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Things To Consider When Choosing A Dog

March 1, 2024

Are you planning to adopt a new puppy soon? Choosing an ideal dog can prove difficult, especially with so many charming pooches in need of homes. How do you choose the right canine? A local Rockwall, TX veterinarian provides some advice below.

Decide What Traits Are Your Deal Breakers

It’s important to consider what you don’t want in a dog. This is actually a good place to start. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Do you want to raise chickens in your backyard? A puppy with a high prey drive is unlikely to be an appropriate choice. 
  • Do you want to have children soon? You’ll naturally want a pet that will make a nice family companion and is strong enough to withstand accidental baby roughhousing.
  • Do you or your close family members have allergies? You may want to look for a pup with fur that won’t cause strong reactions. Poodles, for example, are a fantastic choice for persons who have allergies. (It is worth mentioning that people are more likely to react to dandruff than to hair. However, that is another story.)
  • Do you want to someday be able to trust Fido off-leash? You’ll want a canine companion who is obedient and will not be sidetracked by every squirrel they see.

List The Traits You Want In Your Dog

The American Kennel Club is a great resource here. Each recognized breed has its own profile, which breaks down the traits that individuals should consider while purchasing a puppy.

This includes the following:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Lifespan
  • Affectionate With Family
  • Good With Young Children
  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Shedding Level
  • Coat Grooming Frequency
  • Drooling Level
  • Coat Type
  • Coat Length
  • Openness To Strangers
  • Playfulness Level
  • Watchdog/Protective Nature
  • Adaptability Level
  • Trainability Level
  • Energy Level
  • Barking Level
  • Mental Stimulation Needs

All of these are important considerations. For instance, if you live in an apartment or have nearby neighbors, a barking dog may cause issues. If you like going to events and mingling, a fearful homebody pooch may not be a suitable match.

The website also includes a dog breed picker tool. However, this this is just a petucated guess; you’ll need to do more research. Ask your Rockwall, TX  for advice on this.

Look Into Dog Breeds By Group

Even if you are not necessarily seeking a purebred, the AKC website could prove to be a useful resource. We would recommend reviewing the groupings. Every breed was created for a certain work or purpose. Knowing which category a dog is in might tell you a lot about their disposition.

Hound Group: Hounds specialize in tracking and pursuing prey. There are a few kinds of hounds. Scenthounds, like the Bloodhound, use their noses to track, whereas Greyhounds use sight. This category also includes the lovable Beagle. (It’s worth mentioning that many hounds are rather vocal: some of the puppies in this group produce a distinct sound known as baying.) 

Working Group: As the name implies, the dogs in the working group were bred for specific jobs. These include protecting cattle, pushing carts, and providing protection. These dogs are known for their intelligence and strength. This category includes well-known watchdogs like the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler, livestock guardians like the Great Pyrenees, and sled dogs like huskies. 

Herding Group: The herding dogs were mostly tasked with assisting their people in herding and protecting cattle. This needed a great deal of thought and calculation, so it’s no surprise that this category includes some of our most clever and energetic canine companions. A few popular dogs in this category include German Shepherds, Collies, and Sheepdogs.

Sporting Group: Sporting dogs were initially developed and trained to help humans in hunting. These origins are still extremely prevalent. For example, the Labrador Retriever’s passion for swimming and fetching goes back to his original job: retrieving ducks and other waterfowl. This category comprises not just Retrievers, but also Setters and Spaniels.

Terrier Group: Terriers are all motivated to go out and track prey. Smaller terriers were commonly bred to chase rodents, even through underground burrows. That line of business requires tenacity and a little arrogance: Fido is usually plucky, cute, energetic, and a little bold, as well as friendly and affectionate.  The puppies in this category vary quite widely in terms of their sizes, coats, and appearances.  

Toy Group: Dogs in this super cute group share a few common characteristics. One: they are pretty little. Two: Their only duty is to be adorable. These are often cuddly companion dogs whose primary function is to attract and soothe their owners. This group includes Chihuahuas, Maltese, Pekinese, Pugs, Pomeranians, and Yorkies. Toy breeds are ideal for apartment living because of their tiny stature.

Non-Sports Group: Last but not least, we have the non-sporting category, which is essentially a catch-all for dogs that do not fall into any of the other groups. That’s not to say that these canines don’t have a specialty. The Dalmatian, for instance, is in this category despite its long history of being an excellent horse buddy and firefighter favorite. Then there’s the Poodle, a former circus dog, and the French Bulldog, whose distinctive face and bat ears have won enough hearts to make him America’s most popular canine. In fact, the Frenchie recently displaced the beloved Labrador Retriever from the top rank. That’s quite an accomplishment for this little guy!

We can’t forget about mixed breeds, which provide the best of both (or, in some cases, numerous) worlds. 

Consider Fido’s Age

We understand that puppies are tremendously cute, and that many people prefer to raise their own furry friends—this is completely understandable! There’s a lot to be said about getting Fido when he’s still young. However, young puppies require quite a bit of effort and training. They’re also messier than adults, especially during the housebreaking stage, and require an abundance of toys and activity. There are also the terrible twos, or, as we often refer to them, the terrible chews.

Age also affects lifestyle compatibility. A younger dog might be a perfect fit for an active person who wants a companion to go on hikes and adventures with. If you’re more relaxed back and like to stay home with reading, hobbies, or movies, a senior may be a better fit. 

There’s a lot to be said for older dogs: they’re often calm and pleasant, have usually outgrown harmful habits like chewing, and don’t require as much activity or stimulation.

Do Not Overlook Rescues

Whatever you’re searching for, there’s a lot to be said for rescue dogs. That is not to say you cannot research Fido. If your possible puppy has been fostered, the fosters may have learned quite a bit about him. Some shelters even offer foster-to-adopt programs, which allow you to try a pooch out before you commit.

Choose A Dog You Connect With

Once you believe you have a candidate or a selection of candidates, spend time with Fido. It’s important to establish a personal connection! 

Consult Your Rockwall, TX Veterinarian

No matter what type of dog you choose, one of the first things you should do is contact your veterinarian for a thorough exam. While you’re here, don’t be afraid to ask for specific instructions and recommendations. We can provide advice on anything from diet to helping Fido adjust to staying active and healthy.

Reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your dog’s care. As your Rockwall, TX veterinarians, we’re here to assist!