How to Choose the Right Dog Breed for Your Family

  • Dec 4, 2020
  • Adopt, Dog Breeds, Puppy, Dog, Forever Friend, Galloway Village Veterinary
  • Tips & Advice

The best vets in Springfield, MO have the best advice on finding your future puppy.

Christmas is just around the corner and the kids have been begging for a puppy for years.  You’ve been able to distract them with fish, maybe a hamster, or even a turtle… but this year, only a dog will do.  Dogs have a natural ability to love unconditionally and are walking demonstrations of how kids should treat other people - greeting others with a smile and an open mind is just one of the many life lessons that children can pick up from a canine friend.  Getting a dog is a perfect opportunity to teach your kids about caring for another living being.  The pup will be a constant reminder of the importance of food, water, and daily exercise. 
Dogs require a tremendous amount of responsibility as well as a lot of care, attention, and money.  If your family is up to the challenge, don't just head out to purchase a pet on a whim.  Take some time to figure out what you and your family want in a dog.  It’s impossible to find a dog without any flaws, but you can take steps to find a breed that’ll fit in nicely with your family’s expectations.  Once you narrow it down, talk to breeders about spending time with each breed.  A good breeder will let you interact with their dogs because any dog they place with your family will be with you for life.  They want to make sure that not only is the dog right for you but also that your family is right for the dog.  

There are several things you should consider in each breed of dog you are interested in:

1. Size.

Small or toy-sized dogs are usually not the best choice for families with children younger than seven.  These pups are fragile, and an inadvertent squeeze or a fall off the couch could do serious damage.  The opposite is true for large dogs, which can sometimes be too rough with babies and small children.  Big breeds are also not ideal for apartments or condos.

2. Exercise Requirements

Big dogs like german shepherds or labs need space to run around.  If you have a fenced yard or are able to take your dog for long, daily walks, a large breed might be good for you. If you travel frequently or can’t commit to the exercise needs of an active dog, you should consider a dog that requires less cardio and more affection, such as a pomeranian or a Shih Tzu. 

3. Grooming Requirements

Long-haired breeds like border collies and poodles require frequent grooming sessions by you or a professional.  If you prefer not to spend more time and money grooming your pup than you do on yourself, you might want to choose a short-haired breed, such as a beagle or a dachshund which usually only requires an occasional bath and brush.  If you like to pamper your dog and enjoy the array of decorative bows they could wear, a long-haired breed could be good for you.  Our groomer, Bonnie, has been grooming pets since 2012 and can always tell when a dog feels a lot better after their spa day!

4. Trainability

Highly trainable breeds can be more “kid-friendly” because they are eager to please and are usually more family-oriented rather than wanting to attach themselves to one person.  Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are bred to work side by side with humans, taking direction from their owners.  German Shepherds and Collies are also highly trainable dogs. 

5. Shedding

Whether they are large, small, long-haired, or short-haired, it is inevitable that your dog will shed.  If the idea of sweeping up regularly makes you cringe, there are certain breeds, like Border Terriers and Bichon Frises that shed less than others.

6. Lifespan

Smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds.  A breed’s longevity is certainly something to consider if you don’t want your child to face a hard goodbye at an early age.  For example, the lifespan of a typical English Bulldog is eight to ten years, whereas Bichon Frises average twelve to fifteen years.

7. Allergic Potential

Dogs with hypoallergenic coats are an option for people with pet allergies.  Schnauzers and Irish Water Spaniels are just a couple of breeds that produce less dander, the allergy-causing culprit. 

Always monitor your pet's interaction with children

Some pet experts insist that each and every breed can be a great addition to your household if cared for appropriately and treated with love.  Still, many families choose not to consider breeds that have a reputation for excessive strength and aggressiveness, like Rottweilers, chow chows, and, most notoriously, pit bulls.  However, plenty of families have raised kids around these breeds with no issues, so it’s really a judgment call on the part of the parents.  No matter what breed you select, always closely monitor your pets' interaction with children.  Dogs are wonderful companions, but they are still animals. 

Don't forget about Adopting!

There are countless breeds to choose from, but don’t forget about all of the homeless dogs out there!  If saving a life is high on your priority list, simply visit a local animal shelter or rescue group to find your furry friend.  Staff members have usually spent enough time with each pup to know if the dog will thrive in a home with children.  Adopting a pet will also cost less than buying a purebred dog.  Typically when adopting a pet, the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations, and sometimes even microchipping is included in the adoption prices and can save you some of the upfront costs of adding a new member to your family.  Animal shelters are always brimming with happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home!  
We can't wait to meet your future pup.  Have a great December, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
- From your friends at GVV