Dog 101, Part 2: What Kind of Dog Will Fit My Lifestyle?

Now that you’ve determined that you can afford a dog, it’s time to answer another question: what king of dog will fit my lifestyle? A 500 square foot loft in the middle of a city does not scream hound dog (although it will if you put a hound dog in it – all night long). It’s best to make a decision based on your and the dog’s needs. If you do, the chances of both you and your pup being well adjusted and happy are greatly increased. Ask yourself to answer the following questions honestly and see what type of dog will work best in your current environment.

Size: it does matter.

Do you prefer a teacup Chihuahua, an enormous Mastiff, or something in between?

Do you prefer a dog that is high or low maintenance from a grooming standpoint?

Longer haired dogs tend to require more grooming and cost more than shorter haired dogs.

Shedding? Is your preference a dog that sheds minimally or not at all?

Drooling? Do you like slobbery kisses or would you prefer to keep the face baths to a minimum?

Allergies? All dogs have dander that causes allergies in humans, but there are dogs that can be tolerated by allergy sufferers.

Activity? This is a very important category. Active breeds that do not get their required amount of exercise can become destructive and stressed. Pick your dog based on your level of activity. Are you going to run, bike and swim together? Or are you looking for a cuddle buddy for those long weekend naps?

Hunting or working? Is your choice of dog going to help you enjoy your passion for the wilderness? Make sure you select the correct breed for hunting, retrieving, or hiking.

Life Span? The average lifespan of a dog is twelve years, but this can vary by size and breed. Lifespan should also be taken into account based on your situation. Life can change quickly, and change is not always the best thing for your four-legged family member. It’s an important factor to consider when choosing your breed.

Temperament? Do you have small children in the family? Other pets? Do you frequently have visitors? Would you like a dog that is social or independent? These are all very important questions to consider when bringing a new dog into the family. Certain breeds do better with children than others, some prefer to be only pets while others want to lie in your lap all day. Again your situation – family or single, life of the party or loner – should help you choose the appropriate dog for you.

Now that you have the perfect breed and know you can afford the responsibility, do you have the proper support system set up? Who is going to be available to let the dog out when you are running late from work? What about the last minute weekend trip to Vegas? Make sure that you have a support system of family and friends that can help you with these issues and more. But what if your mom is allergic and your best friend is a cat person?

Okay, got all of that? To help with your decision, we put together a list of top breeds for different lifestyles. As always finding the best fit for dog and parent is the final goal.

Top 5 Apartment dogs:

Great Dane
Yorkshire terrier
Bull dogs
King Charles
Bichon

Top 5 Active Dogs:

Boxer
Pit Bull
Labs
Golden
Vizsla

Top 5 homebody breeds:

Mastiffs
Newfoundland
St Bernard
Bull Dogs
Grey hounds

Top 5 Kid Friendly:

Bull Dogs
Golden retriever
Labrador
Newfoundland
Vizsla

Chances are there is a local facility that can help care for the dog by providing services such as boarding, day care and grooming; you just need to find it. Will you need assistance walking your dog? Is there a neighborhood dog walker with the proper training? Do you have a neighbor or family member who can help? These are all important questions to have an answer to before bringing a new dog into the home. Once you have answered this question, revisit the breed of dog you are considering. If you have a lot of different handlers maybe a more social dog makes sense. Again a well-adjusted dog is a happy dog, and that makes for a happy owner. Try to make the best decision for both your needs. A square peg in a round hole does not work well for either party.