1. Starting your search
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from huge, cuddly dogs to small, aggressive guard dogs. Choosing the right type of dog can be a fun, but difficult process. There are many resources available online that will try to help you choose the right type of dog by answering a few questions. These tools can be useful in helping you narrow down the type of puppy your personality and lifestyle would fit best with. However, you should only use these online tools as a starting place to begin to narrow your search.
2. How big is your ideal dog?
Many people assume that all dogs are roughly the same amount of work, and that IS NOT the case. Bigger dogs can be much more work than smaller dogs. Large dog breeds eat much more (and are often much messier), shed more, take up more space, and need more exercise than most smaller breeds.
Having a smaller dog is not necessarily a cakewalk either; there are definitely downsides to many small dog breeds. In general, smaller dogs will bark more, exercise more frequently, and can be more difficult to train.
3. How active do you want your dog to be?
Big or small, some breeds love running around outside and will play games for hours on end, while other breeds tend to enjoy lounging around and are happy with minimal exercise. Choosing the dog with the activity level that fits your lifestyle is an important part of the decision-making process. A great list of the highest energy dog breeds can be found here from PawNation.
4. How much animal training experience do you have?
Certain breeds take more effort and energy to train well, and are not recommended for first time owners, or owners without a strong leadership capability. If you haven’t owned dogs before or aren’t capable of being emotionally dominant over your pooch, then avoid breeds such as the Akita, Chow Chow, Australian Shepherd, and Pit Bull. Here’s a link to a complete list from of breeds new owners should avoid from VetStreet.
Puppies vs. Older Dogs
1. Benefits of puppies
Getting a new puppy is a wonderful event that everyone should experience at some point in their life. Along with being completely adorable, puppies seem to exemplify the endless, selfless love that makes all dogs such beloved pets. Here are some of the benefits of getting a puppy.
- They have the cuteness factor (which does wear off!).
- They don’t have any bad habits yet.
- Training can be a great learning opportunity for older kids.
2. Benefits of adopting an adult dog
While getting a new puppy can be an amazing experience, adopting an older dog from a shelter can be even more rewarding. The Humane Society estimates that 3 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in shelters, so you REALLY ARE saving that dog’s life when you decide to adopt them. In addition to giving a loving dog a second chance, there are numerous other benefits to adopting an older dog.
- They are often already house-trained, or obedience-trained.
- You can already see what their personalities are like.
- Senior dogs will typically need much less exercise than younger pups.
- You know exactly how big they are and what they look like grown up.
- Older dogs can still be trained, and typically have longer attention spans than puppies, a benefit in training.
- They are much less time consuming than a new puppy.
- They are usually already familiar with human schedules (you don’t have to get up at night for feedings and potty breaks).
3. Our Recommendation
This website’s main focus is to help individuals find local dog breeders who can provide them with the puppy of their dreams. With that said, we strongly recommend that everyone seriously consider adopting an older dog from a local rescue group or shelter. To know that between six and eight million dogs are in shelters waiting for a second chance is heartbreaking. Adopting from a local shelter or rescue group is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. Please consider rescuing first. If you still decide that it’s not for you, that’s okay too; there are also lots of puppies out there that need a loving home.
Maybe you already know what breed is perfect for you or your family. If so, that’s great go ahead and skip forward to the next chapter. If not, then use this helpful guide to help you find the perfect type of pup for you.
Mixed breed dogs and mutts (sometimes also called mongrels) can make wonderful pets. The difference between a mixed breed and a mutt is basic knowledge of the dogs ancestry. If you know that the dog has two (or sometimes three or four) specific breeds in their lineage, then you can usually have a sense for what their personality might be like.
A mutt or mongrel is a dog with unknown breeding. Their physical appearance and size may give you an idea of what type of breeds they have in them, but you won’t be able to be sure. This can make it a little more difficult to predict their personality, but it shouldn’t deter you from considering adopting one.
Typically, you will find mutts available at a shelter or rescue. If you are flexible on what type of breed you are looking for, please consider adopting a mutt. They typically are the least sought-after, and thus are in the most need of good homes!
1. Come up with a list of your top breeds
Homework time! Grab a piece of paper, or open up a new document on your computer. Jot down five to fifteen breeds that you are interested in.
AWESOME RESOURCE ALERT! Check out Dogtime’s breed characteristics lists. This is a hidden gem for getting ideas about what type of dog you are looking for. They have many useful lists of dog breeds divided up into categories like:
If you need more ideas, can’t come up with 5, or just want to see a list of different breeds, use the following sources:
- Take a few breed selection quizzes.
- Search through our to see breeds you are interested in (mouse-over to see the breed name).
- Look through Wikipedia’s complete list of dog breeds. Disclaimer: There will be a lot of very rare breeds in the list that aren’t likely available near you, so be careful to choose ones that are realistic.
2. Research each breed
Now’s where the real work starts. You will need to research each breed to make sure their personality, character traits, and physical size are exactly what you are looking for. The chart above will give you a basic look, but you will need to do additional research to determine if each breed on your list is a possibility for your family. Here are some great resources for reading about each breed:
- Our Breed Information pages here at Local Puppy Breeders.
- Wikipedia’s information page for each breed.
- The AKC’s web page for each breed.
- Dogtime.com’s breed specifics pages.
3. Narrow your list
As you are researching each breed, you should be making notes (or at least mental notes) about what you like and dislike about each breed. Maybe one or two have really stuck out, or maybe it’s really hard because you like them all. Regardless though, you are going to narrow your list down, so start eliminating breeds from the list when you realize they won’t work, and put stars next to the ones that seem perfect.
Ideally you will want to narrow your list down to two to four breeds.
I know what you’re thinking: wouldn’t it be best just to have my list narrowed down to the ONE breed I want?
In theory yes, you would find the perfect dog in the exact breed you are looking for the first day you start your search. But in reality, it’s better to have more options because you may not find the exact breed you are looking for available when you are looking, so it’s better to have more options and a bigger pool of potential dogs to choose from.
4. Test out your breed finalists
After narrowing down your choices to three or fewer breeds, now comes the hard part. We recommend that you find someone who owns a dog of that breed: a friend, acquaintance, breeder, or shelter near you who will let you meet and interact with that dog. If you do decide to go to a breeder or shelter it is very important to remember that the trip is for research and not to get your new dog. This is extremely important for younger kids; in fact, it’s often easier to leave them out of this step of the decision-making process. Young kids are quick to attach themselves emotionally to a pet, and oftentimes a family who goes to a breeder or a shelter just for research ends up coming home with a dog. Don’t let that be you! Make sure you do all of your research before making a decision; don’t be impulsive!
Keep in mind that you should do this even if your final list has only one breed on it. If you have not already spent time with a dog of that breed it is important that you do so before deciding to get one. This will give you valuable insight into exactly what it’s like to have this type of dog!
After spending time with the final breeds, you will need to sit down as a family (or if you are single, with a trusted friend) and talk about your final choice. Make sure everyone can come to an agreement about what type of dog you are going to get. This is also a good time to lay out any ground rules and delegate responsibility with young children. Let them know that they are going to be sharing in the responsibility of taking care of this new pet too!