When you’re ready to add a puppy to your family, you may be so excited that you begin searching for the perfect puppy on a site like Uptown Puppies right away. But, this isn’t necessarily a good idea, especially since there are various factors that affect how a puppy will fit into your life. Not only is each breed different, but other qualities of the puppy matter as well, including age, size, energy level, and more. Taking the time to research the pros and cons of different puppies will go a long way in ensuring you adopt the perfect lifelong companion.
Points to Consider When Chossing New Puppy
- Certainly, the breed is often the most important consideration for prospective puppy owners simply because we can generally predict how specific breeds will behave, grow, and fit into a person’s life. For example, retrievers are known to be laid-back dogs that are easily trainable and tend to get along with most people and other pets. But, they also grow quite large, which might mean they aren’t suitable for smaller homes. Beagles, on the other hand, are smaller in size but can be stubborn and difficult to train. People who have allergies to dog fur will need to consider puppies that have hypoallergenic fur so they don’t shed all over the house and trigger those allergy symptoms. Where you live might also play a part in the breed you get, since certain breeds like Chihuahuas are better suited for hot climates while sheepdogs are more comfortable in colder areas.
The key here is to get a good understanding of the seven general breed types (herding, hound, non-sporting, sporting, terrier, toy, and working) and their traits so you get the type of dog you want.
- Be aware, though, that no two dogs are exactly alike. Even if a particular breed tends to have certain personality traits, your puppy may not fit that mold. You’re always taking a calculated risk by adopting any dog, but you can get a decent idea of how each breed behaves by examining their tendencies. Also note that if you get a mixed breed, you’re going to get traits from more than one breed, and you never know which ones will be dominant until you get to know the puppy for a while. If you’re adopting a puppy from a shelter, you’re likely to be even more in the dark about how your puppy will behave. This is because their early history with a previous owner may not have been ideal and that experience will influence their behavior. Fortunately, puppies are so young that these behaviors can usually be trained them with time and effort.
- While you’re considering the breed of puppy you’re going to adopt, you’ll also be thinking about size, since that quality goes hand in hand with the breed. Think about your living space as you consider the size of the dog you want to have, as this will be a main factor in your decision. If you live in a small apartment without easy access to a yard or other enclosed outdoor space, a large dog may not be the right size for you. Smaller dogs are usually appropriate for any size living space, but if you have small children, a tiny dog might not be safe around them. Small children may not have the awareness it takes to watch out for a small creature when they’re playing around the house. You definitely don’t want your small puppy to get stepped on or trapped somewhere dangerous. A bigger dog is much harder for a child to miss.
- All puppies take a lot of focus and energy, at least at first. Some breeds outgrow this phase, but others are high-energy for most of their lives. If you don’t have the time or energy to make sure these activity-loving puppies get enough exercise, they’ll begin to misbehave in ways that can be rather aggravating. If you’re a person who’s always on the go, a dog that likes to run, explore, and be by your side at all times no matter what you’re doing is the ideal choice. Dogs that are excellent choices for people who spend a lot of time outdoors include Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, Border collies, and Australian shepherds. On the other hand, if you’re more of a homebody who is looking for a dog to cuddle with while you curl up on the couch and binge-watch Netflix, you definitely will not want a puppy who demands to be on the move at all times. Ultimately, you should match your breed’s energy level with your own. Some dogs like to sleep in while others are up at the crack of dawn. Neither of you will be happy if you don’t take this personality trait into consideration. The breeds that make the best lap dogs include pugs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Boston terriers, and French bulldogs.
- Most people consider a dog to be a puppy for the first year of its life, but in truth, larger breeds are puppies for about 15 months and smaller breeds are fully mature by nine months. The first few weeks of puppy ownership are the hardest, so you might not want a puppy as young as eight weeks old, which is when they’re considered old enough to leave their mother. These young puppies will require more training, additional vet appointments, and generally more work. An older puppy will still give you all the youthful benefits of a young dog but may already have all its vaccinations and be house-trained. This means you get to enjoy all the fun parts of being a puppy owner while foregoing at least some of the more challenging aspects. Of course, you’re not going to get away scot-free. Puppies can be naughty for quite some time and even full-grown dogs have their moments. But choosing an older puppy might be more in line with your lifestyle, particularly if you live in an apartment or condo without a yard to help train them.
- Knowing a puppy’s history isn’t always feasible, especially if you’re rescuing one from a shelter. But, the more you know about a puppy’s past, the easier it will be to train them and ensure they get the appropriate medical care for the first year or so of their life. For example, if you get your puppy from a breeder, you’ll probably get information on the puppy’s parents, its vaccination records, what food it’s been raised on, and the level of interaction it’s had with humans and other animals. These are all great details to know so you can prepare to bring the puppy into your home. Shelter puppies aren’t going to come with the same detail level, especially if they were abandoned. There will be some records of vaccinations and medical care from what the shelter provided after the puppy arrived at the facility, but you won’t know much about how your puppy will get along with other people and animals. You may also not know how the puppy was raised before it was surrendered, which may impact its behavior and personality. You will have to live with some uncertainty until you get to know each other.
- The cost of getting a puppy varies widely depending on where you adopt your dog. Breeders typically charge significant amounts for their dogs, especially if they’re considered purebred. Hypoallergenic dogs like Poodles, Labradoodles, Golden doodles, Bichon frises, and Maltese tend to be more expensive than dogs that shed. Show dogs and popular breeds like Bulldogs, Rottweilers, and chow chows can cost you thousands of dollars just to bring them home. Then there are the other associated ongoing costs of dog ownership. The veterinary care, grooming, and food costs will vary according to breed, but you can expect to have these expenses for the life of your pet. Puppies will be more expensive at first as well since there will be additional veterinary charges for vaccinations and health checks for at least the first year. You may also have to purchase all new supplies for your companion, too, including a leash, collar, identification tag, food and water bowls, dog bed, and toys. Don’t forget that you’ll need to have your pet microchipped right away, which costs between $25 and $60. Some breeders will take care of this for you, and shelters will typically require you to get your adopted friend chipped before you can take them home. Unless you intend to breed your dog, you’ll need to get them spayed or neutered to prevent an unplanned litter.
As wonderful as a new puppy is, you still need to be very selective in which puppy you adopt so that you don’t end up with a mismatch that could be miserable for you both. Researching all aspects of dog ownership so that you fully understand breed-specific traits is important so that you can choose a dog that will not only fit into your life now but will continue to be a loving companion for many years to come.