Westbury Animal Hospital
713.723.3666 · 4917 S. Willow Dr. Houston, Texas 77035 

Alissa Koschany, DVM

Choosing which dog to get is a big decision. Your dog will be with you for many years so it is important to choose wisely. It is easy to get distracted by appearances and forget to ask yourself: What characteristics are typical of this kind of dog and does that fit with my lifestyle? When deciding which dog is right for you consider the following:

What are the general characteristics of the breed?

With hundreds of breeds to choose from it may be helpful to pick a ‘type’ of dog and then decide which breed suits you from that ‘type’ ie. Sporting, Herding, Toy etc. This can be helpful even in mixed breed animals. Knowing what class of dog your pet falls into can tell you a lot about their personality.

How active are you and where do you live?

Very active groups such as sporting and herding breeds require a lot of exercise and/or space. If you live in an apartment and don’t plan to do more with your dog on a daily basis than take them for a short walk these breeds may not be right for you. However, if for example, you run everyday and would like a running buddy one of these might be an excellent choice. 

Do you have children or other pets?

Dogs can make excellent protectors and companions for children. Keep in mind that some breeds are more suited for homes with children than others. Factors to consider are the breed/temperament of the dog and the age of your children.

Mixed breed vs purebred?

There are advantages and disadvantages either way you go. Mixed breeds tend to have less genetic diseases than purebreds but their personalities and general characteristics are less predictable. Purebreds tend to have fairly predictable personalities and can be a good option when obtained from a reputable breeder that screens for genetic diseases. By going through a breeder you have the ability to see the parents and see how they interact with people and other animals.

Making the choice:

Regardless of which dog you choose remember to asses the individual animal and how it might fit into your life style. It may be beneficial to ask for a trial with a new pet so you can have more than a few minutes with the pet before committing. This can also be helpful if you have other pets to consider or children. Consult with your veterinarian to get more specific details on breeds you are considering and to discuss what is involved with pet care. They can be a great resource to help you avoid any impulse purchases since finding a new pet is a lifelong commitment.

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