A recent pet ownership survey revealed that nearly 69 million US households are home to at least one dog – and for good reason! Some dogs can be excellent exercise partners who present consistent opportunities to get outside, exercise, and socialize. Others are couch-sleeping, low energy dogs. Canines are also considered loyal companions who can help to manage loneliness and depression.
Whatever your reason for wanting a pet, dog adoption is a big decision. And with so many dog breeds out there, finding the right one requires a lot of planning, research, and preparation. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of researching dog breeds and factors to consider prior to bringing home your new best friend.
Reasons to Study Up on Breeds
The following are just some of the reasons to carefully research a dog’s breed prior to adoption:
1. Understand common personality traits
Most domesticated dog breeds were trained for specific purposes based on their unique temperament. Although common personality traits can change over time, many of a breed’s flagship characteristics will likely remain.
Knowing these flagship characteristics before adopting can help you set and manage expectations for things like stubbornness and energy output. Such knowledge may also streamline the training process, translating to a happier, healthier, and safer pet-parent relationship in the long run.
- Herding dogs are excellent companions, but they have a high level of energy that requires a lot of activity and stimulation. They will also more likely try to control the movements of human family members in your home.
- Retrievers, on the other hand, typically enjoy searching for items around the house. They tend to either bring these items back (hence, retriever) or hide them away for you to find. Knowing what your pet wants to do makes it easier to provide and participate in tasks they’ll enjoy!
2. Gain insight into health concerns
Dog breed research can also provide great insights into the health of the pet you intend to bring home. Some health concerns tend to be more common in specific breeds than others. Knowing your dog's history can help you adequately prepare for any health challenges that might come along. The following are a few health concerns with specific breeds:
- Dogs with German Shepherd lineage might be more prone to hip dysplasia during old age.
- Large breeds, such as Irish Wolfhounds or Great Danes, tend to have a shorter lifespan.
- Dogs with substantial skin folds or wrinkles are more susceptible to infections and skin allergies.
- Dogs with floppy ears need consistent ear-cleaning regimes to reduce the risk of infection.
3. Anticipate interaction with other pets
Researching a dog’s breed may also shed light on how your future best friend will react to other dogs. Certain breeds of dogs are better suited to share spaces with other animals. Although dogs are widely known to be pack animals, some pups play nicer than others – be it at home or the dog park.
If you have other pets at home, it’s advisable to bring home a breed with an innate pack instinct. Dog breeds such as Huskies tend to even thrive in packs, often requiring another canine sibling to prevent separation anxiety and related behaviors.
Factors to Consider Before Adopting a Dog
The following are all factors to keep in mind while considering adopting a dog:
As we previously discussed, your dog's breed will determine how you will live alongside and interact with your pet for the rest of what’s likely a long, happy life. Understanding your dog's temperament in relation to its breed is integral to finding one that best suits your family and/or lifestyle. Breed characteristics determine critical traits, such as:
- Potential health issues
- Size and weight when fully mature
- Stubbornness and trainability
- Coat and shedding
- General disposition
Your current energy levels
A dog’s energy level varies breed by breed; one breed may work well with your lifestyle, while another may not fit so perfectly.
Before choosing a dog to adopt, consider whether your current energy aligns with that of the dog. Breeds that require a lot of exercise to stay happy and healthy demand a significant amount of your time for playtime and walks.
If you love outdoor activities such as running and hiking, you can opt for a high-energy level dog breed such as Labradors, German Shepherds, Boxers, and Huskies. However, if you prefer spending your day indoors, you are better off with lower-energy breeds such as Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Pugs, and Mastiffs.
Most dogs were trained for work, which is why ongoing training and mental stimulation are critical to a dog’s health and happiness. Before choosing a specific dog breed, consider its trainability traits.
Keep in mind that big dogs are not like calm, smaller dog breeds that you can easily pick up and carry. You need to be in control of a big dog at all times. This often requires rigorous training, which can be very costly, especially if hiring an expert trainer.
Fortunately, with enough time, love, and energy, you won’t need professional trainers and can instead opt to forge a lifelong bond by training your dog all by yourself.
One of the critical components to consider when adopting a dog is the cost of pet parenthood. Apart from the adoption fees, you’ll also need money for food, supplements, toys, and trips to the vet. These costs vary substantially depending on the dog’s breed. It’s always advisable to know beforehand whether you can afford to adopt a specific breed based on your current and future financial situation.
Your location is also a crucial factor to consider before adopting a dog breed. Unlike other common pets, such as cats, most dog breeds require at least some time spent outdoors each and every day. A dog can be a great pet if you are living in a building or home with a backyard. If not, we recommend ensuring there’s a nearby park or open space where your dog can socialize and exercise regularly.
Pet insurance will come in handy when (not if) unforeseen vet bills crop up due to an accident or illness. Some pet insurance policies even include routine care services such as prescriptions, vaccinations, and annual checkups. But the cost of pet insurance can vary greatly depending on the breed you are adopting.
Dog ownership is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. However, dog adoption comes with a lot of responsibilities that vary depending on the breed. Parenting a dog is a long-term investment, so please be sure to conduct thorough research and planning before bringing home your new best friend!
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