Selecting the Right Dog

If you have come to our site during the exciting phase where you are pondering a new canine addition to your family, this guide is intended to give you some information that may help you choose the right dog.  If you have already chosen a dog but wish to learn more about the dog you’ve chosen, this may also provide some illumination in terms of dog breed, age, temperament and more.

LT with dogsAs you read this, keep in mind that every dog is unique; and that, with every breed, there is a wide range of tendencies and personalities.  You want to look at the picture you receive of your potential new pup as a gestalt, meaning that you look at the big picture and all characteristics of the dog before selecting the one that is right for you.  And remember to make your decision from both the heart and the mind.  Its easy to fall head-over-heels for an adorable fluffy, waggy four-legged friend, but you also want to be sure you are ready for the lifelong commitment, that you are willing to put in the energy to help your dog get the training they need (we can help with this!), and that you can provide the emotional and physical care your dog will need throughout his life.

Regardless of the type of dog you select, training one of the most responsible and effective things you can do to ensure you and your dog have a successful and satisfying life together.  We offer exceptional dog training services at Absolute K-9 and would like to offer you a free consultation with your new pup once you have brought him home and are ready for the next step.  Please contact us at (​800) 961-6442 or click here to email us.

Read on to learn more about selecting the right dog for you. View a chart of breed characteristics here.

A dog that fits your lifestyle
Choosing the right canine companion for you often begins by taking a closer look at yourself and your lifestyle.  You will want to consider your level of activity:  Do you want to have a dog that can join you on your 5 mile jog every morning or do you want a dog who is happy with a walk around the block?  If you are not particularly active, you might want to stay away from certain breeds and dogs that need more physical outlets for their energy.

Consider your social life:  Do you want a dog you can take everywhere with you?  Or do you want a dog that is happy sitting around with you and your loved ones at home every night?  Do you want a dog that is very social and friendly with everyone or do you want a more reserved dog?  Do you have children or other animals in your life?  You will want to make sure you select a dog that will be friendly towards the various people and pets already in your world.

What kind of environment do you live in?  Apartment?  Home?  Do you have a backyard area?  Do you live with or near others?  You will want to take all of your environmental factors into account when choosing a dog.  For example, if you live alone in a smaller apartment high-rise, a large active dog that needs a lot of space and room to exert energy may not be the best choice.

Consider your time.  Do you work long hours?
Do you find you have little free time to begin with?  It is important to remember that any dog will ask for as much attention and time as you can afford.  While all people must work, and often out of the house, you want to think about how much time you will be able to devote to your dog.  If you do have a job that takes you out of the home most of the day, for example, getting a puppy might not be the best choice.

Considering the age of the dog
The age of a dog will also factor into the situation of selecting the right dog for you.  For example, as mentioned above, a puppy will require a great deal of energy and time to raise.  Puppies need training and near-constant supervision in order to learn, grow and succeed under your care.  If you do not have the time or patience for housetraining, correcting problems like jumping and chewing, an adult dog might be a better choice.  While adult dogs still require much love, discipline and affection, they generally require less supervision.  Remember that a dog of any age will need to learn how to live in your unique environment.  Training is recommended for dogs of any age.

Size and Breed: Purebred or mutt?
When selecting the right dog for you, you will also want to consider the dog’s breed.  Different breeds of dog are known for different traits, which have been selected through breeding.  For example, German Shepherds are known to be highly trainable working dogs, while Jack Russell Terriers are known to be strong-willed and high energy.  However, breed traits are constantly evolving and there is a considerable amount of individual temperament variability within a breed class.   So there is no guarantee that your Golden Retriever will be a baby lover or your Shepherd an excellent tracker.

Generally speaking, selecting a pure bred dog will ensure that the dog looks a certain way.  Furthermore, some traits may be somewhat predictable within a breed, so you might be able to anticipate what the dog will be like.  It is also important, when choosing a purebred dog to be aware of the physical problems to which the breed is prone.  For example, some dogs such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds are more prone to hip dysplasia.  Cocker spaniels may be more prone to ear infections.  Smaller dogs such as the Yorkshire terrier, Pugs, and Pomeranians might be at risk for collapsing trachea.  These are all important to consider with a purebred dog.

Mixed breeds, often called mutts, are a combination of different dog breeds.  With mixed breed puppies, you may have no sure way to know what they will look like when they grow up.  Furthermore, it may be difficult to guess what types of traits that dog may have based on breed.  However, choosing a mix breed can have its advantage.  Some of the behavioral or physical problems associated with purebred dogs are attenuated in a mixed breed.  They may be less prone to certain illnesses and they may be less likely to have extreme personality traits, as so many traits of different breeds are competing for center stage.  Choosing a mix breed, however, is no guarantee that your dog will be saved from medical or behavioral problems.

The American Kennel Club currently recognizes 160 different breeds, though by some accounts as many as 400 dog breeds exist.  While attempting to learn about 160 to 400 breeds is daunting, it is more manageable to become familiar with the general traits of the seven breed groups, under which all dog breeds fall.  (Note, there is also an eighth “miscellaneous” breed group).

The following are some very general behavioral characteristics for these 7 dog breed groups, which can help you to decide which dog is best for you.  Remember to keep in mind that each dog is unique and will come with individual as well as breed characteristics.

Sporting Group Hound Group Working Group Toy Group Terrier Group Non-sporting group Herding Group
Breed examples Labradors
Retrievers
Pointers Spaniels
Greyhound Basset houndBeagle BoxerMastiffsHuskyRottweiler Min PinChihuahuaPug Pit bull Jack Russell Chow
Poodle
Shar-pei
Dalmatian
Aussie
Border collie
Corgi
German Shepherd
General traits good family pets and companions, though some aggressive strains do exist Independent, originally hunters, dog and scent oriented Large, often “tougher” breeds, require strong leadership Smaller, need less space, better for novice owners Smart, highly reactive, strong willed, energetic Independent, tough minded, diverse in temperament Smart; needs a “job,” clear leadership
Trainability High Lower Lower Medium medium Low to medium High
Activity level High Medium Often high lower high Medium to high high
Aggression level Typically low Low Potentially high medium Some high Can be high lower
Good with kids Generally, yes Some Some Not the best Some Not the best Some, may try to herd 🙂

Size is also an important consideration for a prospective dog owner. You will want to consider the space in which your new dog will live, as well as your capability in handling a dog when determining the size of a dog that is right for you. Furthermore, it is a general rule that the bigger the dog, the shorter the lifespan and vice versa. You may want to take this into account when determining the right dog for you.

Training your new dog
Regardless the age, size, or breed of your new dog, s/he will certainly benefit from training. We guarantee that we can train any dog of any breed with any problem. To learn more about our training, please contact us at (​800) 961-6442 or click here to email us.


“Investing in professional canine training is the single most responsible thing you can do for your dog and your family.” -Mike Stone, Absolute K9

As Seen and Heard on…

  • KFMB Channel 8
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  • Animal Planet
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  • Rick Roberts KFMB
  • KCBQ
  • San Diego Magazine
  • Ranch and Coast Magazine
  • Trainers for show Fear Factor on NBC

0% Financing Available

Just because you want your dog to be well behaved doesn’t mean it needs to break the bank. Absolute K-9 and Snug Pet Resort are the only dog training facility in San Diego to offer 0% financing for dog training. Taking advantage of our financing offer means that after the expense of purchasing a puppy or adopting a dog, you can immediately enroll them in training courses.


Selecting the Right Dog Links

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There are not bad dogs…just dogs that have yet to be trained

We believe that in an ideal situation, it is much better to be proactive in your dog training by teaching the right behaviors before bad behaviors begin.

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