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Bringing a pet into your household is an important decision. Consider these factors when choosing a breed.
Step 1: Assess your situation
Assess your situation. Do you have children? Do you own or rent? How big are your living quarters? How much time and money can you devote to a dog?
Step 2: Consider dog size
Consider the size of dog you prefer. Large breeds need more exercise, more food, and more space. Small dogs may require protection in cold weather.
Large dogs often have shorter life spans than medium or small dogs.
Step 3: Consider temperament
Consider the breed temperament. Do you want a mellow dog or a watchdog? Do you need a dog that does well with children?
Step 4: Consider gender
Decide whether you want a male or a female dog. The choice is important if you want to breed your dog, but there's little difference in temperament between genders.
Spay or neuter your dog if you do not plan to breed them.
Step 5: Consider health care
Consider health care needs. Certain breeds require more attention. Breeds with long coats or with respiratory challenges, for example, require more care.
Step 6: Do research
Do some research to find the breed that best matches your needs. A good place to start is the American Kennel Club, at akc.org.
Step 7: Choose your dog
Buy from a reputable breeder, and get a certified pedigree if you purchase a purebred. Or adopt a purebred or mixed-breed dog from an animal shelter – many of these animals need loving homes. Even mutts may retain breed characteristics from their ancestry, and they're often hardier than purebreds.
Step 8: Enjoy
Enjoy your new companion! There's a good reason dogs are called our best friends.
Did You Know?
The American Kennel Club recognizes over 150 breeds of dogs.