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As I am walking my dog throughout our Brevard County neighborhood, people often stop me and ask: what breed of dog should I get? Should I get a puppy or adult dog? Should I adopt a dog or get a pure bred?

My answer is always the same. It depends. It’s not the size of the dog that matters, but the dog’s temperament and your temperament together. While some breeds do have tendencies toward a certain temperament, keep in mind that the suggestions below are not absolutes.

Let’s look at some of the factors to consider before deciding what breed of dog you should get.

Where You Live. Do you live in an apartment or home? Do you have a big backyard? Many breeds need a large place to roam or they become very anxious. For instance, German Shepherds don’t do as well in an apartment – they prefer to have a job and be guarding someone or something. Also, do you live in a warm climate (such as Florida) or a cold climate (such as Colorado) because many breeds do not do well with huge fluctuations in temperatures? For instance, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes & Bernese Mountain dogs thrive on cooler weather. Beagles, terriers and chihuahuas love to snuggle next to a roaring fire.

Your Level of Exercise. All dogs need exercise to maintain their emotional and physical health. However, if you are a runner and like to take your dog jogging, a small dog might not be the right jogging partner. Border collies, Australian shepherds and Greyhounds are born runners. Some breeds like Pugs, Papillons and Pomeranians just want to snuggle on your lap.

Age. Not all of us are ready for puppies … they are for the young at heart! They require a lot of exercise,  can be a challenge to housebreak, and require a lot of surveillance (or else your shoes will be gone!). Seniors and families with small children may want to look at Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Whippets and Golden Retrievers.

Number of members in your family. Protective of their homes and owners, some breeds are perfect for people who live alone. These include Chihuahuas, Chow chows, Maltese, Pekingese and Shih Tzu’s.

Purebreds vs. Mixed breeds. Generally hardier and less prone to hereditary faults, crossbreeds (or multi-breeds) can be pets that are just as good – and sometimes better – than purebreds. Mutts (as we lovingly called mixed breeds) are no harder to train than purebreds. Another misconception is that shelter dogs come with more baggage than purebred … so not true! However, if your heart is set on a purebred, look to your local shelters first. With so many homeless dogs across the United States, it is better to adopt vs. shop!

Designer dogs. Extremely popular nowadays are designer breeds, which is a cross between two purebred dogs. They were developed to create a mix of the best characteristics of each breed. For instance, the goldendoodle combines the family-friendly traits of the Golden Retriever with the non-shedding, hypoallergenic traits of the poodle. Some of the most popular designer dogs are puggles (pug/beagle), labradoodles (Labrador/poodle), Schnoodle (schnauzer/poodle) and Chorkies (chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier.

The best breed of dog? One that is trained. Do yourself and you dog a favor by contacting Bark Busters Brevard County today!

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