You shouldn’t rush into getting a dog. When choosing a pup that is right for you and your environment, there are many things to consider. By choosing a breed that is best suited to your situation, you will cut down on illnesses, behavior issues, and even the costs that will come along with your new family member.How to Pick the Best Dog

A dog should never be an impulse decision. To make sure you are making a decision that will be best for you, your family and your new pet, put plenty of research into choosing your new furry friend.

Never choose a dog breed based on looks alone, which is a very common mistake many first-time pet owners make and later highly regret that decision.

If you want an easier time picking the best dog for you, then answer some of the questions that apply directly to your personal situation, such as:

  • How much time will have to play with your new pet?
  • How often can you get him the exercise that he needs?
  • Will you groom the dog, or use professional services?
  • Are you aware of all the costs that your chosen breed will come with?

The last question is vital – think about your budget. The expense of a dog does not stop after you adopt him. Many pet parents think about the initial costs and forget to think about the long term costs of owning a dog. You'll need to consider grooming costs, veterinary expenses, purchase of dog supplies and travel costs, just to name a few.

Your new dog also needs to fit in with your family and your lifestyle. Do you have children? Do you frequently have guests in your home?

Think about your activity level and your home environment. Do you want a lazy dog or one that enjoys going out for adventures? Do you have enough room in your home for a medium or large breed to run around?

HERE'S SOME HELP: Best Dog Breed Quiz to Help You Choose Your Next Pup

How to Pick the Best Dog for You Based On Your Living Situation and Lifestyle

How To Pick the Best Dog for You

Who is in your family? Kids, elderly folks, cats or other dogs? This is one of the most important things to think about when researching dogs. Some dogs do not like kids at all, for example. Other breeds may not do well with pets – cats or dogs – that you already have at home.

The results of getting a dog that does not like kids when you have kids could be awful.  The dog won’t be happy and the dog could bite your children. This can lead to emotional issues in the animal and human, behavior issues in the dog, and even added doctor and vet bills. On the other hand, there are a lot of breeds that absolutely love kids.

If you have elder family members in the house, or who visit often, you will need to take energy levels into account. The infirm and elderly may not be able to hold their own with a dog that is jumping on them, pulling on them, and trying to play. Fortunately, some breeds have been shown to do very well with seniors and even improve their health.

Generally, for these households, a breed that is calmer may be best. If you do pick a more energetic breed, make sure it is intelligent and takes to training easily. You can train most dogs to behave and adapt to your living situation, but every canine will require a different amount of effort and patience you'll have to put into his training routine.

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How To Pick the Best Dog

3 Best Dog Picks for Kids

1. Boxer

Boxers are a friendly breed. They also have lots of energy, so they love to play with kids who also have a lot of energy. Boxers are very loyal to, and protective of, their family.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Poodle

Poodles are playful dogs that are gentle with kids. They are very intelligent, making them tolerant and easy to train. Poodles come in different sizes, so you can find the one that your kids are most comfortable with.

How To Pick the Best Dog for You3. Beagle

Beagles are very affectionate and playful, making them the perfect little dog for your family of all ages. They are not “sensitive” dogs, so they are patient and kind with everyone.

3 Best Dog Picks for Seniors

1. Poodle

As previously mentioned, poodles are one of the most intelligent breeds. They are easy to train to not jump. They are gentle dogs who have a sixth sense about their surroundings.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Pomeranian

Small and toy breeds have a bad reputation for being hyper. The Pomeranian is actually a very docile, calm toy breed dog. Their size and temperament make them perfect lap dogs for senior adults.

How To Pick the Best Dog3. Dachshund

Dachshunds are small, lower energy dogs. That, and their short coats (in the short hair varieties), make them a perfect choice for elderly or infirm people. These dogs can be aggressive with small children, so if their are children in the home they are not a good choice.

3 Best Dog Picks for Cats

How To Pick the Best Dog1. Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkies do not have a very strong prey drive. This makes them great for houses with cats and other furry animals. The Yorkshire Terriers may be small in size, but their personalities make for up! They are a feisty companion that enjoys playing with all members of the family, even the feline ones.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Maltese

Maltese are very affectionate to the beings in their household. They are very playful breed. This means they make friends easily. Their glamorous white coat looks lovely, but it takes a bit of grooming to keep it looking good.

3. Poodle

Poodles have always lived in piece with pet cats, and as you can plainly see, Poodles are an all around great breed. Poodles are gentle dogs, which makes them great for a lot of different families. They are gentle with anyone and anything in the house.

RELATED: How to Choose a Dog Breed and Make the Best Choice

How To Pick the Best Dog

3 Best Dog Picks for Other Dogs

1. Poodle

As stated in the other lists, poodles are gentle intelligent breeds. They can live peacefully in almost any household. They enjoy playing with other animals, and would be happy in a home with another canine.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Labrador Retrievers

The Labrador Retriever is a friendly breed with kids, strangers, cats, dogs, it doesn’t matter. They love to be loved. This is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world for this reason. They can do well in almost any lifestyle or environment.

How To Pick the Best Dog3. Australian Shepherd

Aussies are another breed that loves to be loved. They are friendly with almost every animal and person they come in contact with. These dogs are also extremely intelligent, making them easy to train.

HELPFUL VIDEO: How To Introduce Your Puppy To An Existing Dog

Top 3 Dog Picks for Apartments

1. Poodle

Once again, Poodles are adaptive. They are easy to train and can do very well with apartment living. They are not as likely to bark as some other breeds, so your neighbors will be happy as well. As previously mentioned, they come in a variety of sizes, and the smaller versions would be ideal for apartment dwellers.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Bulldog

English Bulldogs have low energy making them great for apartments. They also do not tolerate weather extremes very well, so a nice climate controlled apartment is great for them.

3. Maltese

These little dogs are great for apartment dwellers. They shed little, and the Maltese are intelligent and easy to train. These dogs have lower energy levels than many other breeds. Also, they are not known to be barkers.

MORE SUGGESTIONS: 25 Best Dog Breeds for Small Apartments

Top 3 Picks for Allergy Sufferers

How To Pick the Best Dog1. Mexican Hairless

This is almost self-explanatory. With no hair, they have no shedding. This means the Xoloitzcuintli, often referred to as the Mexican Hairless, is less likely to trigger allergies.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Bichon Frise

These dogs are great for allergy sufferers who don’t want an odd looking hairless breed. They have beautiful white coats that shed very little. However, their coats do require regular trims and bathing.

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terriers shed very little. They also have very little animal dander. This is a great benefit for any dog lover that suffers with allergies.

RELATED: 5 Best Dogs for People With Allergies

How To Pick the Best Dog

Top 3 Dogs for Hot Weather

1. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred for the African bush. They were bred to be tough, outside dogs. They can tolerate hot and cold temperatures.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chessies have a curly coat that allows air to flow through to the skin. They love water. A hot day and a kiddie pool is heaven to a Chesapeake. These breeds are one of the best hunting dogs and have been known to survive in heat very well and not even complain.

How To Pick the Best Dog3. American Foxhound

These shorthair dogs were bred to hunt. They were kept in a kennel in rough surroundings. They can tolerate heat very well. The American Foxhound would enjoy a large area to run and play, so they are best for dog owners living in rural areas.

Top 3 Dogs for Cold Weather

How To Pick the Best Dog1. Chow Chow

The Chow Chow has a very think, bushy coat. In fact, they get too warm in anything but cold climates. If kept in a warm area, they should be kept shaved. These dogs love to be outside, not kept indoors.

How To Pick the Best Dog2. Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky was bred to weather arctic temperatures. Their thick coats keep them nice and toasty. They can die of heat stroke in warmer climates. If you your region gets warm in the summer months, you'll need to be sure your Husky has a cool spot indoors to chill out.

How To Pick the Best Dog3. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes are another breed meant for arctic temperatures. This breed is not as popular among pet owners as Huskies are, however. Nevertheless, they will deal great with cold; they prefer the cold weather and can get sick in warmer areas. These dogs also love to be outdoors, so they really aren't suited for pet owners living in hot climates.

RELATED: 9 Wolf-Like Dog Breeds – Know the Difference and Choose Wisely

Top 3 Budget Friendly Dogs

1. Foxhound

Whether the English or American breed, these smaller dogs are generally affordable pets. They have short, wire hair that is easy to groom and clean up. They are healthy, hearty breeds.

2. Dachshund

This a healthy breed. They are also small. Dachshunds are fine in apartments and big homes alike. They are friendly and don’t need a lot of special training. These things contribute to their affordability.

3. Jack Russel Terrier

This is another small breed with a short, wire coat. The size and easy grooming allows the owner to save all kinds of money.

RELATED: 25 Most Affordable Low-Cost Dog Breeds

How To Pick the Best Dog

Top 3 Most Expensive Dogs

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

How To Pick the Best DogCavalier King Charles are a royal breed in England. They can cost more as puppies and need to be groomed regularly. They like to eat and need to be monitored or they will become overweight.

This breed does not like to be left alone. They can become very destructive if left alone too long. All this comes together for a needy, more expensive dog.

2. German Shepherd

How To Pick the Best DogGerman Shepherds are a highly sought after breed for police work, therapy dogs, guard dogs, and, of course, livestock herding. They are one of the most expensive breeds you can buy. German Shepherds can be aggressive if not trained properly.

These large dogs have long coats that shed heavily. Even after the purchase price, they incur high cleaning, grooming, training, and feeding costs.

3. Tibetan Mastiff

How To Pick the Best DogThese mastiffs are beautiful dogs that surprisingly do not need a lot of grooming. They are massive and eat a lot. They are also intelligent and can easily get out of basic fences.

While he is intelligent, the Tibetan Mastiff is independent and willful. They need firm, expert training. They also need tough collars with tough leashes. All these needs combine for an expensive dog to own.

RELATED: Expensive Dog Food Brands – Are They Worth the High Cost?

How To Pick the Best Dog

How To Pick The Best Dog for You and Your Family

There are many breeds – like the Poodle – in these lists that are a good fit in many categories. This is why it is a good idea to sit down and list the main points that are important for your family, house, climate, budget, health, free time, and anything else you can think of.

Then choose some dog breeds you are interested in and use some breed comparison sites to find the one that will work best for you. Also compare internet lists. There are many, and you can search for things like “The 10 Best Dogs for Kids”, “The 10 Best Dogs for Dogs”, etc.

Pull up some lists for all of your necessary qualities and try to find a breed that is included on all of them. Find a couple like this that you can look into in more detail.

Another old fashioned approach that cannot be ignored is to schedule an appointment with a local vet. They will listen to your concerns and needs and help you decide on a breed that is right for you. Vets also know reputable breeders, so they may be help you get in touch with a breeder that produces healthy, happy, stable dogs.

The internet and books are great resources, but sometimes nothing beats word of mouth.  Talk to people in veterinarian offices, animal shelters, and rescue facilities. That way you can get some first-hand advice.

Considering that the average age of dogs is about 14 years (with small dogs living longer than large dogs), it is important to take your time when choosing the best dog breed for you. While it is impossible to plan for everything that may occur, by trying to think of as many factors as possible, you can get the dog breed that you will be happiest with, and that will be the happiest with you.

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Amy is a writer who lives with her husband and daughter on the United States Gulf Coast. She has a BA in Behavioral Sciences, and volunteered for shelters through various activities, as well as fostering animals. Amy currently has 3 dogs and 5 cats.