FINDING THE RIGHT BREED
- Size. This decision may be influenced by the presence of small children, living in an apartment (where a large dog may not be welcome), health of the owner and the dog's need for exercise.
- Length or amount of coat and cost of grooming. Do you want a dog that needs a little or a lot of coat care or grooming. All dogs require some form of coat care. The ones with very short coats are easier for owners to brush out regularly and bathe. Dogs with heavier or longer coats require more professional care and grooming is expensive. If you are considering a "coated" breed, speak to a groomer first to get an idea of cost and frequency of care.
- Allergies and shedding. Some people don't want a dog that sheds. Others have allergies and cannot live with hair all over the place. Remember that most dogs shed, yes even short-coated dogs like Labs or Dals. Dogs from the Terrier Group and Poodles do not shed (well, they do but the hair remains as undercoat and must be stripped out by a groomer).
- History of the breed. What did this kind of dog do in life? For instance: Terriers dig and have "feisty" temperament - so your dog my dig up the yard and challenge every other dog in the neighborhood.
- Herding dogs like Shelties or Border Collies have lots of energy and may herd your small children by nipping at their heels. And so on and so on. Every single breed has their good and not so good traits and you need to know what those traits are so you can figure out if this dog will be good for your family.
Now you have to find the right breeder.