Dogs are amazing companions, but not every breed is suited to every household, and unfortunately cuteness isn’t going to give your puppy a free pass forever. Picking the right breed or breed mix (if you’re rescuing) for your home is definitely something to think about. Considering your lifestyle, activity level, and amount of time you can dedicate is all going to determine whether you should get a Shih Tzu or a Labrador Retriever. Certain groups of dog are most definitely higher maintenance than others, or can have high exercise requirements, being aware of these things can help you make an informed decision when choosing the perfect companion. There are plenty of books and guides from various sources like the American Kennel Club and Animal Planet that can be useful in providing additional information such as grooming requirements, whether the dogs are generally good in apartments, and feeding requirements. However, let’s go over some general things that you can look out for as far as traits and activity level to smooth out any wrinkles when going through the puppy selecting process.
There are seven main groups or classifications of dogs. These are: Sporting Dogs, Non-Sporting Dogs, Working Dogs, Terrier, Hounds, Toy Dogs, and Herding Dogs. Within each of these groups, it is pretty easy to pinpoint the characteristics of the dog you may be considering. Toy dogs are generally bred to be companions or lap dogs. Though they can be energetic they don’t have a tremendous amount of stamina, or it doesn’t last particularly long. The majority of them are much more content with curling up into your lap and being your lazy bedside buddy. If you feel you’d prefer a dog that’s slightly more independent but still relatively small, the terriers might be what you’re looking for. Depending on the type of terrier the exercise requirement is a little bit higher (daily walks for these guys, and perhaps chucking the ball around in the yard), but they’re certainly less clingy. Terriers know how to keep to themselves and aren’t particularly concerned with their owners being near all the time. Perhaps you like a cuddly dog, but you’d also like to keep some of that vivacious activity. Enjoy daily runs or trips to the park? Then a dog from the Sporting Group may be for you. These dogs were bred to be close but active companions and love affection as well as running amok with you just about anywhere. Many in this group are avid swimmers and retrievers as well. Ball anyone? Herding Dogs like to be doing something ALL the time. Any task you put before them, they are willing to face head on. Although they’re highly intelligent breeds, they’re not generally a good first pick if you’re just starting out in the world of dogs. They’re very demanding and typically don’t slow down much even with age. For those that are in love with gentle giants, the Working Group is most definitely for you. Within this lovely array of dogs comes the Rottweiler, Great Pyrenees, and Tibetan Mastiff. Sweet natured and cuddly and generally not too hyper, working breeds make awesome family pets. Bringing up the rear are the hounds and non-sporting dogs. Within the Non-Sporting group you have dogs that are basically jacks of all trades. Dalmatians, Lhasa-Apso, and the Tibetan Terrier are all part of this groups and all have separate personalities and exercise requirements. The Hounds, however, are pack dogs that like to follow their nose or their eyes. Generally sweet tempered, hounds like to be in groups, but can be a challenge to train because of their prey drive.
Now that we’re all caught up on the dog groups and their general temperament and behavior, you can go out and be more assured about your choice when bringing a brand new puppy into your home. Knowing which dog is best for you helps prevent dogs from becoming unwanted pets or having to be re-homed. Aside from not having proper training, poor breed choice is what also lands a dog in the shelter. Remaining knowledgeable and up to date helps create a comfortable and happy home for you and your canine companion.