Adding a new dog to your family is a major decision. Be sure you are ready for the new dog and understand the cost of dog ownership. When you decide the time is right, the next step is figuring out what type of dog is right for your family. There are many factors to consider before choosing a dog. The first step is to look at your current lifestyle and think about what adjustments you are willing to make for a dog. Next, think about the needs of your family. Do you have small children? Does anyone in your family have allergies? How much exercise are you willing to give the dog on a daily basis? If you already have pets, it is important to consider their needs as well. Here are some tips to help you choose the right dog for your family:


Do you want a small lap dog, a large breed like a Great Dane or something in between? Larger dogs need more room to move around and when full grown may look face to face with small children. Some small dogs may be more delicate and being stepped on or mishandled can cause injury. Another consideration is expense. The larger the dog the more food you will need to buy.

Energy Level

This is one that can often be over looked by new pet owners. A dog’s activity level can be determined by breed, but you cannot rely on breed alone. All dogs need daily exercise regardless of size or breed, so be sure you can provide this. If you know you cannot provide more than a short walk a day, then a Bassett Hound or other lower energy dog might be the right one for you. If you are very active and enjoy hikes, Frisbee and other outdoor activities then a Border Collie might fit in your family. Many behavior issues can in part be the result of excess energy. Unfortunately, many dogs are given up or even euthanized because of a behavior problem that could have easily been avoided with the proper amount of exercise and attention.


All dogs need basic grooming, but certain breeds need regular visits for professional grooming based on their type of coat. Families with allergies or who would like to keep sheading to a minimum often choose dogs that are considered hypoallergenic. Poodles, Bichon Frise and Havanese fall under this category. These are the breeds that also require regular grooming. Most short haired, smooth-coated dogs are shedders, so be prepared to do some extra cleaning up. Some grooming tools can help reduce shedding. Dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections and require frequent thorough ear cleanings. Certain types of dogs can do a lot of drooling, such as Mastiffs and Bloodhounds. If they shake their heads – watch out!


Puppies require the most attention and work. Be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to housebreaking and other training needs. Patience is a must. Puppies often go through a chewing phase and will need to be taught what is appropriate to chew on. Adult and senior dogs can be an excellent choice for those who do not want to deal with puppy issues. There are many adult dogs looking for a good home that are housebroken, have good manners and a great temperament.

Purebred or Mix breed

Many people are attracted to a specific dog breed for various reasons. Perhaps you were raised around the breed or have spent a lot of time with the breed in your life. Maybe you really love the way a certain breed looks and acts. Or, you might feel the breed is right for you based upon what you have read or heard about the breed. If you want a purebred dog, be sure you research the breed. Decide if you are willing to take on potential challenges with temperament, grooming needs and health problems. Make sure the breed will fit in with your family and lifestyle – including other dogs.

Mixed breed dogs can become wonderful additions to your family. The combination of two or more dog breeds can often balance out their personalities and physical characteristics. Just be sure to expect the unexpected. There is no way of knowing exactly how your puppy will look when grown up, and you cannot really predict health problems. However, many experts believe that mixed-breed dogs end up with fewer health problems than purebred dogs. Overall they tend to be good-natured and intelligent. Plus, adopting a mixed-breed dog usually means you are saving that dog from euthanasia or a lonely shelter life!

Perfect Pet Dog Training, LLC offers Pre-Pet Consultation services so that you may find the perfect pet for your lifestyle. This service includes a home visit to help with evaluating your lifestyle, a list of breed profiles that match your lifestyle and temperament testing for the dog of consideration and a follow-up consultation. Contact Alison Pennington for more details: or 803-210-9380.

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