If you’ve ever had the joy of picking out a brand new puppy to bring home, you know it’s a momentous decision. How do you make an on-the-spot decision about which adorable ball of fur is the right forever friend for you?
Too often we go about making this major life decision based on looks alone, AKA, The Cuteness Factor! But before you commit to a new companion, there are a few more serious factors to consider.
First off, ascertain if you’re ready and able to care for an animal for an average of ten years. A dog is a big investment, with the typical pooch racking up $500-$750 in annual vet visits. In addition, add another $500 or so in food bills. Then there are the time investments to consider: are you able to play and walk your dog every day? Will you be able to see that his grooming needs are met?
If you answered yes to all of these considerations, it’s now time to evaluate the best type of dog for your lifestyle. After all your new bestie will be a part of the family, and it makes sense to choose a dog that will blend seamlessly into your current activities, routine, and living situation.
What do you like to do in your down time: jog, read, work outside, stay in and watch tv? Your dog’s temperament should match your preexisting lifestyle. If you’re a homebody, don’t pick an athletic dog that loves to run around outside all day. Vice versa, don’t choose a lap dog if you spend weekends outside training for the next big marathon!
Other considerations include your living space, ie, apartment or house, the dog’s energy level, and the amount of time you can devote to your new best friend.
Now that you have a better picture of the kind of dog that matches your own lifestyle, it’s time to narrow down your choices into breed groups. Companion Dogs are small and full of personality and energy. They make great apartment pets, and include Miniature Schnauzers and Shih Tzu.
Related: 6 Most Popular Dog Breeds
Hunting Dogs such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels are the most popular pet choice. They’re midsized, friendly, and energetic. Although they have a reputation for being of average intelligence, they more than make up for it with their loveable ways.
Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and Australian Cattle Dogs belong to a group known as Herding Dogs. They have lots of energy and are very intelligent, and definitely require lots of outdoor space to run and play.
Cold Climate Dogs are used to living in cold climes and require lots of activity and exercise. The Siberian Husky, Malamute, and Akita belong to this very independent breed.
Now that you have all the information you need to make an informed pet choice, take your time and enjoy the process. In the end, you’ll end up with a forever friend and a relationship that will bring the both of you many years of happiness and joy.
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