This weekend, we’ll be at Meet the Breeds in New York. At this wonderful annual event, people come to the Javits Center to learn about different breeds. Here are some of the questions we ask if they are considering adding a dog to their family:
Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? There is no other joy in the world like a puppy will bring you, but the trade-off is housetraining, chewing your expensive leather shoes if you leave them laying around, and the need for training, training, training. Rescuing an older adult dog is one of the most noble things anyone can do, but you may be in for some vet bills if the dog has medical issues and you may find yourself having to un-do bad habits that were reinforced by a previous owner.
How about size? If you live in a high-rise, small apartment with no outdoor space, a Mastiff is not be the dog for you. If you have young, active children, a Maltese or Yorkie might not be the best breeds for your family. (There are exceptions to every rule of course. Well mannered, gentle children who are providing with instruction and adult supervision may do just fine around Toy Breeds).
Coat type—If you’re the girl who is married to someone who hates dog hair on his socks, and you don’t especially like to vacuum, even though you love those blue eyes, a Siberian Husky or other furry dog with an undercoat that sheds, is not the breed for you. You would do better to choose a flat-coated or non-shed breed such as a Poodle. Some dog lovers think that a furry soft coat and curly Spaniel ears are the best part of having a dog and they would choose to not have a flat-coated breed. There are some breeds that look their best when they are well-groomed. If you’re not prepared to learn how to groom a dog, then you need to consider if you can afford regular hair care for both you and the dog.
Lifestyle—are you active or quiet? Do you like being indoors or outdoors? What kind of time can you give to a dog? Do you have any physical/mobility problems?
If you are a jogger who wants a pal to run with, as cute as they are, a Basset is not for you. If you are in your senior years, don’t care for the outdoors, and just want a furry friend to enjoy your evening television shows with, a herding or sporting dog is not your best choice.
Is the time right to get a dog? Holidays seem like the natural time because families have time off from work. With the hustle, bustle, and irregular schedule, this can be a traumatizing time for a new pup.
Temperament– there are some breeds that are generally more active (think of what they were bred to do…as in, Border Collies can run ALL DAY herding sheep) and some breeds that are more quiet. Know also that within an individual litter, there are puppies who are more active and puppies who are quiet and more submissive. A responsible breeder who knows dogs will help you select the puppy that is the right match for you.
No matter what breed you choose, all dogs deserve training. The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program for puppies up to 1 year and the Canine Good Citizen Program are training programs that focus on responsible dog ownership and well-mannered dogs. (www.akc.org/starpuppy)
Do you have any other questions or advice for potential new puppy/dog owners?