Puppy 101: Choosing the Right Breed: A First-Time Dog Owner’s Guide

a collage of dogs of various breeds, isolated on a white background

Written by Andrea Gatley

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Today, we’re tackling a topic that’s particularly important for first-time dog owners – choosing the right breed. With hundreds of dog breeds out there, each with its own unique characteristics, making a choice can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry; we’re here to help! Let’s dive into some key factors to consider when choosing the right breed for you.

Consider Your Lifestyle

The first step in choosing the right breed is to consider your lifestyle. Are you active and outdoorsy, or do you prefer a more laid-back, indoor lifestyle? Some breeds, like Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers, are high-energy and need lots of exercise, while others, like Bulldogs and Basset Hounds, are more low-key.

Think About Size

Size is another important factor. Larger breeds will need more space and food and can be more expensive to care for. Smaller breeds can be easier to manage, especially in smaller living spaces, but they can also be more delicate and prone to certain health issues.

Research Breed-Specific Traits

Each breed has specific traits related to their temperament, energy level, and health. Some breeds are known for being friendly and sociable, while others are more independent or protective. Make sure to research these traits to find a breed that fits your personality and lifestyle well.

Consider Age

Puppies require a lot of time, patience, and training, but you’ll have the opportunity to shape their behavior from a young age. Adult dogs can be a great choice as they often require less training, and you’ll have a good idea of their personality right away.

Think About Grooming Needs

Some breeds require regular grooming, while others are low-maintenance. If you’re not up for regular trips to the groomer or don’t want to deal with shedding, consider a breed with short hair or one that doesn’t shed much.

Check Health Tendencies

Some breeds are prone to certain health issues. Researching these tendencies can help you prepare for potential health concerns in the future.

Consult with a Professional

If you’re still unsure, consider consulting with a professional, like a vet or a dog trainer. They can provide valuable insights into different breeds and help guide your decision.

Remember, choosing the right breed is a big decision, but with careful consideration and research, you’re sure to find the perfect furry friend to welcome into your home. Happy dog parenting, everyone!

Resources

Here are five resources that can help you choose the right dog breed:

  1. American Kennel Club’s Breed Selector Tool: This tool asks a series of quick questions about your preferences and needs for your new dog to help find your best dog breed matches.
  2. American Kennel Club’s Guide on Choosing the Perfect Breed: This guide provides information about a dog’s history, personality, grooming and exercise needs for each breed.
  3. American Veterinary Medical Association’s Guide on Selecting a Pet Dog: This resource provides advice on what to look for when choosing a dog, including temperament and health considerations.
  4. Orvis Dog Breed Selector: This tool allows you to browse dog breeds from A-Z, providing information on breed traits, habits, behaviors, and more.
  5. IAMS Dog Breed Selector Quiz: This quiz helps you find the best dog breeds for your family based on your preferred breed size, weight, friendliness, talents, intelligence, trainability, and more.

These resources should provide a good starting point for anyone looking to choose the right dog for their lifestyle and preferences.

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