A Man’s Best Friend

by Lauren Verini

Have you ever had a case of puppy love? I don’t mean when you fall in love with someone as kid, rather an adorable little puppy. It’s impossible to resist those furry little faces, puppy eyes and their playful spirit. With the holidays quickly approaching, you might just get lucky with a pooch waiting for you under the tree. But before taking the plunge into pure puppy bliss, make sure you are ready for the commitment. It’s been said that getting a puppy is like having a child—it’s a lot of responsibility, time, patience and money.

Once you have decided that you are truly ready for a dog, its time to decide which pooch is right for you. There are over 160 breeds to choose from and each is unique in temperament, personality, needs and size. Realistically evaluate your lifestyle and the type of environment you can offer a dog. Here are just a few things to consider:

Space: Certain dogs fare better when they have a big backyard with room to run around, while other dogs don’t need as much space and are just fine in a smaller, city apartment. If you’re a city dweller, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs, Shih-Tzu, French Bulldogs and Yorkshire Terriers are great options. Terriers, Pointers, Border Collies and American Staffordshire Terriers need lots of exercise and are perfect canine companions for the outdoors.

Allergies: Just because you suffer from allergies doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams of owning a dog! Your best option is to find a dog who is hypoallergenic, or one who doesn’t shed a lot and produces little dander. Some great hypoallergenic options are Poodles, Bichon Frises, Maltese, and Schnauzers.

Children: While most all dogs can adapt to children, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles and Newfoundlands are the best with kids. Calm, patient, loving and protective, these dogs can handle the wear and tear of children who love to play and wrestle.

Schedule: Older dogs can typically spend more time alone than younger dogs, but all dogs need plenty of exercise and bathroom breaks. Give thought to how much time you can offer your new four legged friend and be realistic about your schedule. If you aren’t home often, maybe a dog isn’t the best option.

If you are getting puppy, be sure to set a lot of time aside for training, bathroom breaks and playtime. If you just don’t have the time to train a pup, you may want to look into getting an older dog that is already trained. You can easily find a selection of older dogs to choose from in shelters that make great pets.

It’s always a great option to consider rescuing a dog from a shelter. Plus, most dogs in shelters are mixed breeds, which tend to be middle of the road in temperament and make great family pets!

Before taking the plunge, do you homework to find the best pooch to fit your lifestyle so in the long run, both you and Fido are happy. American Kennel Club and Dogster.com are great resources to learn more before finding your perfect pet.

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