If you are dog people like us, you know that a dog can bring love and happiness to your life that is hard to experience with any other pet. I know cat people may argue this differently, but dog people understand. If you have never had a dog, or only had a dog when you were younger, and if you going to be choosing a dog for your new family, there are a few things you need to understand. You have to choose a dog that would fit with your personality and your family’s personality, as well as your surroundings. If you are living in an apartment the dog you would choose will be far different from one that you would have if you were living on a farm. Some dogs need a lot of exercises and some dogs don’t, some dogs need a lot of attention and some dogs don’t, some dogs don’t mind being left alone but some dogs definitely do. We had a lovely Akita that didn’t like being left alone chew through a $2,000 leather sofa like it was a chew toy while we were away, so lesson learned. You are adding this dog as a member of your family, so don’t just say wow that’s cute, pointing finger, and move on. This is a lifetime responsibility, so you need to choose wisely what you get. Here are a few things to think about.

Big is not always best, and neither is small

The size of the dog you choose for your family, depending on how young your children are, is important. We would suggest you avoid overly large dogs or overly small dogs. Large dogs were gently bred for defense, or hunting, and might not have the same patience or temperament as a medium sized dog. It may not bother your child, but if your child is playing with another child from somewhere else, your larger dog might not understand and try and intervene and hurt the other child. So generally we would suggest not taking a large dog. Small dogs, as beautiful and sweet as they are, are also generally not a good choice. When we say small we mean toy sized. A small child will often think of them as a real toy as opposed to just a toy size dog. A smaller dog can have what we call “big dog syndrome,” where they tend to get a little bit more snippy and aggressive. A lot of toy small dogs also have health issues.

Puppy Mills

It’s a good idea to avoid puppy mills. That also means buying a dog in a pet store. 90% of the dogs in pet stores are from puppy mills. Dogs from puppy mills might not have the same health that another dog might, as they are raised rather roughly with the sole purpose of making a profit. Often there is not a lot of freedom to run around and they are kept in smaller cages. It’s rather heartbreaking. So if even just to deny the puppy mill the money, don’t buy from the puppy mill.

Consider the overall picture

As we may have mentioned before, you need to understand what lifestyle you have before you can choose the dog. If you’re living in an apartment a Boston Terrier or a Jack Russell, would be the worst possible thing you can buy, and drive you crazy as well as the dog crazy. So you have to take your lifestyle into consideration. For example, if the dog requires you to walk him on long walks 2 or 3 times a day and you’re not up to doing that then don’t get that kind of dog. Choose something that would fit who you are and who your family is. Just because the dog is beautiful and cute, does not mean he’s going to be a good fit in your life.

Golden Retriever

Probably one of the favorite dogs in the United States is the Golden retriever. It’s a bit of a larger dog, but it has one of the greatest personalities that you can get. It’s a great family dog. They like to play and are fairly active, and deal with children well. And they’re also, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful dogs out there.

Spaniel

There are many types of spaniels. Cocker Spaniels, King Charles Spaniels, others, but spaniels tend to have a fairly good personality and can take a lot of abuse from a small child without too much problem. Many dogs will put off to the abuse for a while and then maybe snapback which could cause an issue. Cocker spaniels are one of our favorites. Be very careful when buying a cocker spaniel, however, as they are so popular they are probably one of the more common ones used by puppy mills. Cocker spaniels are also one of our favorites.

Beagle

Beagles are often known as a good hunting dog, but they’re also very loyal to family. They are easy-going and enjoy the company of children. Even though beagles seem to be an easy-going dog, they do require a lot of attention and exercise so take that into account. They’re one of the more playful dogs.

Pug

Pugs are great dogs, they are fairly active but not so much so that you need to be that active yourself. They love to play, they’re very loyal, and they love children. They like to sleep a lot, which is also a bonus sometimes. They’re only small, maybe 15 pounds, so they’re a good cuddle dog. They do have a bit of a difficulty being trained however, not because they’re stubborn, but because they have a doggy version of ADD. It’s hard to get them to keep their attention on anything for a long period of time. And we say that with love. But if you can train them, and spend the time, they will be one of the most rewarding dogs you can have.

Basset Hound

Another great dog that doesn’t require too much exercise is a basset hound. That’s not to mean they don’t enjoy the exercise and taking walks, but they are quite fine living in the apartment. They’re incredibly loyal and affectionate with children. They are a decent dog for people that are novices to having a dog, and the only downside is sometimes they have health problems, so it is a good idea to check the family history and see what their breeding is for those problems.

Really we could go on for hours talking about all the different dogs that are great for a young family that’s just starting. The reality is you have to know what your lifestyle is before you choose. You need to go through and understand what the most important things to you and your family. Is it to protect your family? Play with your children? Being an overall friend? A walking companion? Or anything else. You need to know what environment you going to live in and what you enjoy. Once you know those things, it’s rather easy to cut down the list and find the dog that will be an appropriate partner for you in life. We emphasize doing this as if you just buy a dog because you think it’s a cool dog, you are just asking for trouble. Too many times people will return dogs because they don’t fit their life. They were too big, too active, bark too much, too aggressive, or not aggressive enough. If you’re buying a dog just to stay outside all the time, we suggest you do not buy a dog. You wouldn’t make your child stay outside, and your dog should be as close to you as your children, and be a member of the family. The more you love him the more he will love you. So find the right dog and make your life a better one.

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