What is your family’s activity level? Whether you prefer to spend weekends on the couch or camping, there is a breed that is right for you. Some breeds, like German Shepherds, require 4+ hours of vigorous physical and mental activity daily. Other breeds, such as Pugs, can thrive on short walks per day. Matching your family’s activity level to your dog’s is an important step for ensuring a happy household. When high-energy dogs do not have their needs met, house destruction is the most common problem.
Another consideration is budget. In general, a small dog will cost its owner less than a large dog, particularly for food, treats, and medicine. Additionally, certain breeds are prone to more health problems than others. For instance, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and English Bulldogs typically have higher veterinary bills than other breeds.
How much space you have in your home is another important consideration. While many dogs thrive in small spaces – including large dogs like Great Danes – others require significant room to stretch their legs. In general, dogs that weigh less than 25 lbs are universally able to adapt to apartment dwelling or houses without yards. However, plenty of research should be performed into the space requirements of larger dogs.
Child’s Age / Level of Responsibility
Finally, consider the age and level of responsibility of your children. Certain breeds have herding and nipping tendencies, such as Border Collies, which makes them poor candidates for homes with small children. Other breeds, such as English Bulldogs, have fantastic temperaments for children. Toy breeds might not be a good fit for homes with small children, as they can be easily injured if not handled properly.
Be realistic with your child’s ability to help with your pet. Children under the age of 12 can be given simple chores such as feeding, playing with, grooming, and petting your dog. However, taking the dog for a walk alone should be reserved for children ages 12 and up.