Chapter 4
How To Know What Type Dog Is Best For You

The Three Categories of Dogs

Some people have a clear idea they what a specific dog breed from the beginning of their search for a dog. Other potential dog owners know very little about dog breeds and could not care less if they have a purebred, mixed breed or designer dog; they simply want a happy and healthy companion that gets along well with their family.

Adopting a dog is a commitment that can last for between 10 and 20 years. Now is the time to carefully consider the traits that are important to you so you can select a dog that matches up well with your lifestyle. The old adage "You can't choose your family" doesn't apply here; you not only can, but you will be choosing this new member of your family. Your job is to make the best choice possible based on how compatible your new family member is with your wants and lifestyle.

As discussed in Chapter 3, the age of your dog is an important consideration. More than any other factor, your dog's age will determine how much time your new family member will demand from you.

But, the kind of dog you choose will influence what traits and behaviors it has more than any other decision you make. The rest of this chapter will discuss the three major types of dogs– purebreds, mixed breeds, and the more recent introduction, designer breeds. Each type has different advantages, disadvantages, and risks. Normally, one of these three types of dogs is likely to be more suitable for you and your lifestyle than the others. By completing the exercise that follows, matching you with the type of dog that is best for your situation becomes possible. You will find the most important information about each type of dog discussed in detail so you will be able to choose which is best for you.

Even if you think you know what type of dog you want, by reading the information in this chapter you may be surprised to find the dog you thought you wanted isn't your best choice. Even if you find out the type of dog you originally wanted is your best choice, it will be an advantage to have this belief confirmed.

There are two approaches to reading the rest of this chapter. You can either follow the step-by-step guide designed to help you select the dog that will fit well in your life, or you can read all the information in this chapter and make the decisions yourself. Following the step-by-step guide is quicker but you will probably learn more about dogs by reading the information that describes all three types of dogs. The choice is yours. Let's take the first step in making this all-important decision.