Are you confused about getting a dog? This piece might have the answers you are looking for and the breed recommendations for a first-time dog owner.
The decision to get a dog should always be well thought out because this new family member will be sharing your home for a very long time. A dog changes the environment of your house by bringing in a lot of positive energy. Having a dog will force you to indulge in a healthy lifestyle by never skipping that morning walk ever again.
Adopting a dog comes with many positive sides. Still, there are also a few factors that need consideration because taking responsibility and good care of your pet can give a run for money to taking care of a toddler (in some cases, a very notorious one). Once the decision is made, one can buy or adopt a puppy or even an adult dog.
Being a dog enthusiast, a cynophile, and a pet parent, I would ask you to consider a few things that many pet parents think about when it’s usually too late. In the end, I would like to make a few suggestions about which breeds are best for you if you are going to own a dog for the first time. Details about dogs’ temperament, nature, and behavior with other pets are mentioned below along with a word of caution associated with each breed.
Questions to Answer If You Plan to Get a Dog
- Do you already have any other pet or a dog from another breed? If the answer is yes, you might have to ensure that this new pack member is safe around the other breeds. If you socialize your dog from an early age, it can be comfortable around your cat or other dogs.
- Is everyone in your family willing to have a pet? Will you be able to give them time? It would be cruel towards your puppy if every single family member is not welcoming. This is important because there will be times when you are not available, and then it would be mandatory for someone to step in and take the responsibility to groom your dog, take them on walks, and look after them.
- Can you spare a fixed portion of your monthly income aside for pet supplies? Raising a healthy pup is no easy job. The regular monthly expenses include food and supplements for your dog, and their routine checkup, training, grooming, and vaccinations. All this can account for a high expense in your monthly budget.
- Which breed would be suitable for you? Given that some breeds are easy to teach and would like to please their owners, while others are more stubborn and independent like a cat. A few breeds that top the stubborn category are chow chow, Pekingese, bulldog, and Akita. These breeds are never recommended for first-time owners.
- Do you need a working dog, a companion, or a toy breed to cuddle? Some dogs were bred to get work done. Like Akitas and bloodhounds were bred for hunting, Doberman pinschers as guard dogs, German shepherds as a top class service or protection dogs, on the other side, breeds like pugs, bichon frises, chihuahuas, and even greyhounds can prove to be great cuddle buddies. In short, there is a breed of dog available for every need, so do your research before choosing a pet for your family.
- What region do you live in? Do you live in an apartment or have a big backyard for the dog to exercise? Choosing your breed as per your location is necessary as climatic conditions play an important role to ensure that your dog gets the suitable environmental conditions for living. Apartment or big house can also be a deciding factor as some dogs need more space, while others who are less energetic may adjust to apartmental conditions.
Dog Breeds for Beginners
As mentioned earlier, breeds can be categorized based on large, medium, or small breeds. Historically, dogs performed different jobs like hunting, guarding, and herding depending upon the physical traits, movement, and temperament. New breeds were later brought into existence as per the changing needs. Today, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes 193 breeds out of more than 340 known worldwide.
Training is a crucial part when it comes to raising a dog. The large breeds are usually considered to be more intelligent and obedient when compared to their smaller counterparts. However, a small breed that is well-trained can appear smarter than an untrained dog from the large breed. Training can also avoid the shoulder and back injuries their owners sometimes experience. Untrained dogs tend to pull on the leash, and this constant pulling over some time can lead to injuries.
Depending on all the parameters mentioned above, I give you my top recommendations to help you choose from the overwhelming list of breeds. The following mentioned are few among the many dog breeds that love to please their owners. They are also easy to train and look after based on their personalities and traits.
Golden Retriever and Labradors
Golden retrievers and labradors are very popular among Americans and dog lovers all over the globe. These are large breed dogs that belong to the hunting category. Nowadays, these breeds are important members of dog squad for the police force thanks to their superior sniffing ability. They are also among one of the most intelligent dog breeds and hence are easy to train and will obey most of the commands given by their owners.
Both breeds very friendly and have cheerful personalities. They can be good companions and can also be cuddled with. They can prove to be good apartment dogs and an ideal pet for new or first-time dog owners. Labradors have a dense coat and are available in black, chocolate, or yellow color whereas, golden retrievers have a straight or wavy coat and come in light to dark golden shades.
Be warned that both breeds shed heavily but brushing them once or twice a day can certainly put some control on it. Being high-energy dogs, they require vigorous exercise every day. They are obsessed with food and can gain a significant amount of weight. Their average life span is around 10-12 years.
German Shepherd and Rottweilers
This recommendation can come as a surprise to many as both the breeds are considered to be ferocious. But I would like to point out that they are also very noble, diligent, loyal, and highly intelligent dogs. So, if trained well, they can prove themselves to be the most disciplined and effective guard dogs for first-time dog owners.
Both breeds belong to the herding category and were bred to herd livestock. But in modern times, German shepherds are trained to work in law enforcement and military functions, whereas rottweilers make good police dogs. Rottweilers have a short double coat in black with tan, rust, or mahogany, and German shepherds have a medium double coat, and most of them are available in bicolours.
Warning, they can be aggressive towards strangers and may not get along with other pets. It is advisable to hire a dog trainer to provide obedience training from the very beginning. No matter the breed, temperament history of their parents should be discussed with breeders while adopting a pet. Their lifespan usually ranges between 9-11 years.
Beagles are considered to be the most notorious dogs due to their tendency to follow scents. However, if you are looking for a cuddly and playful breed that can get along with your other pets, then beagle can be your dog. They are popular medium breed dogs with floppy ears and squarish muzzle. They are friendly towards humans and are considered to be good family pets.
They can be a good apartment dog provided if they are given needful exercise. They have a short coat which doesn’t require much grooming. Beagles are available in all hound colors, including, but not limited to, tri-color (tan, black, and white), red and white, and lemon and white.
As mentioned earlier, an interesting smell can make a beagle run away from your yard. They love to dig and can be harder to train than the breeds discussed above. Also, this breed is more prone to skin allergies and ear infections. The average life span of this breed is 15 years, but a beagle named Butch lived for 28 years.
This Chinese breed is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. They are famous for their protruding eyes and a flat nose. If you don’t have an active lifestyle but want a dog, then a pug may be a suitable breed for you as they are not very active.
Pugs belong to the toy breed category. They have a short double coat in fawn or black colors. Training and socializing them at a young age is important as they are not easy to train. Yet, they are the best breed that you can get for your kids as pugs love being around children and, at the same time, because they are sturdy are less likely to be injured by kids.
The facial features which make this breed stand out are also responsible for the health issues related to respiratory conditions and heat exhaustion. They may not be good with other pets, but socializing them from a very young age can prove helpful. However, being a low-maintenance dog and a breed requires less space and can be an ideal pet for first-time dog owners. They have a life span of 10-14 years and shed heavily.
The relation you have with your dog is incomparable. They will give unconditional love in return for a little time. Dogs are not a sign of social status, although they will add value to your life and make you stand out from the crowd. They should never be treated as an object and dumped or abandoned when you become bored with them, and hence one must only get a dog if they can take 100% responsibility for them. Also, let me know in the comments below what breed you own, or are you planning to get?