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Selecting a Breed

Dogs - Selecting a Breed When it comes to choosing a dog, there are lots of things to think about: puppy or adult dog? Male or female? Purebred or mixed breed? And once you've answered all of those questions, you still need to decide what breed of dog you want. Every breed has its own set of distinctive traits, so it's a great idea to do some research on different breeds before making your final decision.

The following are some of the basic traits to consider when deciding what breed is right for you:

Size

From the Chihuahua and Yorkie all the way up to the Saint Bernard and Great Dane, dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A dog's size can be a part of his appeal (Westies can be at home just about anywhere, no matter how tight the quarters are.) or a deterrent (It's much easier to accidentally step on a Westie than a Rottweiler!). You should choose a breed whose size fits with your lifestyle.

Temperament

While a dog of any breed could be happy to snuggle up in your lap, some breeds are more likely to enjoy spending time like this. On the other hand, certain breeds will be more inclined than others to join you for a run in the park. Before getting a dog, decide what personality traits are important to you and look for a breed that meets your standard.

Trainability

How important is it to you that your dog can do tricks? How much time are you willing to spend training your new pup? Some dogs are more easily trained than others. There are great dogs out there that, try as they might, will never be able to roll over on command. And there are other dogs that can learn several tricks in one day, but they may not have certain other traits that are desirable to you. You'll have to decide which is more important.

Grooming

Are you looking forward to spending hours every week brushing and caring for your dog's coat, or do you feel tired just thinking about that? Are you prepared to get out the vacuum as often as necessary to rid your carpet of tons of dog hairs, or would you rather not have to think about that? The answers to these questions will help you determine what breed is right for you. Maintaining a dog's coat can be a huge time commitment or none at all, depending on the breed. It's up to you to decide what kind of coat appeals to you and how much time you're willing to spend taking care of it.

While researching the standard traits of a breed can be helpful in making your decision of what breed to purchase, it's important to remember that every individual dog is different. Every dog will have its own quirks, some positive and some negative. Before making your final decision, find a puppy or dog that you love on a personal level—not only because of his breed. And make sure you won't be too quick to give him away if he isn't a perfect match to the breed standard.