It’s a shame, but people usually do more research buying a car than when buying a puppy. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “I wish I had known that before I got my dog. ” Many people pick a dog based on what he looks like. They want the cute Jack Russell or the handsome golden retriever. Choosing a dog for your family should really be based more on energy level and temperament.
Consider how active your family is. Are you hikers, walkers, homebodies, travelers, or couch potatoes? You need to be able to match the dog to your energy level. If you are avid mountain bikers then go for a dog that wants to run alongside. If you just prefer a leisurely stroll then stick with a breed that needs minimal exercise.
Activity is not the only thing to consider. Some breeds require an owner with a stronger personality or they will try to take control. Some of the more powerful breeds like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Bull Mastiffs need an owner who will provide clear leadership or these breeds may try to take control themselves.
Do you have kids? Are their friends over all the time? Some breeds are better around kids than others. Labs, Goldens, Beagles, German Shepherds are usually a good match around kids if they are taught early on to respect them. Of course there are many other breeds that do great with kids too.
Don’t forget the good ol’ mutt too. Now we call them “designer dogs” but they’re really just mixes. Once you breed the same breeds to each other over and over they develop into their own breed. Cross a poodle and a lab and you get a Labradoodle. Usually a very high energy dog that can be a fun dog for kids. My favorite cross is a German Shepherd and a Lab. It usually results in a very nice dog. It’s funny but I don’t see that “designer dog” advertised. But you can usually find them at your local shelter. It’s a great place to find a really nice dog for your family.