Every dog owner, regardless of the number of dogs you have or will own, has been faced with the obstacle of finding a compatible dog breed. Some owners simply fall into it, others have been raised with a certain breed, and even more owners have to really test the waters to figure out what breed best suits their personality and their lifestyle. But how do you test the waters when most people can’t bring a dog home for a trial period? The answer isn’t that easy but there are a few things that you should do that will aid you in assessing your breed compatibility.
If you go onto one of thousands of pet sites, you will usually find a wonderful little tool that generates the dogs that are ideal for you and your lifestyle; unfortunately, these little tools are pretty generalized and they really do not reflect the dog that will suit you the best. In fact, I have tried dozens of those tools and I have never had them suggest the same breeds. Also, they have never suggested the same breed that I own and have been compatible with for over 15 years.
Below are a few things to consider before you choose a breed.
It isn’t about looks:
Have you ever seen a dog and said, “Wow, that is the breed for me, I mean, they are beautiful.” I know I have and I am very partial to Siberian Huskies. Although looks are important for some owners, it is not the way to check if you are compatible with the breed. Sure, it’s great if you can look at your dog without wanting to cry at how ugly he is but looks are not the end all be all of decision making. If you are attracted to a breed because of the looks, don’t hesitate to research the breed. If you like what you read, then that may be the perfect breed for you; if you don’t, do not purchase that breed. As much as I love Siberian Huskies, I know that I could never deal with many of their personality traits, namely the running away, so I would never own a Siberian Husky.
When it comes to dog breeds, popularity is one of the worst traits a breed can have. Not because they aren’t an excellent breed, or because rarer breeds are better but because more of those popular breeds wind up in shelters. This is usually because of improper breeding but it can also be because of owners not realizing what they are getting into. This fact is always evident after a popular movie or television show that features a dog when hundreds of people by the dog only to realize that it isn’t the well trained, cute dog that was featured in the film. So never base your decision on a popular trend that is happening.
Exercise is next to compatibility:
Let’s face it, if you have a dog that has a lot of energy and needs tons of exercise, it will affect how you react to it. If you are an energetic person that enjoys being out with your dog, than a higher energy dog is more compatible with you. If you prefer to stay at home and watch TV, then you are not going to enjoy the company of a dog that is bursting with energy. When you are researching, look at the energy levels of the dog and find one that matches your own outlook on exercise.
The 5 minute shower:
Every morning, my husband is in and out of the bathroom in about 10 minutes; I, on the other hand, take a bit longer, okay quite a bit longer, to get ready. What this has to do with dog breeds is simple. If you prefer a dog that only takes 10 minutes out of your day to groom, then you will not want a long haired dog that needs a lot of grooming. Before you purchase your puppy, think about what you want to be doing for grooming. Do you just want a quick wipe down with a damp cloth once a month or are you okay wiping out wrinkles, applying lotions and removing clumps of hair? This decision will greatly affect your overall decision.
Life is full of style:
Believe it or not, your life style will greatly affect your decision when you are assessing your breed compatibility. If you are at home most of the time, you may choose a more dependant breed. If you work long hours, you will want a more independent breed. Think about your lifestyle and research the breeds that interest you to decide if they fit. Are they good with kids? Good by themselves? Do they need a lot of care? Make sure to assess every area of your life to make sure the dog will fit into it.
Timidness doesn’t always work:
The last point that I would like to mention when you are assessing your breed compatibility is the training area. If you are new to dog ownership, then you may want to choose a breed that is not as difficult to train and control. Some breeds are known for being stubborn and following an alpha mentality. If you know that you won’t be able to tell your dog no, then you should cross off a lot of dogs from your list.
Once you have assessed your breed, you should take the time to meet breeders and owners and really get to know the breed on a first hand basis. Owners and breeders will be more than happy to explain the good, the bad and the ugly of their breed and you will know that not only are you compatible but you are also prepared for life with a new dog.