What dog breed is right for me?

Buying a dog can be one of the best experiences of your life. Companionship, unconditional love, and lowered stress levels are a few of the many rewards purchasing a dog can offer. Knowing WHAT breed/group of dog will play a large factor in getting the right canine for your family. ALL dogs naturally have a high-energy level and will require a great deal of attention in their first 3 years. To ensure you bring home “Lassie” and not “Marley and Me”, follow the below simple tips:

  1. Use your gut. I tell customers that there are NO guarantees of finding a “calm dog” when picking out a puppy. ALL dogs will have high energy and prey drive instincts, so the acclimation and calmness of your dog will ultimately come from the training and routine that you instill upon them. I recommend close observation of the behavior of the dog by itself, with other humans, AND with other dogs. If the dog appears to NOT have an “off” switch, this is a strong indication of extreme high-energy. If you drop a doggie treat and the dog instantly pounces on the food, it may indicate the possibility of food possessiveness. If the dog appears timid, withdrawn, or displays any other predisposition to aggression, there may be a “dog-dog” social issue. This is NOT to say any of these symptoms can’t be overcome, it will just take some extra attention.
  2. Pair your lifestyle with your breed. I always say, “Don’t get a herding dog if you’re a couch potato.” Everyone assumes that the calmest dog is a Bassett Hound or a Saint Bernard. This is NOT true! Even Bassett’s require regular exercise and routine command work to stay calm-submissive. I believe that dogs become calmer as they age, but the majority of ALL dogs will have high-energy behavior for the first 5+ years of their lives. Do a personal assessment of your lifestyle. Do you work a lot? Do you exercise/hike often? Are you an outdoors type of person? You will want your lifestyle and energy levels to pair appropriately with your new dog’s energy. In my experience, I have found the following dogs to be the most receptive to training: Aussie Shepherd, Bouvier Des Flandres, Great Swiss Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain Dog, Golden Retriever. Check them out at: http://www.akc.org/breeds/index.cfm?nav_area=breeds

Dogs are NOT disposable! With the proper breed research, you will have a better chance of having a successful match in finding a dog that is right for you. Take a few trips to your local rescue center, talk to your friends with dogs, check out a dog park, and do research on: http://www.akc.org/. Be ready for the discipline and responsibility it takes to own a dog. If you’re still in the mindset of jetting off to Vegas for the weekend, or pulling “all nighters” with your buds, you may strongly consider getting a cat.