guard dogs because all they would do is lick the robber to death. German Shepherds are seen and known to be the most reliable dog breed for police use but due to poor breeding, some German Shepherds are quite dumb. If there’s a vet around you, you can ask them some of their experience with certain breeds, vet’s have hands on experience with all sorts of dogs in all sorts of different scenarios.

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