Dog Breed Characteristics: Picking The Perfect Dog

Are You Ready To Get A Brand New Dog?

It may not be your first or only dog, but the thought of picking the perfect breed can be more than a little daunting. There are hundreds of unique dog breeds with increasingly unique personalities and characteristics. While the generic dog breed characteristics  is not a guarantee of quality of dog, there are some generalizations that can be made that will help you pick the best dog for you.

Are you looking for the perfect dog? It’s important to remember that you can’t predict how each puppy will turn out. While there are some overarching breed characteristics and tendencies, your new dog will be unique to you.

Though it can be hard to generalize, each breed has a standard set of characteristics that are very common in purebred pets. While not a guarantee, this is a way that you can begin filtering out dogs that definitely do not fit your lifestyle or family. From there, it really requires meeting each and every dog that you consider, because breed traits do not guarantee the perfect dog.

Temperament and Personality

When it comes to picking your new dog, you need to evaluate your lifestyle. Are you an active walker or runner? Do you want a pup that can keep up with your exercise routine, or do you want a lazy dog to snuggle with on the couch? Each breed has different exercise requirements and personality traits. If you’re looking for a small, fiercely possessive dog, look toward the Chihuahua.

However, if you’re wanting a large, goofy, sweet dog that tends to be a loyal, lovable family dog, the Labrador Retriever or the Golden Retriever. The smarter the dog, the more work they need to keep busy. If you’re looking for a quick-witted dog that you can take herding, running, or to agility classes, look toward the herding breeds. Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are smart, but they can be troublemakers if allowed to stagnate or become too bored.

You need to be careful with the temperament of the dog you choose. If the dog’s temperament does not work with your lifestyle, it may not be a good fit as a family pet. When it comes to personality; however, it’s hard to generalize about breeds. Border Collies tend to be hardworking, but there is always a lazy, curious one in the batch. Small toy breeds like Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas tend toward being ‘Little Napoleons’ that are fiercely possessive of their owners and often very nervous in new situations, but it is not unheard of to meet a sweet-natured, friendly pup. If you are wanting a dog that can live with other dogs, keep in mind that not all dogs are dog friendly. There is nothing wrong with those dogs, they just prefer people to other canines.

Breed Size

How much space do you have to offer your potential family member? A giant dog may not be the best bet for someone that lives in a small city apartment. Your pet needs to fit the space that you have to offer without overwhelming yourself or anyone that lives with you. In a small apartment, smaller or more relaxed breeds may fit you best. Poodles, Spaniels, and terrier breeds tend to work well with smaller spaces. They can easily adjust to regular walks as their exercise component.

When it comes to large breeds, they really do need enough space to grow and thrive. For Labrador Retrievers, you may want to wait until you have a yard or a dog park available in order to exercise them. Collie and shepherd-type breeds are not very suited to apartments. They need constant mental stimulation and a lot of exercise to tire out their constantly working brains. For these breeds, make sure that you have time, space, and ample opportunity to work with them to prevent destructive behaviors that come about due to boredom.

Coat and Shedding – Dog Groomin

Do you have carpets, or do you hate sweeping and vacuuming? Keep an eye out for long-haired breeds or breeds that shed year-round. If you are not willing to keep up on cleaning and sweeping, it may be best to avoid breeds like the Borzoi or other longer haired dogs. Don’t be too sure about shorter coated breeds, however. Indoor dogs often shed year-round, which can be hard to keep up with.

Some breeds require regular grooming to keep their coats looking tip-top. Poodles, West Highland White Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, and Shetland Sheepdogs require regular grooming to keep their long coats from overwhelming them. Be sure to be prepared to make friends with your local groomer or learn how to cut your pet’s coat yourself if these happen to be your breeds of choice.

Energy Level

Are you a runner? Do you want a companion that can keep up with you, or are you more of a couch potato that wants a friend to keep them company at home? Giant dogs tend to be calmer and much more prone to relaxing at home on the couch or the floor. Medium to small sized dogs tend to require more exercise and also tend to be rambunctious.

The Boston Terrier, a beloved small dog, is feisty, playful, and does not tend toward being a lazy couch dog. Especially as pups, they require regular attention and exercise. Conversely, Great Danes are often very relaxed, lower-energy dogs with boosts of rambunctiousness during walks and regularly scheduled play time.

Energy level overall can even differ from dog to dog in a breed. I have met Labradors that are incredibly lethargic as well as excitable, energetic Labradors that could not get enough of a game of fetch with a tennis ball. Always make sure to spend time with your prospective new family member to get a feel for their needs as well as yours.

When it comes to dogs, it’s important to keep the potential traits of your favorite breeds in mind. These are not a guarantee of a pitch perfect dog, but they can give you a ballpark estimate to help make your decision and make a short list of the best breeds for you. From there, visit shelters and breeders to meet members of these breeds and see whether these dogs could be your next family member.

Note:  You can always go to the AKC website and do a little preliminary research into your potential dog breed characteristics.  It is a great place to start.