Research the breed, consider dog size, temperament, shedding, etc.
Research the breeder
Many dogs end up in the pound because people fail to do their research prior to purchasing them. All puppies are cute and most breeds are small when in the puppy stage. It is imperative to research the breed to learn what your tiny bundle of love will look like when he or she grows into adulthood. If you are considering adopting a mixed breed pup, things get a lot riskier, especially if you are adopting from a shelter, etc. This is so because the shelter cannot be certain of the breeds that went in the mix and can only guesstimate what the puppy will grow up to look like.
If you are acquiring a mixed breed pup from a litter, then you’d probably be able to get information on the parents from the owners of such litter. This is still risky since those parents are probably mixed breed as well. Temperament is crucial when considering a canine addition to your family and you must take the following factors into consideration:
1. Do you have children?
2. Do you have other dogs or pets?
3. What is your lifestyle like?
4. What do you want out of your relationship with your new pet?
5. How much time can you devote to your new pet?
If you have children, you need to consider that certain breeds may not be appropriate for you and that certain others would probably help you raise your kids. You need also to play your kids ages and temperaments into the equation. For instance, if you have a newborn baby or a baby that is in the crawling stage, you may opt for a dog that does not shed and has an agreeable disposition, plus an adult size that is not overbearing on the baby, i.e. a Poodle or a Bichon Frise. If you have school-age children that are able to help, you can opt for a dog requiring more interaction and exercise - and shedding may not then be such a problem – you may want to consider a lab, a golden retriever, or even an Aussie.
If you have no children and you have an active lifestyle – you may want a dog that can go jogging with you, or even swimming. However, if your lifestyle is more sedentary – a dog that is a couch potato and loves to cuddle up with you may be the perfect one for you.
Grooming your dog is an important part of its health and thus, when choosing your canine companion, please make sure you pay special attention to this. If you do not have time to devote to intensive dog grooming, you do not want a long-haired, double-coated dog. If on the other hand, you enjoy this kind of interaction with your canine friend, then, by all means, indulge in a Sheltie or a Maltese. Keep in mind that shedding also comes into the picture and please do not make the mistake to assume that only long hair coats are offenders. Actually, short hair coats such as the ones in Chihuahuas, as well as many Terries are as much, if not more of a problem.
Researching a breeder is a very crucial step in your pup selection process. Respectable breeders ensure you are buying a healthy (both physically and emotionally) dog. Good breeders promote breeding the good characteristics (genes) in an attempt to breed out the bad genes in their lines. If you buy a pup from one of the puppy stores, you may be getting a dog that has a weak genetic composition and may end up with an overly sick (very expensive on the pocket and very taxing on the soul) dog – or even with an extremely aggressive, shy or antisocial pup – even after doing all your breed-specific research.
Another important thing about finding a respectable breeder is the fact that your pup will not be pulled away from his mom and littermates until the time is right. This promotes appropriate social behaviour in dogs. Puppy stores usually get their doggies much earlier so they can sell them faster (the younger the dog, the more marketable it is).
Be responsible! Do your research and choose wisely – remember this is a member of your family and not just a toy to be discarded later.