Choosing a dog breed

Choosing a dog breed follows on the factors listed under choosing a pet .Let us assume that you are satisfied that a dog is the right pet for you. In choosing a dog breed, what factors should you consider?

Many people will have favourite dog breeds. This might arise from having had such a dog as a child, or seen it in a movie etc. The point is that while you may have a definite leaning towards a certain breed, it is as well to go through the following check list when choosing a dog breed to double check that you and your dog are going to be a compatible match!

The following list of points are in no particular order and no point is more important than any other point. However, the list does serve as a reminder that there are a lot of factors you should take into consideration when choosing between various dog breeds.


Both Great Danes and miniture Dachshunds are dog breeds but their requirements are vastly different in terms of space, food, exercise and the like. Other considerations include: You need to be physically stronger to handle a large breed of dog; Large breed dogs generally have shorter lifespans than the smaller breeds; and you will find it very difficult to keep small breeds off furniture and beds - they regard snuggling down on soft cushiony things as almost a divine right!


Historically, most breeds have been developed with a particular thought or task in mind. Most breeds have therefore evolved with specific traits being selected for by the breeders. (this still happens today within breeds).This means that most purebreds will display the traits for which the breed was developed. So make sure you understand what these traits are when choosing a dog breed and that your set up at home is suitable e.g. working dogs love to work and can become bored and destructive if cooped up in an apartment all day.

Breed Weaknesses

This follows on the selection process by which breeds evolved. In concentrating on a few desirable traits, breeders inevitably tampered with the "normal" canine genetics, often with some undesirable results. Thus many breeds have known "weaknesses" that they are more prone to develop.e.g. some breeds are more prone to hip dysplasia than others, and some breeds are more likely to develop certain types of tumours than others.

In order to avoid nasty surprises, be aware when choosing a dog breed of that breeds possible weaknesses and their consequences.


All dogs have hair (even the Mexican Hairless has some!) and all dogs shed hair. It is a normal physiological occurence but it can become a real bone of contention in a household.

So, when choosing a dog breed, remember to consider the length of the haircoat and the colour as these two factors determine how noticeable the shedded hair is.Of course, long haired breeds also need more regular grooming which is a time consuming undertaking (or costly if you pay a doggy parlour to do it).

Mixed Breeds

The good old "pavement special" of dubious parentage is very often a delightful character that worms his/her way into your heart.

Mixed parentage can often give the offspring "hybrid vigour" which means that they perform better in many respects than their parents. This is a concept often used deliberately in stock farming to improve some aspect that is important to the farmer.e.g. the farmer might cross Holstein and Jerseys to improve the butterfat percentage of the milk he produces because he gets paid better for milk with a high butterfat content.

In dogs it can be a bit of a gamble because while the farmer knows what he is crossing and which trait it will improve, "pavement liaisons" generally just happen and the resultant offspring can have all the positive attributes of hybrid vigour (i.e. a combination of all the best traits from both parents) or they can be a genetic disaster if they happen to inherit all the worst traits from both parents.

The bottom line

The more information you can gather together about your prospective pet, the better prepared you will be and the fewer problems you will encounter down the line. Similarly, the better prepared you are, the less stressed your pet will be, and as we know, the less the stress, the healthier your pet will be.

In the case of pure breeds a good place to start looking for information would be the breed association or kennel club. If you can't find those, then make contact with a breeder and ask him/her for information on the breed but be careful to get information from more than one source so that you get a balanced picture.

When it comes to mixed breeds, you can often make some fairly accurate deductions about parentage, possible future size (if it is a puppy), haircoat etc by looking at the individual.

Choosing a dog breed that will be suitable for your circumstances is the first, and very necessary step, in a hopefully long and mutually beneficial relationship between you and your pet dog.

For more information about different types of Dog Breeds, Click Here

For more help in selecting a suitable dog breed click here

For information specific to poodles, click here

Check out Labrador Retrievers for the very best and latest information on these great dogs.

On the other end of the size stakes, visit Yorkshire Terriers

Chazhound Dog Directory