If you're about to become a first-time dog owner, selecting a breed that fits your lifestyle is the first step towards a lasting relationship. People decide to add a dog to their lives for a variety of reasons: companionship, to have an exercise buddy, a sense of security, help with a disability, and more. We’ll take a look at what you should consider when getting a dog for the first time and what characteristics make good dogs for first-time owners.
One thing to keep in mind is that while you might be drawn to a particular breed or breed mix for a number of reasons, a dog’s breed isn’t everything. Every dog is an individual, no matter their breed, so it’s also important to consider a particular dog’s history and personality. And while there are plenty of options for pure breed dogs, consider adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization – there are many pups in need of a loving home and chances are you can find one that is your ideal breed or breed mix!
Taking into account your lifestyle and day-to-day activities is essential when considering what breed of dog to add to your home.
Also, think about the amount of time you'll be home with your new dog.
But remember, all dogs need social interaction with their family and do better if not left alone for extended periods.
Consider your area and usual weather when choosing a breed.
If you have children, look for a dog breed that is predisposed to enjoy being around children and all the activity, movement, and noise that's included. Medium to large-sized breeds can usually handle physical play with children, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, or Great Danes. If you have young children, consider that larger breeds might inadvertently knock the kids over in excitement. There are smaller-yet-sturdy kid-friendly dog breeds as well, such as Beagles and Pugs.
How much brushing and vacuuming are you ready for? Your new dog's required grooming care is important!
Every dog requires routine veterinary care, such as yearly wellness exams (or twice-yearly exams for senior dogs), regular vaccinations, and year-round preventative medication for fleas, ticks, and heartworm.
Unfortunately, some dog breeds are more likely to have genetic medical conditions than others. In some cases, their conformation (the structure of their body) can contribute to those medical issues.
If you've narrowed down a breed or breed mix for your first dog, check into any health issues they might be more prone to inherit and ask your veterinarian for their perspective. In many cases, breed-specific health issues that are anticipated or identified early can be managed with the help of your veterinarian.
Many dog breeds and mixes can be loving companions for first-time dog owners. Owning a dog and developing a strong bond can be rewarding for both owner and dog and lead to years of happiness together.