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Choosing the Right Dog for You

Hopefully you and your family have given a lot of thought and consideration into getting a new four legged friend to become a member of your family. You should never go out and adopt the first cute little puppy you see.

Bringing a new pup into your home is wonderful but, if you don’t do your homework first, you may not find the experience very gratifying.

When you decide to get a pup, there are many factors to consider. The most important factor is allergies. If you or any members of your family have allergies, you need to look into getting a hypoallergenic dog. There are many breeds available, from small to large sizes. If you are living in a condominium where there is a size limit on dogs, you would be wise to consider a Chinese Crested, Bichon Frise, Yorkie, Havanese, Shih Tzu, or Toy Poodle. If you have your own home and adequate space, you may want to look at a Portuguese Water Dog, Giant Schnauzer, Standard Poodle, Kerry Blue Terrier or Afghan Hound.

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, most that have “hair” as opposed to “fur” and shed very little are generally safe to the majority of people with allergies or asthma.

The next thing you need to consider is why you are looking to get a dog and what your pup is going to be used for. If you are looking for a good family dog and you have or are planning to have children, you need to look at a breed that is generally good with kids. Some of the most popular are Beagles, Golden or Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Pugs or Bernese Mountain dogs.

If you are looking for a pup that is going to be used for therapy or to help with anxiety, there are Havanese, Great Pyrenese, Welsh Corgi, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua or French Bull Dogs.

You may also be looking for a pup to help with physical support, either for someone with mobility problems, balance or for walking with a mobility device such as a cane, walker or wheel chair. In this case you need to look at a breed that is calm and large enough to support the weight of the person. That would include a Golden or Labrador Retriever, Standard Poodle or Bernese Mountain Dog.

If your goal is to have a dog to train with while you jog, run or hike, a good bet would be a Weimaraner, Doberman Pinscher, Vizsla or Short Haired Pointer. All of these breeds make good running companions.

If you are into tracking or hunting, some of the best breeds are Bloodhounds, Beagles, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.

Lastly, if you are an older adult or senior you would probably do best with a breed that is best suited for a more relaxed lifestyle, but will also fit your abilities and your health. You also need to take into account your ability to care for the dog’s needs, including regular exercise, vet visits and grooming. In this case you should look at a breed such as a Bichon Frise, Pomeranian, Toy or Miniature Poodle or Maltese.

Regardless of which breed of dog you choose, remember that most dogs have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years but can live longer. In any case, be aware that a dog is a long term commitment and you need to be able to commit to that and to make arrangements for the dog if you are no longer able to properly care for him.

Owning a dog has many health as well as emotional benefits and can reduce stress, help with or prevent depression and getting out with your dog keeps you active.

So regardless of your age, lifestyle or health, take the time to do your homework and adopt a dog that is right for you. In all cases, a well-trained dog will be a wonderful addition to your family and will bring you many years of fun and enjoyment.


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