Choosing your dog: a friend for life
Congratulations! You have decided to have a dog. What breed, what size, will she shed, long hair or short hair, what kind of climate do you live in, do you live in the city or in the country, do you have children, do you have allergies, etc.? With over 150 breeds to choose from, that task can be quite daunting. Having a dog can sometimes be frustrating. Your typical daily routine will be disrupted when your dog is a puppy learning the rules of the home.
A dog is a living, breathing creature. They have needs, wants and demands, not to mention a lot of love to give. They usually live for 10-15 years. In addition to the purchase price, there is the cost of feeding, grooming and veterinary care. A larger breed dog, such as a Saint Bernard, will eat more than a Chihuahua. A Samoyed will need weekly, if not daily, grooming. A Schnauzer does not lose hair, but will need an occasional haircut.
The races are divided into groups. Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-sporting, Herding and Miscellaneous. Each group means what the dog does best. For example, a Siberian husky is a member of the working group. They are used for dog sled racing due to their incredible strength. They can run for miles and miles and never seem to break a sweat. Working dogs (such as the Siberian Husky) are often high-energy dogs. It takes a lot of activity to get them out. A toy dog would be perfect if you don’t want to sweat while looking at your dog.
Size is a factor to consider. Do you live in an apartment where a smaller dog may be all that is allowed, or do you have your own house with a big backyard? The owner’s age and disposition are key in helping determine size. An older person may be better for a Yorkshire terrier than a Labrador. Remember that all dogs start small, but the breed of the dog determines the final size. Even a Great Dane starts out small, but very quickly grows into a small horse that needs a big yard and lots of food.
Having a good quality vacuum cleaner is key if you have a long-haired dog. Samoyeds and Siberian Huskies have double coats that shed profusely. You will need to vacuum several times a week. Grooming should become a habit to help determine and control some of the shedding. However, if you don’t want to vacuum or remove hair from clothing, a Schnauzer is great. They do not shed and only need to be picked up for haircuts every few weeks.
Where do you live? Do you live in Florida or Wisconsin? A Chihuahua would be very comfortable living in Florida, but not Wisconsin. The opposite would be true for an Alaskan malamute.
Kennels that breed purebred dogs are very reliable sources. A professional breeder knows the pedigree of each of his dogs. They raise healthy dogs and will tell you about healthy parent foods and what is normal as your dog ages. You can apply to be a member of a dog club that specializes in the breed you are looking for. You can also find more information at the national kennel clubs.
Dogs are man’s (and women’s and children’s) best friends. Your dog will quickly become a member of your family, so doing your research before buying a dog will help prevent you from getting a poor quality dog or one that isn’t right for you. Make sure you have a written guarantee from the breeder. That way, if the dog is unfit, you can return it within a certain period of time. Purchasing a puppy from a breeder allows you to know the dog’s birth date, intakes, registered name, and sire and dam (dad and mum dog) registration.
Good luck to you and your new best friend!