Dogsindepth: The Online Dog Encyclopedia
Choosing a Dog for Your Lifestyle
So you are considering getting
Choosing a dog is a big decision. This guide to Choosing
a Dog for Your Lifestyle offers you all the information
you need to make the best decision when choosing
Did you know it's not just choosing a dog, it’s adding
a new being into your life? Depending upon the age of a dog,
their needs are similar to that of a new baby, a spouse or
an elderly person. A dog needs food, shelter, exercise, grooming,
health care and companionship. Some dogs need less, some dogs
need more, but each and every dog requires at least these things
from you. A dog is a commitment in time and money. A dog is
a long-term permanent responsibility.
There are enough folks who go out of
their way to bring suffering to a dog. You may have good
intentions for getting a dog, but be sure you are not buying
on a whim, that you are quite ready, meaning that should
you ever need to undergo a change of living space, or get
married and have children, you will be able to keep your
dog with you. Surprisingly, one of the top 10 reasons why
dogs and puppies are surrendered to shelters each year is
due to "lifestyle
Most dogs and puppies that end up in pounds or kill shelters
are euthanized. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that 8-10
million dogs and puppies are euthanized each year at the cost
to the taxpayers of $2 billion dollars per year.
Consider what will happen if you do give your
dog or puppy up.
If you can no longer keep your dog, try to find a loving person
or family or select a rescue organization or a no kill shelter
first. If you must surrender your dog or puppy to a shelter,
try not do do it during a holiday. Shelters and pounds are
usually packed to capacity during these times and more than
likely your dog or puppy will be euthanized before it has any
chance of being adopted.
When surrendering a dog, should it have health problems, disclose
the information. If it is a contractible illness don't jeopardize
the health of the other dogs and puppies in the facility. Don't
cause your dog or puppy added suffering by denying them their
medication. It will also give a potential adopter the information
they need to better care for your former dog or puppy.
Here is a brief overview of what
owning a dog would require.
First consider why you might want a dog.
as a family pet
as an active companion
for sport - hunting, retrieving, obedience trials
for police work or rescue
for show competitions
Consider whether you are home enough to prevent your
dog from being lonely. Dogs are social creatures
and enjoy company. Depending on the breed, you might consider
having two dogs so they can keep each other company if you
are away from home for long hours.
Consider whether you are or are not active. Will
determine your choosing a dog with a laid back demeanor
or a very active one.
Consider who else might be affected. Take
into consideration when choosing a dog the other family
members, family members yet to come, family members with
allergies, other pets, your landlord, neighbors or others
if you live in an apartment building that may be affected.
Consider the financial costs
of owning a dog.
Price to purchase
Healthcare – shots, spay, neuter, medications (including
flea, tick, wormer) - dogs suffer from many of the same illnesses
as humans: cancers, blindness, heart disease, cataracts, epilepsy,
hip dysplasia, deafness
Equipment – dog food and water bowls, dog bedding, dog
collars, leash, licensing, ID tags, dog toys, clothes
Grooming – hair and tooth brushes, combs, dog nail clippers,
shampoos, toothpaste, dog skin and ear care products
Medical procedures - extended veterinary costs
Consider the commitment of time.
Regular affection - a dog will need and demand it of you
Feeding - a dog needs food and fresh water every day
Exercising - some dog breeds require high levels of exercise
Grooming - some dogs require hours of grooming to maintain
Training - some dogs or puppies require more patience to train
Administering medications if needed
Consider how you might obtain
Wherever, inspect the premises for cleanliness. If you cannot
travel to the location of the litter and inspect the premises,
ask for references and contact them regarding the dog breeder
or rescue organization.
•rescues – some folks think only bad
dogs are given up, but that is not the case. There are many
wonderful dogs waiting in shelters - with or without pedigrees
- simply because they acted like their breed or in a manner
their owner didn’t expect, or because there was a lifestyle
change - the family had to move, there was a breakup, a downsize
of living space, a family member developed an allergy, a
new baby has taken up their time, or their owner has become
ill or disabled.
•shelters/pound - these dogs and pups
are in most need of adoption since they are on death
row. Try to find out all you can about the dog or puppy,
there might be health or vet records available. Do
not adopt simply on the word of the shelter staff.
Bring as many family members down to the shelter/pound
and vigorously interact with the dog to gauge its level
•a small kennel /
hobby breeder - that has few litters per year and offers only one
or two breeds, exerts the effort to hold and
socialize the pups and breeds and screens to prevent
such illnesses as: cancers, blindness, heart disease,
cataracts, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and deafness.
Ask how long they have been breeding a particular
breed. Ask them what happens if you cannot keep the
puppy or dog. Will they take it back? A good way
to find a reputable breeder is to get a referral
from a rescue organization recommended by a national
•kennel club referrals
•trade magazines /on the web – try
to visit and inspect the facility and parents and littermates
•pet stores and commercial kennels – stores
invite the biggest risk of you supporting a puppy mill.
A Puppy Mill
You may think
you are paying less for a dog, but
do your homework. Have
or do they screen the dog for illnesses? Do they know
the lineage? Do they breed out illness and hereditary disorders? Veterinary costs and medication will
far outweigh the purchase price of a dog since dogs
suffer many of the same illnesses as humans: cancers,
blindness, heart diseasse, cataracts, epilepsy, hip
dysplasia and deafness.
expect to be purchasing a national champion show quality
dog. Beware of the establishment that might churn them
out, overbreed dogs, sell them too young or without
enough handling so they are not well adjusted.
the premises. Ask to see the parents and litter mates
if possible. Check other dogs in litter. When choosing
a dog, pick a plump and healthy puppy that asks for
attention, don’t pick the runt out of pity and
especially don’t be pushed into making a purchase
from a hard driving salesperson.
Request a grace period in the contract--enough time
to see if the dog or puppy is ill and to get test
results back from the vet. If a puppy or dog is brought
in from a kennel ask for papers and the breeder's
name and require that they vouch for the pedigree
(that the dog meets its breed standard) in writing.
Consider what type of dog
Male – costs less to neuter than
spay. If not neutered might spray to mark territory and
want to run off to mate.
Female – costs more to spay than
neuter. If not spayed will go into heat and need sanitary
conveniences and to be monitored to prevent unwanted
Show/Not Show Quality - when
choosing a dog get proper documentation and select a known
industry breeder if you plan to show the dog in professional
Mixed Breed or Purebred - there are good dogs with
or without pedigrees. If choosing a mixed breed dog, try
to find out what strains of breed the puppy is to better
gauge the puppy's adult demeanor and traits.
the herding dog group - developed to control herds
the hound dog group - developed to assist man at the hunt
the nonsporting dog group - dogs whose utilitarian purpose
has waned over time
the sporting dog group - developed to assist man to hunt fowl
the terrier dog group - developed to hunt vermin
the toy dog group - developed for companionship or toys for
the working dog group - developed to assist man in working,
pulling carts, guarding, fishing
Traits - when choosing
a dog find out if the breed sheds, drools? barks or howls
alot? digs? chews alot? hunts? Does it have a strong odor?
Is it very active? Shy? Is it a dog breed accustomed to a
cold climate? a hot climate? Does it most enjoy indoor or
outdoor life? Does the breed travel well?
Temperament/disposition – when
choosing a dog try to find out if the dog is affectionate?
aloof? gentle? aggressive? playful? sedate? shy? high
strung? hyperactive? fearful? Does it require abundant
Size – when choosing
a dog find out if the breed is large or small? resilient
or frail? How much space does the breed require? a yard?
a tall fence? Can it fare in an small apartment? If you
travel, will the dog be a manageable size?
Grooming – when choosing a dog consider
whether the breed requires little or constant grooming,
clipping, brushing, nail clipping, ear cleaning, or
Exercise – when choosing a dog find
out if the breed requires little or vigorous exercise?
Training – when choosing a dog determine
if the breed takes easily to command or does it require
extra patience to train?
Feeding – when choosing a dog find out
if the breed eats alot or does it pick?
Licensing/ID'ing your dog - If you do not
license, tag and ID, (and as an added measure microchip),
your dog and it escapes and is picked up by a shelter
there is no way for the shelter to notify you. You
risk your dog or puppy being adopted out by another,
or worse, euthanized once the alloted holding period
Some shelters euthanize dogs and puppies after as little
as 5 days.
What to look for when choosing
a dog -
Age - If a puppy, they should be no
younger than 2 months old. Don’t be swayed by pity
for a runt, often they are accompanied by health problems.
Puppies removed from their mother and littermates prematurely
may lack basic socialization skills and suffer confusion
over hierachy and dominance.
Health - Look for bright clear eyes with no
dark runny stains, a cool nose that is slightly damp
but not runny or scabby, ears that are free of wax
and dirt, no bald patches or scabs, dry and clean under
tail, firm pink gums-not bright red, shiny soft smooth
coat (depending on the breed), fresh breath, white
teeth, body a bit lean but not skinny, no incessant
scratching, no red skin patches, no sign of lethargy
or listlessness, no splayed toes (toes flat and spread
apart), no persistent cough, no swollen stomach or
no bow legs (sign of rickets). A dog or puppy should
not cringe, lunge or snarl when you approach it. Most
puppies should allow you to pet them.
Documentation - Check
kennel registration papers, check any vet records, and get
a guarantee of health. If you are buying to show, ask to
see a 4th or 5th generation pedigree.
Ask for a Care Package and Instructions
for the new puppy - To help the puppy or dog make
a smoother transition, ask about and provide some things
they are familiar with or bring them comfort. What type
of food are they on? Do they have an exercise/eating/sleep
routine? Any special types of toys or blankets they prefer
and might take with them?
Choosing a dog or puppy
requires alot of research and work.
We here at dogsindepth.com - the online dog encyclopedia, have
provided this guide to choosing a dog and individual breed
profile pages to greater assist you. We are adding links to
rescue organizations so that you might adopt, receive enhanced
information per dog breed, or seek a referral for a legitimate
breeder from them-- or send them a little support. It is our
greatest hope that the information provided in this guide for
choosing a dog makes for a happy, comfortable relationship
that lasts for the lifetime of the dog or puppy.
here to charityfinder.org - research legitimate
animal rescues in your area