Choosing the Right Dog Breed For You

Feb 26, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Contributors, Pets, Sheryl Wall

by Sheryl Wall

It is often easy to choose a puppy because he is cute or you like the look of the breed, but once you have your dog you may find they are hard to house train, are not good around your children, or tend to be too active for your lifestyle. This is because we choose the wrong puppy to fit our family. Each breed of dog has unique traits, health concerns and tendencies. We need to look beyond the way a dog looks and see what they are like on the inside. Rushing into this decision is what gets so many dogs sent to the shelters.

Another mistake many people make is buying a puppy for their child. Young children are usually not up to the challenge of owning a dog on their own. It is best to get a family pet that everyone can be a part of taking care of.

Sheryl's Irish Setter Maiyah

When I chose my Irish Setter, I first did a lot of research and reading. Some great book series are the Terra-Nova and Kennel Club books. They have many books out there on specific breeds. I also talked to several breeders and got to know the breed before choosing a puppy. Dog shows are a great place to find breeders. I chose to wait until I moved to the country because a Setter in town wouldn’t be a happy dog – they need a lot of space to run. In researching the breed beforehand I knew what living conditions were best for a puppy and was able to wait until I could supply that. They also make good family dogs which was perfect because we got Maiyah about a year before our baby and they get along great.
The first thing to do before choosing a breed is to look at what kind of home you will be supplying your puppy. Are you in an apartment? Do you have a fenced-in yard? Is there a park nearby? Do you have small children? Do you live in the city or the country? Then consider how much time you’re gone from home each day. You need to be sure you have enough time for the chosen dog. Lastly, what kind of time do you have to train your puppy? Some breeds take a lot more work than others. Border Collies need a lot of exercise, while a Yorkie doesn’t need much at all in comparison. Some breeds tend to be independent while others need their person around a lot.
Once you know what breed is best for your family you need to find the right breeder. Avoid purchasing puppies from pet stores as these dogs are usually not healthy and they often come from Puppy Mills. Before searching for a breeder, be sure to know the health risks of the breed you are considering. There are various tests that can be done on the parents to help lower the risks of passing on genetic problems to the puppies.


Ask the breeders a lot of questions before you make your final decision and try to see the parents of the litter. Another great place to get your puppy would be from a rescue – there are so many great breed-specific rescues out there.
You will have to spend a lot of time researching and reading, but you will find investing time ahead of purchasing your puppy will be worth it in the end because you will have a better chance of ending up with a perfect match. I spent months reading and studying about the Irish Setter and I couldn’t be happier with how well Maiyah fits in our home. So go ahead and make that cup of coffee, dig in to your research and start dreaming of the next addition to your family!


Sheryl Wall is an ongoing contributor to our
Pet Perspective section, providing pet care advice from years of personal experience.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.