Are you interested in adopting an adult dog or a brand new puppy but are unsure what type of dog breed might best fit into your lifestyle? This is a widespread concern amongst many first-time dog owners. Take the time to do the research and make sure that you're the right fit for the dog as much as they're the right fit for you. Be sure to take into consideration all factors of your lifestyle including how demanding your career is and how often you are home, your other family members, including other pets, and whether or not you live an active lifestyle.

Finding Your Perfect Dog Breed

Whether you’re looking to adopt a dog from a shelter or a breeder there are a few factors that you should keep in mind. Considering a dog's breed is always advised to ensure that they can live their happiest life with you and you with them.

Every breed is unique and has specific daily requirements. Sometimes, a dog owner's lifestyle can make all the difference, for better or for worse, when it comes to our dog's happiness. Here are five common factors to keep in mind when adopting your new dog:

Size and Known Health Issues

There are many different shapes and sizes of dogs. While puppies are small, they can sometimes end up being over 55 pounds when full-grown! Before adopting your dog, you must do some research and discover how big it will become when he or she reaches its adult years. Sometimes large dogs have different health considerations than smaller breeds. For example, Great Danes are prone to hip issues and ACL problems, French or English bulldogs to breathing problems, Chihuahuas are vulnerable to colder temperatures, and Yorkies to dental issues.

The size of your home is also important when considering what dog breed to adopt. If you live in a large house with loads of outdoor space, your options are almost endless. Although, it’s also worth noting that although a large backyard is always great, supervision or a fenced in backyard will be needed for certain breeds as well. An example being a small breed, or a hunting breed such as a coonhound. You don’t want either of these dogs to wander off in an open field.

On the smaller size, if you live in an apartment or condo with a small living space, you might consider a dog that will be more comfortable in smaller living quarters and that doesn’t need as much of an active lifestyle as a large breed would.

Activity Level

It would be best if you aimed to find a dog that easily fits into your current lifestyle and level of activity. A high-energy dog with a low-energy owner is not usually a great mix as one or both can become frustrated. If you're already participating in runs, hikes, time on the water and other outdoor activities, then a high-energy dog might be best to keep up with you. If you're more of a homebody and prefer to take things slow, you might be looking for more of a lap dog who also loves to lay on the couch and sunbathe.

High-Energy Breeds:

  • Border Collie
  • Australian Shepard
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Dalmatian
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Siberian Husky
  • Yorkshire Terriers

Low-Energy Breeds

  • Basset Hound
  • Pug
  • Bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Chow Chow
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Schedule

It would be best to consider your current routine and whether you can or cannot change once you adopt a dog. If you're working 12-hour shifts, you need to think about whether or not your dog is going to be receiving enough love and attention from other family members. If the dog will spend its whole life locked up in a crate, it might be best to reconsider and adopt another animal that requires less attention.  

Dogs get lonely, and some can even develop depression or separation anxiety causing destructive behavior, pacing, barking, and salivation. Sometimes anxiety can be naturally treated, but in severe cases, a dog insurance plan can be used to cover anxiety medication to improve your dog's quality of life. Though this is typically used for other situations such as traveling or fireworks, and not with the intention of leaving your pet home alone for long periods of time.

It is also essential to consider how many walks per day your dog will need. High-energy dogs require longer walks, and more often. While more low-energy breeds prefer a relaxed schedule with shorter walks or none at all in the winter time. Senior dogs and more relaxed dog breeds are often more independent and don't mind doing their own thing during the day, and can enjoy a very short walk up the block from time to time.

Pure Breed

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), there are seven dog breed groups:

  • Working
  • Herding
  • Hound
  • Sporting
  • Non-Sporting
  • Toy
  • Terrier

Each one of these seven breeds has unique characteristics and traits. Researching your potential dog's breed group is vital for understanding them better and how they will fit into your current lifestyle. There are also Hypoallergenic dog breeds, like Poodles, that you should consider if you or someone in your household is allergic to dog hair.

Purebred dogs often come from dog breeders who ensure their puppies will all grow up to show the same physical and behavioral characteristics. There are some benefits for choosing to adopt a purebred dog, including:

Guarantee size and appearance: Purebred dogs will look very similar to their parents as there is not very much variation in genes from litter to litter. This allows you to prepare for the size of your dog and if they are suitable for your living conditions.

General knowledge of temperament: The more you know about the parents and the specific breed of your dog, the better informed and prepared you will be for that breed's temperament. For example, you will know if your dog will likely be high energy or low energy.

Sensitivity to the environment: Some dog breeds do well in colder environments, like a Siberian Husky. Others prefer large areas to run and play in, like a Shepard Dog. In comparison, some breeds don't need much exercise and are happy to live in the city with short walks, like Yorkshire Terriers.

Health concerns: When you adopt a purebred dog, you will often be more prepared for the health conditions certain breeds are predisposed to. For example, German Shepherds show a high prevalence of hip dysplasia and issues with nerves in their hindlimbs. Being aware of your dog's medical history can help you shape the best dog wellness plan and dog insurance plan.

Mixed Breed

Mixed breed dogs are super common, especially if you're adopting from a rescue or the neighbor's surprise litter. Saving a mixed breed dog from a shelter can be one of the most rewarding things a family can do. While there will be some unknowns, this should not deter you!

Often veterinarians, dog trainers, and other dog experts can tell what breeds have been mixed. Sometimes, however, a mixed breed dog's size, temperament, and medical history will be a surprise.

Thanks to modern technology, different services are available to help you determine your dog's ancestry. Your dog's DNA can highlight their breed combinations. This information allows you and your veterinarian to understand your dog better and develop personalized dog wellness and dog insurance plans.

Once you welcome your new puppy or adult rescue into your home, it's essential to get them all set up with a dog wellness plan and/or a dog insurance plan. Wagmo’s dog wellness plans help cover all routine care such as vaccinations, flea/tick care, and dental coverage, while dog insurance covers emergency illness and injury care.

Take our Wagmo coverage quiz to personalize your pet's coverage and get your affordable quote!