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Perhaps you grew up with Beagles under your kitchen table. Or your wife has always had a thing for Snoopy. Whatever your history with the breed, you’ve fallen hard and you’re ready to pick out a Beagle pup. But before you bring home that squirmy little bundle of tail-wagging joy, make sure you’re choosing the right breed of dog for your family.
What You Should Consider
When you bring a puppy into your life, you are making a commitment that will last a decade -- or longer. Before you make your decision, talk with all members of your family and consider:
- Time and lifestyle. Do you have the energy and time to commit to a puppy? Know that you’ll have to housebreak him, walk and play with him. Some dog breeds are happy to be lapdogs, while others need more activity and stimulation.
- Space. Do you have enough space for a full-grown dog? If your home is on the small side, are there dog parks or runs nearby? The size of your home and yard can determine what type of dog breed you choose.
- Other pets. Do you have other animals? How will they respond to a dog? Some dog breeds deal well with other species, while others shouldn’t be raised with non-canine pets.
- Children. Some breeds are calm with small children, while others are better suited as pets for older children or adults.
- Allergies. Does anyone in your family have allergies to dogs? If so, you might need to consider a breed that sheds less.
With more than 300 breeds sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, the options are almost endless. You can find breed-match information online; check out Exceptional Canine’s Breed Finder to start. Also consider these options:
- Attend a local dog show and talk with breeders and judges.
- Check with friends who have lifestyles similar to yours and ask about their experiences with dog breeds.
- Visit pet stores and breed rescue groups, both of which often have forums for playing with puppies.
- Always spend time with the puppy you intend to take home before you commit to make sure it has a personality that will blend well with your family.
Making the effort to choose the right breed of puppy for your lifestyle and needs is critical. Many people are wooed by the look of a certain breed or its loopy, high-energy personality. Then, they sour on the puppy when they get home and realize the grooming or exercise routine required is more than they envisioned. The dog might grow too big for the apartment. Or instead of barking, it bays (i.e., howls) -- every single time someone pulls into the neighborhood. These dogs are often returned to breeders or dumped at shelters in desperation, just because the adopting family initially let their hearts run roughshod over their heads.
Investing the time and effort to find just the right dog now will mean years of pleasure -- for both you and your dog.
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